In July 2000, Ellis Godard interviewed Ben "Junta" Hunter, the band's first manager/agent, for whom the double-CD Junta is named. The following exerpts from that interview were published in the second edition of The Phish Companion. Additionally of note, this is the 500th blog post on the site!
EG: How did your association with Phish begin?
BH: My “official” association with the band began when we rented a nightclub called Molly’s in Allston, Massachusetts, on 11/3/88. It was the kind of place that had live music only one night a week. If memory serves, they had Dead cover bands and the like on Sundays, and the rest of the time it was a rather, if you’ll excuse the expression, “Euro-trashy” type of dance club.
I would say my primary strength was my ability to proselytize – to spread the good Phish word amongst my friends – and act as sort of a “Johnny Appleseed.” The band’s name was on my lips in nearly every conversation I had during the several years in which I was affiliated with them. I was friendly with the band Ninja Custodian and promoted a gig for them at the Paradise in Boston (with not such terrific results), in late 1990 or early 1991. In fact, it was their drummer, Mike Billington (he of the permanent antic disposition), who first turned John Paluska and myself onto Phish.
Through my years of seeing and listening to Phish, I've always enjoyed hearing songs teased in the middle of what the band was playing. The 2nd Edition of The Phish Companion took this information and put it to print, resulting in a four page Teases Chart. As I compiled my collection of Phish shows, I would actively seek out certain versions of songs to hear specific teases - something that enriched my experience of exploring the band's vast musical history. Upon joining the Phish.Net crew in 2009 and becoming involved in the setlist team, I would constantly add new teases to the database, partially from my own listening finds and often from Phish.Net user submissions.
6/7/12 DCU Center, Worcester, MA 6/8/12 DCU Center, Worcester, MA 6/15/12 Bader Field, Atlantic City, NJ 6/16/12 Bader Field, Atlantic City, NJ 6/17/12 Bader Field, Atlantic City, NJ 6/19/12 nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA 6/20/12 nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA 6/22/12 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH 6/23/12 First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown, PA 6/24/12 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 6/28/12 Klipsch Music Center, Noblesville, IN 6/29/12 Klipsch Music Center, Noblesville, IN 6/30/12 Alpine Valley Music Center, East Troy, WI 7/1/12 Alpine Valley Music Center, East Troy, WI 7/3/12 Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre, Wantagh, NY 7/4/12 Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre, Wantagh, NY 7/6/12 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY 7/7/12 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY 7/8/12 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
The following foreword to the second edition of The Phish Companion was written by Jane Ambrose, Trey's music teacher at the University of Vermont.
I read in the paper this morning that Phish had the second largest box office gross per city in North America. Bon Jovi was first, but the average ticket price was so much higher, that without an adjustment, Phish would no doubt have been number one. So I thought again why it might be that this band that started here at our little University was so popular. After all, 70,000 people made their way to The Great Went in Limestone, Maine, not exactly one of the population centers of the Northeast. Recently I watched the DVD of Bittersweet Motel and was struck by the absolute joy of the audience-joy in each others’ company and joy communicated by the music of Phish. Regardless of their enormous success, the guys haven’t changed very much. I love the picture on the cover of the March, 2003 Rolling Stone - Phish on ice skates, dressed like drag queens, with my friend Trey in a tutu over his jeans and with a bare chest. Happy people make other people happy.
It's time for the 88th installment of the Mystery Jam Monday series here at Phish.net. As usual, we will be playing for a free MP3 download, courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. The rules haven't changed: you need to correctly identify the song and the date to win. Post your guess in the comments. One guess per person per day (with the second “day” starting after I post the hint). A hint will be posted on Tuesday (if necessary) and the answer will be posted on Wednesday. Good luck...
Tuesday Hint: No hint needed this week...
Wednesday Answer: Pauly7917 gets his fifth win with the 11/14/94 "Bowie." Congrats. The Blog will be back on Monday with another Mystery Jam.
In August 2000, Jay Kahn (RIP) and Ellis Godard interviewed Aaron Wolfe. The following exerpts were published in the first edition of The Phish Companion.
EG & JK: What do you remember most about Princeton Day School and the folks you went to school with?
Aaron Wolfe: Princeton was a pretty quiet, homogeneous place. But even then we knew that the suburbs created the best rock and roll. That's why we all took up the air guitar with such dedication.
Tom and I formed an air guitar band called, unbelievably, "A Dot Tom" – decades before the Internet and the assault of the "dot.coms." The songs were mostly adaptations of other people's songs. Neil Young's “Cinnamon Girl” was remade – without reason whatsoever – as “Michaelson Girl.” Some were inspired by things we saw outside the windows of our Latin class.
We've pretty much focused on clips from older shows the last several months of Video of the Week. Yet fun moments happen at every show. Such was the case with 06/10/2011 in Camden at Susquehanna Bank Center.
Despite generally mixed reviews, 6/10/11 had a handful of highlights. There's a solid Weekapaug jam and a beautiful rendition of The Curtain With to close the first set (something that, along with The Curtain, had never been done before).
Another highlight for many was a fun Big Black Furry Creature From Mars. About 1:50 in to the video, Trey raises his microphone simultaneously with Mike lowering his. Eventually, Mike sits down and Trey raises his head as they shriek out the remainder of Creature. Clearly, the music is what made Phish. But there's no denying the fact that a little dose of showmanship and having fun on stage help build the legend.
Every Friday, we highlight a video with a brief recap of the show it is from and what makes it interesting, noteworthy or simply fun. With the help of Dan Saewitz from Phishvids.com, we hope to keep the stream of videos coming at you entertaining and interesting. Have a cool video you’d like to suggest? Interested in contributing a review yourself? Submit ideas here.
The Phish.net API is a system for using Phish.net data across the internet on other websites or in mobile apps. There are several dozen websites that use the Phish.net API, sites like Phishvids, where the data is all served up by the Phish.net setlists database. Today, I'm excited to announce some changes to the Phish.net API. Read on for the details.
Welcome to the Late Edition of Mystery Jam Monday here at Phish.net. As usual, we will be playing for a free MP3 download, courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. The rules haven't changed: you need to correctly identify the song and the date to win. Post your guess in the comments. One guess per person per day (with the second “day” starting after I post the hint). A hint will be posted on Tuesday (if necessary) and the answer will be posted on Wednesday. Good luck...
Wednesday Answer: Congrats to TheDeputy for nailing down the 7/13/03 "Seven Below," a/k/a pure awesomeness. The Blog will be back on Monday with another Mystery Jam...