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Spotlight: Pink Talking Fish

Raffaela Kenny-Cincotta | May 10, 2018

Last summer, Pink Talking Fish played four full Pink Floyd albums over three days. It was an ambitious undertaking—reenactments of Animals, Dark Side of the Moon, Meddle and Wish You Were Here. However, as their increased presence on the jam scene affirms, Pink Talking Fish are much more than a bar-style tribute act. While exploring the depths of the Pink Floyd songbook, founder Eric Gould and his compatriots creatively weave together songs by Phish and Talking Heads to create setlists that shed new light on each band’s storied songbook.

“We take a producer’s design mentality to Pink Talking Fish,” the bassist says. “Every show is really just saying, ‘What type of adventure can we take people on that they haven’t been on before?’”

Following their “Pink Floyd Box Set Experience,” the band traveled to see Roger Waters perform at Denver’s Pepsi Center. According to Gould, it was “the ultimate exhale,” the perfect way to conclude such an exciting musical challenge. “When the lights came down, and ‘Speak to Me/Breathe’ came on, all of us had our arms around each other in awe of the production. As a band—a brotherhood—it was a beautiful bonding experience.”

Gould—who co-founded the popular livetronica act Particle in 2000—refers to Pink Talking Fish as his “brainchild,” and says it was conceived at an interesting time in his life. In late 2013, he had just become a father. Simultaneously, his bandmates in Particle pitched an extensive, coast-to-coast tour. “My attitude was: ‘Yes. Particle needs to do that. That’s awesome. I just can’t be the guy to do that,’” he explains. Gould played his final shows with Particle over New Year’s 2013–2014, and after a few test concerts, the idea for Pink Talking Fish began to truly marinate. He approached it with an attitude of “whatever happens, happens,” but once he felt the amount of joy onstage and in the audience, “It snowballed into what Pink Talking Fish is today.”

Listening to the cohesive quartet that currently flies under the PTF flag, it’s surprising to learn that the band originally relied on a revolving lineup of players. When Gould moved back to the East Coast from Los Angeles (by way of Kansas City) in early 2014, he began searching for a more permanent Pink Talking Fish roster. He eventually found his way to a concert in Worcester, Mass. Phish tribute band The Phreaks were performing and, by the end of the night, the bassist had enlisted drummer Zack Burwick and lead guitarist Dave Brunyak.

At the time, however, Brunyak saw this significant performance as just another gig in New England.

“Somebody mentioned Eric from Particle was in the room and I thought that was great,” Brunyak recalls. “I was running around during setbreak, meeting folks and taking care of some business. He pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, Dave, I’m Eric from Particle,’ and I was like, ‘I gotta go play. See ya later.’ [Laughs.] So the first meeting was nothing special, but he had made his decision that he wanted to offer me the job.”

The next day, over some hamburgers, the two musicians made it official. “I could just tell Dave was going to be a good fit,” Gould remembers. And with the addition of Richard James on keyboards, the current lineup of Pink Talking Fish was solidified.