I had a bunch of things I wanted to write about – Lists of Bush’s impeachable offenses, the ridiculous controversy over Price’s “phallic” halftime show, a billboard that reads the “Hoohaa” Monologues, because, apparently, the word “vagina” is now offensive. But instead of yet another rant, I want to share some good news.
Earlier this week in New York City, a somber Trey Anastasio gave an in-depth interview that discussed his music, his plans, his songwriting, his drug use, and even Phish. It’s great to hear Trey coming back around and feeling good about music. Trey’s new stuff is still great music, but I think we all wonder if he has another “Guyute” in him. We all wonder if, should Phish ever reunite, whether he’s more likely to come up with another “You Enjoy Myself” or another “Jennifer Dances.” Songs like “Pebbles and Marbles” and “Scents and Subtle Sounds” demonstrate that he and Tom Marshall can still write fantastic, epic music. Songs like Mexican Cousin showed that Trey was interested in writing short numbers with a platform to launch a melodic jam session. But songs like “Undermind,” while not bad, per say, were not the same quality, didn’t have the same quirkiness, didn’t capture the feeling the way some of the older songs, like The Mango Song, or The Squirming Coil, or Silent in the Morning did.
Either way, it’s great to see there are still phans out there who are still so connected. This is all good news. In fact, the only bad news is that the comments portion of the page on rollingstone.com has been defaced by a bunch of morons.
What a shame. Trey was arrested. It doesn’t appear he’ll do any hard time or anything, but I just wish it didn’t happen. It’s a lot easier to like Phish when they are just a relatively unknown group of jamming hippies with charitable ways. When this stuff happens, they make news and all most people remember is “Trey the druggie” and “Mike Gordon the child molester.” It sucks for us hardcore fans. That said, I wish Trey and his family luck in getting through this painlessly.
Trey Anastasio‘s new album, Seis de Mayo, has really got me thinking. See, i’m a die hard Phish fan, but since the hiatus, I’ve lost some of the zeal (evidenced by the staling of firsttube.com). I’m not alone, most major Phish sites on the web have been neglected or, in the case of Andy Gadiel, who ran one of the most visited phish sites on the internet, folded completely.
Even the phish.net has slowed down. once the center of all things Phish, phans now turn to the much more timely phantasytour for their setlist information and current news. Why are so many phans losing the passion?
See, i think the problem is that most fans, during the hiatus, found new exciting music that didn’t mean wading through a velvet sea of 30,000 fans and a ticket scramble just to see them play. That’s attractive. and as much as we all love Phish, they aren’t the only band in the world to do what they do.
Trey, however, has gotten pretty far out there. His work with the Trey Anastasio Band in 1999 was far from Phishy – the band was sloppy and loose, very different from the tight and synced sound of phish. but in a very very good way. Combine that with the radical lineup tweak that was tour 2001 – a very different animal. then slap onto that Seis de Mayo, Trey’s new, short, mostly orchestral album. This guy takes chances.
Seis de Mayo includes some bits phish fans will recognize – a reworked version of All Things Reconsidered, The Inlaw Josie Wales, the first few minutes of Pebbles and Marbles, and the masterpiece My Friend My Friend/Guyute. I’m telling you – Trey is where it’s at these days.
Look at the difference between “Acting the Devil,” a particularly non-phish number, “Drifting,” a typically Phishy song, “Burlap Sack and Pumps,” with unique jamband-esque tones, and Mr. Completely – a totally rocked out number. The TAB is definitely intriguing to me.
So, upon hearing Seis de Mayo, I’d say this: Phish is fantastic, and still my favorite band – but it’s the Trey band that’s really got me thinking.
added 5/6 22:18: Just wanted to add that Fish with JMP, Page with Vida Blue, and Mike with his pursuits have all been doing great things too. I personally think that Trey is most my style right now, but all four of them are probably really expanding in great ways with their various subprojects. I can truly envision Phish being around for many many years.
With Summer tour only a few days away, what are the songs you’re most interested in hearing? Are they new, Round Room-era songs, or are you jonesing for some oldies? I was just playing around and decided that, if I could have Phish play today, here’s what I’d want to hear. Some of my picks are surprising, since I’ve already heard them many times. Here’s what on my mind, in no particular order:
Buried Alive, Forbin’s > Mockingbird, Piper, Glide, Peaches en Regalia, Ghost, Birds of a Feather, Dog Log, and maybe Trey’s “Drifting.”