Tuesday, January 12, 2010
9:43 PM | Posted by oh kee pah | | Edit Post
|After his tenure with Phil Lesh & Friends, Jackie Greene is a man who knows his Grateful Dead music. He's also a pretty sweet, giving cat who's put together a free 3-song EP containing his versions of "Sugaree," "New Speedway Boogie" and "Brokedown Palace" on what he's titled The Grateful EP. You can download it here. Make sure to say thanks when you're checking out Jackie somewhere out on the road this year.|
6:19 PM | Posted by oh kee pah | | Edit Post
Phish, those four cuddly Vermont dudes that ignited the modern jam-rock movement, does not seem like an ideal candidate for a tell-all book. But Parke Puterbaugh’s “Phish: The Biography” reveals issues that not only threatened, but succeeded, in breaking up the band, which has since reunited.
Puterbaugh, who first interviewed band members Trey Anastasio (guitar, vocals), Mike Gordon (bass, vocals), Jon Fishman (drums, vocals) and Page McConnell (keyboards, vocals) in 1995 when he was working for Rolling Stone, has emerged with the definitive story of the band — arguably the most influential rock act of the 1990s, depending on your stance regarding Nirvana — from its formation in college in 1983 and its rise from clubs to sold-out arenas.
Puterbaugh does a fine job of exploring Phish’s unique mix of classic and progressive rock with jazz and even bluegrass and barbershop music. He gets inside the roots of the band’s ability to improvise, and while there has always been a strong chemistry between the four, it was never automatic; the group honed its skills in marathon practices, often introducing complex exercises, which Puterbaugh unveils thanks to attending rehearsals.
The influence of the members’ personalities is particularly interesting. Anastasio, a natural-born leader, tried to pull the band into a more democratic direction, going so far as using a percussion and keyboard rig for a while in the ’90s to avoid leading too many jams with his guitar in an effort to open things up for the others. “The Story of the Ghost,” released in 1998, was the result of Anastasio trying to collaborate in the studio with the other three. But when it came time for the follow-up, “Farmhouse,” Anastasio came in with songs pre-written, many of them co-composed by members of his solo band.
Phish’s members, who came from well-to-do backgrounds, were able to grow at their own pace and avoid the traps of fame until the late ’90s, when heavier drugs like cocaine crept into the band and crew’s lifestyles. The guest list at shows often included thousands of backstage visitors. The band dubbed the inner-sanctum party zone “The Betty Ford Clinic,” an ironic foreshadowing of Anastasio’s later drug bust and rehab stint.
With mounting pressure to tour to support an oversized crew and staff as well as divorces and substance problems, what helped keep the band sharp — practices — fell by the wayside.
Puterbaugh chronicles the 2000 hiatus, the return at the end of 2002, the 2004 breakup, Anastasio’s drug fiasco and last year’s reunion. The author spices the narrative with anecdotes from Phish and close associates, like lyricist Tom Marshall, manager John Paluska, sound man Paul Languedoc and lighting director Chris Kuroda. Puterbaugh reports the facts but also gets inside them, with elements, for example, of growing tensions between McConnell and Anastasio. McConnell grew tired of Anastasio’s drug use — Anastasio insinuated that the keyboardist had issues of his own, though — as well as band business, having its management company audited.
The candid quotes are a tribute to their trust in Puterbaugh and his abilities as a reporter and writer. Asked why Phish rose to such heights, Anastasio gave the author an answer that provides a good summation: “We’re these four suburban kids who grew up listening to classic-rock stations. … You wonder, How did we get so popular? But it seems kind of obvious … because our experiences are similar to many other people’s and our music speaks to them.”
6:09 PM | Posted by oh kee pah | | Edit Post
The Public Safety Committee voted 4-3 to approve AB 390 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), who said the bill would provide tax revenue to the state and regulation of the drug. The new law includes a requirement that users be at least 21 years old.
The measure next goes to the Health Committee, but proponents worried it would not be acted on by that panel by Friday's deadline, which would require the proposal to be reintroduced to be heard this year by the full Assembly."The way it exists now is harming our youth,'' Ammiano said. "Drug dealers do not ask for ID. We need to regulate something that has gone chaotic, has resulted in carnage. I understand it's not everybody's cup of tea.''
Assemblyman Danny Gilmore (R-Hanford), a former CHP commander, said the $50 tax on each ounce of marijuana sold to pay for drug education and treatment is not worth the grief that will be caused by legalization. Read more
8:34 AM | Posted by oh kee pah | | Edit Post
Trailer for Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes, a film by M. Slinger
8:26 AM | Posted by oh kee pah | | Edit Post
Enc: Franklins Tower (PL)
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