Friday, December 18, 2009

The McLovins confirmed for Snoe. Down March 26th, 2010 in Killington, VT










Upcoming Tour Dates:

12/19 - Hartford Sully's Pub Cobill w/ Revision
12/29 - NYC Sullivan Hall Headline!
1/23 - Sully's Pub Headline
2/13 - Nectars Burlington VT
3/26 -Snoe. Down Killington VT

Check out their new EP "Virtual Circle" and all things McLovin at themclovins.com

Patriotledger.com: The year in music, 2009 (Phish content)

BEST RETURN (Bronze):

Southern rockers Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ hadn’t released an album in seven years – and hadn’t played above the Mason-Dixon line since 1997 – so local fans finally got some long overdue DNC action as the band hit town to play TT the Bear’s in November. One of the best shows of the year.

BEST RETURN (Silver):

He hasn’t been gone, per se, but this was the year that R&B/soul wildman Barrence Whitfield finally emerged to play the local club circuit again, this time with a new band, the Monkey Hips. Welcome back, Barrence. We had no idea just how much we needed you.

BEST RETURN (Gold):

Drugs and other drama behind them, the biggest band to ever come out of Vermont – and possibly New England – got back to what it does best: tour, tour and tour some more. In case you’ve been living under a rock, that would be Phish, dude. A solid new album (“Joy”) and many highly regarded shows later, they’re back.

BEST RETURN (Platinum):

Leonard Cohen’s February show at New York’s Beacon Theater – the old master’s first U.S. show in 15 years – is something I’ll carry with me forever. By all accounts, most of his shows this year have been just as transcendent. There’s even an impressive live document, “Live in London,” to mark the return to regular touring.

HEADBANGING IS GOOD FOR YOU:

There were more metal bands having great years in 2009 than any year in recent memory. Massachusetts-bred metalheads had no small part in that, with Killswitch Engage (“Killswitch Engage”), Shadows Fall (“Retribution”), Isis (“Wavering Radiant”) and Revere’s The Red Chord (“Fed Through the Teeth Machine”) rounding out a list topped by Mastodon’s mighty “Crack the Skye.”

FURTHER EVIDENCE THE FAIRER SEX IS TOUGHER:

Florence and the Machine, Ida Maria, Neko Case, Ciara, Lady Gaga, Lily Allen, the Screaming Females, Rihanna, the Gossip’s Beth Ditto ... well, hey, that’s a collection of grrl rockers, spitfires and head-crackers I wouldn’t take lightly.

BEST JUST CAN’T DENY IT:

Like Lil’ Wayne in 2008, Lady Gaga was everywhere in 2009. You can’t deny her – or the appeal of her bizarrely affecting, club-stoking hits – so why even try.

BEST DRAMA:

On top of its long-delayed album and a much-rumored internal power struggle, Aerosmith couldn’t go 10 minutes this year without something happening to suggest a full-on breakup is imminent. Are Steven Tyler and Joe Perry happy together again? It’s going to take more than toothy smiles and buddy-buddy photo ops to prove it.

BEST MUSIC AUTOBIOGRAPHY:

It’d be nice to have segued into saying Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer’s “Hit Hard” was the best first-person rock tell-all I read this year. But then came E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons’ raw, insightful “Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales.” Thanks, big guy, for a good read.

BEST MUSIC BIOGRAPHY:

Wall Street Journal theater critic Terry Teachout outdid pretty much everybody this year – music book or biography – with “Pops: A Life of Louie Armstrong.” So essential that to say it’s “essential” reading for music lovers is understating it.

BEST MUSIC ANTHOLOGY:

If you’re a junkie for great music writing, you owe it to yourself to pick up “Blues & Chaos: The Music Writing of Robert Palmer.” Lovingly edited and assembled by Anthony DeCurtis – himself of no small renown – the anthology does much to highlight Palmer’s curiosity and enthusiasm as well as his scholarship. Palmer died in 1997 at age 52, and you’re only left to wonder what he might have accomplished.

BEST SIDE PROJECT:

Guitarist Luther Dickinson joined the Black Crowes in 2008, which leaves less time for this main group, the blues-rocking North Mississippi Allstars. No matter, said his bandmates Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew, who formed, recorded with and toured behind one hell of a rocking, raunchy side project called Hill Country Revue.

BEST SUPERGROUP:

The album they yielded doesn’t suggest a finished product by any means, but Them Crooked Vultures – guitarist Josh Homme, drummer Dave Grohl and Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones – were nothing if not invigorating. Monster riffs and burly rhythms, and the best part is having Grohl back behind the kit again. Boy, can the guy hit hard.

BEST QUIET ASCENT:

His devoted fans will nod their heads and say “of course,” but has anyone else noticed that country-pop star Brad Paisley has put together one of the most impressive catalogs of the decade? He added to that this year with “American Saturday Night.”

BEST GUILTY PLEASURE:

TV’s “Glee.” The way those sparkly kids burst into song – the dorkiness of it all – is so indelible and fun you could just explode with giddy amusement every time they light into Journey, or Van Halen, or Lily Allen, or the Police, or, or, or Given “Glee’s” success – the cast’s versions of popular songs are awfully popular on iTunes – how long before we get a national tour?

BEST WHY THE HELL NOT:

Bob Dylan’s “Christmas In the Heart.” Something to mock and be weirded out by? Sure, but then you hear it – and you hear the reverence Zimmy brings to “Little Drummer Boy” and “The First Noel” – and what’s that? You’re ... smiling.

BEST BAND NAME:

Give it up for Glasgow indie rockers We Were Promised Jetpacks! Damn right we were.

BEST I DON’T NEED NO STINKING FORMER BAND:

Jason Isbell left the Drive By Truckers in 2007, and two albums later with his new band the 400 Unit, he’s delivering R&B-flavored country rock as good as anything he’s ever done. This year’s self-titled album was one of 2009’s best.

BEST BUT DIDN’T THEY SOUND GREAT:

The Truckers’ B-sides and rarities collection, “The Fine Print,” was loads of fun, drawing on select covers and Truckers obscurities from the band’s many eras.

BEST RECORD LABEL:

Bloodshot Records is a Chicago-based indie shop specializing in what it calls “insurgent country.” That means some of the best upstart and veteran talent in roots-rock, Americana and country, including bands like the Bottle Rockets, Ha Ha Tonka and Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, supreme talents like the Dex Romweber Duo and Wayne “The Train” Hancock, and older hands like Alejandro Escovedo, Old 97’s and Exene Cervenka.

BEST ANY PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY:

Adam Lambert. He made headlines for his outlandish singing, and then for losing “American Idol.” Then he made headlines for his outlandish dance moves at the American Music Awards in November – and got himself booted from “Good Morning America” because of them. Hey, his name’s in the news, and his singing’s a force of nature. Anyone hear from Ruben Studdard lately?

BEST REISSUE:

Most album reissues are little more than gussied-up packaging designed to make you buy the same album you already have. But this year’s 40th anniversary reissue of the Rolling Stones’ “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out” has ya-ya’s to spare. Three discs and a DVD complete with unreleased songs, a behind-the-scenes, and material from their opening acts, including a fiery BB King and a blazing Ike and Tina Turner. Last, for the geeks: the original Rolling Stones review by legendary rock scribe Lester Bangs.

BEST PLEASE TOUR THE NORTHEAST:

That wild iconoclast Tom Waits (perfectly cast as Satan in Terry Gilliam’s upcoming “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus”) just dropped a killer live album, “Glitter and Doom Live” culled from 2008 tour dates in Europe and the U.S. Has he played in Boston, or New York for that matter, in a dog’s age? Ah, no. Dude, what gives?

MVP YOU HEAR A LOT ABOUT:

Guitarist and belter Warren Haynes toured with the reconstituted Grateful Dead this past spring between the 40th anniversary Beacon Theater run and 40th anniversary summer tour with the Allman Brothers Band. He also toured the States and Europe behind a new Gov’t Mule album and has another project, supposedly of New Orleans-style R&B and funk music, in the can. Then there’s his annual charity festival, the Christmas Jam, planning for a Mule-hosted festival in Jamaica next month, and ... well, what have you done this year?

MVP YOU DON’T:

Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo keeps up a grueling tour schedule with both the long-running Lobos and his many side projects. He also finds time to lend his virtuoso skills to Mexican bands like Los Cenzontles, and no less than Bob Dylan, for whom he played accordion on two albums this year.

BEST CLASSY MOVE:

Beyonce giving shell-shocked Taylor Swift her moment at the mic at the MTV Video Music Awards after a classless Kanye West interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech for best video.

COOLEST COLLABORATION (Gold):

Booker T. Jones’ “Potato Hole” had the Drive By Truckers as a backup band and a guest appearance from Neil Young. Smokin’, and so slippery.

COOLEST COLLABORATION (Silver):

Them Crooked Vultures. It wasn’t amazing, but good enough that we want to hear more.

COOLEST COLLABORATION (Bronze):

The Black Keys and some of the most recognizable names in hip hop – Mos Def, Q-Tip, Raekwon, Ludacris and others – kicked down a project called Blakroc. You can thank producer Damon Dash, who saw the potential and called the Keys, for something so curiously fun.

BEST TRUTH IN ADVERTISING:

The Very Best scale new heights in hip-hop, dance music and Western pop with something that combines all of those with Malawian traditional music. Their first full-length album, “Warm Heart of Africa,” is the album all your music snob pals will wish they had heard – and talked up – first.

BEST YOU DON’T NEED VOWELS TO ROCK:

Talk about a force to be reckoned with: South Africa’s BLK JKS are an experimental rock outfit that combines reggae, jazz, prog and various African styles into a unique sound.

BEST NEW JAMES BROWN:

Black Joe Lewis. See below.

BEST COVER:

I’ll take Levon Helm tackling the Grateful Dead’s “Tennessee Jed” on his strong recent album, “Electric Dirt.” Talk about something that works so well: a folksy Dead song that seems tailor made for The Band’s N’awlins-style horns. and Helm’s potent vocals.

HMM, NOT SO MUCH:

The new Norah Jones CD, “The Fall,” hinted that the sultry singer was shifting from jazz to rock. And she signed up pals like Ryan Adams, Okkervil River’s Will Sheff and guitarist Smokey Hormel to accompany her. Everything on it sounds dull and forced. Why can’t Jones bring the same sense of fun and laid-back humor to her solo albums that she does with side projects like The Little Willies?

BEST HONKY-TONK WOMAN:

Cambridge-based Eilen Jewell had one of the year’s great Americana releases in “Sea of Tears.” Those of us who saw her at the much-missed Tir na nog in Somerville’s Union Square way back when can say she was onto something.

BEST EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN:

Can it be? According to Nielsen Soundscan, sales of vinyl records are up 35 percent in 2009, and are at their highest point since Nielsen began tracking vinyl sales in 1991. Maybe there’s hope for the plummeting CD in a later life, but at the moment they’ll never match the romanticism of vinyl.

BEST HEY THERE DELILAH:

We’ll present this award to Owl City’s “Fireflies,” a sad-sack, emo-riffic pop song that’s so catchy it’s impossible not to like it in spite of its utter wimpiness.

BEST WHOPPER FOR YOUR FAVORITE JAZZBO:

Got a few hundred bucks to drop? Go for “The Complete Columbia Album Collection” of Miles Davis, which includes – gulp – 70 CDs and one DVD, and is available through Amazon.com for $364.98. This beast has a cross-section of all his studio albums from 1957 to 1985, plus a never-before released live recording from the Isle of Wight in 1970, and a concert DVD of his Herbie Hancock-Wayne Shorter quintet from 1967.

BEST CHEAPO FOR YOUR FAVORITE COUNTRY LOVER:

Check out “Nowhere to Run: The Little Darlin’ Years 1966-1970,” a collection of Johnny Paycheck sides. They’ll love it – if only for a song called “(Pardon Me) I’ve Got Someone to Kill” – and it’s a steal at $19.99.

BEST BOXED SET, PERIOD:

The Richard Thompson four-discer “Walking On a Wire (1968-2009)” goes wide and deep, drawing on cuts from more than 30 of Thompson’s albums – Fairport Convention and otherwise. Boy, is Thompson accomplished, as a songwriter and especially as a guitarist.

BEST EULOGY:

When legendary producer Jim Dickinson died in August, his son, Luther – guitarist for the North Mississippi Allstars and the Black Crowes – put together an acoustic session with Dickinson’s old pals. The yield was “Onward and Upward,” a collection of country blues and gospel songs that sound rough and in the moment.

BEST LIST:

What, this one? Well, that’s very kind of you. But take a listen to Rosanne Cash’s “The List” – a guest-heavy album culled from what her dad, Johnny, gave her of what he considered the 100 greatest country and American songs – and know that it’s a list worth heeding.

BEST TRENDY ROLLING STONES OBSCURITY:

The “Exile on Main Street” deep cut “Ventilator Blues,” covered as part of broader Stones tributes by both Phish and Gov’t Mule on Halloween.

BEST MUSIC STORY:

How about that Susan Boyle, eh? Become a YouTube sensation after singing the heck out of a tune from “Les Miserables,” have a breakdown after losing the “Britain’s Got Talent” competition, and then – wait for it – release an album that sold more copies in its first week than any other in 2009? Wow. (It’s also the biggest first-week seller by a debut album since 1993.)

BEST PLEASE PICK A BAND ALREADY:

He blew up with the White Stripes, then launched the Raconteurs, and this year, Jack White had another crackling triumph alongside Kills frontwoman Alison Mosshart called The Dead Weather. Oh, and he still found time to appear in “It Might Get Loud,” the documentary about guitar playing starring him, U2’s The Edge and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page.

BEST CULT BAND I FINALLY GET:

I realize I’m late to the party on this, but I attended my first Sunn O))) show – more like Sunn O ))) experience – this year. The American band incorporates elements of metal with noise rock, ambience and droning, and live the result is something primal and brutally exhilarating – so loud as to be ear-shattering and so mysterious as to be inscrutable. I was exhilarated, I can tell you that. Definitely not for everyone, and its devotees prefer it that way.

BEST STILL GOT IT:

At the Paradise in November, The Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow offered yelping, howling, crowd surfing and trouser dropping, and remains the most dynamic punk frontman since Iggy Pop despite not having played a show here in 10 years.

BEST SAMPLER:

If you’re a soul and R&B fiend, you’ll take to Daptone Gold – a compilation of rarities and new tracks from the best artists on Brooklyn’s soul-revivalist Daptone label – like catnip. Simply killer cuts from Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the Budos Band, Antibalas, the Menahan Street Band, Lee Fields, Naomi Shelton and others.

BEST NEW VENUE (BOSTON):

It can feel a little antiseptic at first, but the House of Blues – and its club-within-a-club the Foundation Room – is a winner.

BEST NEW VENUE (SOUTH SHORE):

We dig the comfortable “hangout-and-have-a-beer” vibe at Mari’s Place, which opened in February.

FIVE TO WATCH:

Of bands from the Boston area that scream “on the rise” or just have a nice healthy buzz, I’m partial to: Hot Day at the Zoo, the Lowell rock ‘n’ bluegrass crew that’s improved immeasurably in six short years; Highway Ghosts, the more-than-capable Weymouth country-rock aficionados; Gretel, the inventive roots and folk crew tearing up the local scene; Mean Creek, freshly minted as “New Act of the Year” by the Boston Music Awards; and rock/hip-hop outfit Bad Rabbits, who turned more than a few heads at that same awards show.

BEST INDIE ROCK HOTBED:

Providence has been churning out great bands for years. Thanks to the triumphs of the Low Anthem (“Oh My God, Charlie Darwin”), Deer Tick (“Born On Flag Day”) and others, The Rhode Island capital is firmly affixed to the map of hipster cool.

BEST BOSTON SUPERGROUP:

You still can’t go wrong with the Dennis Brennan Band, whose long running Wednesday residency at the Lizard Lounge is a fixture and regularly attracts some of the top talent in the city. But give it up for the Sea Monsters, a Christian McNeill-led collective of crazies – and frequent special guests – that’s been positively blowing the roof off of Somerville’s Precinct every Sunday for more than a year. If you don’t want the weekend to end, take a trip to Precinct around 11 p.m. Sundays when things are really cooking. You won’t be disappointed. Or alone.

BEST NEEDS A NEW ALBUM, STAT:

Local blues, soul and R&B belter Andrea Gillis has loads of material, and has been packing them in at Cambridge’s Plough & Stars and other locations. Another album is said to be in the works, and good thing: her last was five years ago.

BEST FENWAY CONCERT:

The ol’ ball field was busier than usual this year, with grass-destroying shows by the Dave Matthews Band, Phish and Sir Paul McCartney. What I love most about McCartney’s shows is that they scratch our Beatles itch without sounding cloying or pretentious. Good times, indeed.

BEST, AH THAT’S WHERE THEY WENT:

The once-promising darlings of the indie rock world, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (who have four of five members with South Shore ties), have been kind of, sort of on hiatus (right? guys?) for a while. While they sort it out, Robbie Guertin and Tyler Sargent have plugged back in with Brooklyn art rockers Uninhabitable Mansions, and frontman Alec Ounsworth dropped a strong solo album, “Mo’ Beauty.”

BEST PRACTICED HANDS:

How about U2’s “No Line on the Horizon” and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s “Workin’ On a Dream.” Neither was among their best, and both were overpraised, but both felt vigorous, immediate and just right for the times.

BEST LOOKIN’ GOOD AT 40:

The Allman Brothers Band still packs a wallop, and as its 40th anniversary tour routed through the Comcast Center – with Widespread Panic in tow – it played one of its best Boston-area gigs in years to an adoring crowd.

BEST LOOKIN’ GOOD AT 50:

May we all greet 50 with the strength, pride and rockin’ spirit as the Quincy Beachcomber. To your health, old friend!

BEST CARRYING THE TORCH:

More than a year into its makeover and new management, the C-Note at Nantasket Beach hasn’t lost a step.

BEST NEW MILEY CYRUS:

If you hear your daughters screaming and can get a word in edgewise, they’ve either been watching too much “Twilight,” or they’ve caught the Justin Bieber bug. All of 15 years old, the Ontario native has already established himself as a force of nature for the ’tweeners. Don’t be surprised, Mom and Dad, when you’re being flooded with requests for tickets. What happened to Miley Cyrus, you ask? She’s 17 now. An elder stateswoman.

SONG OF THE YEAR:

U2’s “No Line on the Horizon” wasn’t the defining U2 document I’d hoped for, nor the masterpiece many anointed. But “Moment of Surrender” is as grand a statement as U2’s made this decade – an emotional wallop that, in the live setting especially, soared.

BEST CONNOISSEUR'S HIP HOP ALBUM:

How about that Scott Mescudi, aka Kid Cudi, who makes things go beep, makes them mellow and makes them get deep under your skin on "Man on the Moon: The End of the Day." It features collaborations with the likes of Kanye West and Ratatat and narration from Common. If this spaced-out, grandiose, curiously weird album is a sign of hip-hop ambition in the next decade, count me in.

BEST STILL THE KING:

Jay-Z's “The Blueprint 3” isn’t on par with his original “Blueprint” (2001), but few hip-hop releases in the past decade were. Instead, Jay dials up the big-name collaborators and stacked producers and wages war between the boasting, cocksure Jay of the past and the more coolly efficient Jay of what sounds like the future. Lots to like about this one.

BEST CLUB BANGER:

It has to be a little cheesy, a little boneheaded, and more fun than you’d have just shaking your butt to any old garden variety club song with a beat. Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” kept dance floors sweaty all year. And I can’t find the words to describe it without being disrespectful, but the David Guetta-Akon collaboration, “Sexy Bitch,” is pretty fun, too.

PLEASE, NO MORE:

Look, I like the Black-Eyed Peas, OK? They’ve been fun for years and behind all their dopey posturing is a deep well of talent, especially from Will.i.am. But “I Gotta Feeling” is like chugging – no, snorting – an entire can of Red Bull, and you’re left with sort of sticky, un-hyped-up feeling of overstimulated mess. That’s not the case, however, with “Boom Boom Pow,” which “Feeling” replaced on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 midway through the year. “Boom Boom” had the goods.

BEST RECOVERY:

Artists who have experienced a year like Rihanna – and the sketchy, sad circumstances around what happened with Chris Brown – might have packed it in. ”Instead, here comes “Rated R,” a show of force and a mark of real growth from the R&B club favorite. This one grew on me, and now I think it ranks with the curious singer’s best.

RollingStone.com: Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page Plans Return to Stage in 2010

Jimmy Page plans to return to the stage in 2010, but it won’t be alongside the rest of Led Zeppelin. With Robert Plant and Alison Krauss working on the follow-up to the Grammy-winning Raising Sand and John Paul Jones now playing with Josh Homme and Dave Grohl in Them Crooked Vultures, Page is tired of waiting to rock and will take whatever new material he’s cultivated to the stage next year.

“We’re running up to Christmas now and next year I have every intention of playing music live and manifesting it,” Page tells Sky News (via Spinner). “I’ve got the music waiting, and that’s what I’ll be doing. It’s been two years since the 02, so it’s time to do that.” Read more

From the Archives: Mike Gordon Brings a Jewish Flavor to Phish 12.16.99

Jvibe.com
By Jacob Horowitz


Nobody could have predicted in the 1970s that the halls of the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, Mass., were the breeding grounds for one of modern music's most dynamic musicians.

It was there that Sudbury native Mike Gordon embarked on an educational and spiritual quest that has lead him to the pinnacle of his musical profession.

For the past 17 years, Phish, with Mike Gordon on bass, Jon Fishman on drums, Page McConnell on keyboards, and Trey Anastasio on guitar, have been ascending the ladder toward cult icon status.

They have, according to many, solidified their place atop the mountain of jam-based, improvisational music.

Without a Top 40 hit or any extensive radio airplay, Phish has grown into one of the top grossing acts in the country, and has developed an intensely devoted fan base that thinks nothing of traveling a many day journey just to see one more show.

Despite relocating to Vermont, Mike "Cactus" Gordon has never drifted too far from his Beantown roots. Gordon has always been fond of the city in which he was raised, and over the years, Boston-area concerts have served as an outlet for him to perform not only for fans, but also for the extensive family he has in the region.

A Jewish Flavor

In addition to his local roots, how Mike Gordon was brought up has affected him as much as where. The Gordon family belonged to Congregation Beth El in Sudbury.

Judaism played a significant role in Mike's upbringing. "In addition to attending Schechter," he says, "when I was little we lit Shabbat candles, went to temple, and celebrated most Jewish holidays."

With the exception of the occasional seder here and there, Mike admits that he has not been a practicing Jew for several years.

That, however, does not lessen the obvious role that Judaism has played in his life, both as a person and as a musician.

"Music," he explains, "fills many of the holes that religion leaves open. The philosophical feeling behind religion, a religious upbringing, and even the notion of praying to God is very abstract. This transfers directly to my relationship with music. While you cannot necessarily touch music, you can feel it and it is something to believe in."

"I've always compared my movements on stage to davening [praying]," he added. "To me, music has always served as that type of religious release."

"Michael is an effortlessly spiritual person," says Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, the current rabbi in residence at Hebrew Union College in Manhattan, who years ago performed Gordon's bar mitzvah at Beth El and with whom Gordon is still in contact. "It naturally flows out of who he is."

Gordon's Jewish background has also left an indelible mark on his music with Phish. He and his bandmates, in fact, incorporate Jewish and Hebrew songs into their regular on-stage repertoire.

Since the late '80s, 'Avenu Malkenu' has woven its way onto Phish's permanent songlist, and it is not uncommon to see amphitheaters and arenas full of Jews and non-Jews alike belting out the lyrics to this traditional Jewish prayer.

"At Schechter," Gordon explains, "we always had morning services, sang the 'birchat ha'mazon' [prayer after the meal], and everything else. A handful of melodies circulated and 'Avenu Malkenu' stuck in my head. It was pretty much my idea to start playing it as a band."

Another tune that has found its way onto Phish's stage is "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav" (Jerusalem of Gold) by Naomi Schemer-Sapir. The song, which has been sung in its entirety on stage as well as recorded in part at the end of their 1994 album "Hoist," was originally commissioned by the Israeli government to be performed at Israel's National Song Festival in May, 1967.

"It was amazing," Gordon recalled, "to see Trey and Page, who had never studied or attempted to speak Hebrew, learn it [Jon comes from a Jewish background].

"I contacted an old classmate of mine, Jill Goldman. She found a choral recording somewhere in her grandmother's house. We all got together, studied the transliteration, practiced and learned it."

The first time Phish sang it in its entirety was at Greatwoods in Mansfield, Mass., in 1993, Gordon remembers, "My nanny was there and it was kind of for her. She was a wonderful woman, my grandmother.

"It was not until later in her life that I really got to know who she was. The more I learned about her, the more I realized how involved she was with the Jewish community in Cambridge."

Phish Fans

Whether it can be attributed to the overt Jewish influence in their music or not, there is no denying that Phish has attracted a significantly large Jewish fan base. Religion aside, however, the fans of Phish are in a class of their own.

"We are very lucky in that regard. We feel like we have the best fans out there," Gordon is quick to acknowledge. In fact, they are so lucky that more seasoned musicians praise the fans that attend Phish shows as much as they do the shows themselves.

"Trey was talking to somebody recently, Graham Nash, I think. Before he even commented on our music, he was telling Trey how fortunate we are to have the fans we do. We are very thankful."

In many ways, Phish fans redefine what it means to be loyal and respectful, and the band has responded in kind with relentless touring schedules and never a dull show.

Last summer, for instance, just a week before the debacle that would become Woodstock '99, Phish hosted its own, two-day music festival (the fourth in as many years and the first of two that year) in Oswego, N.Y., with over 65,000 fans attending.

Despite repeated extreme attendance records such as this, however, there is rarely, if ever, a serious incident of violence or public disturbance, let alone destruction or all-out anarchy.

What is it that attracts such a peaceful crowd and an unusually high percentage of Jewish fans to Phish? Jewish people tend to be very analytical, Gordon believes.

"I am [analytical], and the band certainly has been. In fact, it got so bad that a couple of years ago we even instigated a "no analyzing" rule during band practice."

Phish fans, too, seem to be very analytical. It is not uncommon to see people taking note not only of each song that is played each night, as every show is invariably different, but also recording every action that band members make and each word that is spoken both on and off stage.

As far as what Gordon has to say about the composition of Phish fans, "It is great to have all types of people in the parking lot and at our shows. It is also nice to know that my own heritage is represented." "Represented," however, may be a little of an understatement as not only are there hordes of Jews flocking to Phish shows, but throughout Israel, T-shirts can be purchased with the band's name, logo, and lyrics in Hebrew. There is even an Orthodox rabbi on Phish tour. For several years now, Rabbi Shmuel Skaist and his group, the Gefilte Fish (www.gefiltefish.org), have been traveling to shows, spreading kindness, and trying to promote spirituality to people of all faiths.

"Our goal is to connect with people," says Rav Shmuel. "There are beautiful people at Phish shows, and we hope to bring people closer to themselves through the common bond of music."

Taking a Break

As for a future concert in the Promised Land, Gordon says, "It has been discussed. It won't happen any time too soon because we are planning on taking a break for a while, but it has definitely been talked about."

This break that Gordon mentions is long overdue. While a hiatus from touring has been discussed in the past, this time it is a reality. Having just finished writing and directing his first film (Mike was a film major in college), Outside Out, Gordon plans to use this extended vacation to rework the movie's soundtrack and possibly begin work on his next big-screen project.

This is also the first time in 10 years that fans will have to make other arrangements for New Year's Eve. Rather than try and top last year's Big Cypress spectacle in the Florida Everglades, which attracted over 80,000 fans from around the world, Phish decided that their October 7 show in Mountain View, Calif., was their last one of the year.

Nevertheless, this final tour will no doubt temporarily, at least, satisfy fans, and leave everybody on the edge of their seats, waiting for this vacation to be over. For most, however, this break can not end soon enough.

Big Cypress 10yr Anniversary: Free 12.31.99 Big Cypress

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