As he prepares for his mini-New Years Run over the next three days with The Mike Gordon Band, Mike took a little time out on the day after Christmas to talk to The Burlington Free Press about his other band. In the interview, Mike discussed several Phish-related topics from the guys motivation, their rehearsals, their new management, and their potential touring schedule. Leave it to Mike to let us in on what is really going on behind the scenes in the world of Phish.
Returning to the studio, Phish spent five days rehearsing in New York City, musically reacquainting with each other and seeing what each member was “bringing to the table” after four years apart. Gordon mentioned he also had some new songs this time around, implying that the rehearsals were not limited to older material. With both Mike and Trey’s solo projects having developed in Phish’s time off, it is no surprise that new songs will make up part of Phish’s new repertoire.
Although Gordon noted that the “Phish-organization-got-too-big” reasoning was largely a scapegoat for Phish’s breakup, he also pointed to multiple ways that the band will try to minimize their bureaucratic and organizational involvement this time around. Phish plans to take themselves out of many decisions, favoring a more corporate infrastructure. When John Paluska, Phish’s former manager was at the helm for so long, he was integral in keeping Phish on their own path, independent of the larger music industry. Part and parcel of Paluska’s path were the band’s renowned festivals for which 80,000 people would descend on location for nothing but six sets of Phish. As Phish is now managed by Red Light Management in Charlottesville, VA, and music mogul Coran Capshaw, expect more of an entrance into music’s mainstream. Red Light is bringing in a “whole new model,” as Gordon observed, “Maybe we don’t have to have our own festival to make great music. We don’t have to do that and maybe we can be even more a part of the music industry than we were before rather than separate from it.” Ouch! That does not sound good. Based on this statement, Bonnaroo could be a sign of things to come. Fingers-crossed!
At the conclusion of the interview, Gordon mentioned the possibility of working with Steve Lillywhite on a new Phish album, and also said that while further dates around Hampton were still possible, his feeling was that we would not see Phish until the summer after their Virginia comeback.
All of this is very interesting. Phish seems to be buying into Capshaw’s “new” music model after the band spent twenty-plus years forging their own model of self-sufficiency. With Phish relinquishing the reins of their organization a bit, and Capshaw stepping in to steer their boat, one can only wonder what may be in store for Phish 3.0. This certainly explains Phish’s Bonnaroo headlining slot and the rumors about Rothbury. This news may signify the end of the Phish festival, as the band doesn’t seem prepared to undertake such an endeavor.
Yet, regardless of all of these changes in Phish’s management, once Phish hits the stage, things will return to normalcy. With less to concern themselves with logistically, band members will have more time to focus on what is important– the music. Hopefully, there is an upside to what seems like a compromise of Phish’s independent legacy. Without the need to plan tours, devise ideas for festivals, and control their every move, Phish will have the freedom to explore their musical ideas and creativity. By honing in on what is most important, band members will be able to dedicate themselves to their craft, something that benefits us all. Let’s just hope that although Phish may be swimming in a larger pond, that our lily pad remains pure.
SUMMER ’09 RUMOR MILL: In other news, dates for Red Rocks appear to be July 29 – August 2 = FIVE NIGHT STAND!Tags: Comeback, Mike