Moderator from barnesandnoble.com: Welcome Mike Gordon! Thank you for
taking the time to join us online tonight. How are you doing this
MG: I am quite well, thanks for having me.
Brendan O'Neill from NJ: Mike - I notice that you are playing more
covers than in recent years. Why is that ?
MG: I think it is because we feel so confident about our own material
now and we have so many songs of our own that we feel like we can play
a bunch of other people's songs without sacrificing out integrity and
it has been fun to learn the songs and better and quicker with songs.
The biggest example is "The Dark Side of the Moon" this past
Andr Jacobson from Lewiston ID: What influenced you and the rest of
the band to write such an in depth book? or to allow one to be written
MG: The project evolved a few times. At first we thouight we hard many
cool photos and the main goal was to get them out. Then our manager
John made us feel that the band is evoliving in an interesting way and
we always analyze it so why not share the analyzing. It was Richard
Gehr' s idea to stem it as one concert then it evoleved to a year. We
knew we wanted to make a book but we didn't know how important the
text is. We are really pleased the way it came out. We are in the
process of making a film and the book got to a place that we are
really proud of.
Robert Crowther from Selinsgrove, PA: Mike, I'm over 40 years old and
attend 20 plus shows a year, (Halloween was great!) The crowd seems
all younger than me. Do you think there is any hope for a guy that
can't to decide what I want to be when I grow up?
MG: I am 33 and a lot of people say I haven't grown up either. It is
hard to stay in touch with the child's mind so i think it is a nice
quality to be able to hold onto the child's perspective, but in terms
of how our music is inspiring to people and what they do with their
own creative urges is a different issue. IN general that is how art
works, people get inspored and o things for themslecves and give
things to the world. BUt not growing up is a good thing...
Jim Predhomme from Detroit, MI: Mike, It seems that Phish is
constantly touring. Do you have the time or any plans to do any more
writing? I really enjoyed "Mike's Corner".
MG: Thanks for the compliment. I have actually been spending all my
time working on a film, not the PHISH film and I like to write so
hopefully at some point I will have another book out, who knows maybe
a novel. It is hard to have a lot of different interests and find time
to do them all.
Steve from Boston: How do you feel about improvistational rock or
"jam" rock moving into the mainstream?
MG: I think that is a good thing becasue it just means that the times
are swaying towards a direction of more spontaneaity and
expereimetnation, which is what the music is supposed to be about. The
80's are long since over. I dpon't know how mainstream it is becoming.
I guess maybe the only danger would be if there got started being a
jam band flavor of the week where it waqs capitalized on by the radio
and trivialized but it is not something I spen any time worrying
Suzy Greenberg from Winsooki, Vermont: What is your favorite venue and
what is your favorite show of all time?
MG: My favorite venue ....hmmm tough one....the Gorge in Washington is
up there--the accoustics are always good. These are hard
questions...the band just keeps evolving every year. Sometimes I talk
about my peak experience in 1995, but we were only playing to two
people. I talk about it in the book. I always write things in my
jounral then I have to go back and remind myself which shows I really
Zzyzx from Seattle: First thanks for covering one of my favorite songs
(Oh! Sweet Nuthin'); the Loaded set was amazing. I noticed the math
joke in the PhishBill biography of you and was wondering if you wrote
it or not. Thanks.
MG: I did write it. I wrote the four band member profiel and a couple
of the others then Brad Sands wrote all the rest of them.
Brendan O'Neill from NJ: Mike - I was fortunate enough to catch the
Sessions @ 54th Street Recordings. Can you Tell us how that went for
you, and when it might be on PBS for us to enjoy ?
MG: I am not sure when it will be on, but it was really nice because
it is such an intimate little environment to be playing in. There were
people closer to Fish than I was to Fish.
Moderator: We are chatting live with Mike Gordon of Phish, and we are
glad to see you all out there! Keep the questions coming, and we'll do
our best to get to as many as we can. To ask a question, click the
SUBMIT QUESTION button on the screen. Don't miss your chance to
purchase your copy of THE PHISH BOOK at 40% off the cover price! Just
click the cover above. And if you haven't taken a look at it yet,
order Mike Gordon's last book, MIKE'S CORNER -- available at 30% off!
Just run a search on our site and order your own! Thanks for joining
us, and enjoy the chat!
Sean from Overland Park, KS: Has this started? And if so, what are
some of the inspirations for Phish's lyrics (like Reba)?
MG: That is a much older song and Trey was experimenting with ways to
write songs, but in the case of Reba it was based on how each word
sounded phoenetically qand having them be about the subject of meat.
Kind of another lyrical writing experiment.
doglog from NJ: Can you talk a little about the Harpua -> Dark Side of
the Moon -> Harpua in Utah? Why did you choose to do that after the
big Vegas weekend? I'm sorry this has no Phish Book content!
MG: Utah was a gig weren't as many tickets sold and a lot of poeple
had decided to skip it were as Halloween was the hottest ticket we
had, so the original idea was to sort of tease the poeple who would
have wanted to hear the song but blew off Utah. Sometimes inobscure
things happen in obscure places. We didn't htink of the idea until
dinner time then we started to learn it. We began to think ti would be
really cool to cover a whole album during Halloween then play the
album the nexct night. We try to do things that stretch the limits of
a bdan. It was as well rehearsed as Loaded but it was fun, they both
jim daisy from odenton md.: my younger brother bought a Eumir Deadato
cd with a very strange arrangement of 2001 on it. I compliment you and
"los guys" for using it. will there be banjo, or pedal steel(please)
at any upcoming shows?
MG: Well, that would be unplanned if there were. I did play the banjo
at Neil Young's Bridge SCHOOL benefit but it hasn't been the focus as
of late, it owuld be nice. We have been focusing a lot more on just
sort of doing what we do best with less extra stuff going on and since
I don'[t practice the banjo very much it ends up being somewhat novel
Sean T. Cercone from Frostburg State University: I have followed the
rise of Phish since July 1992 (I saw you open for Santanna at Big
Birch NY. ) You have encorperated many types of musical genre into
your own style. What other musical genre's do you and or speaking for
the band want to fuse to your ecclectic blend? Where fo you see the
music going or does is it it's own entity and leads you?
MG: We don't talk as much as we used to about infusing styles although
we do listen to a lot of styles. These days the influences are more
blended together into an original sound, but we have ideas from time
to time about funny mixtures like doing house music kind of album for
example. Whose to say what we will actually do.
Josh Zaretsky from Topeka, Kansas: Boxers or Briefs?
Tom Korpas from NJ: Where did you learn to dance like you do in "Punch
You in the Eye?"
MG: Our friend Myndy taught us a couple of dance steps we could use
some more lessons though.
Bob from Toronto Ontario: Hey Mike... I was wondering what the chances
of you guys heading north of the border are again anytime soon... I
realize that our dollar is not that strong but u havent played Ottawa
Montreal or Toronto in years.. Hopefully soon eh... Sharin in the
MG: A lot of people have been asking about Toronto. There are a lot of
places we don't play, we haven't played in Vermont in years so who
Sean Nowlin from Athens, Ohio: Given your past experience with film,
did you or are you having any input on the Phish movie?
MG: Well, I can say we just watched a rough cut today and gave input
today as a group. It is hard to know what direction the movie will go
now. I don't have any personal interst in getting more involved
creatively becasue it is not my movei and I am working on my own movie
which takes all of my home time, but we are giving some input and are
very interested in seeing what direction it might evolve.
Colin from Toronto: Hi Mike, did you do a lot of writing when you were
younger? I love Mike's Corner.
MG: Actually a lot of stories in that book are from when I was
younger. It is a compillation of 15 years of writing, I could probably
pull together another one if there is enough interest.
Loren M. from email@example.com: What specific song performance(please
specify performance date) do you feel was the best "jam" ever (i.e.
most adrenaline pumping jam)? Thanks for your time :) Loren
MG: I can speak for this tour--I like the "split open and Melt" jam in
Sarah Jeanne Van Cleve from Wausau,WI: So Mike, what is your honest
opinon on the glowstick wars created by the audience? Have they become
a problem? Are they a welcome audience participatory sport? There
seems to be a great debate on this....what comes straight from the
MG: We think it is a really cool thing at the the same time it could
be a problem. The first time it happened, poeple starting thropwing up
the glowsticks and Chris(our lighting guy) turned out all the lights,
it was spontaneous and it is still cool then this year at the Lemon
Wheel, I got hit in the eye by oine in the ball of my eye and I saw
spots for about an hour. I could wear goggles, it si not too much of a
problem ,the other night Trey caught on eduring a guitar solo, but
then again if he is going to cathch them then they will throw them
which could end up painful in the end.
Andrew Latschar from Lancaster Pennsylvania: I have seen you at shows
out mingling with the crowd and fans in the lot. Do you have any
strange stories of anything that has ever happened to you in the lot?
P.S. See you at Hampton!
MG: A lot of poepl may know this but also at the Lemon Wheel convert I
was with my friend Pistol and I decided to ask some of the
skateboarders to hold onto the back of our golf-cart and at one point
we had 46 scateboarders holding on to the cart. We had someone on the
hood telling folks to watch out as some of those trailiong fell. Them
PIstol wanted to drive so we switched drivers while moving and we were
swerving so while Pistol was driving I walked off the cart and onto
some people's skateboards and I realized how hard it was for some
people to hold on, there is one thing...
Moderator: Mike Gordon will be with us for a little while longer, so
keep the questions coming, and we'll do our best to get to as many as
we can. To ask a question, click the SUBMIT QUESTION button on the
screen. Don't miss your chance to purchase your copy of THE PHISH BOOK
at 40% off the cover price! Just click the cover above. And if you
haven't taken a look at it yet, order Mike Gordon's last book, MIKE'S
CORNER -- available at 30% off! Just run a search on our site and
order your own! Thanks for joining us, and enjoy the chat!
CARYN from N.Y.C.: MIKE-Now that I've seen the book,my perception of
the band as people has changed. Did you know that this would happen to
your readers? Was that the goal? The book is a success because it is
so personal.Thanks for letting us in. By the way, After seeing your
pictures, I can't help but to incorporate them into this sexualfantasy
where I'm in your high school-I'm hoping you were shy....
MG: Responding to the first part--the book was a project that had to
evolve and there was one point were we got a packet of interviews into
book form. When we first read the packets is was very enlightening,
even thgough we spent 15 years together nad know each other very well,
there were sopme things we talked about with the interview and we
learned alot about ourselves and made some progress in the group
dynamic by talking about. I think that is why people really like the
book, you get this sense of this ongouing discourse among analytical
musicans. A lot of times when wwe talk about some issue, it is sort of
like we are jamming with words and a lot of our jamming on stage is
improv and the book is a dynamic of that music in a non-musical form.
Jim Seikel from Hudson, OH: Mike - You seem to enjoy the
bluegrass/folk songs that are done in concert (ie Uncle Pen), which
bluegrass artists are you most influenced by?
MG: The most obviosu answer is Bill Monroe not becasue he influenced
me specifially but because he inlfunced the genre. Then there are
other people who have been around for a while FLat and Ralph Stanley
and Dell McVOry who we recently met. He is a big inlfuenbce on all the
band, also Tony Rice. ONe of my favorites is Tim O'Brian and Hot
Rize--he just has a great voice. It was ten to 15 years ago they
toured around and Allison Krauss. There are others that I can mention
but those are some that come to mind.
Jon from Greenvegas: How do you guys come up with the Yem vocal jam?
MG: It is entirely spontaneous, we get there (to that part of the
song) and we don't know what is going to happen, whether it will be
long held notes or words, I actually have to give credit to a singing
teacher we had--Jody--she came to one of our concerts and said we do
all this imporoiving and concentrate on our playing why not infuse the
singing with some of that enegergy and it was her idea to do vocal
improiv and we started doing that at our singing lessons. This is
another example of the evolving--however we don't try to over analyze
things. There was a time that we were saying even duringvocal jam it
is importna tot srta froim a simple solfd musical motiff in order for
it to go somehwere meaningful and thqat is something we talked about.
Brian from Greensboro, NC: I really like the new direction that the
band is taking in regards to more simple songwriting. At the same
time, I love some of the older compositons and fugues such as
Fluffhead and Guyute, these songs are one of the things that really
distinguish you from boring mainstream pop music. So my question is,
has Phish totally abandoned the idea of writing new complex
compositions/fugues, or can we expect to see these in the future?
MG: We go back and forth on that issue. There was an interviewer
yesterday who said to Trey "you are the one badn that can go out make
a triple album and not have it be too pretnetous, yet you concentrate
on making three minute songs." We thought he had a good point and we
should go out and make atriple album, at the same time one thing that
appeals to us are concise well crafted songs, when we listen to music
that is what we are listening to in additon to Miles Davis jams. We
don't write songs like we used to when we were 18, we are just
different people nonw so we would have a different approach. Each
album we make tends to be a reaction to the previous album although we
are very excited about our new album. There have been conversations
about making albums with really long songs with a lot different
sections plus albmums that are more song oriented like the last two,
but who knows.
pete from williamsburg va: in the book, you guys talk about songs that
you wanted to quit playing-suzy greenberg and wilson come to mind- but
i see you are still playing them...my question is why did you want to
quit playing them and why did you choose to keep playing them?
MG: We wanted to quite playing them for a while either because we had
been playing them so much that we needed to give them a rest or we
felt they were written a long time ago and we don't fell genuine
singing them any more. SOmetimes giving a song a rest for a hwile is
necessary in bringing it back again.
Mike G from Connecticut: In YEM-- the lyric is-- i think-- "Washa
Uffize, Drive me to Firenze"-- i just want to know-- WHY??!??!
MG: Because Art=Z.
COTT from LAGRANGE GEORGIA: Was the Gamehendge story thought up by
Trey or all of Phish? What inspired Phish to come up with these unique
MG: It was Trey's senior project in college to come up with a story.
Andy's Phish Page