As of the year 2004, a twenty one year era of highly influenced music came to hault. Phish, would end their long jam overdosed career following their final tour. Trey Anastsio said he and the band just thought it would be wrong to go until the band burnt out, (Like the Rolling Stones will) which is an intelligent move, but none the less painful for Phish fans and followers.
The Phish history starts in the year of 1983, where Trey Anastasio, Jeff Hollandsworth, Jon Fishman, and Mike Gordon assembled a band in the University of Vermont, their home state. They would play local college parties, that meant nothing to them, but were supposably fun. They played plenty of covers and based their songs on jams. Though playing jams may sound easy, it does take a lot of knowledge of your surrounding band mates to do it in even an exceptable manner. Soon, classically trained pianist Page McConnell would join the band, and Phish (The name was chose, because they thought it'd be funny to have the name named after the drummer) would continue as a five piece. In a short amount of time, Hollandsworth would leave the band for ever.
Phish in a short amount of time would record a certain amounts of songs on what they called the "White Tapes
" or the "White album
". They recorded some popular classics, but the album was not released till 1998. Throughout the years, they would release a good amount of albums, though never really successful, they had their moments. Soon during the 90's Phish's large following start to gain a mass side. They were actually a noticed band, and happened to lead the Jam Band (Blues Traveler, String Cheese, ect) movement to a small dose of fame. Phish then took a long hiatus, and finally came back. As the band says there will not be a comeback this time. Phish is over, and never will return.
Originally Posted by Trey Anastasio
Last Friday night, I got together with Mike, Page and Fish to talk openly about the strong feelings I've been having that Phish has run its course and that we should end it now while it's still on a high note. Once we started talking, it quickly became apparent that the other guys' feelings, while not all the same as mine, were similar in many ways -- most importantly, that we all love and respect Phish and the Phish audience far too much to stand by and allow it to drag on beyond the point of vibrancy and health. We don't want to become caricatures of ourselves, or worse yet, a nostalgia act. By the end of the meeting, we realized that after almost twenty-one years together we were faced with the opportunity to graciously step away in unison, as a group, united in our friendship and our feelings of gratitude.
So Coventry will be the final Phish show. We are proud and thrilled that it will be in our home state of Vermont. We're also excited for the June and August shows, our last tour together. For the sake of clarity, I should say that this is not like the hiatus, which was our last attempt to revitalize ourselves. We're done. It's been an amazing and incredible journey. We thank you all for the love and support that you've shown us.
When I came back from Circuit City the day Undermind
was released. I could have not been more excited. I wanted the album to be the greatest I've heard and an absolute hit. Being that I am a fan of Phish, I always wish the best for them. So, I collected a dozen cans of Coke, and retreated up stairs, where I would put the album into my CD player.
So, I began listening to the album, and was one hundred percent interested. As the album winded down and finished. I was amazed on how many different forms of music they covered. Some that they would rarely run by in any other albums. I was also amazed by each members total contribution. Each wrote atleast one song, and performed fabulously. The album also has it's fare share of just strait up good, catchy Rock songs. Overall, Undermind
is not my favorite Phish album. It doesn't amazes me to the extent Lawn Boy
did, but it does add an amount of freshness to the band, and in fact a new urban sound.
Scents and Subtle Sounds (Intro)
This odd, yet well played intro has such a mystic like feeling. Almost Psychedelic. Many alternative instruments are used in the making of this track. Mostly percussion, some being xylophone, and a wood block. Page's organ playing brings the odd sound and overall feeling more so than any other instruments, with the pounding yet smooth sound that has a great erie feeling to it. Great opened, adds something different to the album, and is just great. Though it is only an intro and does only run at one and a half minutes, it is still worth listening to, and enjoyable. 4/5
"Undermind" has quickly made it's way to my top ten favorite songs list. It brings a very urban sound to the album. When ever this song starts up, I get thought of large cities, or this being played in some kind of late night bar in the center of New York. Very odd to explain. The intro is quite catchy as is the song overall. It simply with Trey song a little solo, with a nice quiet guitar backing track, and Page playing quietly in the background. Soon Fish kicks in pounding on the bass, and just throwing out a fantastic beat. As does Mike with a fabulous bass line. The tracks lyrics aren't in the form of a regular song (Almost all phrases and words happen to be in the past tense (ex. "Undecided, underline, undisturbed yet undermined). The song is extremely catchy though, and always seems to get stuck in my head. Though, I of course have no clue what the song is about, but, hey! They're a Jam Band :p (Greatest excuse ever!!!) I would be going against myself if I did not give "Undermind" a 5/5. So...5/5.
"The Connection", was the single off of Undermind
. I personally would not have picked it (I do love the song though), but I can see why they did. It has a nice, catchy, positive and overall pop friendly side to it. The guitar work is mediocre, I've heard much better from Trey. The organ work is exceptional, Page's playing is usually quite amazing. And of course the rythm section is flawless. Great bass lines, and fabulous drum beats. I do like the song a lot, and without a doubt always listen to it when I listen to this album. So, it deserves a 5/5.
A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing
"A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing" brings out a new side of Phish. Psychedelic yet, Hard Rock like, with various effects. The song reminds me of some of the tracks off of Jesus Christ Superstar
. The harmonies are great, and the vocals overall are fabulous. It's the backing vocals and rapid/pounding like piano playing that adds the erie like feeling to the track. I also particularly like Mike's bass line. It matches up with the drums perfectly. His musicianship always amazes me. "A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing" = Odd yet great song. 4.9/5
Army of One
Like "Undermind", "Army of One" is now one of my favorite songs, though more so then "Undermind". The track is epic as are the lyrics. Page wrote the song, and truly made a classic. The song has a great inspirational sense to it, I'm not exactly sure what the meaning is, but I presume it has to do with the war in Iraq. The song is led of course by Page on the piano, and each member adds great input. Each members playing seems to bounce off of the others'. The lyrics...
Originally Posted by Page McConnell
Truth on condition, never dig deep. Solemn reminders as groundwater seeps. Into foundation, centers of joy. To weaken and crumble. Search and destroy.
particularly stand out to me. "Army of One" is an absolute 5/5.
This track is just okay in my opinion. Many others like it, such as my friends, but it isn't that special in my opinion. The vocals are completely in unison, and the instruments are pretty good. The drumming is exceptionally good. Fish gives of many great fills. And Trey's solo is also very well put, and exceptionally well done. There is not much more to say. Except in the Undermind DVD, it does show the recording process of this track. 3.5/5
"Maggie's Revenge" is just an odd, effects based instrumental. It's has the "The Song I Heard the Ocean Sing" feeling to it. Similar to Rush's "Tom Sawyer", but heavier, and much shorter. "Maggie's Revenge" actually only runs at one minute and forty-three seconds. Overall, it's a simple, highly effects used, instrumental. I guess I give it a 3/5.
This eighth track is as smooth as they come, at least from Phish, or Undermind at that. The vocals are once again completely in unison. Though a lot less chaotic than the previous in complete unison track that is "Crowd Control". The lyrics are nice, though nothing exactly special from the band. Page does throw out a great, rythmic and smooth solo. Which is about two minutes in. I would prefer is they recorded the song with the bass higher up, and have it more noticeable. So, overall, instrumentally great, as is it lyrically. 4/5
Two Versions of Me
I really like the opening to this track, as do I love how well Page's organ and Trey's guitar playing flow. I really like the lyrics, more so then many of the other lyrics. Though they have their lower points. The song is also pretty smooth, it includes each member bouncing off of the other members's playing in a great way. Pretty good song. 4/5
Here's a Mike Gordon tune. The song can't be any catchier, and fun at that. It has some odd guitar effects, and some nice organ and bass work. The drumming is also fantastic, more so than most this album, if not the whole album. Mike's voice can't be any better, and the song flows perfectly well. "Access Me" is definitely a stand out track on Undermind. And that's saying a lot, because there is a lot of fabulous tracks on here. I really can't decide whether to give this song a 4.9/5 or a 5/5, so I just won't decide
Scents and Subtle Sounds
First off, don't compare "Scents and Subtle Sounds" to "Scents and Subtle Sounds (Intro)", because they aren't exactly that similar. "Scents and Subtle Sounds" is a lot more lively, and less creepy and Psychedelic. Do not think that's a bad thing, because I favor this song over "Scents and Subtle Sounds (Intro) though not by an astounding amount. Overall, the song is great instrumentally, vocally, and lyrically. 4.2/5
"Tomorrow's Song" was written by Jon Fishman, and lyrically it's retarded. Though, I shouldn't say that because there is only 12 different lyrics in it. Instrumentally the song is quite catchy, as is the lyrics, but not as much so. The song is a fill, I'm of course assuming, but it does only run at the short time of one minute and fifty one seconds. 3.5/5 A Fishman classic
"Secret Smile" is just a slow, piano led, orchestratic included, beautiful track. It does cover a field that what I believe needed to be included in this album, and it is executed perfectly and flawlessly. Trey's voice sounds extremely beautiful and matches the mood perfectly, just like the song as a whole, perfect. This second to last songs shows like a good amount of others, that Phish can have a nice, lovely side to them, not just care free, happy, and humorous side. Trey plays a very nice and well matching solo, and the band just plays the song fabulously. I don't feel like I can or do it justice. "Secret Smile" = Perfection. 5/5
Though "Secret Smile" would have closed the album in a perfect, beautiful manner. "Grind" does it in a way that only a fan of Phish can expect. Which is in an odd, humous form. Which is in a Barbershop form. It is all vocals and quite interesting to listen to. I'm not going to say it's the best way to end Undermind, but it does give of a memorable feeling and leaves you in a perhaps good mood. I think it'd be best if I just didn't rate this.
The DVD is simply little clips from the recording process of Undermind. It is quite enjoying to watch, in my opinion and includes a bit of humor. It gives off some history of the farm they recorded in, the producers, and certain instruments used. The DVD also includes small interviews with each member. Honestly, it just adds to the overall experience of the album and DVD that is Undermind .
Undermind actually happens to be of my favorite Phish albums, but I don't know if it deserves a 5/5 or a 4.5/5 or 4.9/5 or whatever. So, I'll just give it a 4-5/5