Phish: Back on The Train Part Two (Relix Revisited)
Were there any songs that you decided not to play because for one reason or another they didn’t feel comfortable any more?
For a couple weeks in November, I said I wouldn’t play “Mike’s Song.” It was something I wrote when I was a sophomore in college and it’s harder to relate to it now. Why should I need to keep playing it if I can’t relate to it— just because it’s a big showstopper? But I came around. A lot of these songs were 20 years old and sometimes it’s hard to infuse emotion into something when it’s from a different era, although sometimes it’s easier when you see it in a different way.
Songs always come from a passionate place but the way that they get developed changes over the years. So, “Scent of a Mule,” I like—but it has a quality that it’s harder to relate to now, along with “Possum” which is Jeff Holdsworth’s song.
I was actually going into this era wishing that I wouldn’t sing any of my old songs because I’ve written 100 songs, why do these old ones? But then I saw that what we were doing was rekindling all of the passion that was in this material and kind of rebuilding the Phish essence by going back to its roots and finding what’s always been there—and these older songs have a lot of that. So I think it was a good way to do it, and now we get to move forward.
Hampton featured lengthy setlists as opposed to extended versions of songs. Was this a conscious decision in order to present the many flavors of the band?
I don’t think it was for the sake of offering different flavors because you can have too many flavors—it’s not always a good idea. Trey listened to some ‘93, ‘94 Phish and was saying that there were more songs per set and sometimes the sets were cool without having every song be a long jam by going to these different sorts of places because of the way the song was composed. So that was a conscious awareness, and that’s another reason why I’m so glad that they seemed to flow in a way where it was as if we were jamming even if it wasn’t improvised.
How are you applying the Hampton experience to the future?
Right now, we’re having a great time in the studio, [and] there’s tons of new material. A lot [of it] we’ll never get to because everyone has so many songs. I won’t talk about my own stuff, but for me there’s a new level of maturity in Trey’s songs where even the stuff that sounds kind of grooving and fun in a retro way, sounds fresh and brand new to me because of that maturity. The same song—five, 10 or 15 years ago—might have been meaningful but a little bit awkward in certain ways. Now, instead of awkward, it’s just raging.
So that’s pretty exciting and I’m very passionate about continuing my solo career, even though it’s in its beginning stages. This is a very busy year for Phish with all of the practicing and touring and recording happening in the same six months. Hopefully we’ll have huge chunks of the year when I can work on my solo career and movies and other things. And I think we’ll all be doing that.
It’s a new era for us. I’m not in my 20s or 30s anymore. I’m in my 40s and I have to find a new balance for Phish in my life. I seem to be finding it—or feeling like I will find it—so I’m very positive.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
Crystal Bowersox stops by Relix to perform a song from her new album, All That For This.
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