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Published: 2003/12/29
by Brian Ferdman

Featured Department: Inaudible Hiss (Our Humor Section)The Hissys

Well, here we are at the close of another year. 2003 has seen many developments in the jamband scene, most noticeably, an increase in my hearing loss. Beyond that, it seems as though it's now time to honor some of the most interesting achievements within the scene. Since it's been over a year-and-a-half since the last Jammy awards (We're ready any day now, Budnick!), I'm presenting my own special end-of-year awards, which I am calling The Hissys.

Job of the Year – The Houseman

Undoubtedly, the Galactic frontman has had a cushy lifestyle for the past few years, appearing onstage for only six or seven songs a night. Frankly, the toughest part of Houseman’s job has been choosing which eye-blistering zoot suit to wear each night. However, a cushy job has just gotten cushier, as Galactic has introduced Sista Teedy Boutte, who now joins the group as its female lead singer. With Teedy’s introduction, Galactic has made a concerted effort to shorten all of its vocal songs to under four minutes in length, reducing Houseman’s time on the clock. Houseman has also been more than willing to yield his spotlight to Teedy, and he’s been quite happy to rest backstage while she dons the microphone. Moreover, a wireless microphone has enabled Houseman to duet with Teedy from afar, and if reports are correct, Houseman spent the entire second set of the Higher Ground show singing from backstage in between puffing on a few logs. That’s a tough life.

Mugshot of the Year

It’s wrong to kick a man when he’s down, but George Clinton looked so damn high in his mugshot after arrest for cocaine possession that nothing could bring him down. Uhhh….George? Sorry, big guy, but the mothership already landed and then took off again while you were still in orbit. By the way, best of luck to your lawyer in refuting these charges. You look completely sober in the photo, so your defense is off to a great start.

Worst Trend of the Year

Pathetic excuses for visual projection shows. It seems as though everyone wants to have a projection show these days, but most of them are pretty sad. Word to the wise: if your projection show resembles an elementary school Powerpoint presentation, just spare us the agony and make shadowpuppets instead.

Best Silent Solo
Original fifth member and guitarist Jeff Holdsworth made a surprise appearance with Phish at their December Albany show. Holdsworth’s initial soloing convinced audience members that he made a wise choice in leaving the band in 1986, and soundman Paul Languedoc gradually turned Holdsworth’s guitar down until it was inaudible. Unfortunately, Languedoc did not perform the same feat on The Dude of Life’s microphone three days earlier.

Worst New Band Name

The nominees are New Earth Mud, Quagmire Swim Team, The River Rats, Grappa Boom, but the winner is Xoanon’s Heartbreak, a name that is either so esoteric or pointless that I can’t possible figure out what it means.

Best Band Name

This one is easy: Fuzz and the Gratuitous Sextet. Runner up: Laverneus Cool.

Band in Dire Need of Grammatical Consistency

moe. started a really bad trend years ago with their lowercase name followed by an inexplicable period. Now new monsoon wants in on the act. Or do they? Sometimes they are new monsoon, and sometimes they are New Monsoon. Listen up, guys, you can’t have it both ways. You have to choose, and I’m strongly advising you to go for the capitalized version. Now if you even dare to attempt something like nEw MoNsOoN, I’m gonna slap you.

Worst Name for a Festival

Hippielympics. Yes, I said Hippielympics. Bah-roo-tal! The Runner-up was Zoophorus Music Festival, but this festival’s bad name is excused because it’s Canadian.

Best Name for a Festival

Wokenboke 2003, which took place May 2 4 at Smoke Rise Ranch in Murray City, OH. They certainly get A’s for effort.

Best Re-issue that Would Make George Lucas Jealous

How many damn times are The Allman Brothers going to re-issue At Fillmore East? I swear they must be working on #6 by now. Look, it’s a great album, one of the all-time classics, but they don’t have to keep fiddling around with it. This new version supposedly contains previously unreleased tracks, but at a glance, the track list looks the same as 1992’s The Fillmore Concerts. Perhaps the next re-issue will be in THX or even a special edition with newly created endings for the songs? Dear God, I hope not.

Best Acting Job

This one goes to the surviving core members of The Grateful Dead, who would like us to believe that they are one big happy family. After years of sniping at each other in the press and arguing about business, the four musicians suddenly fell in love with one another. Not by some coincidence, this newfound love for one another came at a time when ticket sales were sagging for their individual bands. Suddenly they reunited, forgoing the name The Other Ones in favor of the more marketable The Dead TM and showered love upon their longtime employees by firing almost everyone, while outsourcing their sales to a soulless corporate entity. That’s a heartwarming story.

Bravest Opening Act

On a November night, RANA received a sudden last-minute invitation to open for the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Attempting to play intelligent music in front of a couple thousand drunken Skynard fans was a bold decision by RANA, and reactions to the 40-minute set were mixed. Some fists pumped, some lighters were held high, and more than a few boos rained down from the rafters. Surprisingly, RANA survived this experience behind enemy lines unscathed.

Best Bumper Sticker

As seen from Bob Weir’s rig on The Dead’s Summer Getaway, "You don’t need a miracle. You need $39.50."

Cover Song That Needs to Die

Nelly’s "Hot in Herre." This song needs to die. Quickly. As if it weren’t bad enough that the mundane song has been covered by both Rebirth Brass Band and Widespread Panic, String Cheese Incident covered it on Halloween. The joke is over. It’s no longer funny; it’s just dumb. Of course, it’s understandable why bands want to bask in Nelly’s deep lyrics:

_It’s getting’ hot in herre,
So take off all your clothes.
I am getting so hot,
I want to take my clothes off._

Damn, that shit is deep. Someone is obviously challenging Bob Dylan for the throne.

Most Pathetic Attempt to Ride Phish’s Coattails

This one goes to Particle, who began and ended the year playing in the same town as Phish. C’mon guys, are you telling me that you have to keep following Phish in order to find an audience of ecstacy-soaked fools who can’t tell that you’re playing repetitive music? Oh, wait…

Best Reason to Not Pass the Bowl

The Hepatitis A outbreak on the String Cheese Incident's summer tour. I guess people will now think twice before licking cornholes and then making veggie burritos.

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