With the abundance of new material showcased on Trey’s just-completed tour, combined with the knowledge that he and Tom Marshall have a host of other songs we have yet to hear, a new Phish album is certainly on the rise. With no shows scheduled between now and Hampton, the open months could be possibly cleared out for studio time. However, the band could decide to let their multitude of new songs develop a life of their own before laying them down on a record- a trend that has held true for most of the band’s career. Yet, with Round Room and Undermind, this pattern flip-flopped, as they recorded the former without debuting any of the tracks, and the latter after playing only three. Which way will they go this time? It is an intriguing question.
In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this summer, Mike was very transparent in the fact that a new Phish album would happen- one way or another. Mentioning that Phish had already been in contact with producer Steve Lillywhite, who worked on their most acclaimed album, Billy Breathes, the new album “rumor” was very much substantiated by Gordon’s candor. Lillywhite has been currently working on a U2 project in Europe, with an album that is slated to drop in early 2009. A collaboration with other legendary producers Brian Eno, and Daniel Lanois, this team effort could potentially free up Lillywhite for Phish sooner than later, but more likely than not, keep him in Europe. If they wanted to record, there are obviously other great producers.
Yet, if there is one thing we have come to know about Phish, it is not to have expectations. Whether talking about a show, a setlist, an album, or simply a jam- with no expectations comes no disappointment. Personally, I’d like to see Phish take that time off to learn Trey’s new songs, and some of Phish’s old ones, and practice their bums off up in The Barn. Seeing songs live before hearing them on wax certainly curtails any expectations you might grow for them, while allowing the songs to naturally evolve into what they will become. Once their jams have some sort of pre-recorded direction- more often than not, the band will follow that predestined place. A perfect example of this phenomenon is “Walls of the Cave” from Round Room, a song that, in my opinion, has never reached its potential. Given the ability to grow naturally, without the album version, the improvisational “silent trees” section might not have wound up being virtually identical every time. But because that was the way they recorded it, I suspect they had a natural proclivity to go right there. Knowing where the jam was going before it even came out to play, the excitement and freedom of the song was limited.
When you think of all the potential songs that might be on the forthcoming album, it could easily become a more mature studio masterpiece. Just to name the songs we are aware of “Greyhound Rising,” “Light,” “Backwards Down the Number Line,” “Valentine,” “Peggy,” “Gone,” and “Ruby Waves.” And those are just Trey’s songs. With much material yet to be debuted, and more yet to be written, this album, whenever it is recorded is going to surprise people both inside and outside the Phish community. All that being said, here’s to hoping they just play now and record later! Phish albums are great, some better than others, but the studio will never be the magic carpet that the stage is for the production of Phish music.
HAMPTON SIMULCAST PETITION UPDATE: Fan, Greg Doucette started a petition that I posted on here a few weeks back to get the Hampton shows simulcasted around the nation. So far his petition has reached 10,000 signatures- a great start- but he really wants to get it doubled to 20,000 people before he presents it to Phish and their management. It is even getting media coverage! Even if you have tickets and are going to Hampton, think of all the people that won’t be able to fit in the building that are dying to be a part of these epic nights. Take a minute and sign the petition for the good of all! It is linked right here: CLICK HERE TO SIGN SIMULCAST PETITION!!
Preview: Ghost RMSTR< roll over and press play
Preview: Tweezer RMSTR<roll over and press play
Ok- back to the Phish music. Here we have the classic 1997 Hampton weekend remastered by Paul Shapera Gwynne-Craig, the man behind the recent remaster of 12.6.97 that everyone has been raving about! He has put hours into making these sound as crispy as possible and uploading them for the Phish Thoughts community. He is currently working on another Phish masterpiece- 12.28.98- so look out for that coming soon! Until then, enjoy these mint sounding Hampton shows from the annals of Phish history!(single song downloads)