Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue


Published: 2007/09/23
by Randy Ray

The High Watermark with Tom Marshall and Trey Anastasio Part III

inside I see a tiny piece of me
spread out on the pages I once knew
lawlessness abounds
just listen to the sounds – “Night Speaks to a Woman,” Anastasio/Marshall ends its three-part series with Tom Marshall and Trey Anastasio taking both a look back and ahead for the two artists. In Part I, the feature began with Marshall discussing the new Amfibian album Skip the Goodbyes on Relix Records and the autobiographical story of the ghostsubtext to the title track to the 1998 Phish album.

Part II contained the symbolic tale of an exorcism of a ghost or two with a further examination of the new Amfibian album featuring Marshall, guitarist/songwriter/co-producer Anthony Krizan and engineer/co-producer Tommy Camuso. We also included another conversation with Trey Anastasio as he covered elements of life in Phish, the Anastasio/Marshall songwriting framework, and shed light on their 30-year friendship.

Part III wraps up the series with a detailed account of Marshall’s current state of affairs, his songwriting process and pending live work with Amfibian. Anastasio continues his analytical discussion about their long-time relationship with a few surprising detours into the land of what inspires an artist and what must be done when one no longer has an alternative to the weighty decisions encountered in the Great Unknown.

Prologue The Rhombus
On occasion, when people attempt the difficult (and probably futile) task of identifying the quintessential Phish song, they often mention “Divided Sky”“Divided Sky” also is intimately related to another piece of the Phish mythos, the Rhombusas a result, Trey has incorporated the real-life Rhombus into the Gamehendge story.The Phishing Manual: A Compendium to the Music of Phish by Dean Budnick

RR: Was the mythology surrounding the Rhombus overrated? Did it get surreal?

TM: No, I don’t think so but yes it was surreal. It was the friendships. I come back here and it’s an orb, it’s a thingI don’t know what it is; it’s a monolith. I recently once put my son up on it and took a picture and then, I looked at it again the next day on my computer. It is still a really big part of my childhood. Back when Trey and I went there, no one else was there. No one else was hanging and it was a real musical, angular thing. You had to get up on it and it is in a hidden part of Princeton. No one was there at night. The occasional passerby walking near us would quickly be frightened by the sounds that we made. You could hit it hard enough and make it echo and while you are on top of it, it would sort of echo and vibrate upwards. You would feel like it was sort of echoing to the sky. “Divided Sky” was one night where the moisture was correct in the air. The tower at the Institute was lit on one side only and refracted in the moisture and cut the sky in half and the line between light and dark came down right to the Rhombusthe division.

Maybe, it was the spot itself. I think some people’s sweet spot might be the living room. We were definitely outdoors people and this was Princeton’s battlefield. The park would close at night and our big thing was that we knew where to park where the cops wouldn’t see our cars. We could see the neophytes parking and we knew that would invite a cop with their searchlights. We were ready when we saw the police. We would hide behind the pillars of the monument and we’d see the poor people get scooped up by the police. They’d drive by us within fifteen feet of our spot. Later in the evening, we’d go across the street where the Rhombus is and that involved a trek in the backwoods; you’d have the mounting of the Rhombus ceremony and then, the music would really start. It was awesome because that was what we were really aboutwriting songs and that was the place where we wrote songs. The other part was getting drunk and hanging out and avoiding cops. The Rhombus was always the sweet spot for songs.

Part IX The Underground Stream
Seeing is believing and you’re drifting far away – “Memory of Your Smile,” Amfibian, lyrics by Tom Marshall

RR: “Skipping Stones” on the new Amfibian album has an almost a cappella opening and contains the line “maybe you’re just talking in your sleep.” Are those vocal lines recorded with double-tracked harmonies?

TM: It is two or three with me; one with Anthony in places during the chorus but the rest is me. That song is about what it is like if you live right next to someone or function daily next to someone that doesn’t realize that you have a hidden life or a different purpose.

RR: Isn’t that very much like your life?

TM: Kind of, maybe. If you are out late one night and you come home to whomever you are living with and no matter if you are too late and you wake everyone up, the thing about that is “you think I was just outside skipping stones but look, this is what I was doing: I was talking to God.” (laughs) “You think I am just talking in my sleep”that sort of thing.

RR: Getting back to a comparison between Amfibian’s prior release From the Ether and the new album _Skip the Goodbyes_it seems more is at stake and every detail is covered in a confident manner. Would that be accurate?

TM: There definitely isn’t any fooling around. Some songs from the past would have never made it on this album. I agree. There is a maturity now. This is pretty serious, serious business.

RR: In “Memories of Your Smile,” there are the lines “you’re drifting far away” and “memories of you leaving,” which are another reference to goodbyes or “I’ll see you again, someday.” Images of slipping away from shore before a return to land resurface again and again. Is there any intent or purpose with those types of lyrics?

TM: That was definitely not intentional although, Trey would say it is intentional (laughs) because those things don’t happen by accident, right? (laughs) So that is my answer.

RR: How did you record the rapid-fire delivery of the lyrics on “Graffiti?”

TM: I try to shy away from any kind of studio trickery that seems like a crutch. I’m all for echoes and cool delays but I’m really not psyched when there is an obvious studio tricklike where you can hear a jagged edge between notes or like in “Graffiti” where the lyrics are so rapid-fire. Why not sing every other phrase in one take and sing the missing phrases in another take? In actuality, that is how we did end up doing “Graffiti” because the end of one phrase is right on top of the beginning of the next. I’ll have you know that I did sing that line and I can do it all in one breath. However, live, you can get away with it; in the studio, you want it perfect. We decided after many takes that my breath is so big after singing the line that it messes up line number two. So we just used it as a crutch, which I normally shy away from. I like it; it allows me to fade them into each other even more.

RR: Speaking of that studio vs. live scenario, before 2007, you had not played live in a long time. What did you have to do to get your voice ready for the stage?

TM: It was really just rehearsal. We really did rehearse a lot. We rehearsed one or two times a week for a long time, longer than we play live. We would have five, six-hour rehearsals although we only play two one-hour setsat least we do these days. I was over singing and at first, my voice wasn’t up to it. That was one of the things I was worried about. It came back and I was really happy with the compliments from people that I got about my voice. People who have known all incarnations of Amfibian think that it is stronger and that I am peaking right now which I’m really happy to hear. We’ve done a nice quiet acoustic set in the middle of our regular set, which really displays our harmonies, and without the loud, electric backdrop. This part really showcases the voices.

RR: Let’s talk about how one part of your life fades into the other. Real estate is full-time? Do you set your own schedule?

TM: Yeah, your day is your own. You can work as hard as you want, as little as you want.

RR: Last year, you went to Las Vegas on a real estate trip, right?

TM: A pretty big real estate conventionICSC. Funny time out there. I met a Phish guy. Three years ago this guy took me on a private jet down to Hampton [Coliseum] for one of the last Phish shows [August 2004]. We went knowing that it would never happen again. This guy on the plane, Ethan, who is now my good friend, was in Las Vegasthe second time I had ever seen him. I was at an oxygen bar, which is the most ridiculous place to find me especially since earlier I had been making fun of the people there. A friend I was with said, “Look, I’m going to get you a hit of oxygen.” Turns out that you sit there for around twenty minutes and breathe pure oxygen. Girls massage you, massage your head with these vibrating finger things and kind of relax you. This dude was four chairs away and I could tell right away that he recognized me. He’s sitting there and called me the wrong name, someone else that was on the plane to Hampton. I said, “Nope, sorry,” turned around and resumed my absorption of oxygen. It turned out to be Ethan; he’s in real estate. It was meant to be. I hooked up with him and now we’re doing stuff together. I love it. My previous professional life was spent largely in a cube, in a cage and now, here I am in Vegas doing work, doing profitable work and it is night and day.

RR: That’s the hook. My whole life for a decade was accounting and writing. I was at a crossroads. I had to make a decision and get it doneconsequences be damned.

TM: Some people write fantastic books in jail. That was my thing; that kept me alive. I would always find someoneand Scott Herman was the guy I foundthat I could swap e-mails. Scott would add to them and sometimes, we would work on a poem and it would flourish and take the entire day. It was fantastic. That was my escape.

RR: Did any work frustrations produce dreams, which ended up in your lyrics?

TM: Dreams aren’t the only source of lyricsbut definitely the frustrations produced some lyricsI don’t want to be that obvious, I don’t want to say “Friday.”

RR: Do you want me to dig out Round Room?

TM: Yeah. Can you?

RR: “Pebbles and Marbles” was written for your daughter, right? “She gave me ideas. She planted the seed but she never stopped to reflect; the course that she’s on, wherever it leads, I never would redirect.”

TM: Yes. In Princeton in November 2005, I went on stage and sang with Trey. One of the songs that he was doing solo acoustic before I went on was “Pebbles and Marbles” and he knew, Anna, my daughter was in the audience. He dedicated it to her. She was sitting in the front row balcony. It was a great, great moment for her.

RR: “Sleep” from Farmhouse comes to mind while I’m fetching Round Room.

TM: Yeah but you know what“Cavern” was one of the first poems that Scott and I wrote. We’d send it back-and-forth and just crack up over the lines.

RR: It’s funny how much “whatever you do, take care of your shoes” became critical. That became a key Robert Hunter T-shirt phrase during festival season.

TM: (laughter) The funny thing is that those weren’t really intended for public consumption. That’s kind of “Squirming Coil,” “Lawn Boy” and “Bouncing Around the Room.” Those three songs were absolutely not intended for public consumption, ever. I’d say even the ones on Pictures of Nectar, certainly “Chalkdust Torture” and “Stash,” which still have pretty high cringe factors when I hear it live. People will look at me and even though they are some of their favorite songs, Trey’s favorite songs, I’m really not exceptionally proud of them. Over and over again, he says “Chalkdust” is his favorite song and I wish he wouldn’t say that. I like the song but I really wish I could have a pen and rewrite a line, here and there.

In that era of Trey’s and my songwriting, the burden fell on him, pretty much entirely. I’d give him sheets of paper with largely crap on it. Some were entire poems and some were snippets and I’d just hand it to him. Four months later, I’d hear a song. That was my fault because I didn’t edit. We got more careful later, edited and crafted songs better. For a while there, he was counting on me to put words to his endless bounty of musical ideas. He liked my meter, cadence and word play. He liked the history that he and I had; just trusted my words enough to pick up and go.

Like I said, I cringe at some of them because I would give him everything, whether or not it was meant for public consumption or not, suddenly there would be a song like “take care of your shoes” at the end of it like it’s a major, major statement. (laughter) I think that’s also one of the things that Trey drew from our eighth, ninth and tenth grade day school and what made Phish so great and different was that sense of humor. Back then, the music was made to make the other guy laugh. All those songs that were just a capella, I remember when Aaron [Woolf] and I sang “Wilson” to Trey the first time, that was really just to make Trey laugh. I remember we sang “Wilson” to someone and they didn’t get it. Sang it to someone else and they didn’t get it. Sang it to Trey and he completely got itand we didn’t even get it. (laughter)

RR: I was watching this documentary about Merian Cooper, the creator of the original King Kong. One of his colleagues said that all great men had a little bit of a childlike view of the world in their character. When I spoke with Phish road manager, Brad Sands, he said the thing people tend to forget was how much fun the band could have while including everyone around them. How have you been able to keep that sense of childlike wonder and will it continue in your work?

TM: Everything has evolved like the way that I experienced Phish live because now there’s an audience and people recognize me. Of course, everything’s changedthe way
I write because now, it’s going to a bunch of people as opposed to before where I wasn’t sure. You’re right, there’s definitely a chance that the playfulness and humor could vanish. I think there’s always an undercurrent with me and Trey. I’m sure there are a lot of bands that sit around and brood and really try to say something profound in every song, to come out with an amazing statement every single time. (laughs) Trey and I are so far not doing that; although, now and then we’ve written one out of the park.

In fact, the song “Friday,” I have to say this because the song is almost universally hated, I love the jam. People walk because of the Mike part “Why is the sun hot? Why does it rain?” It’s childish and maybe we could have taken more time with that one but I like it. I love it live and there was one that they did at Camden that just knocked me for a loop. Honestly, maybe 20% of the crowd went for a beer or piss break. They were walking in droves right when they first heard it. I think that song exists solely for the reprise of the lyric “I crash I cry I burn but I still follow anyway” and when Trey heard it and finally put it to song, he made one of those baseball Babe Ruth hitting-it-out-of-the-park signs. That lyric, that line, you don’t know, it sneaks up on you and all of a sudden you realize that you nailed it. That’s one of those but we’re not trying to do that; it happens now and then.

RR: I can’t ask you what exactly you’re following anyway from the song “Friday?”

TM: (laughs) “Still follow, anyway.” I think I’m following youwhoever you are. I think I’m following you under the sea. I don’t know.

RR: I think your lyrics may last because you aren’t specific about a person, place or thing. Nothing is too mundane as being way too specific in your songs.

TM: Never. Almost never, yeah.

RR: I was also disappointed that people thought “Anything But Me,” was too trite.

TM: I love that one. That’s one of my favorites. That one blows me away and so does “Two Versions of Me.” I really, really liked that one. From the Round Room ballads, I really loved “Anything But Me,” and “All of These Dreams.”

RR: Are you being specific about an actual location in “All of These Dreams?”

TM: No. No.

RR: “You might find a river under a mountain that feeds a remote subterranean fountain, drink from this, taste just a hint of a dream that somehow leaked into the underground stream”

TM: (laughs) “and if you go there, and after you do”

RR: Who will you follow there?

TM: (laughs) Exactly.

RR: Maybe that’s how you keep your childlike wonder. You’re always following something that is positive rather than acknowledging that negative ghost out there.

TM: Yeah, but I don’t think the ghost is negative, either. Although, the fact that it is a ghost story, it has a negative connotation. “Ghost” is sort of a negative song, a sort of mean and scary song. That was when Trey’s sort of boomerang sound first appeared and he kind of made it into a ghost’ sound. The ghost was never negative, never for me anyway but, it could have been interpreted that way by people.

Part X – The High Watermark
Memory won’t you let me down to when the good times seemed to flow around – “Skip the Goodbyes,” Amfibian, lyrics by Tom Marshall, featuring Trey Anastasio

RR: What did you mean when you said, “Randy, I’m trying to get my feet on the ground and become a regular guy?”

Trey Anastasio: Oh, you knowlong interviews. I read this old interview with some quote from Bill Murray. He said, “Fuck your privacy. It’s not your privacy that you lose. It’s yourself when you become a public figure; it’s your whole self.” He said that because “somebody sees you on a street and they say, “You’re that guy from Caddyshack.” And then a tiny part of you becomes that guy from Caddyshack.” So start multiplying that.

RR: Am I putting you in a box?

TA: No, not now but if you followed me around for two days(laughter)

RR: I understand. Let’s return to your relationship with Tom.

TA: That’s why I am saying this stuff. It is so desperately important for me to maintain my friendship with Tom because of that fact. There are so many firsts’ that I remember. The first time I ever had a really wicked kitchen percussion jam(laughs) we probably had a million of them at my parents’ house. Tom and I have these memories that are connected through that music to my real childhood and not even teenagedom but during adolescence. I remember standing outside with Aaron [Woolf], outside a party, waiting for my mom to pick me up in eighth grade and singing “I saw you with a ticket stub in your hand,” because we had tickets to see Boston at Jadwin Gym in Princeton. We both got tickets and it was the first concert we were going to go to. So some of this stuff with Tom goes so far back that maybe it now makes sense when I told you that story earlier in our conversation where even at songwriting sessions, Tom and I were yelling at each other about money. That’s what happens when that much money starts rolling around. You can’t even help iteven with your closest friends. It gets complicated and weird. There are other things that people don’t see and when all of that anger happened about Phish dissolving, what’s the alternative?

If you look at the fact that the guys in the Dead can’t even talk to each other anymore. There are so many other bands like that. I don’t want that. I love those guys and I want not only to talk with them but to play with them. That’s what that whole thing with Mike was about [G.R.A.B. tour with the Benevento-Russo Duo in 2006]. It just seems so silly and small-minded to let that kind of thing happen when you are with a group of people who were as lucky as we were. We were the luckiest people ever in the world. It was starting to happen and no one could fight it despite our intelligence; it was bigger than that. Now, it is gonenot the music because you can still listen to the music but those problems just vanished as soon as (laughs) the expectations of the amount of ticket sales and merchandise just went away. “Sorry guys, we’re not making anymore money,” and everybody just went away and now all parties seem to be much healthier and relationships seem to be much healthier. I hope. To me, to be perfectly honest, that started to seem to be the only possible way to be doing this thing when you’re 85even possibly together.

RR: So it isn’t wishful thinking to imagine that you’ll be playing when you’re 85?

TA: I hope so. Dylan is one of my heroes on about sixteen levels because a) I always wanted to listen to a lot of Dylan because he is so good and b) what he is doing right now is exactly what I want to be doing when I am his age (laughs)290 shows a year in minor league baseball parks or state fairgrounds or any place that will have him. I’ve kind of set my sights on thatthat’s God willing and that we are all healthy. I’m assuming a lot of assumptions but it would be a nice dream. Writing with Tom, writing lots of music with Tomwe have to write songs when we are 80 if we are both still alive. It would be ridiculous.

RR: Maybe even an update on One Man’s Trash? I liked those tracks. They aren’t collaborations with Tom but they are interesting studio experiments.

TA: I love that album. That is so funny. The only other person who ever mentioned liking that album is Jennifer Hartswick. She loves it. I think I sold two copies of that album. You know that whole album was done when my wife was pregnant with my first daughter? There’s no sound on that album that is louder than (snaps fingers) like thata finger snap. Even the cymbal soundsthe microphones were up in the cymbals because I had a tiny little house at the timewere low because we had two bedrooms and my wife was pregnant in the next room, trying to sleep. I would put this microphone about a centimeter from the cymbal and play it with my fingers. I would move it around so it got to a resonant spot [Trey imitates percussion sounds]that’s like tapping my fingers on a tom tom so quietly near the edge but with the microphone right near it. It’s really cool because it all came out sounding really tribal but it is really quiet.

RR: How about writing again with Tom in the near future?

TA: I do want to write again with Tommuch more.

RR: What was it like to return to writing with him in early 2006?

TA: The funny thing is that it wasn’t any longerI don’t thinkthan it usually is. It is hard for Tom and I to get together because we live in different places. That’s why we have to book these houses. I don’t think it was that long in between sessions. I know Tom must have been wondering what was going on because I sort of disappeared off the face of the map. I was just looking forward to getting back with Tom. As soon as I got back from doing Shine, I said, “O.K. Let’s write.” I don’t think these things have to be exclusive because I think it would be my greatest dream to write with Rufus Wainwright (laughs) or someone but I still want to write with Tom. It all kind of goes together so I think that when I got back from Shine, I just called up Tom and said, “O.K. I did an album. Now, let’s go write something.”

RR: Tom said he loved the process because he came with lyrics but the two of you were improvising so fast that things were working on a whole different level.

TA: Totally. Whenever we write, there’s a little bit of a rhythm that we have. It changes over time but the rhythm is that we come in and we pound out a couple of tunes. We end up with a couple of songs from things that he came witha poem and songs that are kind of chunked together from different images, poems or sections. We usually end up pounding out something on the fly. There’s one that we wrote that hasn’t come out on anything yet that is called “Obstacle of Course.” I like that song, actually but that was a “let’s sit down and write this” type of song. It can happen in many different ways. I always find that after usually the seventh song after we get together that there are one or two that are poems, one or two that are pieced together and some that we write on the fly. There are so many of them that nobody has ever heardstacks of them.

RR: I did get a chance to hear “Obstacle of Course.”

TA: Did you hear the one that I did with Bryce [Goggin]? With the actual band?

RR: No, not that version.

TA: It came out really well. It almost got on the album but the only reason it came off was that it wassomething about it that I couldn’tI’m all for optimism but it was optimistic to the point of, to my ear, that there’s times that it made me gag. The beauty of Tom and I writing together is that there are usually so many songs that it has gotten to the point that you can let them go pretty easily.

RR: That’s a great situation to be in.

TA: That is a great situation to be in. When you write this, I hope I was able to convey the most important thing to me, which is my love and admirationwhich are both sky highfor Tom. My absolute intent is to continue to write with Tom for my whole life.

He is one of my best friends; he is the godfather of my daughter and we have a really special relationship that will go on forever. It just has to at this pointa 30-year relationship. (laughs)

RR: That relationship began at the Princeton Day Schoola place that really seemed to encourage creativity and imagination on a daily basis. I spoke with Tom about this subject but how much of an impact did PDS have on you?

TA: That and it was also encouraged by my parentsmy mom and her mom and now, my daughtersthe genes carried on. (laughs) My grandmother was one of the first female advertising executives in New York City. As far as I know, she did the first T.V. ad by a woman in the 50s. She was a single mom, divorced, and raised her two kids as best she could in the city. Now, my mom is also single but very creative. She’s written around fifty children’s books, wrote for Sesame Street magazine and created mosaic tiles that she sells at festivals. She has also had work at the Lincoln Center Crafts Festival. She recently backpacked around Iceland. (laughs) She goes to Indiaalone, creative and very adventurous and she always encouraged me in that way. I tell the story about how I wrote “You Enjoy Myself” while I was in Europe backpacking around and that was her idea. She basically said, “You’re 18 years old. Get a job (I painted a bunch of houses) and go away!” That was her method of parenting, her method of child rearing. (laughter)

I think about that, sometimes. I’m sure you heard the whole thing about the backpack and me going down to Atlanta. That was so funny. (laughs) Well, my mom is into the backpack thing. I think she instilled that in me. I think the reason I talked about the backpack so much was because going from what was really, really adventurous on a musical levelPhishand it was massively creative with three of the most incredible people around and the management and everybody to running this giant corporation which by its very nature is incredibly conservative and groundedand when things get that big, you are locked in. I never intended to have that life. Suddenly, I was going into an office, hanging out in a conference room and going over piles of paper and figures about how the merchandise company is doing. It was never going to work. (laughs) The symbolism of ditching all of that, everything into one big pileall of the tiesand flying down there [to Atlanta] with nothingthat was the symbolism of that. I’ll just make records with somebody else somewhere else. I don’t care. It is keeping me open to the option that I might find myself in the jungles of Fiji with a bunch of drummers. “Heylet’s make an album here.” (laughter) That’s the way I want to live my life. So, I think I got a lot from her, too.

RR: “Sleep Again” from Shine captures that aftermath vibe in a profound way.

TA: Yeah, I really liked that one. No one got it because they were really angry. It was the first song without fourteen sections to it. (laughter) The problem with that mentality is that you are always going to get yourself in trouble. As soon as you do one kind of albumif you are in that kind of nature of always being squirmythen, it is like “I did that; I want to do something different.” It’s always like turning left into the mush. I go down and work with Ernie [Stires] for a little while and I’m writing fugues because he likes fugues and I know one thing he hates: free jazz. (laughs) His reaction to Surrender to the Air was “bless your heart.” As soon as you tell me I’m X, I’m going to be Y. (laughs) If I don’t write lyrics then, I’m going to write lyrics. I heard: “Oh, now Trey writes his own lyrics?” Then, I’m going to sing in German next time. Rock concert?! Bring on an orchestra. (laughs) A lot of times, it can kind of piss people off. (laughter) Sometimes, it’ll yield really interesting things if you follow the Bob Dylan philosophy.

I have a real problem with letting people down and it was an awful feeling and I probably created some really awful feelings so I am sorry about that. This audience that I loved so much was so crushed by everything that I was doing when it almost became a matter of life or death. No exaggeration. It had to stop. It was an out-of-control freight train going really fast towards a brick wall. Somebody had to pull the brake.

Epilogue The Land That Time Remembered
During Trey’s formal Princeton schooling and in subsequent years, these friends met at various places both to hear and play music. They often made day trips and nighttime visits to a metal rhombus tucked into the woods less than a forty-five-minute drive away. Trey later celebrated these gatherings and the geography that inspired them with his music. To many fans the kingpin of the Princeton mafia is Tom Marshall. Tom’s correspondence with Trey while Trey lived in Burlington became the source and inspiration for some of Trey’s music. In turn, Tom became Trey’s writing partner, a relationship that continues to this day.The Phishing Manual: A Compendium to the Music of Phish by Dean Budnick

RR: Let’s conclude with future Amfibian live gigs. Yossarian Kelley and World Wide Music Travel met with Ryan Stanley, Amfibian’s business manager for a possible festival date for Amfibian and some other groups including MMW. Would you like to comment on this possibility?

Tom Marshall: Yossarian spoke with Ryan and Ryan is taking the ball and running with it. I think at the moment he is exploring that avenue himself. It has been mentioned to me, I know Yossarian from Phantasy Tour and I’ve conversed with him on e-mail in the past but I don’t really know about the festival in question here. Maybe, it is something that we would definitely like to do. [Author’s Note: Yossarian Kelley is also the son of famous artist Alton Kelley who, among many other works, designed and created with Stanley Mouse for the Grateful Dead including their Europe ’72 album featuring the famous Ice Cream Kid imagery.]

RR: Are you playing at Princeton with Amfibian in the fall? Will Trey be a guest?

TM: Amfibian has been talking with a couple of booking companies as well as our record company and a few people that were recommended to us. Amfibian is going to focus on festivals in the spring and summer of 2008big time. Prior to that, we have a strategy where we are going to play a pretty good number of colleges on the east coast as well as venues in the college towns.

The interesting and encouraging thing is that we are now in deep conversations with some people at Princeton University to play as the final bandto bat cleanup after three bandsat an all-day charity concert at Richardson Auditorium, which happens to be a place that also figures into Trey’s and my musical history. It is our favorite venue at Princeton despite what we may have said when we were on stage at McCarter Theatre. Richardson Auditorium is really the favorite and it used to be called Alexander Hall back when we were at Princeton Day School. Together there, we saw what was my favorite, an amazing concert, King Crimson when they came out with Discipline. That was really an amazingly unbelievable concert with Robert Fripp and Adrian Belewboth were in their primesand then, Tony Levin on bass and Bill Bruford on drums. It was just like a dream team that knocked us for a complete loop. We also saw Pat Metheny there at least three times, Jean-Luc Ponty and some crazy concerts that you wouldn’t expecta lot of jazz showsthe second we learned about it. We just saw everything there.

When and if Amfibian plays there, it would be a dream come true. There is no way that I am not going to invite Trey to come and play. I’m going to invite him to come and play but as to whether or not he’ll say yes, depending on his personal circumstances, I have no idea, right now. I’m expecting a 5% chance of that happening but not extending the invite would mean that the karma police would definitely attack me.

_There are many people to thank in a feature series this complex and encompassing several interviews in numerous settings over a vast period of time. All judgment or stylistic errors are my own, but these fine folks helped achieve the victories. I felt it would be grossly remiss if I didn’t thank the following people for helping me make this two-part feature the best that it could possibly beTom Marshall and his family, Trey Anastasio and his family, Dean Budnick, Brad Sands, Josh Baron, Mike Greenhaus, Benjy Eisen, Richard Glasgow, Anthony Krizan, Tommy Camuso, Yossarian Kelley, J.K. Rowling and, of course, my lovely wife, Maija Ray, who was very much pregnant and beyond with twin boys and did all she could to make sure I had what I needed to complete my work. For more of my features, please see

Show 0 Comments