Miner’s Mailbag

8.22.12 – Starlight Theatre (Ryan MacNeil)

Today I am trying a new format for a post that I hope will become a weekly feature on Phish Thoughts. Yesterday evening, via Twitter (@mrminer), I put a call out for any Phish-related questions. I would then select some to answer for today’s post…and voila! I think it’s a cool way to keep a pulse on what the community is thinking about and a great way to interact on a more personal level in more than 140 characters. I will try to answer all the other questions via Twitter. I hope you enjoy, and I welcome any constructive feedback.


@phantastic99 Do you feel the long layoffs after summer will hurt phish next summer?

I think Phish proved in Worcester this year that no amount of time off can truly “hurt” them if they practice and prepare for tour, so I suppose the answer to your question is no. But, with such extended time off (if things repeat themselves), I do feel there is a certain amount of “resetting” that naturally happens. It’s no longer like the late ‘90s where the band’s improvisational style directly builds upon itself from one tour to another. It’s more of a catch all—or catch anything—scene these days. For example, during Leg One the band was pushing plinko jams and in Leg Two they were virtually non-existent; everything was coming up blissful. I think that the band is capable of playing in so many different styles at this point, that it is far more about how they are feeling on any given night than what has happened, musically, in preceding shows or tours. Another example, Page was majestically integrating the Theremin into the best jams of Leg Two of 2011, only to bust it out once this year as a joke during Star Lake’s “Scent.” So to wrap back around to your question, I don’t think time off can hurt the band, but it would be fascinating to see where a fall tour that built off such an amazing summer would go to right now. But that’s not where Phish is at these days. With kids in school and families in full force, the band has adjusted their schedule accordingly.


 @deadareus  Audience vs. sbd… What’s your personal preference and why?

Great question, and the eternal audiophile debate. I think that the crispiest, most ideal audience tape will always sound better than a soundboard. But there are so many variables in that audience tape coming out perfectly, that 9 times out of 10 I prefer the current soundboards. It’s a different experience though. Listening to an audience tape is listening to how the room sounded that night; it is an authentic, aural reproduction of the show. It will capture aspects of Phish’s sound that the soundboards can’t. But at the same time, soundboards allow one to hear the detail of the music with far more clarity—hence their advantage—though they can sometimes sound flat. I think LivePhish has their mix fairly dialed in at this point, and that’s what’s on my iPod at all times. With the immediacy of the soundboards these days, everything has changed in the listening game. Without a DAT to pop in immediately like back in the day, I know I’m not gonna’ wait for tapers to post torrents to re-listen to the show. We’re spoiled, but it is what it is.


@WDurgin Does the music suffer when they webcast? #phishtroll

Haven’t you heard? After Leg Two, the theory has shifted: the music suffers when they don’t webcast!


@likeanantelope December 95 or May 1977. Which was a better month of music? #phishandthedead #toughquestions

December 1995 by a country mile, but I’m kinda biased. With December ’95, we are talking about one of the peak months of music ever produced by Phish. There are hearty takeaways from each and every show in this month which, in many respects, was a stylistic culmination of the band’s entire career. My favorite era of Dead music is the early ‘70s—specifically the one drummer era of ’72 and ’73—when the jams were far more wide open and psychedelic. Everyone always touts ’77 Dead, but I always found those tapes to be far less intriguing than their earlier ones.


@alicht What are your top 5 shows of 2012 thus far?

1) 8/31 Dick’s, 2) 8/19 Bill Graham, 3) 9/1 Dick’s, 4) 8/15 Long Beach, 5) Tie: 8/28 St. Louis and 6/7 Worcester; Runners Up: 6/15 AC, 9/2 Dick’s


@AceMcCready68 With the band stretching songs past 20 minutes do you think the 4 song second set will happen in the next year?

No. I don’t think they have the stamina or the drugs to jam four songs in a row for fifteen plus minutes. We can only hope. About the stamina that is.


@seif69 I would like to see you talk about the (non)religious themes in songs like Bug, Lifeboy, Sand, etc. #phish

Clearly, Trey and Tom have exposed an agnostic, if not atheist, bent in these tunes. (“I will choose my own religion…” “You don’t get a refund if you overpray”) With anti-establishment themes like these, the band is subliminally luring their fans away from organized society into a cult of rock and roll idolatry where loyalists spend $75 dollars for ticket, $20 for parking and $50 dollars for a poster every night. When these lemmings are doped up on psychedelics, their fragile minds are suspectible to delicate, lyrical manipulation, as in the instances that you have referenced. (Also see: “Time for the Meatstick, Bury the Meatstick, Time for the Meatstick” and “Please her with a tweezer.”) Most Phish fans are so caught up in hypnotic dance that these messages integrate with their brainwaves on a frequency that is undetectable to the human psyche. These altered brainwaves seduce their followers away from their families and into lives of on-tour debauchery. “It doesn’t matter.” Get it?


@benerickson922 How would the introduction of new original material impact future shows/tours?

Shit. I was hoping it would have impacted shows already. But so far, so good. Ya’ gotta believe if the guys plan on playing for a while, and all signs seem to point that way, that they will cut a new record. That’s what bands do, right? It’s been the longest gap of Phish’s career without producing a new album, and would hope that changes soon. How would it impact shows? It would provide spice and variety while keeping things on the up and up! It’s time to add another signature jam or three to this era to go with “Light” and “Golden Age.” Expect most fans to bitch about any new material for the first tour, and then begin to come around slowly as usual.


Jam of the Day:

Down With Disease” 8.17 II, SF

The most far-reaching jam of BGCA outside of night three.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2.01-Down-With-Disease.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2.02-Birds-of-a-Feather-1.mp3] Tags: ,

431 Responses to “Miner’s Mailbag”

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  1. Al Says:

    What a cool idea, Miner! Really interesting to read. Seems that I have to open a Twitter account…

  2. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    just putting this out there again for today.

    keep it to the BB or close friends or whatever. Its 12/6/97 SBD synced with the video, so obviously its not great to post the sbds online. but i wanted to sync it for ymself and i knew people would wanna see it. Set two only for now, set 1 to come in a couple days.

    Set 2 part 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9lRVcXoULU

    set 2 part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zirHYoz9tw&feature=youtu.be

  3. dognamedwilson Says:

    Appreciate the new post even though you weren’t really feeling it, miner. Executing these posts when inspiration wanes is as impressive to me as your greatest achievements in music writing. I’d bet they’re as difficult to write, too.

    Have you considered using a ghost writer to take some pressure off? I know guest writers have been discussed and done once or twice, but I dont think an uncredited contributor was ever talked about. Could be a way to farm out some of the workload without sacrificing your unique voice (the main point of differentiation from comparable sites IMO).

    Could also do a contest that yields a stack of timeless guest-written pieces to be used later but that’s a whole other proposal.


    All twitterers listed above who do not have bb handles are hereby formally invited to stop by and say hello. Just maybe don’t say much else at first (for your own sake), but do come say hi at least!

    Try not to take any comments too literally. We are big fans of hyperbole around here. HUGE! Like, no one has even been better at hyperbolic enthusiasm than these kind folks. Superlatives, too. We are the biggest deployers of superlatives for the proper titling and ranking of minutiae that you will ever meet, EVER. May be helpful to know that coming in

  4. Cable Hogue Says:

    November/December 95 vs Nov/Dec 73 would have been a tougher question!

  5. Capricorn's Horn Says:

    I disagree with your assessment of Tom and Trey as agnostic or atheist in their lyrics. Especially with ‘The Architect’ on the new album, Trey is revealing new levels of faith in his life–not surprising since he has turned away from the drug-addled version of his youth, into a more mature, more balanced, more spiritual purveyor of melody and truth. Sorry, Mr. Miner!

  6. bhizzle Says:

    Re: ques #1…wasn’t the band supposed to be going into the studio after Leg II? And if so, going off into the studio after a stellar, based on the opinions of this board, tour and, hopefully, carrying that momentum into the studio should make for a sweet set of new tunes. In which case, they can take a nice layoff.

  7. phoammhead Says:

    very interesting read . . . yeah i’d like to hear more about a new complete band collaboration album. but, I guess that is a wait and listen to results kinda deally. in any case, i’m excited about it.

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    great idea, miner. good way to keep things a little fresh.

    always remember, never forget

  9. Guyute711 Says:

    No selector today?

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I recall him saying he wouldn’t be on this week, g711.

  11. Foul_Domain Says:

    mornin’ BB

    Great idea for a weekly post, Miner. Looking forward to more Q&A’s

    Re: agnostic/athiest lyrics, or new lyrics to the contrary – you have to keep in mind that they are just lyrics. I don’t believe that anything Trey or Tom writes is for the purpose of “revealing new levels of faith” (or lack thereof in Lifeboy, Bug, etc.). Lyrics are written in a moment in time and the inspiration for them doesn’t need to come from a personal belief, but rather, a feeling in that moment. They’re just putting out thoughts and ideas. A huge number of Phish lyrics just tell stories. Not necessarily true stories about Trey’s or Tom’s life, but just stories. Of course, they are inspired from personal experiences, but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily represent a personal moral or value of the writer. (IMHO)

  12. halcyon Says:

    Morning folks.

    How long does it take to work to afford a beer?

    In the US 1.8 minutes. In India 55 minutes. Chart linked below.


  13. MiA Says:

    No selector today. So watched PHBW’s tweezabella. Very well sync’d to the source. Good job.

  14. Foul_Domain Says:

    @halcy – 1.8 is the retail price of the beer ($1.80)

    Looks like a bit more than 5 minutes of work, which would make the average wage around $20/hr I suppose

    Interesting chart – Makes me wonder why I don’t drink more beer.

  15. SillyWilly Says:

    great idea for a post, Miner

    maybe make it a regular thing? Every couple weeks or something?

    thanks for the reads, Miner. And thanks for everything you’ve done for us, man.

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    yo, TypeIII

    Manti on the cover of SI in the midwest

    Would you want one?

  17. viola Says:

    i wonder who the republican of the group is? politics is something that the boys have been very quiet about for ever. makes me think that one or more of their political leanings could be at odds with the majority fan base.

    and i bet trey definitely prays…. he comes off like a spiritual dude. and he beat a wicked drug habit. im thinking he believes in intelligent design.

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    i gotta run, but falkwilt


    google’s product that most everyone seems to use.

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I’m not really a collector of that kind of thing, but thanks! besides, I guarantee my family will have about a dozen of them 😉

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    there’s Politics and there’s politics

    My theory is that Phish is very political.

    In the Political side: Mike talked pretty openly about supporting Bernie Sanders.

    they’ve been known to quote Chomsky, too, if that says anything…

    but who in their mid-20s doesn’t quote Chomsky?

    (Inside the mind of SillyWilly: I’m crazier than Chomsky, yo)

  21. dognamedwilson Says:

    Just another case of the world’s poor subsidizing American consumption through an undervalued currency. The real value (not price) of a real beer (not a MM) is probably much closer to 55min of work, but charging that much would be bad fr the economy because unit sales would suffer. The “Great Americans” charge what they want and pay just enough to keep from folding. The difference between real value and retail in the USA is covered by low wages and inflation in the producer economies. If the only hope of Arrington the system forward I to keep feedin it, then the greatest contribution an American can make to global stability is to keep buying stuff, do not save, and do not pay down debt. This quaint notion of “living within our means” implicit threat of austerity measures are the greatest immediate threat to our system.

    ~totally hanged subjects somewhere in there

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    the playlist I have set for my day so far…

    07.23.97 Lakewood Ghost
    10.01.00 Desert Sky Piper>Guy Forget
    09.29.99 Pyramid 2001
    08.02.03 IT Waves
    08.15.12 LBC RnR
    06.03.11 Pine Knob Disease
    09.02.12 Dick’s Sand
    12.07.99 Quad C Halley’s
    09.19.99 Portland Gin
    08.15.98 Lemonwheel Gumbo>Sanity
    07.09.99 MPP Free>WTU?
    11.18.96 Memphis Simple
    08.07.10 Greek Light
    06.10.11 Camden Curtain (With)

    That’s about a five and a half hour playlist
    I’ll probably just wing it from there 😯

  23. ren Says:

    Really dig the new idea Miner!

    It begs a question that’s been on my mind since I attended my last show of tour this summer:


    From the research I’ve done it doesn’t look like the boys have any separate commitments they are obligated to that would hinder it. Interested to hear others thoughts on this topic.

  24. Chonz Says:

    “November/December 95 vs Nov/Dec 73 would have been a tougher question!”

    For sure! Almost nothing gets me like that buttery Jer tone from that era.

  25. BingosBrother Says:

    Right on fd. My lyrics are personal but what i write today may not be what i believe tomorrow. Music is my religion and phish is my favorite preacher.

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