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Published: 2009/11/03
by Randy Ray

Ode to Joy: The Tom Marshall Interview

How about “In a Misty Glade”?

Oh my God. (laughter) Oh my God. I honestly can’t remember what that is. I think it’s just a Fishman joke song, right?

It’s got a Anastasio/Marshall credit.

It’s funny you say this…I have…(laughs)…if it’s what I think it is…it’s actually almost like a throwaway, but really funny with Fishman singing it. Here’s what I remember about that song. It’s Fishman trying to sing on top of some pretty cool music. He takes a Scott Herman/Tom Marshall poem from the book, the same one that “Roggae” came from, a long time ago. That book back then was called The Salamander Prince. All that crazy stuff came from there. That Scott Herman/Tom Marshall composition was one from long ago that we gave to Trey.

That one was funny because Fishman took the mic, and was singing—which is unusual, in itself—and the fact that, in one sentence, he mispronounced three words. Notably, one was cue, and I think he pronounced it “cue-y.” (laughter) I think that was a joke. It’s funny, musically decent, and Fishman just sort of butchering the lines is the thing that sealed its fate.

Do you remember co-writing “The Birdwatcher”?

That I do. Before Amfibian, there was a brief moment when Trey, Peter Cottone, Matt Kohut, and I had a band called Utalk. That was one of our songs, for whatever reason. It is sort of like one of those call-and-answer songs. You can imagine a big band kind of thing playing on the stage, and sometimes those guys would snake through the crowd, and one of the guys would be on the trumpet, one of the guys would be on the trombone, and go through the crowd while the rest of the band played on stage, and there’s a call-and-answer to the crowd. I’ve definitely seen stuff like that, and I’ve had it clearly in my mind, but I had no idea who it was. That’s what we had in our mind when we wrote it.

It was just filled with bad jokes, double entendre puns like “a beer belly dancer” and “fire breathing lessons.” (laughter) Yeah—just sort of silliness. It came out pretty good. I have the original that I think I should make public. We are just laughing so hard through the whole song. I think Trey re-visited it. That’s when he was with the band taking four-part harmony training, and barbershop quartet training, and that was one of the songs that they did, along with “Grind,” I think, in the same session.

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