Archive for Mike

Mike Talks Phish

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 27, 2008 by Mr.Miner

mike_gordon-1As he prepares for his mini-New Years Run over the next three days with The Mike Gordon Band, Mike took a little time out on the day after Christmas to talk to The Burlington Free Press about his other band.  In the interview, Mike discussed several Phish-related topics from the guys motivation, their rehearsals, their new management, and their potential touring schedule.  Leave it to Mike to let us in on what is really going on behind the scenes in the world of Phish.

Returning to the studio, Phish spent five days rehearsing in New York City, musically reacquainting with each other and seeing what each member was “bringing to the table” after four years apart.  Gordon mentioned he also had some new songs this time around, implying that the rehearsals were not limited to older material.  With both Mike and Trey’s solo projects having developed in Phish’s time off, it is no surprise that new songs will make up part of Phish’s new repertoire.

Although Gordon noted that the “Phish-organization-got-too-big” reasoning was largely a scapegoat for Phish’s breakup, he also pointed to multiple ways that the band will try to minimize their bureaucratic and organizational involvement this time around.  Phish plans to take themselves out of many decisions, favoring a more corporate infrastructure.  When John Paluska, Phish’s former manager was at the helm for so long, he was integral in keeping Phish on their own path, independent of the larger music industry.  Part and parcel of Paluska’s path were the band’s renowned festivals for which 80,000 people would descend on location for nothing but six sets of Phish.  As Phish is now managed by Red Light Management in Charlottesville, VA, and music mogul Coran Capshaw, expect more of an entrance into music’s mainstream.  Red Light is bringing in a “whole new model,” as Gordon observed, “Maybe we don’t have to have our own festival to make great music. We don’t have to do that and maybe we can be even more a part of the music industry than we were before rather than separate from it.”  Ouch!  That does not sound good.  Based on this statement, Bonnaroo could be a sign of things to come.  Fingers-crossed!

mike-gordonAt the conclusion of the interview, Gordon mentioned the possibility of working with Steve Lillywhite on a new Phish album, and also said that while further dates around Hampton were still possible, his feeling was that we would not see Phish until the summer after their Virginia comeback.

All of this is very interesting.  Phish seems to be buying into Capshaw’s “new” music model after the band spent twenty-plus years forging their own model of self-sufficiency.  With Phish relinquishing the reins of their organization a bit, and Capshaw stepping in to steer their boat, one can only wonder what may be in store for Phish 3.0.  This certainly explains Phish’s Bonnaroo headlining slot and the rumors about Rothbury.  This news may signify the end of the Phish festival, as the band doesn’t seem prepared to undertake such an endeavor.

Yet, regardless of all of these changes in Phish’s management, once Phish hits the stage, things will return to normalcy.  With less to concern themselves with logistically, band members will have more time to focus on what is important– the music.  Hopefully, there is an upside to what seems like a compromise of Phish’s independent legacy.  Without the need to plan tours, devise ideas for festivals, and control their every move, Phish will have the freedom to explore their musical ideas and creativity.  By honing in on what is most important, band members will be able to dedicate themselves to their craft, something that benefits us all.  Let’s just hope that although Phish may be swimming in a larger pond, that our lily pad remains pure.


Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

SUMMER ’09 RUMOR MILL: In other news, dates for Red Rocks appear to be July 29 – August 2 = FIVE NIGHT STAND!

Page Sits In With Mike’s Band

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 18, 2008 by Mr.Miner

Page sat in with Mike’s new band on Friday night, August 15th, for four songs, totaling almost an hour at Waterfront Park in Phish’s hometown of Burlington, VT. (You can listen and download below.)  The extended sit-in featured a tight seventeen minute jam out of the blues-rock, “Traveled Too Far,” a song on which both Page and Trey appear on Mike’s album.  The jam showcased not only Page, but Mike’s whole band who engage in some pretty intense playing.  They also performed a playfully improvised version of the upbeat Gordon tune, “Voices,” which allowed Page to take some solos and loosen up a bit.  With guitarist Scott Murawski and Gordon, the three join in some very cool musical exchange in this jam.  The bluegrass/honky-tonk song “Walls of Time” follows, and Page’s sit-in ends with a bit of Phishy foreshadowing with an roots-based version of “Makisupa Policeman.”  Mike’s band plays this really well, in an authentic island-sounding way, and Mike and Page play some very smooth dub in the short jam.  I’m not sure who comes on stage, but they rip a feeststyle over the second verse!  This is fresh rendition of a song that I thought got pretty dull with Phish.  All in all, the show is really good and worth a listen.  It gives you a sense of what Mike- the busiest member of Phish- is doing these days.  And The Page sit in is great.  Half of Phish is half of Phish, any way you slice it.



Gordeaux and The Green Sparrow

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 13, 2008 by Mr.Miner

While Trey’s weekend has captured the headlines in Phishland, our very own secret agent, Mike Gordon, has been on mission of his own, out on the road touring behind his new album, The Green Sparrow.  With most every song on the album led by prominent big round melodic bass lines, Gordon is certainly the musical lead and centerpiece of his band.  While teaming up with a host of different musicians on the album, he is currently touring with guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist Tom Cleary, drummer Todd Isler, and percussionist Craig Myers; and reviews have been stellar.  The album has a distinctly Gordeaux feel to it with quirky lyrics, smooth rhythms, and a very listenable vibe.  The vocals sound particularly good, as Gordon shows off his range and control on tracks that he dedicated a year to writing.  A shift away from the calypso feeling of his previous collaboration with acoustic guitar craftsman, Leo Kotke, on Sixty-Six Steps, The Green Sparrow is definitely a rock and roll album strewn with Mike’s eccentric and unique funk bass lines.  With an eighteen-month creative process behind the album, The Green Sparrow exists as Gordon’s most developed and focused solo effort.

Some tracks that are typical of the albums large rhythms and smooth harmonies are the opening track “Another Door,” “Dig Further Down,” and “Radar Blip.”  Although Gordon seems intent on keeping this band together regardless of a Phish comeback, it would be hard to imagine that a few songs would not leak into the Phish repertoire.  Ironically, the three Phishiest songs come right in a row on the album in “Pretend,” “Traveled Too Far,” and “Andelmans’ Yard.”  A collaboration with Trey, Page, and Bill Kreutzmann, “Traveled Too Far” seems like a shoe in, and defintely has a place for Phish to explore the rock/bluesy textures of the song.  I can hear Phish playing “Pretend,” a love song to an an unknown woman, as a mellow and groovy stop late in their set, with lush vocal harmonies and a Trey solo at the end.  It would be great to see them adopt “Andelmans’ Yard,” an upbeat funky song with which Phish could really create cool jams in the vein of Undermind‘s “Access Me.”

It is interesting that little has been heard from Gordon’s tour, though people who have seen shows have nothing but good things to say.  On the road through the first week of September, everyone still has a great chance to see him as he will be hitting venues, literally, all over the nation.  Gordon is one who loves to tour, and on more than one occasion, has referred to Phish tour as a “mission” he was on, and how it never grew tiresome, regardless of the stresses it put on his bandmates.  That being said, he is surely happy to be touring again, as his circuit is hitting New Mexico, Nebraska, Minnesota, Oregon as well as all the big markets.  (New Yorkers- Highline-tonight!-8.13)  Take the time and check it out, it really highlights Mike and the sound is infectious, and unlike previous solo albums, very danceable.

Mike Gordon Band 8.5.08 in Richmond, VA- sleeveless.

(This is the best clip I could find- the audio is not that hot.)