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Interview Thread

Started by redrum, January 02, 2009, 10:59:45 AM

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we have some random interviews scattered around the paug.
let's keep them all in one thread.
if you've got a good interview (new or old) post it here.

here's a good one i want to share with you guys from Jon Fishman after he played a 10KLF with JMP.
he touches on some very interesting topics.

Allow me to set the stage for the most exciting interview of my journalistic career thus far. It is Saturday evening at the 10,000 Lakes Music Festival in Detroit Lakes. A thick, black cloud rolls into the venue and to conceal the bright blue sky which had shone above us an hour prior. As the rain begins to flow from above, the resilient fest goers were dancing happily outside to the sounds of the Radiators. Before long, they were forced to shut down the stage and many folks retreated to their campsites. I wandered up to another stage which was half covered by a canopy. This bluesy rock band, The Greyhounds, was playing vigilantly through the storm. Their keyboard player was covered in a tarp, literally wrapped up like a mummy. After their set had ended and Jazz Mandolin Project was setting up, the skies began to clear and a brilliant rainbow hung in the distance. Jon Fishman walked to the front of the stage to greet some fans; I asked him for a five minute interview after the show and flashed him the media pass around my neck. The show was truly a spiritual experience; it�s amazing to sincerely feel the music with so much passion. The combination of Jamie on mandolin with the talent of his band coupled with Fishman�s ability to have the percussion flow through him was radiant.

A: Thank you for tonight; I have seen a lot of shows and this was the most beautiful musical experience of my life. The energy from the storm and the rainbow didn�t hurt either. What did you feel about the vibe tonight?

J: It seems like we�ve been running into a lot bad weather, a lot of storms at these outdoor festivals so we�re actually used to it so we�re sort of in a groove with the bad weather. From May 27-June 14, I had a run with these guys and then went home and did the Phish thing and then back out for these gigs � so I�m kind of going back and forth. In the beginning of the last run, we had Peoria. IL which was the Summercamp festival and there was a big tornado that touched down about 2 miles away from where we were, which was in the basement of some farmhouse on the grounds of the festival. That seemed to set the tone for the rest-of course you have the indoor gigs-but there were a couple of other ones 3 or 4 in a row where we had to deal with it.

A: It seems like the universe is thanking you for your music

J: That�s one way of interpreting it. But, I�m more interested in your story and organization which is kind of funny because that is of course not why you�re interviewing me. My friend Deb is in charge of the non profit organization called the Pangaea Project, I had a big benefit for them in Portland. It focuses on making the world a smaller place by introducing 10 and 11 grade students to other environments worldwide. It�s just getting off the ground but the ideal vision is to have a regular rotation of kids in the Portland, Oregon area that would enter into the program to learn, right now the specific country is Mali, Africa and it is an exchange with them. They�re just getting off the ground; there are just 2 women right now. Pangaea is the name of when all of the land mass was one continent. So it�s sort of like the name implies that its an effort to try and make the world unified � instead of how we see people in other countries in the media, like these people getting bombed in Iraq now, it�s like there isn�t enough of a connection. From her experiences traveling around the world, there isn�t enough connection between the reality of our own lives and the fact that someone else�s life halfway across the world has the same issues, the same problems, just to different degrees. If we were more connected, like if you actually knew someone in Mali, Africa if something like what is happening in Iraq now occurred, then there would be much more of a heartfelt connection toward what was going on instead of a distant perception of that over there. So the first stage is taking under-privileged youth, but the term she uses is underserved because she feels that everybody, like that Dylan song �you gotta serve somebody�, ideally in a community there is an exchange of giving and taking.

A: I�ve heard of that group from Kai from Garaj Mahal. Isn�t the idea to take these kids out of their current environment and teach them new ideas and leadership, so they can come back and be leaders in their communities?

J: Exactly. They learn about the culture of Mali, gender roles, religion, and they live with a host family. It�s only six weeks right now but if they had more funding it would be longer. They live and serve in that community as a member of someone else�s household.

A: So, I�m wondering why Phish was never really political or took a stand for social issues, the environment, whatever. You have so much power � whatever you would say, people would do because you�re Phish.
J: Well that has been said to us many times.

A: I mean that with all due respect, I don�t mean to offend.

J: No, no. I�m not offended at all. It�s actually one of the more interesting things to talk about in the Phish world. If you�re going to do an interview, it�s much better to talk about real things. Years ago, we did a pro-choice benefit where we debut 5 new songs � it was in 92 or 93 or something. Our manager had come to us � we have never done any politically loaded issue. Honestly, I don�t think you can pick a more politically or socially loaded issue. For me, it�s a no brainer. If the Congress and the Senate were nothing but a bunch of women and they decided that it should be legal or illegal, I would feel a lot better about it. Let�s say they make it illegal, which I don�t think is the way to go. I�m not saying I�m pro-abortion, I am pro-choice. I put the choice over the abortion itself which definitely kind of gives you the creeps on a certain level, which I think is natural. At the same time, to take a choice away from an individual to make a decision about their own body and if they want to be a parent; let�s face it, the woman is the one who is really stuck being a parent if the father wants to hightail it out of there. The mom is the one that really has to deal with the bulk of the responsibility and if she is really not ready, you�re not doing the kid any favors. I�m pro-adoption myself because I was adopted.

The truth is that I ran into this issue, I was 20 yrs old, my girlfriend got pregnant and she elected to have an abortion. She came to me and said, �What do you want me to do?� and I said, �I�ll support whatever decision you make.� And she said, �Well, that�s a cop-out. I want an answer, I want your choice.� All right, I said if it were me, which it never will be in this lifetime at least, then I would probably, maybe, I can�t even say, but force me into it I�ll say maybe I would elect to have the child and put it up for adoption because I don�t want to a parent. That was her next question, �Do you want to be a dad?� and I said, �I am not ready to be a dad� and she said, �And I don�t want to be a mom.� I said, �Okay, if I was in your shoes, maybe I would put it up for adoption but that�s because I�m adopted myself and I have a personal relationship with that whole thing. If you decide not to do that, I would never judge you�, but it sucks ya know. She wasn�t any happier about it, but you�re backed into this corner and so she said, �Well, if I�m going to do this, you�re coming with me.� I said, �Okay, that�s fair.� So we went and got counseling and I would actually say if I felt that there was a bias in the counseling that we received, it was one that leaned toward going through with the pregnancy. Such as, there are people that can help, you might feel overwhelmed, and there is a lot more support than you think. However, that being said, they wanted you to have all the information. They didn�t want you to feel cornered, they wanted you to make the decision in the best frame of mind that you could under the circumstances. So, she still elected to have the abortion and I held her hand through the whole thing. It�s one of those things that you remember forever, you know, and from that point on I was like Mr. Condom. I never wanted that to happen again. I�m 39 now and when my girlfriend got pregnant this time, we were purposefully being negligent. We had conversations about it, �What happens if you get pregnant?� She�d say, �Well, I�m having the kid.� And I said, �Well, I could live with that.� This was a new thought for me like wow.

A: How old is your child?

J: My daughter is 2 and a half and my son is 9 months.

A: Are you thinking that you want to take a step back and enjoy your family? Are you going to stop touring?

J: Well, for me, I think Jamie (from Jazz Mandolin Project) has a really good thing going here, I mean I have to talk to him about it.

A: In terms of Phish solo projects, you could play with anyone. I mean, you are Jon Fishman, one of the best drummers that ever was.

J: I don�t know about that�

A: The music just comes through you.

Humbly, he looks down at the ground

J: Well, I�m getting better. I�m feeling very relaxed and comfortable.

A: Are you happy with where things are right now? Do you feel sad with things winding down with Coventry approaching?

J: We are just ripping away and we are playing really well, we haven�t been partying at all, everybody is really straight. I think that we�re in two places, one everybody is very in the moment and more focused on it and more wanting it to be the best that it can be. All distractions in the moment are being cast away whether it�s a shot of tequila or a beer � we�re just saying we are just going to play the music the best we can now. It lit a fire under our ass � a wake up call- like this is really going to end. I think any laziness or any complacency that started to leak into our career has gotten consciously�well, it�s pulled us out of that and woken us up. What I�m getting at is that if it weren�t ending, t">I don�t know that there would be as much vitality in it now. Your life changes subtly along the way until you�re already in it. Kids, my family life is developing and that�s really attractive to me.

I was making this analogy to someone else, I was reading this article in Sports Illustrated about the Army Rangers and they have the �best ranger weekend� where they have teams of 2 rangers that team up for like 60 hours straight and these teams compete against each other for all of the things that you learn in ranger school. These guys can definitely be considered among the top athletes in the world given the things that they have to do. In fact, a lot of other athletes do these things but they do it in combat boots and 70 pound packs but it�s crazy. One of the things that they have to do is the �unknown distance run.� It�s one thing if someone says, �Run 5 miles�. It�s another thing if they say, �Just run and we�ll let you know when you can stop�. And even if it is only one mile, that mile is probably harder on your mind then the 5 miles is � knowing that the 5 miles ends. I was reading that article and I went, man, that is what our career was starting to become like, the unknown distance run. I think that there was maybe that aspect. So now that we know the distance, you�re coming towards the finish line. And any runner of any race would be doing the same thing and when they get so far out from the finish line, they just sprint the rest of the way. And I think that�s what is happening to us. If we weren�t ending, I don�t think we would be playing as well. I�m personally feeling great about the whole thing. Every once and a while, my mind jumps ahead a little to when it�s actually over and I think that maybe right now I am underestimating the effect it�s going to have.

A: Psychologically?

J: Yeah, I think that there is going to be some kind of unraveling that I�m not aware of psychologically. Way back in mid-May, I knew what I was getting into and I made up my mind it was time to get my act together, and then Phish, and then nothing until January. Mentally, I�m not really letting myself let up at all until mid-August when the Phish thing is over. Every once and a while I jump ahead; I want to set up solar panels and I want to develop this sustainable lifestyle where I can grow most, if not all of my own food and we are going to get some goats.

A: That�s a movement � Look at the earth right now

J: We need to get off oil for one thing. That�s such a critical thing � I know that me personally getting off the grid is just one person, but it starts with individuals, and then all groups and communities, all states and eventually the whole country. In my mind, there is no excuse for a city like Phoenix, Arizona to be using petroleum. They should just go set up a couple of square miles of solar panels out in the middle of the desert somewhere which wouldn�t occupy nearly the space that the city itself does �it�s just sprawling out in every direction. There are cities in this country that could immediately be taken off the grid with very little effort in 5 years. Like Phoenix could be off - not a drop of oil would be used to air condition or anything they use electricity for.

A: But big businesses would never have that

J: Well, it will happen when drilling is so expensive to get to the oil that is left in the ground and such a pain in the ass; it will be worth going the other way more. Ya know what I mean? When it hits them in their pocket book, but they�re going to suck every last dollar out of oil that they can. It never made any sense to begin with, sucking dead dinosaurs out of the ground and putting in the air to breathe is just stupid. We�re like these big mosquitoes and everyone wants to kill mosquitoes, they�re the one creature I have no guilt killing. I realize that they�re good food for other things, but I feel like we�re a mosquito if we don�t stop soon enough the earth is going to invent its own version of the mosquito magnet or it�s just going to slap us out of existence or something. It doesn�t have to be this apocalyptic nightmare; it can be a gradual and sane transition from one energy source to another. Like that Planter�s peanut can lid, there are so many petroleum based things but now we can recycle it and use it to make solar panels. There�s a guy working for the Department of Energy in Boulder at one of the alternative energy research programs, federally funded, and they�re working on using hydrogen fuel cells. Right now, they have to use fossil fuels to generate this reaction and to separate the hydrogen. But they�re working on a way of doing it with solar power so using the sun�s energy to create the hydrogen fuel which creates water as a waste. That would be an unbelievable system that could be viable and maybe in the beginning some wealthy people could use it as a residential thing but eventually you�ll have super sonic jets with hydrogen fuel cells. Look, it�s this simple, if you took 100 of the smartest scientists in the world right now and you stuck them in a room and you said that things are so critical that we have to be off fossil fuels and nuclear energy and within 10 years we want you guys to come up with a viable energy source that will be able to replace the grid without whole systems having to crumble. I bet they�d have it done in 3-5 years if you gave them 10 years with all the funding they needed.

A: It�s all about funding

J: Yep, like when Kennedy said I want a man on the moon at the end of the decade, they shot him a year later, but they still got it done by �69 � it�s where you put priorities.

A: What do you think about the war?

J: The war is ridiculous! Right now there is genocide going on in Sudan and Colin Powell gets up at NATO and says, �I want these guys to stop murdering the Africans in 48 hours or else.� Or else what? I saw Clinton talk on Larry King. Larry asked Clinton what his biggest regret was and he said that it was not jumping on the Rowanda situation fast enough. But he said the whole thing happened in 90 days and some crazy number of people was totally slaughtered. By the time they were really able to grasp the situation, it was over. This administration was so concerned with hating Clinton that they didn�t bother to check the memos he left behind about a Bin Laden and I�m sure that they�re not bothering to reflect on Clinton�s experience with Rowanda. Now that same shit is going to happen in Sudan. It�s happening as we speak, right now they�re mowing people down, murdering people, raping the women, killing the kids, and doing all kinds of terrible shit, totally out of control. And what�s our government doing? Have they learned anything from Clinton on Larry King saying that he really wished he would have gotten on that? Where�s Bush? Is he watching it? Does he care? Looking at any of the memos that came before? No. I feel that politics has gotten to where it has become to the issue of not right and wrong, but good and evil. The idea of bi-partisanship has gotten so volatile. In the old days of politics if you strongly disagreed with someone, there was still some sort of respect. There was agreement or disagreement � now it�s if you don�t agree with me then you�re evil. What this comes from is the failure to keep separation of church and state. The chipping away and letting religion and religious fanatical ideology whether it�s Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hinduism, I don�t care what it is. This is why I was not into Joe Lieberman, I was raised Jewish but I don�t believe that an Orthodox Jew should be the President of our country. There�s no way that he could separate religion - look at the Palestinians and the Jews right now. Do you think for one second that if Joe Lieberman was the President that the United States would have any credibility to the Palestinians as a broker for peace in that region in the world? No, No way. They would think that he is so biased.

It all started with Reagan. Okay so the guy is dead, but if the dead did wrong, you�re going to learn from history. Look, we�re alive, I have to live in this world going forth and I�m not going to sit here and suck up to some notion that this guy was just all roses and rainbows and now that he�s dead we�re going to play up the nice stuff. He was the President that married the Republican Party to the Christian right, it started with him. He didn�t keep that separation of church and state, for whatever reason he allowed their influence to become much stronger and his Republican world. Who was the head speaker at the Republican National Convention for Bush�s attempt at a second term? Jerry Farwell. In the old days, even though there was always foul play in government, always wheeling and dealing � that�s the way the world is, right? But, I�ve always felt historically that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were documents which previous administrations have relied on as a guide when things got dark. When you say separation of church and state, you can argue all day long but I think it�s Argue, Apply, and Observe. You argue about how it should be, you apply the conclusions you come up with, and you observe what happens. Does it make society more stable? Does it make us more able to tolerate and accept each other? Does it make us more multi-ethnic? Does it make us evolve and grow? Or is it something that is creating walls? I would say that from what we�ve learned from history, across the board, whenever governments are run by religious law you get nothing but trouble. You get Spanish Inquisitions, you get public beheadings, you get soccer stadiums turned into execution chambers. I think that the previous leaders used these interpretations and applications, it seems like for a while there was an evolution and I think that we have a de-evolution now where you have people in the government who actually view the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as an obstacle, as something in their way. Find the loopholes; they get around that free speech thing, detaining people, whatever it is�

He pauses and comments about John Mayer playing his bluesy guitar solo

J: Wow, He�s pretty good. I didn�t know he could actually play guitar.

A: Yeah, it�s definitely good background music. A lot of people gave him flack for coming here, thinking that he was too mainstream.

J: I just hated that �Your Body is a Wonderland� song. But you know that�s so funny because it�s typical and it makes sense to me. I should definitely know better by now that you can never begin to judge somebody by hearing what their radio song was. That�s was our whole thing the whole time, �You gotta see Phish live.�

A: So when�s the reunion tour?

J: You can never say never, but you can�t see how far down the line the next time would be so it�s not worth sticking around for. Like I was saying before, we hit some sort of wall. Things change, priorities change. You have life changing experiences like you had�

A: They give you strength

J: Right, exactly. Whatever is good or bad happens you don�t have a choice but to get the good out of it. I feel like if you have a chance to speak out and someone gives you that exposure then you should say what you think because it�s all part of the discourse that we need to be having in the world. Ultimately, Phish decided consciously that there had to be things that were for their own sake and despite the world we live in, if every art form, if every human expression was turned into an opinion about the political environment, then there was something wrong with that. It�s okay for some things to just be beauty for beauty�s sake, art for art�s sake; that at the end of the day ended up being the winning argument.

A: The separation of church and state

J: Yes, exactly! Music is a religion. Trey said before that people go to church but I think God is music. God serves humans but humans serve God. It makes a lot of sense that it�s a good idea to keep it out of politics. And not that many people are very good at being political singers; there are very few people that can motivate you politically to get involved in the process. I thought Bob Marley was amazing. �You can fool some people sometimes, but you can�t fool all the people all the time. Now you see the light� That�s amazing � it�s so direct, right into your brain. You could be high or half-dead and I am awful at remembering words but for Bob Marley you do not miss the words. They�re not just sounds that are going by. His drummer was my favorite drummer of all times. So that was our final decision and we learned after doing that right to choose event, from that experience Trey had received some mail. I never saw it myself, but he said it was very reasonable and presented very compelling arguments for choice not getting a priority. I couldn�t disagree with it, ultimately I still feel the way I do, but I have more respect for people that might have a different opinion. So again in that experience it became less about good and evil but it was a balancing act. Having had that experience made it easier for all of us to see the value in keeping the art for art�s sake. We felt that it undermines the original reason why we started Phish. The one thing that I was really into was the vote registry and we have voting registration at all of our gigs. I feel that it�s a great thing because that�s just telling people to vote and it�s not saying who to vote for, it�s just saying get involved. I don�t think it�s wrong to try and encourage. You�re not shoving it down their throats; it�s their choice and you�re not telling them how to think.

A: Just to think!

J: Yes, it would be better the more we all can think a little bit.

Quote from: sunrisevt on April 13, 2010, 03:18:25 PM
It's a great day on the interweb, people.

Quote from: McGrupp on July 06, 2010, 02:17:12 PM
You guys know the rule... If you weren't there, it wasn't anything special...


Anyone who ever played a part, they wouldn't turn around and hate it.



Bring in the dude!

G. Augusto

Quote from: August on November 21, 2007, 09:25:08 AM
The first half is conducted at a local Diner and the second part is backstage at the Somerville Theater.
Trey speaks about the, Picture of Nectar, writing songs for Rift, signing with Elektra and how Mango Song is about a junkie (he said, back then, that it was not about him).
Pretty interesting listen.

11-21-1991 Somerville, MA (40:59)


one of my all-time fave Phish-related interviews was the monster one did with CK5..

and here's another great in-depth conversation, this time with Brad Sands


^^^nice! +K's

not really an interview but trey speaking.
incase anyone missed this last time.

Trey Anastasio
Unknown Guitar Class
July 1, 1993
This is Trey Giving a lecture on Guitar theory, and Phish's use of the knowledge within The Helping Friendly Book. Very interesting and entertaining.

Quote from: sunrisevt on April 13, 2010, 03:18:25 PM
It's a great day on the interweb, people.

Quote from: McGrupp on July 06, 2010, 02:17:12 PM
You guys know the rule... If you weren't there, it wasn't anything special...


Anyone who ever played a part, they wouldn't turn around and hate it.



Quote from: sunrisevt on April 13, 2010, 03:18:25 PM
It's a great day on the interweb, people.

Quote from: McGrupp on July 06, 2010, 02:17:12 PM
You guys know the rule... If you weren't there, it wasn't anything special...


Anyone who ever played a part, they wouldn't turn around and hate it.


+K's to caravan & sls for posting these.
i'm only putting them here for easy access.

QuoteA sure fire way to test the knowledge of any Phish fan is to ask them about Trey Anastasio's old friends from school and their contributions to Phish songs. Aside from Phish lyricist Tom Marshall, there's Dave Abrahams, a childhood friend of Trey's immortalized in the lyrics of McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters who co-wrote classics like Runaway Jim, Glide and Fast Enough for You.

There's Steve Pollack, better known as The Dude of Life, author of Suzy Greenberg and lyricist of Fluffhead, Skippy the Wondermouse, Run Like an Antelope and more. Founding Phish guitarist and vocalist Jeff Holdsworth was the first band member Anastasio met upon his arrival at the University of Vermont in 1983, and the duo would go on to recruit Mike Gordon and Jon Fishman in the following weeks.

However, other than Holdsworth, no one in this group played a more central role in the formation of Phish than former percussionist Marc Daubert, an official member of Phish from September 1984 to February 1985. Like Holdsworth, Daubert's songwriting contributions such as The Curtain and I Am Hydrogen remained in the Phish's live repertoire throughout the band's career. Today, the percussionist is now a guitarist and vocalist who has just released a new album of all original compositions entitled Parlor Tricks.

READ ON to find out why Marc Daubert left Phish, the meaning behind the lyrics to The Curtain, what Marc's up to now and much much more...

In 1979, Daubert would attend the Princeton Day School, where he met Anastasio and Tom Marshall. "Trey left Princeton Day School in the tenth grade," recalls Daubert. "His dad sent him to boarding school. He still came home for the holidays and summer vacation. Tom and I formed a group called And-Back. It was experimental music and all of the songs that we played were our own. Soon, there were other members of this group with the addition of Peter Cottone, Roger Holloway, and David Abrahams." Peter Cottone would eventually play drums on the Phish studio version of Slave to the Traffic Light from the band's 1986 self-titled album known as The White Tape, and would later join Tom Marshall's Amfibian as a second drummer in 2000. Roger Holloway would duet with Anastasio on the acoustic instrumental Aftermath from The White Tape.

Anastasio, Marshall, and Daubert would briefly part ways after school. Daubert attended Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Florida. "I did not do well in my first year at college and I came home in 1984," remembers Daubert. This period marked the beginning of the lesser known Phish hiatus, which took place during the first seven or eight months of 1984 as Anastasio briefly left UVM after a prank gone wrong involving a human hand and a goat's heart. It was during the 1984 hiatus when Anastasio, Marshall, and Daubert would record the now legendary Bivouac Jaun sessions, some of which later appeared on The White Tape.

One of Daubert's major songwriting contributions from these sessions includes the Phish staple I Am Hydrogen. According to Daubert, the song "was a collaborative effort. Tom Marshall and I wrote the background music for a fantastic lead by Trey. This was a defining moment in these sessions. At the time, Trey had his amp positioned in his father's basement to give a sort of natural reverb to the sound. This combined with a Mesa-Boogie amp created a Duane Allman-sounding effect."

When Anastasio returned to UVM in the fall of 1984 and reactivated Phish, he invited Daubert to join the band as a fifth member alongside himself, Jon Fishman, Jeff Holdsworth, and Mike Gordon. The band initially had a tough time filling the three to four hour time slots required by many clubs and bars around the area, but the lack of material might have been the catalyst of the Phish improvisational approach. "We only had about two hours of music," remembers Daubert. "Soon, we learned that by jamming for long hours, our song endings were becoming elaborate and longer. Often, we would lose track of time and the ending of a song became longer than the song itself. This is where Phish music came from."

The band used a number of different names before finally using the name "Phish" at the legendary 12-1-84 show at Nectar's. "That was a defining show for all of us," says Daubert. "Something just clicked. We felt the first real pulse that night. That show gave us more fuel for further ideas." For years, this show was the earliest circulated live Phish recording until the band's 11-3-84 show at UVM's Slade Hall appeared in trading circles. "This was a multi-media show," recalls Daubert. "It started with strange sounds that Fish and I had put together." Daubert explains the show's sub-par sound quality. "It was a great show, but the guy who did the recording did not realize that he had the meters peaked in the red zone for the whole show. We figured that out after the show was over. During that show I was playing a four foot long, West African wooden xylophone called a 'balaphone.'"

Of course, the band didn't have the luxury of giant trucks and a crew full of workers to help break down the gear back then. "Before gigs, we would all have a pow-wow about the list of songs. Then we would break down the equipment at Fishman's place on the other side of town. This took a few hours. The only working vehicle we had was a small Japanese car. We overloaded it and packed it solid with equipment. The car was weighted down in back so we had to drive slowly to the gig. We would make at least three trips with the car back and forth, just loading and unloading equipment. Almost all of the gigs back then were in Burlington, which was luckily only about three miles away from Fish's place."

Just as soon as Daubert was in Phish, he was out, playing his final shows with the band in February of 1985. Details surrounding Daubert's departure have been sketchy until now. "Playing gigs in Burlington at that time, I was earning very little money," recalls Daubert. "Trey had the support of his dad as always. Jon Fishman came from a cool family; his parents were supportive. Mike's dad was also quite positive with him about the band, but school was encouraged over the musical pursuits. The music was considered to be extra wasted time and money, and the real reason that they were up there was to graduate from college. I was doing the band full time and was not attending college, so I did not fit in. The main reason Jeff left the band was simply because he had completed college. The band thing was seen as something to do while he was at college, or so I was led to believe by my conversations with him. So finding a job was a priority for me at that time. I could no longer live off of my friends and their handouts."

However, it seems as if Daubert may have been forced out of the band. "Trey was becoming increasingly domineering about the band," says Daubert. "He wanted things to be his way. It may be that he thought I needed to be eliminated so that he could move ahead with his plans for the band. I represented a creative orb and that, to him, seemed amorphous. I was used to this sort of treatment before in my life, so Trey's animosity towards me was not a surprise. Trey came back in January 1985 from a holiday break. He found that I had not gotten a job over the break and that I had and I had gone on a 36 hour music, alcohol, and drug binge. He was upset that I was still there. Rightfully agitated, he said that I did not fit in anymore. He then began to literally toss all my belongings out on the curb. At that point, Tom Marshall and Dave Abrahams arrived. They had taken the long ride up to Vermont to see Trey and I."

"After Trey tossed all my stuff on the curb, I went outside to pick it up and take it to somewhere for safe keeping. I was worried about my guitar. I found that a friend of mine had a used VW bug parked behind her apartment. I asked her if I could use it to store my stuff. She agreed after about a day. Her boyfriend was hot-headed. She said that I could not meet with her unless her porch light was on in the back of her apartment. Meanwhile, the vicious Burlington winter had frozen one of my feet to the point at which I could not feel it anymore. It was blistered and bloody. I had to find some shelter fast, or else. Dragging my foot like a weight, I began the long trek up the hill to the part of campus where Mike's dorm room was. I had hoped he would take me in, but I was doubtful about it. When I finally made it up the hill, luckily, Mike was there. He took me in for a few days. He gave me some of his colored drafting pencils so that I could draw during the day. He told me that it was not everybody's idea to throw me out of the band. I thanked him for his honesty. I could not stay in his dorm room as it was against the campus regulations. I then went back down into town to find the men's shelter there. I lived there for about two months and eventually found a job in Essex Junction. After I had worked up enough money for a deposit on an apartment, I began to live on the other side of Burlington."

Two years later in 1987, despite the messy split, Anastasio combined his music with Daubert's lyrics to create The Curtain, one of Phish's most beloved songs. There have been many theories as to the song's lyrics and the meaning behind them. Is it a song about the downfall of Jimmy Swaggart with the line "chanting words from a psalm?" Or is it more of a biographical song? "When I was much younger, my parents tried to get me to believe in God," says Daubert. "They forced me to go to church on Sunday. I rebelled eventually and was left at home on Sunday mornings. This was the best time for me to practice music. So, music became my religion. Eventually, that became confused and entwined with the meaning of this song. 'Chanting words from a song' is the correct phrase. 'Please me, have no regrets' came from the baby's mouth. The song that the baby is singing is an expression of sacrifice. There can be no love without sacrifice. This is the greater meaning in these words."

Initially, Daubert did not keep in touch with Phish, but he eventually reconnected with the band over time. "They did come to several places close to New Jersey (where Daubert had relocated), so seeing them was not a big deal. For about the first seven years, the band was not doing that well. They would patch together a tour schedule based on where they had played in the past. They were gone for weeks at a time on tour. They kept touring despite setbacks. It was an important step for them to put out the Lawn Boy CD. Their persistence paid off and they began to become noticed by a wider audience. I went to several shows then and was happy to hang out backstage while the band played. I would never be a fan. I had been on the inside and that is what made me different. As the years went on, I was looked at as a nostalgic figure. Phish fans did not know much about me. Eventually, in 1998, the band decided to acknowledge me for my contributions. Trey described me as 'one of the original founding members of the band.' I had helped to plant a tree, figuratively speaking. That tree was to bear fruit later in the band's career."

Daubert has spent the last twenty years writing songs, resulting in over 64 hours of recorded music. In late 2006, Daubert released his first official album, Parlor Tricks, which is available by visiting So how did Daubert pick the thirteen songs on Parlor Tricks out of 64 hours of material? "After hours of searching my music collectives," says Daubert, "I came up with the tracks that represent a message that I would like to give. I have developed some fans who know me through my own music, not through Phish. They have always liked these tracks. Those fans wanted me to put out a CD. This is my gift to them. It is also dedicated to those people who have passed away. Both my parents died of cancer in 2001. My uncle died of cancer also in 2003. I saved the essence of who they were in my music."

QuoteBob Weir: The Music Never Stopped

By Lloyd Peterson

This interview will appear in Lloyd Peterson's upcoming book
Wisdom Through Music.

It has been said before but there really has never been a group of musicians quite like the {{Grateful Dead}}. And as the years have passed on, I can no longer, as I did then, take their ability to turn sound into magic for granted. It didn't happen at every performance, but when the heavens opened, a perfect harmony existed between audience, band and sound that became a phenomenon beyond the written word. It was part of the elusiveness that was the Grateful Dead.

Musically, they might not have been the technicians found in jazz but their creative minds and spirit allowed them to improvise far beyond the boundaries of any artistic form and genre of traditional thinking. Where most improvisation takes place within a rhythm section, this was a band with a fierce disregard for convention, where each member would improvise independently against and with each other... all at the same time. And though effort could never influence the process of transcendence, it was part of the challenge of reaching this realm with every performance.

Bob Weir left High School and joined the Grateful Dead at the age of 17 and never looked back. He was able to develop a style of rhythm guitar playing that was unique in its time and was a significant part of what was to become one of the world's most creative but unorthodox bands. While the media focused on the drug culture, there was very little understanding and focus on the creative process, a process that was firm and confident in its direction, yet completely open to new realms and possibilities. They were and remain an exception in a world of increasing contradiction.

Lloyd Peterson: {Ornette Coleman} and {Miles Davis} developed a new found freedom for other musicians by breaking down the boundaries of jazz. Almost simultaneously, the Dead proceeded to open a new creative dimension and then invited everybody inside. Did you guys know you were expanding upon the musical universe and tearing down creative boundaries?

Bob Weir: We were well aware of it but there were others such as Big Brother and the Holding Company. We were all listening to the same music such as Coltrane but the Dead just stayed with it longer. With Janis's meteoric rise, things changed for Big Brother. Early on, Phil Lesh provided a lot of new information and by the age of seventeen, I was listening to Pendericki and Stockhausen. Further on, when we developed more facility with our instruments, it became possible for us to start exploring those new realms. So there was this overlay of modern classical along with the avant garde and though there are some classicalists that claim the avant garde isn't classical, they use the same instruments and sit in the same concert halls so it's all the same to me. It just comes down to how far you are willing to take it.

There was this soul romping of jazz in the 60s' and it was furious and cooking so we concentrated on that along with what Ornette was doing. In the early 70s,' Miles came out with Bitches Brew and Live Evil but we also listened to {Return to Forever} which was fusion that hadn't slipped into its dry and intellectual mode yet. Those fusion guys had monstrous facility which seemed unattainable but Bitches Brew was more groove oriented and a clear light post so we did that stuff in rehearsal all the time. We could also pull it off on stage from time to time.

LP: Did the audience always follow?

BW: We would take the temperature of the audience and though nobody ever discussed it, there was an understanding. An understanding that there is only so much of this that we are going to get away with because for the most part, the audience came to hear songs and of course we loved to deliver songs. We were story tellers and that's the whole secret of music as far as I'm concerned, actually of any art. You are telling a story. We used bridges from the developments of new jazz along with the modern classical influences of Penderecki, Stockhausen and ol' Uncle Igor Stravinsky. I also listened to a lot of Bela Bartok and wrote a tune based on a concerto of his that just floored me for at least a month. I listened to it every other night until it was coming out of my ears and fingers. It was a full Bartok progression with lots and lots of dissonance that worked well to my satisfaction. That kind of stuff was happening.

LP: The song," Let it Grow" seemed to develop into an arrangement with many of its harmonic relationships in fusion.

BW: Well, when you couch it like that but I tend to think of guys like Return to Forever as being a little more harmonically developed than we were. But thinking about it, I guess "Let it Grow" was harmonically developed and I wasn't really listening to anything at the time I wrote it. It just came out.

LP: Pablo Cassal's said that "The heart of a melody can never be put down on paper" and in a sense, that was the magic of the Grateful Dead in performance. At times, one couldn't help thinking that there was no other place in the world where you would rather be.

BW: The moment that the music kicked in and the heavens opened, you were in that moment and nowhere else, and there isn't anywhere else that anyone ought to be. (laughs) We were no longer in the physical realm anymore. We were far past that.

LP: There was also a transformative power with the Dead. When exactly did you guys know that the music you were creating had this kind of transformative or perhaps even spiritual power?

BW: Well it was undeniable the first time that it happened to us and that was all that we needed to know. Of course we could also feel that the audience was sharing in that. We knew we had a good thing going.

LP: Were you conscious of trying to get inside the center of the sound and were you aware of what you were creating?

BW: We were not consciously creating it, but we were conscious of finding it. And when we found it, we found it without looking. We were aware of it and it's like mantra. I hate to wax metaphysical on you but in the Vedic Tradition, sound perceives reality.

LP: The Dead's music was also completely committed in its vision. It was very, very sure of its direction, yet at the same time, it remained open to new possibilities. That in itself is a contradiction. Can you explain what made it work?

BW: We were just kids following our footsteps. That said, there were some interesting places where people would find contradiction but usually where we found none. If you are able to find that thread, the contradiction completely falls by the wayside and everything falls into place. We never had any idea what we were chasing but when we caught it, we knew it.

LP: Is there a separation between expressing love through music and where your soul or spirit begins to influence the creation?

BW: When we get to where we want to go, time evaporates and there is no sense of time. The only sense of time is the beat but that's different. It's not the clock ticking. That time is infinite and elastic. And given that we evolved to a timeless place, there is no act of creation. It just is. I'm not doing it, it's just there.

LP: The great innovators have always pushed on the boundaries of creativity. This was clearly the case of the Dead but towards the end that might not have always been the case. And as most musicians as they mature, they become more conservative with their creative approach. But with your more recent work with Ratdog, there seems to be more confidence and a desire to take more risks in your search for creative discoveries. You are pushing on those boundaries again. What drives you? What makes it work?

BW: I really cannot take all that much credit with Ratdog because all the band members have just as much influence with the writing as I do. But that's the way I wanted it because it brought the band together and with my experience of setting music and lyrics together, stories can merge out of that. But everybody was invested in the writing and it gave us a sense of what we could do and it worked very well for us.

LP: But you personally must have been very open to it.

BW: My responsibility on stage is to leave nobody in the audience behind. So once again, we read the audience and we try to develop our shows so that we are opening up ourselves every night and at the same time, try to gauge how open the audience is becoming.

LP: One of the areas that separate creative artists from most other musicians is that most are interested in the answers, but artists are more interested in the questions, in the search itself. This was clearly part of the foundation of the Dead but the chances of six like minds coming together (Weir laughs) searching within that same universe is quite extraordinary. Visionaries are rare and usually walk alone. When did you guys know that you had something special in a creative way?

BW: Well, the Beatles were notable for that.

Each one of us had our own particular pied-a-terre, nebulous amorphous pieta tear, and we kind of relied on each other to pursue our own direction. However, as soon as a melody or a harmonic progression started to emerge, everyone would ferociously kick in, trying to push and develop where they found it wanting to go. Everybody was different, so it developed in surprising ways.

LP: There is a quote from Dennis McNally's book (A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead) where a club manager states, "You guys will never make it, you're too weird!" (both laugh). But you guys always received criticism yet always followed your own creative vision. Did you consider the criticism validation of your work?

BW: For certain types of criticism but that statement was also a challenge to us, it was a challenge. If we are too weird, well that's just what we're going to hang with (laughs). We have to hang with it. We were born with it and it's also how we were made.

LP: But isn't that also a kind of validation that you are going down the right path, not just the traditional one?

BW: It was more of a challenge than a validation at that point. I had just turned 18 so I wasn't looking for validation (laughs) I was only looking for challenges and was looking to get into it. And at that time, Billy and Pigpen were a year and a half older than me and Jerry and Phil, not much older than that.

LP: What was it about the Dead's music that kept capturing the imagination of youth for several generations?

BW: It takes a great deal of luck to find what the Dead found in finding the right collection of guys who can keep cranking stuff out that relates to youth. Dylan and Neil Young are elemental writers who compose songs with infinitive eternal things who have the gift of the ears for eternal youth. That's wisdom and it's nothing less than that.

LP: There seems to be a correlation with artists and higher awareness levels. As an example, there are many that seem to have the ability to look past and beyond cultural differences. Have you noticed this and can it be attributed to the power of music or is it perhaps from a particular type of spiritual or cultural enlightenment?

BW: You know, artists are probably born and not made. It's the questing soul. But you can also be a questing soul and fall into science as well as engineering. But the questing soul who is born with artistic aesthetic sensibilities is probably going to fall into art. For me personally, I have never looked for answers, I have been looking for the burning questions that could beg answers and draw stuff out of the universe.

LP: There has always been a sense that the members of the Dead were driven by some other outside force or that somehow the stars lined up just perfectly. Did the band feel this power and did you feel a sense of responsibility to nurture it?

BW: I always felt that that was what we were here to do and I still do feel that way. I'm here to take that as far as I can.

LP: But is there pressure with that? Do you still feel that you have a responsibility to carry this on?

BW: You learn to live with pressure and I think all successful people have pressure. However, it needs to be balanced with the joy of discovery along with the ecstasy and elation of being able to deliver as well. And when you are delivering to an audience and they are getting it, it is a two way deal. They are working too. Everybody is. You know, many hands make light work.

LP: To jump off the cliff" during a performance requires a musician to let go of their ego and be extremely committed in their vision. Very few reach this level to that extent. Where did you guys get your collective commitment and passion to search and discover?

BW: I came around very slowly but it still came within the first few years and I think LSD probably had something to do with that. But for awhile now, my contention has been that it really wasn't the LSD so much. The LSD was sort of a sacrament to get everybody involved, such as with the acid tests. "We're going to step off a cliff here." So I guess that compulsion to go cliff jumping came relatively early on. Eventually, we became a little more intelligent about it and developed our sense of feel with regard to what we were going to use to fly and see if it kept us aloft. We had some miserable crashes but we also had some soaring experiences too.

LP: You are one of those rare musicians that brings it to the table every single night. From the moment you begin fine tuning your equipment until the end of the performance, your focus is completely in the moment. Why is music this important to you?

"When the music is happening and the song is being sung, whether by instrument or by voice, there is no place I would rather be."

BW: You know, it always has been. When I was eight years old, my brother taught me how to tune a radio and I knew at that moment that it was music. I knew that that was what I was going to amount to. And by the time I was 15, I was already on my way and I met Jerry just after I had turned 16 and have been a professional musician ever since. Music has always been very good to me. There were a few lean years in the mid-sixties but those were the starving artist days and you don't want to skip that, you just don't want to skip that.

LP: You seem to be sensitive and passionate about everything that you get involved with and that's not only in music. Can you explain where these roots are from and what continues to drive you?

BW: If I'm going to get into something, I'm going to want to dive in. I want to feel it.

LP: Do you still have that same passion today?

BW: Claude Monet developed cataracts in his eyes and his color perception slowly changed over the years. For him, all of those fantastic colors were just natural, but to the rest of the world, they were super natural. And he had no idea what was happening to him but after he had cataract surgery, he wanted to destroy all of his paintings. So your perception changes over the years and though I feel passionate, there is nothing that I would rather do than catch that next wave on stage.

LP: There is now a younger generation coming to Ratdog performances. Do you sense the same vibe from this audience and the same search for wanting something more?

BW: It's still the same. It's the kindred spirits. It's a certain kind of person that requires a little bit of adventure in their lives and in their music. And we are more than happy to provide that because that's what has kept us going. We are all kindred spirits and actually, I'm just a professional adolescent anyway.

LP: Can this culture sustain itself for many more generations?

BW: I think it has been in our culture since the fusion of African and European music. By the time of the late 20s,' people were listening to Afro Euro music. That was open ended music and there was adventure there. There were jazz bands that were jammin' and the more rigid folks responded with, "Stop this noise! Stop this noise!" They couldn't relate. Look at what happened when Stravinsky debuted the "Right of Spring". People hooted, booed and stomped out but the younger folks got it. And Stravinsky was only about 21 at that time.

In our culture today, there is an understanding that art can be derived from a more elemental part of ones being and its there before one reaches adolescence. And just before early adulthood, the more intelligent ones start to develop enough appreciation for art and music that they can handle the complexity in art. They are going to go with this new creative form and it was proven again with the emergence of rock and roll. And when I talk about rock and roll, I am talking about a specific period and era, a specific kind of music. After the late 50s and very early 60s, it had already started to dissipate, turning into rock music, the heavily amplified electric bass and driving stuff. The lithe part of rock and roll was gone. I developed that awareness a little further on in my career and by the time I was in my mid to late 20s, I had realized that, "this isn't rock and roll," this is something else." It's good and I don't mean to devalue it, it's just that it's not rock and roll. If you are going to play rock and roll, it has to have the swamp factor with varying degrees of shuffle within straight rhythm, which is mathematically imprecise and necessarily so. And a certain kind of person can do that but you have to be free of neurosis; neurosis being the inability to accept ambiguity.

LP: The following quote is from the great classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin: Improvisation is not the expression of accident but rather of the accumulated yearning, dreams and wisdom of our very soul. Does that resonate with you?

BW: I agree with that to a certain point but accidents do happen. An intuitive improvisatory musician hears an accident and immediately makes that a positive development. But Yehudi Menuhin probably said that back before Bitches Brew. Today, if someone adds a note that doesn't necessarily work, somebody else in the band might hear it a little differently and compile something completely different where that mistake now works and it's all because of the collaborative experience. And suddenly, "Oh, there's a new harmonic territory here that we are going to overlay and then find meaning in the juxtaposition."

LP: There is an argument that can be made that perhaps no other time in history did music have such a profound affect on society and politics than the 60s. It was a time when music actually did make a difference in society and in a positive way. Did you know at that time that music was having this type of influence?

BW: We were pretty aware of that, yeah. But I think you can attribute that to the baby boomer demographics. There were a lot of kids listening to youth oriented music and from that; anthems emerged that shaped the culture of youth. We were a part of that. We were generating that kind of stuff but also appreciating that kind of stuff. We were embodying it and commenting on it. Everyone was doing that.

LP: The band never stood on a pedestal and made political statements yet you supported causes that you believed in. Your actions spoke louder than words. Is it still that way for you?

BW: Yes. After a show is over, I work with an organization called "Headcount" which is trying to register young voters at concerts. My feeling is that we need to get kids interested in voting now because it's their future that is being decided and I think that the direction of government is becoming more far sighted. When people start to get older, they start to lose that thousand yard stare that a child is sort of born with. We need the youth of our country to right the ship.

LP: Is it a case of kids feeling overwhelmed and too insignificant to make a difference?

BW: And that's what I'm trying to influence, that they can make a difference.

LP: We are now at a place where questioning one's government is perceived as questioning one's love of country. How did we get to this place?

BW: My understanding is that that's wrong! It's straight up nationalism, unquestioning nationalism. The whole idea of democracy, especially as embodied by the founding fathers was to take nationalism out of government and put pragmatism in, pragmatism in the highest possible sense. That's a reversion to the more basal instincts in human nature and it's horrendously shortsighted. It's fascism, pure and simple. Because the people who decide that the questioning of government is the questioning of ones national identity... I mean come on. That just gives the leaders all the rope they need to hang our entire culture. And as we have seen in recent years, that's what they will try to do, such as stacking the Supreme Court and politicizing the justice department. The intent is to try and hold their power with no intention of governing for the better good of all, which is way down on their list of priorities. The first priority is consolidating your power and marginalizing your enemies, your perceived enemies and that is unbelievably short sighted. And I hate to use words like wrong but if I'm going to use one, that whole notion that questioning your government is unpatriotic is pure unadulterated horse **** and is not what our founding fathers would have told us.

LP: When you think about it, it's really quite incredible to think that a group of people were able to come together and find a way to agree on the form of government that we still have today...

BW: Well interestingly, that was accomplished by a collection of young people that were involved in that movement, people that had retained their spirit of youth and had acquired some wisdom. But again, it's that questing spirit of youth and they were able to retain that and acquired wisdom and acumen and came up with the constitution of this country. And it has lasted into our 3rd century. I think what happened in the mid 60s' and up to the very early 70s' will be culturally retained for the next few hundred years. It was another step forward for our culture where we found a newer and fresher well to draw our art from, a newer, deeper and fresher well.

LP: The events of 911 influenced compassionate and sensitive feelings towards the U.S. in a positive way for the first time since the Vietnam War. Now we have lost that. Does that concern you?

BW: Greatly.

LP: Do you see the difference when you travel, do you sense that or see it?

BW: Looking the way that I look, it couldn't be more obvious to most people that, "there is one of those American's that doesn't really buy into what is going on in Washington." So I don't get flack for it. People are sympathetic to me and they can see on my face that I'm embarrassed by our government and I'm embarrassed by this war like nationalism.

LP: Why did things change for the worse after the 60s? Why did we fail at the most opportune time to make and sustain a difference with our sense of ideals and values?

BW: I think that as the bulk of the people got older, real life concerns such as making a living, started inserting itself into our reality and that reality was basically a bubble. I have never left that but when we were living in Haight Asbury, I was only 18, 19 and it was quite easy to be idealistic at that age. But as you gain more experience, a conscious reality starts to creep in and not just our little havens reality, but with the rest of the world as well. And if you are an open minded person, you are going to take that into consideration and put it into balance. And if you are not, then maybe you can stay with that earlier subjective reality but you are going to lose touch with a whole lot of folks. I'd rather be in touch.

LP: The politician has to sometimes compromise their own beliefs but the artist will not compromise his or her art form which usually doesn't reflect the compromised vision of leadership. That in itself is a clash of values and seems to be part of the challenge for what is at stake for our future. How can we get them to work together?

BW: Every now and again, a politician comes along that is actually artful. We had that in John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. They were eloquent and there was art to what they were doing and from what I can see, the same with Barack Obama who is also a rare transcendent politician. And most politicians are just technicians, they are engineers. It's apparent to me that not everyone can be an artist who is born with those sensibilities. God I wish it were possible. My hope is that in some age, we will find that everyone is an artist. Perhaps at the end of the year 2012 in the Mayan calendar and at the end of the Kaliyuga... the end of time as we know it, which is predicted to occur and at that point, everybody wakes up and they discover that they are foremost an artist. I'm going to go on that hope for a few years.

LP: Hazrat Inayat Khan who was from India wrote a book titled, The Mysticism of Sound and Music and stated that, "Someday music will be the means of expressing universal religion. Time is wanted for this but there will be a day when music and philosophy will become the religion of humanity." Do you think music has this kind of power?

BW: It's done that for me. When I'm on stage and the bond is strong between the band and audience, a higher truth becomes injected into that bond and the commonality that everybody in the assemblage shares. There is a higher humanity that is brought into play and it cannot be done without all those folks. I suppose it could be done but I'm not doing it. But I do manage to get there with the help of the audience and with the guys in the band.

LP: There has been an imbalance in the world for a long time now. Can music be the liberator?

BW: When the music is happening and the song is being sung, whether by instrument or by voice, there is no place I would rather be.

LP: As human beings we need love, we need compassion and we need peace yet we don't seem to have the desire or sense of necessity to make that a priority. What are we missing? Why is it not a priority for us today?

BW: I think you are going to have to go to India or Tibet or the mountains of Mexico or South America. I'm not entirely equipped to answer that but I do know that we have our best guys on it.

LP: The great artists do not separate life and music, they bring it together and you cannot tell where one ends or one begins. The love and commitment is always there. Can you explain what has influenced you to this degree?

BW: That's the whole point of art. For me, any artist is a story teller and a story teller brings the listener and the story together until they are all one so everyone is living in the same place and that's really living, in capital letters. That's true living and people are really alive at that point.

LP: Do you miss Garcia; do you still feel his presence?

BW: Sure, I miss the warmth and brotherhood that we had and the music was a just a part of our relationship. We spent a lot of time traveling together, entertained each other and there were always a lot of laughs. And having a guy live in your head for thirty years is not going to go away right away but then I don't suspect that it ever will.

When we played together, I would start hearing what he was doing from the downbeat and I could feel his directives. "Don't go there, but go here." There were some nights where I felt like I was in conflict with him and some where I was in complete harmony with him but Garcia wasn't looking for slavish emulation. And if I was playing something and being completely hard headed about it, just maybe there was a reason for it. With some of those conflicts, sometimes there would be a breakthrough where that conflict would result with great things happening. In the realm of intuitive music, that's where it really gets interesting. A lot of great art is born from tension and we had total respect for that. The harmony that happens from the downbeat can make for a wonderful night but the ones where there is conflict are probably the more interesting nights, especially if there is a resolution found.

LP: If you could move forward 200 years from now and people were interested in knowing what your fondest memories were, what would you tell them?

BW: Well, when we were playing in Egypt and let me first say that we really didn't play that well, which was a result of being jet lagged along with other numerous difficulties. The electricity was hit and miss and was very disruptive to our flow. And the first night that we went on stage, we sound checked and tried to get everything as right as we possibly could but the electricity was on and off. We were playing at the Salumina Theater which is at the foot of the Sphinx, which in turn is at the foot of the great pyramid with two other pyramids behind it. They were all lit up spectacularly. But the problem was that we were also close to the Nile River and there were lots and lots of these big mosquitoes. After the stage lights came on, I saw this cloud of mosquitoes and I was getting bit and my immediate thought was, "welcome to hell." And just as I came to that conclusion, something flew by my head, and then another and then another. I looked across the stage and there were these big bats, a foot across feasting on all of these mosquitoes. And they saved our asses, and this happened every night.

On the third night, there was an eclipse with a full moon that lit up everything. I looked out across the moonscape along with the silhouette and there were two ridges that were lined up with Bedouins on their horses and camels, guns slung over their backs. And at that moment I thought, OK here are the Bedouins on the bluffs, silhouetted under a full moon and then in the backdrop is the great pyramid and the Sphinx. And then there is this thousand year old stage and on that stage is a rock and roll band surrounded by a cloud of bats. It was then that I had one of those moments where I thought, "Take me now lord, just take me now. I want to remember it just like this."

"Cassidy" by John Perry Barlow and Bob Weir

I have seen where the wolf has slept by the silver stream.
I can tell by the mark he left you were in his dream.
Ah, child of countless trees.
Ah, child of boundless seas.
What you are, what you're meant to be
Speaks his name, though you were born to me,
Born to me,

Lost now on the country miles in his Cadillac.
I can tell by the way you smile he's rolling back.
Come wash the nighttime clean,
Come grow this scorched ground green,
Blow the horn, tap the tambourine
Close the gap of the dark years in between
You and me,

Quick beats in an icy heart.
catch-colt draws a coffin cart.
There he goes now, here she starts:
Hear her cry.
Flight of the seabirds, scattered like lost words
Wheel to the storm and fly.

Faring thee well now.
Let your life proceed by its own design.
Nothing to tell now.
Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine.
Quote from: sunrisevt on April 13, 2010, 03:18:25 PM
It's a great day on the interweb, people.

Quote from: McGrupp on July 06, 2010, 02:17:12 PM
You guys know the rule... If you weren't there, it wasn't anything special...


Anyone who ever played a part, they wouldn't turn around and hate it.



Quote from: sunrisevt on April 13, 2010, 03:18:25 PM
It's a great day on the interweb, people.

Quote from: McGrupp on July 06, 2010, 02:17:12 PM
You guys know the rule... If you weren't there, it wasn't anything special...


Anyone who ever played a part, they wouldn't turn around and hate it.


Bring in the dude!


Quote from: WhatstheUse? on March 23, 2009, 03:34:41 PM
sweet find redrum

So if I understood that correctly, the light show for Fluffhead and Divided Sky was pre-planned and was the first time he's ever done that.  Interesting.


thanks for sharing those.  I'll check em out when I get home.


Very cool to see a technical interview like this with CK5.

I had thought the new rig had the "clean" look of LEDs but wasn't sure without seeing them in person. 

Sounds like the lights this summer are gonna be crazy!   :banana:
Quote from: Trey Anastasio
But, I don't think our fans do happily lap it up, I think they go online and talk about how it was a bad show.


QuoteConducted by Masato Kato May 10, 2000
© 2000 Masato Kato,
All photos © 2000 Eri Sakai
All rights reserved.

This interview may not be reprinted anywhere in any form
-- online or offline -- without the express written
consent of Masato Kato and
However, we certainly encourage you to link here.

I talked to 21st century jamband icon Trey Anastasio on the phone on May 10, a week before the release of the new album Farmhouse and a month before their much anticipated Japan club tour. I was supposed to receive a phone call from Trey at 10 PM (Japan Time), but ever-busy Trey had something else going on and was "missing in action." It was at 11:30 that at last the record company people were able to track him down so he could call me. I was thrilled to talk to him!

In Japan, jambands are not so popular yet, and there are only a few shows a year where taping is allowed, so these shows were a really big deal. To the delight of all us tape-toting, audio-loving music fans in Japan, there was a large taper's section - one of the first like it ever! It was obvious that hundreds of American Phish-heads flew all the way to Japan to see these concerts. There were so many foreign people in the audience that we Japanese Phish fans felt like we went to the USA. Wow - it was quite an incredible experience!

Click for larger..........Click for larger

Masato Kato: Let me tell you my opinion of the latest Phish album, Farmhouse. Farmhouse is a great mixture of your musical roots and up to date, very advanced Phish music. Do you agree with me?

Trey Anastasio: Yes. I do agree with you.

MK: Farmhouse has a lot of acoustic instruments. Do you have any difficulty when you play them live on stage?

Trey: Actually, I'm having less difficulty over the past year. We're really starting to figure it out and on top of that, it's a direction that I'm very interested in going in. Since we've finished that album, the only music that I've been writing has been acoustic music and the band is now practicing for our upcoming tour and we're going to include much more acoustic music in that tour.

MK: So you play acoustic guitar also.

Trey: I've started playing acoustic guitar a lot in the past year.

MK: I see. Unlike the other records you made before, you maintained complete creative control when you made Farmhouse. Do you have any fear that it will cause problems in the band?

Trey: I actually don't have much fear. I think the band was ready to give me that space because I had always played that role in the past anyway. If you really look back, I wrote a lot of the music and stuff on the old albums. This time they made extra space for me to play that role and I think they were happy to let me do something that was obviously important to me. They felt pretty good about it I think.

MK: So this time you were the leader with Farmhouse. Will Fishman, Page or Mike have the leadership in the future when you make the next albums?

Trey: Well, in band practice I've been encouraging everybody to write more music so that we can have songs by each band member. I think that it's important to realize that in a certain way I've always had that role. It was more a matter of just accepting the fact that that was the role. On all of the other albums it really wasn't very different. We've struggled for so long to question our roles, but in the end it was more a matter of just acceptance. Taking Rift or Billy Breathes, for example, those were very similar experiences. I think what happened was we got to a point where we just decided to not worry about it so much. (laughs) Do you see what I mean?

MK: Yes. Some of the songs have been played for a couple of years. What songs were born in the studio?

Trey - Click for largerTrey: Well none of them were born in the studio this time. A lot of them were played shortly before we went into the studio. We started trying out most of those songs so that by the time we got to the studio most of the songs were performed on at least one tour.

MK: Some of the songs were two or three years old. I think that "Piper" is a live take.

Trey: Nope it's not!

MK: It's not?

Trey: The first 5 or 10 seconds of "Piper" there's a cross-fade. We couldn't get the intro together as good as it was live. I'm talking about the very quiet stuff in the beginning. We edited a bit of a live take but as soon as those 10 seconds are up it's completely live in the studio. We played it all in the barn.

MK: As far as the latest album I like the contrast between the laid back acoustic songs and the live and heavy music. Do you like it too?

Trey: I like it very much. I get bored if there isn't variety. To me it's like a really good piece of classical music. It's been a musical technique for hundreds of years and I think sometimes bands are a little narrow-minded and only decide to play one thing. If you listened to the Beatles White Album you've got "Helter Skelter" and "Blackbird" on the same album.

MK: What composer do you listen to?

Trey: Right now I listen to Ravel almost daily. I'm a little obsessed with Ravel right now. (laughs)

MK: Would it be fair to say that Ravel had an influence on the Farmhouse album?

Trey: I'd say yes to that, but it's really going to have an influence on the next album. (laughs) It probably had mostly an influence on a tune like "The Inlaw Josie Wales" or the end of "Dirt" where there's a little bit more....there's a piece of his music that's called "Le Tombeau de Couperin" and that kind of cycling, well, it's just one of my favorite pieces of music ever. I'd love to write music like that. It'll never be that good (laughs) – but sort of like that. (laughs)

MK: (laughs) I see. Some of my friends went to Florida last December to see the New Year's Eve 2000 Show. Whose idea was it to play for 8 hours?

Trey: It's something that the four of us have talked about for years. We use to talk about doing a 35 hour long gig. (laughter) That never worked. The eight hour gig was fantastic and I'd love to do it again. It was an incredible experience to see the sunrise with all of those people!

MK: A friend of mine said you stayed up all night long without going to the bathroom.

Trey: (Laughs) No, I went to the bathroom. We had a port-o-lid on stage.

MK: On stage? So people can see it?

Trey: (laughter) No. We kept it behind the drums. We like to keep that kind of thing private. (laughs)

MK: How did you stay so energetic during the show?

Click for largerTrey: Well, at one point we had some hors d'oeuvres on stage during the show. (laughs) I think that the thing about it was that there was so much energy coming from the people. You know there were 70,000 or 80,000 people that stayed up all night for the show and when you have that many people keyed up for us, it was easy. Surprisingly, it was one of the easiest and most incredible nights of my life. You know the music, the dancing, and the vibe - it just kept getting better and better! At five o'clock in the morning it just started to get really good!

MK: One of my taper friends sent me a copy of the show...

Trey: Did you hear "Piper"? One of my favorite parts of the show was when we played that song. Right around there it started to get incredibly good for me and that was at five in the morning!

MK: Wow, that was great! At what time did you play "After Midnight?"

Trey: I think we played it before midnight and then we played it again after midnight. (laughter)

MK: (laughs) I see! A lot of tapers were there and they tried very hard to capture the whole concert without any cuts in their tapes but most of them failed. What would you say about that?

Trey: Well, Murphy's Law would say the moment that their tapes stopped would probably be the greatest moment of the whole night. (laughter) We should've been selling blank tapes - we could've made some extra money! (laughs)

MK: That's a great idea! Please consider it when you come to Japan! (laughs)

Trey: We could make more money selling blank tapes than we do selling our albums. (laughter)

MK: Did you have a definitive setlist before the New Year's show or was it spontaneous?

Trey: No – it was completely spontaneous. There was no setlist.

MK: Is that the case for every concert – a spontaneous show?

Trey: That's been the case for the past few years. We used to have setlists and we might have them again. I don't know. We didn't that night though.

MK: For Halloween you've played some other artists' classic Rock n' Roll albums such as: The Who's Quadrophenia, The Beatles' The White Album, and Pink Floyd's Darkside of the Moon. How do you choose which albums you'll cover and play?

Trey: Well, the first two years we let the fans vote and they voted for The White Album and Quadrophenia. The second two years we chose the Talking Heads' album Remain in Light and The Velvet Underground's Loaded which are just two of our favorite albums. These are albums that I listen to incessantly.

MK: I see. When I listen to the Farmhouse album I think it would be great for you to play some of Creedence Clearwater Revival's album Willy & The Poor Boys.

Trey - Click for largerTrey: Oh I love that album. It's one of the greatest albums ever. We'll think about it. (laughs)

MK: If you'd like you can play it in Japan next month! (laughs) What made you play the Fuji Rock Festival last year?

Trey: Well we've wanted to play Japan for many years – you know, it's a long way and the opportunity never arose until we were asked to play the Fuji Rock Festival. We took the opportunity and we can't wait to go back for this tour. We had to choose between a few different possible tours because there's only so many months in the year and [playing in] Japan is something that we're very excited about. The response we got was great and we've met so many cool people. We had a great time and we can't wait to come back.

MK: John Fishman came to Japan two years ago before you came here. Did he tell you anything specific about Japan?

Trey: Oh he definitely encouraged us to go after having visited. He met so many people, like I said, and he had such a great experience over there that he was telling us to drop everything and go to Japan. (laughs)

MK: Is playing in Japan or Europe any different from playing in America?

Trey: Well, playing in Japan is very, very different from playing in Europe.

MK: How is it different?

Trey: The response from the fans in Japan is....

MK: ...very quiet?

Trey: Well, yes, you can tell the Japanese fans are listening very intently and it was really exciting for us. It's always exciting for us to play in front to a crowd of people that are involved in that way. Europe is very different from Japan – it's night and day. (laughs) I don't know how else to put it. We really enjoyed playing in Japan. We're not going back to Europe this summer. (laughs)

MK: I see. You like to play with other musicians outside of Phish. How was the concert with Stewart Copeland and the bassist from Primus, Les Claypool?

Trey: Oh it was great! We wrote an entire night's worth of original material and it was incredible to play with both of them. The fact that I was able to play with Stewart Copeland was just an honor. He's just such a good drummer. He's really one of the greatest rock drummers ever in my opinion.

MK: How about Les Claypool from Primus?

Trey: Oh that goes without saying too. The two of them together was just a storm of energy.

MK: Will you release an album with them?

Trey: Well, I just was talking to them and we've talked about it. We'd like to but the biggest problem right now is time. It's just not a real great time for me to start another band. (laughs) Do you know what I mean? (laughs)

MK: Did you call them and ask them to play with you or did they call you?

Trey: Well they called me. Les called me and I asked him to ask Stewart Copeland. He asked me if there was anyone that I wanted to play with and I said Stewart Copeland. He called Stewart and Stewart said that he wanted to do it. We actually played in my barn where we recorded Farmhouse and we really hit it off. There was just this chemistry and we just decided to do the show.

MK: Is it very easy for you to play with outside musicians?

Trey: I usually don't have much trouble and I enjoy it so much. I always feel like it helps Phish. In the back of my mind, usually when I do shows Mike Gordon - Click for largerwith other musicians, and I do them fairly often, I feel like my intention is always to make Phish a better band. So that's why it's a little odd when we start talking about doing an album with Stewart and Les. You know, I have a band that I love being in. I could never ask for anything more from a band than I get from Phish. So when I do these projects, to me, a lot of it is a learning experience and I always want to bring what I learned back to Phish and hopefully make Phish a better band. Phish, other than my family, those guys are the center of my universe. That's always the way I look at it.

MK: Do you think it's difficult for anybody outside of Phish to jam with you guys?

Trey: (laughs) Oh, I think it's pretty easy to jam with Phish. We've had many, many different musicians play with us over the years.

MK: Who?

Trey: Oh, Alison Krauss, Neil Young a couple of times, umm - horn players, string players – we always invite people to come up onstage. I'd like to think that we're a fairly easy band to jam with because hopefully there's a level of respect and also we're fairly competent in lots of different styles of music. If somebody comes up to play with us, we can usually do a good job backing them up. (laughs)

MK: Who would you like to play with in the near future?

Trey: Oh – Eric Clapton! (laughs) That's who I want to play with.

MK: Did you hear that Eric Clapton had played with Santana in Japan this past month?

Trey: No, I didn't hear about that. You know Santana has played with Phish.

MK: Oh yes...was it in Europe?

Trey: Yes in Europe, and we also played with him in the States in Vermont. We played with him and then he played with us. He is a wonderful man – he's an incredible guy. If you talk with Eric Clapton tell him that he has to play with Phish. (laughter)

MK: Yes! That's a great idea. I heard a rumor that Phish will stop touring and take some time off – but here you are on tour. Can you explain that?

Trey: Yeah, you know what happens, at the end of our last tour I wanted to take some rest and then I haven't been with those guys since New Year's Eve – so now I just want to play with Phish. You see, that's the reason that I like to play with other bands. In between our last Phish tour and this Phish tour I got together with Stewart and Les, wrote all of this material, performed, got to play with these people and by the time that that was over all I wanted to do is play with Phish again. So right now on the wake of this Japanese tour I am dying to play with Phish. I can't wait. I think all four of us are really excited to play together. We've been practicing and are ready to go. (laughs)

MK: You are always touring arduously. It reminds me of the Grateful Dead. Do you agree?

Trey: Oh yeah! I'd say yes!

MK: You played with Phil Lesh in April of last year. Did you call Phil or did he call you?

Trey: I got a phone call from Phil.

MK: What was it like?

Trey: It was great! I was just with him two weeks ago. I did an interview with him for Revolver magazine – the two of us. It was incredible – not just to play with him but to talk to him. We spent a week together rehearsing.

MK: Only a week?

Trey - Click for largerTrey: Yeah, if even that - it might've been four days or something like that. But it was every day and we got to sit and drink coffee and talk. He's an incredible guy and obviously he's got such an amazing history as a musician and just as a person that it was great for me – that was my favorite part – just the rehearsals – because, like I said, we would just sit and talk. I learned so much about music and living – you know, and just about being a good human being. You know, he has a lot of integrity.

MK: Oh, I see. Did playing with Phil Lesh have any influence on the Farmhouse album?

Trey: I'd say yes to that but you know everything that you do influences an album. I think it had a big influence on me in the same way that playing with Stewart Copeland or playing with Santana had an influence on me. You know, that's how a young musician learns – by playing with older musicians who are more experienced. And every time I get the opportunity to do that, regardless of what style of music they play, if I'm lucky enough to play with an older musician, I try to take in as much as I can. So playing with Phil, like I said, I just kind of sat there and listened to him talk and listened to him play and tried to let him influence me as much as I could. (laughs)

MK: Will there be any official release from the Phil and Friends shows from April 1999?

Trey: Not that I know of. I mean people were talking about it, but at this time there are no plans.

MK: I see. Let's talk about the upcoming Japan tour. What would you like to do in Japan aside from the upcoming concerts?

Trey: I would like to see a lot more of the country than I did the last time. We were not there very long. I only managed to have one afternoon that I could travel away from the Fuji festival and we went to a hot spring. The country was beautiful. Other than that we were only there for about three days or something like that. So I'm really hoping to have a lot more time to travel. We walked around Tokyo last time, but I'd also like to see some of the other cities rather than just flying into Tokyo and flying out.

MK: So you went to the hot springs last year and a friend of mine met you there. He was naked and so were you! (laughter)

Trey: Yeah, I remember that. We were both naked! (laughter)

MK: (laughing) That friend of mine was very surprised!

Trey: Yeah, everybody get naked! (laughter)

MK: Yeah the hot springs - that's a great experience!

Trey: Maybe next time when I come back we can meet clothed. (laughs)

MK: I heard a rumor that you want to play three sets for the Sunday afternoon June 11th show. Is it true?

Trey: I can't verify what we'll be doing on June 11th. If they want us to keep playing, then we'll keep playing. We're always ready to keep playing.

MK: A friend of mine would like to know if you'll eat raw fish this year?

Trey: I did last time. I ate a lot of raw fish and I'm ready to eat more! (laughter)

MK: Do you like sushi?

Trey: I do. I love sushi. That was one thing that we got to do - our promoter brought us to a great sushi restaurant in Tokyo and we had a wonderful meal. Like I said before, we were only there for three days so this time we'll have a little more time to explore.

MK: You allow people to tape your live shows. Does circulating tapes have any influence on your live music?

Page McConnell - sorry no largerTrey: Definitely – a huge influence. People listen to the tapes and we know that we can continue to play a lot of new music. On this next tour we'll be playing a couple of songs that are brand new and people will listen to the tapes and become familiar with the new material. It's a big help in my eyes.

MK: Robert Fripp from King Crimson is completely against taping concerts. He said, "Being taped by a member in the audience is like seeing his girlfriend being raped right in front of him." Have you ever felt the same way?

Trey: (laughs) No never! In fact, I think that being taped is like making love to every girl in the entire audience. (laughter)

MK: Oh (laughs) I see. I see! All right!

Trey: It's like all of them taking me home at the end of the show simultaneously.

MK: Please do me a favor and leave a message for all of the Japanese Phish fans.

Trey: Right now? Ok... LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE! (laughs)

MK: We're ready to rumble – at least I am ready to rumble already! I will go to as many concerts as possible with lots of heavy recording equipment – ready to record you! (laughs)

Trey: Great! I can't wait for you all to record me - after my last comment about what it's like being recorded – I say all of you get out there and start recording me! (laughter)

MK: Okay that's all. Thank you and have a nice day. Goodbye!

Trey: Okay, thanks! We'll see you when we get there!

Always one of my favorite interviews because of Trey mentioning Clapton... the link:

I've been coming to where I am from the get go
Find that I can groove with the beat when I let go
So put your worries on hold
Get up and groove with the rhythm in your soul


^^^ I've read that before and it is a great interview.  thanks for posting.

Quote from: PIE-GUY on March 23, 2009, 05:36:54 PM
This interview may not be reprinted anywhere in any form
-- online or offline -- without the express written
consent of Masato Kato and
However, we certainly encourage you to link here.

at least you provided the link  :lol: :wink: