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. Guyute711 Says:

    Now that the real refs are back I would like to be the first to say fuck you Ed Hochuli. I feel better.

  2. dusty Says:

    give when you know your getting. Temple jazz is only jazz at night…classical in the day. WWOZ is the shit though if you want to go to school.

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    Y u no like hochuli?

  4. Henry Says:

    About Silly’s point RE: timing of sets, song choices, planning etc.

    I think that is a BIG reason we haven’t seen the huge Bowie we all crave. The band seems pretty content to keep Bowie in the set closing spot. As it is usually a 10-12 minute tune, it seems to me that when there’s 10-12 minutes left in a set, Trey says “Ah, just enough time for Bowie to end this one out” and they play a standard, in the box Bowie.

    When there is still 15-20 minutes left in the set, Trey isn’t think of closers yet (unless they drop the rare first set closing YEM), so Bowie isn’t even on Trey’s radar.

    That’s what made Dick’s so special, they chose a definite amount of songs to fit a certain structure, so they were FORCED to jam.

    Now if we can only create a scenario to FORCE Trey to start up a set closing Bowie with 20 minutes left in a set……

  5. Guyute711 Says:

    He’s a douche who screwed my team out of a win against the Broncos. He will never be forgiven for that, never.
    Over under for bad calls this week is 5. I’m taking the over.

  6. Henry Says:

    Same thing could be said for a song like Antelope as well, or other tunes that used to be jam vehicles but are now reserved for closers. Filling such a role, these tunes have almost been FORCED into standardsville because of the on-the-fly setlist choices the band seems to be content with these days.

    Just my .02

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    Yeah, but your team sucks too.

  8. Guyute711 Says:


  9. butter Says:

    over the top effort used in cannabis raids in Santa Rosa, CA yesterday
    and they pulled the “gang” card as its a latino neighborhood


  10. voopa Says:

    Same thing in Butte County butter:


  11. Dorn76 Says:

    If I had to hold up a sign, it would say 2ND SET BOWIE

  12. joemeg Says:

    The DTE Bowie is second set and it is probable the best one of 3.0

  13. poop goblin Says:

    big government shits the bed again. fuckin feds. love that they were destroying legal grows with all their papers and proper quantity limits.

    open air drug markets all over this country and the FBI are raiding herb grows

    even if some of these peeps are gang related the same gangs are raging tweek all up the coast. get your priorities straight


  14. dyda Says:

    i loathe twitter & will have nothing to do with it. my comment/question:

    we all know indoor phish is where it’s really at & i understand the shift in personal lives/solo projects, but still, there not being a indoor/fall phish tour this year or last is quite noticeable. think we’ll get a more balanced schedule in ’13? not so many summer shows so there can be a fall tour kind of thing

    also, how do you feel about the band still relying so heavily on ‘joy’ material? there have been a decent amount of one-offs but by & large it’s still the same roster of songs introduced over three years ago. there hasn’t ever been a period in the band’s history (when they’re active) that has gone so long without new material/albums

    how many shows have you seen? up over 400 yet? 500?

  15. butter Says:

    the Metermen with Page has potential to be really sick

    we get a westcoast Metermen but it has Galactic’s keyboardist instead of the Chairman

    December 28th, 2012
    The Regency
    San Francisco, CA
    The Metermen: Zigaboo Modeliste,
    Leo Nocentelli, George Porter Jr. with
    guest keyboardist Rich Vogel of Galactic

  16. butter Says:

    yea Poop, very discouraging trend of chopping down the plants arresting people and THEN figuring out if its medical or not

    hello, 15 states or so have voted and we say we want medical herb

  17. dyda Says:

    “loyalists spend $75 dollars for ticket, $20 for parking and $50 dollars for a poster every night”

    ^ somebody isn’t doing it right. sounds more like a custy than a head in the know who has been around long enough to know how not to drop $200/night

    re: top picks – seems that leg two has overshadowed the second set of the star lake show… (solid first frame too)

    “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.”

    tsk tsk. patience is a virtue

  18. butter Says:

    ^fake Art Neville’s, the dude that really started the Meter’s

  19. dusty Says:

    I’m psyched for meterman in DC. OG meters lineup with Warren sitting in for a few was on one of the most fun nits I had in a long time. I have a feeling Art’s health is slipping.

  20. butter Says:

    totaly making a bad “fake jer” joke

    i’m stoked as hell for some of the pioneers of funk to be playing still and collobarating

  21. butter Says:

    def have to “flash gernade” families back yards befor chopping down there 10 plants that would have provided them some smoke and grocery money

  22. Grooves Says:

    I haven’t read all the posts yet, but I think that sometimes the incredibly high quality and “pure” direct from the source sound produced by the board can also hinder a re-spin, especially when listening after having been at the show. This summer’s Ghost from Blossom is a great example. Live at the show, I remember that Ghost as jumping right at us coming off the heals of an awesome Golden. On the re-spin from the board however, as the band transitions from Golden to Ghost Trey seems to have forgotten to hit the pedal one last time to turn off one of his effects creating a terrible feed-back note that persists for somthing like 45 seconds. It is obvious that he was not aware of this at the time, and neither was the crowd. The dynamics of the house sound were enough for that note to be lost in the breeze. Not so for the board recording though. I can barley even listen to that section anymore because of how annoying it is. Just my 2 cents…

  23. YborCity Says:

    Any of you guys heard of alt-J? New-ish band with a really cool sound. Check this out… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt0QzzIBNV4

    Their album “An Awesome Wave” has been getting a LOT of spins in my repertoire lately.

  24. IrieWalton Says:

    Been some huge busts in southern Oregon, too, of well known medical providers.

    I think that if WA, OR, or CO pass outright legalization/taxation this November it’s going to setup quite the interesting conversation on a national level. WA’s measure seems to be the most comprehensive out of the three and has serious support from Seattle’s police chief, city council, former fed attorney from WA, and ex-FBI Head.

    I think it will start a conversation similar to NY legalizing alcohol during prohibition that was the precursor to the feds repealing prohibition five years later.

  25. poop goblin Says:

    I will never pay a tax on herbs. fuck the feds.

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