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Published: 2013/12/02

Birds of a Feather: Artists Reflect on Phish

Dave Schools (Widespread Panic)

Phish and Widespread played together once at the Cotton Club in Atlanta. We got so wasted on Jager backstage the club owner almost threw both bands out before the show [laughs]. But then Phish got up there and made up something called the “Jager Song“—-to this day you can still find tapes with the “Jager Song” listed on it. Man, it was hilarious. A few years latter, while they were recording the Hoist album, Page and Trey came out and played with us at the Roxy in LA. It’s amazing how well Trey and Mikey [Houser] got along. They never tried to outshine one another and really listened to each other’s playing. Their version of “Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys” is just amazing.

At the end of the 80s it was cool not to know how to play your instruments. But Phish made it cool to be a musician. Those guys really know how to play and truly love music.

Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits)

I didn’t get Phish until I heard A Picture of Nectar, which is funny because I have friends who have seen 500 shows and still don’t own a Phish album. People discredit their albums. That’s bullshit: their albums are brilliant. Rift is especially brilliant music. There are jams on Rift, but that’s not what is it about. It’s about the brilliance of composition and that’s what caught my attention. Now don’t get me wrong: Mike Gordon is still my favorite bass player, but, for me, Phish has always been about Trey and his compositions. It was Trey who pulled me in: his discipline and his skill. It got me into music. I then went onto study music: jazz, classical, and all these other things. It was the gateway drug.

JJ Cale

I also opened for Phish at one time, though I didn’t know who they were. They said, “Do you want to open for Phish?” I said, “Is that Country Joe and the Fish” [laughs]. They said, “No, this is a new group—- they are a jamband.” They felt bad about me not having a full band, so the bass player [Mike] Gordon came out and played bass with us.

Luke Montgomery (Strangefolk)

In this age of instant nostalgia, I’m not sure. I think they deserve to be remembered as one of the most dynamic, creative, and unique bands of the last 20 years. Phish absorbed so many varied elements of the music that preceded them and distilled it into something truly singular and widely appealing, a rare feat. The level of popularity they achieved brandishing their particular sound and sense of showmanship is testament to their ingenuity.

Hank Sullivant (Kuroma)

My first Phish show was July 29, 1998 outside St Louis. I had heard Junta at my summer camp, so knew they had really long, orchestrated songs but I didnt know how much they improvised until they opened with this amazing, 25-minute version of “Bathtub Gin.” Andrew and I were listening to so much Grateful Dead and Phish around then that our music sort of came off as jam-funk even though we had these really good funk arrangements

Brandon Boyd (Incubus)

People usually cite the Grateful Dead when they talk about the impact of jambands. But for me, Phish had much more of an impact since I wasn’t alive during the Dead’s inception and throughout their peak years. Phish were at their peak at a time when I was most easily influenced by music. Phish was one of the first bands I got really, really into. I’d drive halfway across the country to go to one of their shows and we’d always make an adventure out of it. If they were playing within a 2,000 miles radius we’d probably go to their show. People say what you listen to from when your 15-19 years old really creates the musical person, like the experiences you have from when your 1-4 dictate your behavior. The personalities created in that band are so unique.

Comments

There are 31 comments associated with this post

Frank December 2, 2013, 13:20:50

Jeff Holdswoth WAS A GUITARIST! Jesus Christ

Honey Potter December 2, 2013, 13:29:52

What became of Jeff Holdsworth?.

Bonnie December 2, 2013, 13:37:26

To Ted Nugent. Your descrption of Jerry Garcia is describing your pathetic self. There is a reason why at this point in time you are reduced to playing dive bars.You suck!.

Peachy December 2, 2013, 14:32:04

Jambands.com just threw a serious meatball for anyone who is annoyed by Ted Nugent. Please folks, make me laugh!

the highway terror December 2, 2013, 14:59:52

what the hell, Nugent hasn’t had a hit in 30 +years he has to get everyones attention somehow …...

Shockadow December 2, 2013, 15:11:15

Both Keller Williams & Adam Levine mentioned Phish “going away” or “the end” of Phish…
Is there something we don’t know?

Shockadow December 2, 2013, 15:13:42

Both Keller Williams & Adam Levine mentioned Phish “going away” or “the end” of Phish…
Is there something we don’t know?

Dino December 2, 2013, 15:20:02

“Both Keller Williams & Adam Levine mentioned Phish “going away” or “the end” of Phish…
Is there something we don’t know?” These qoutes were taken over the years and I believe this was after the breakup between 2004-2009.

frankytanky December 2, 2013, 15:22:01

“Many artists have given Relix and Jambands.com their two cents on the Vermont quartet over the years, and we’ve compiled many of those thoughts here today. “

Greatfuldunn December 2, 2013, 15:30:31

“Both Keller Williams & Adam Levine mentioned Phish “going away” or “the end” of Phish…
Is there something we don’t know?”
The Coventry shows in August of ’04 were supposed to be the end of their run. Of course, they have obviously reunited since then. And thank God they didn’t go out on that show! What a muddy mess that was!

Jay December 2, 2013, 16:11:03

I once saw Ted Nugent sit in with Lynyrd Skynyrd from the front row. I am not exactly Carlos Santana when it comes to guitar playing but even I can play Sweet Home Alabama. Sure enough they bring out the Motor City Asshat to join them on one of rock and roll’s most famous anthems. After the first verse the guitar player gives Ted the nod to solo. Within 5 seconds every person in the audience that was not utterly inebriated on sour mash, and even some that were realized that old Ted was soloing in the wrong key. It sounded like someone was taking the cat’s temperature with a curling iron. Ted Nugent criticizing Jerry Garcia’s guitar playing holds about as much weight as a desert Bedouin criticizing the Red Wings power play. Long Live The Phish!

smile December 2, 2013, 16:16:50

ted nugent …child molester

Ron Grady December 2, 2013, 23:59:18

Haha Ted Nugent knows as much about guitar playing as he does about politics fucking idiot!

ZamMan December 3, 2013, 07:02:53

F Ted Nugent. . The last time I saw hin he was playing a water park in Hot Springs, Arkansas and he sucked ass

jerry blows December 3, 2013, 10:00:32

Jerry noodled on the guitar and was a mindless drug addict.

MotorCity December 3, 2013, 14:34:35

The Nuge is still shooting flaming arrows across the stage and Jerry is no more than dust…

Enigmatic Recluse December 3, 2013, 22:20:28

Good to hear from folks around the country that Teddy the Nudge is reduced to playing crap gigs. Here un Detroit he can still get suckers out to the big amphitheater every summer. Teddy may be a sack of shit, but Jerry did coast for two-thirds of his career because he was dumb enough to get hooked on smack.

Goldenblue December 4, 2013, 08:38:42

Janbands.com ought to be ashamed of themselves for even printing such garbage from the mouth of someone who has zero credibility in the jamband world. Hey Relix or Jambands.com where would you even be without Jerry and the Deadheads? NOWHERE so why did you choose to even print what he said in an article about Phish? I think this will be one bookmark that I will delete.

From Europe December 5, 2013, 04:15:00

Finally, someone said the truth: Garcia wasn’t a great musician. Compare him to the great r’r guitarist Jimmy Page Townshend Hendrix Blackmore Clapton ec
Garcia and the Grateful Dead create a sociological attitude around the concerts but musically they were nothing special.

Colonel Angus December 5, 2013, 14:02:14

Love these features! Keep them coming.

Col. Lingus December 5, 2013, 16:26:12

Ted Nugent must have mistook his catalog for Jerry Garcia. I’d be willing to bet Jerry spent more time practicing in one year than Ted has his whole life. It certainly shows when you compare their guitar prowess, or lack thereof in Ted’s case.

Col. Lingus December 5, 2013, 16:28:45

Hey From Europe…...you are obviously not a musician

Fred December 6, 2013, 10:37:49

“Jerry noodled on the guitar and was a mindless drug addict.” ^ Jer did noodle and was a drug addict. But, “mindless”? have you even listened to him speak for as little as 30 seconds? One of the most articulate, knowledgeable, interesting minds anywhere, then and now.

Relevant December 6, 2013, 17:19:06

From Europe: During one of the stops on the Plant/Page tour in either 88 or 89, a reporter asked Page how it felt to be the “world’s greatest living guitar player”. Page’s answer: “I wouldn’t know. You should aks Garcia.”.

Hippietrip December 6, 2013, 17:19:11

Like my balls Nugent!

dk70 December 7, 2013, 10:36:12

I would love to see how Ted Nugent could solo over the chord changes on Missippi Half Step, Music Never Stopped or even Deal, for that matter. His wanker pentatonic Foghat wanna-be riffs would fall flat after two measures.

finalvinyl60 December 7, 2013, 12:44:42

Ted’s entitled to his opinion, but what I don’t understand about people of his ilk is why is he so angry and mean spirited. Jerry’s music is celebrated by countless numbers of tribute bands and some of the finest symphony orchestras in this country. The only one playing Ted Nugent’s music, is well, Ted Nugent. A hundred years from now people will still be listiening to and playing Jerry’s music. Nugent’s music dies with him.

From Europe December 7, 2013, 14:11:59

It’s not important if you use a penthatonic or mixolydian or arabic or some difficult and strange scales: I personally consider the solo from Since I’ve been loving you (led zeppelin 3) the most expressive solo in r’n‘r history. It’s your theoretic approach. For example, Jimmy Page create this increadible and intricate songs with open chords (listen the rain song).
Just my opinion: Phil Lesh was the only great musician in the Grateful Dead.

Nick December 7, 2013, 15:53:32

Fuck You Ted Nugent!! If u really said that, that is… I mean, WTF do u know about playing guitar anyhow

kye December 7, 2013, 20:11:22

guys/gals Ted is a Douche he said that like 10 years ago too he is a child raping fool who has about 3 decent guitar rifts. he coulda never have written songs that Jer bear did so F him he is now worth the time. He has one city DETROIT! Now there is a city to be proud of. Bankrupt and taking pensions while Jerry lives on even brighter today When TED dies know one will care except for his lil girl of a wife and the NRA.. HEy but he liked on phish lol #clueless

Carlos December 9, 2013, 13:54:56

So who is the bigger douche bag? John Popper or Ted Nugent?
POPPPPPPPPERRRRR!!!! FUCK THAT RIGHT WING ASSHOLE

dk70 December 10, 2013, 18:27:29

Jimmy Page is a Rock God, master studio album producer, genius riff meister and songwriter. To compare him to “The Nuge” is well, ya know…..PS..“Since I’ve Been Loving You is Diatonic Minor. Jerry in his prime was arguably the best singer songwriter lead player on Earth 1970-1978.

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