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”

  1. YborCity Says:

    As a newbie, I’ll take a thin Foam over no Foam at all… Although, I totally know what you mean, butter

  2. YborCity Says:

    @Bingos — three spins in a row and counting for this Stepbrothers track… this is the bee’s knees.

  3. butter Says:

    its like Mikes, they play a composition or template of what the song used to be or is supposed to be

    Split, Stash, Foam, Mikes ready for these to blow up at MSG or Hawaii or wherever

  4. sumodie Says:

    Love the buttery flow of Dick’s3 set2, def superior to st louis, imo

    Working my way thru spac3 set2, another set with awesome flow

  5. sumodie Says:

    Yup, don’t pass on white denim!

  6. MiA Says:

    Amanda and Jason Dufner

    It helps to make millions as a golfer.

  7. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Yeah, Bingo’s It’s Mo-fuckin-Hawk!

    What now beyotch?!?

    I am headed in for the crown of thorns tatoo on my head later tonight, fothermucker!

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Dicks Sand isn’t even best jam of that weekend, let alone ever, Df.

    Dick’s Light, silly rabbit.

  9. MiA Says:

    Very unpopular of me Mr. P, but the first 17 mins of Dick’s Light aren’t that intriguing to me. Been there, heard that.

    All of the Sand is.

    Best jam ever is just a childs thought.


  10. MiA Says:

    Like Kevin’s dedication to his wife for the 9/18/99 Chula Boogie On.

    Another substitution.

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I’m burnt on Sand.

  12. butter Says:

    i’m still always happy to hear Foam @Yborg and theres been some decent ones, but ultimately they’ve just played the song Foam, rather than using it as a liquidy psychedelic thing. i’m glad these boards came out. helps me hear i wasn’t just “back in my day” ing it

  13. purplehumpbackwhale Says:


    anyone lose a wedding ring at st louis?

  14. dorn76 Says:

    “There’s a man at Camberwell so fat that they grease the omnibus-wheels with his shadow.”

  15. MiA Says:

    I am too Mr. P. Thank goodness a majority of the Sand didn’t sound like Sand. I think I’m burnt on the majority of the Light Jam. The end is pretty good though.

    But yeah, I could probably put a fork in it after this one, and not hear another one for 2 years and be happy.

  16. dorn76 Says:

    Sand, Spice, Tweek,…Jeebus, I can’t keep up.

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I find myself spinning the Undermind more than anything else.

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    It’s only 15 minutes so it turns wanna be timers off….;)

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    “It was not Gollum, Frodo, but the Ring itself that decided things. The Ring left him.”

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    Do you guys ever forget that theres a Hobbit movie coming out, only to feel an immense surge of joy when you remember?

  21. MiA Says:

    What the Heck?

    Undermind is great.

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    “Sand, Spice, Tweek”

    gettin’ all Dune up in here

  23. Jtran Says:

    of the NLJs (not long jams), I think Carini may be my favorite.

    Disclaimer: spinning it now. Will post again once Undermind hits.

  24. Jtran Says:



    It’s great that PJ finally got on board with that project. Wasn’t it going to be some random director at first, but then it wasn’t? Maybe made that up.

  25. dorn76 Says:

    I remember the excitement that came with hearing those first few notes of Sand. Still love the tune, but it’s getting toward Crosseyed territory for me. A reliably kick-ass ride, but unlikely to do anything new.

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