Phishheads phight back

"To blame the phans is ridiculous."

Published May 30, 2000 7:07PM (EDT)

Sharps & Flats
BY SETH MNOOKIN (05/22/00)

The reviewer really misses the point of Phish albums, I think. The members of Phish as well as Phishheads believe in music as an ego-transcending, almost religious experience. Although this perception is certainly an easy target for ridicule, it's definitely the mindset of the Phish crowd. Albums, as Trey Anastasio and the other band members have repeatedly stressed, are simply part of the business, just one way to chronicle the band's progress. The making of an easy-to-swallow, attractively packaged album is just not the band's goal. The making of albums is not even the main focus in Phish's development. The main focus is, and has been, mind-blowing, groundbreaking live performances.

Phish seeks to spontaneously create music which is accessible to all who happen to be present, rather than build an overnight fan base of millions with a catchy little radio hook. Critiquing the album with regard to its value in the pop music scene is like evaluating the worth of the blender as a piece of fashion headwear.

-- llen Medlin

As a member of the wandering "trustafarians," as you so eloquently put it, I must voice my surprise at your review of "Farmhouse." This band is not making a concerted effort to become more radio friendly. The band is now 16 years old, and they are maturing. The phearsome phoursome has been gradually evolving toward more concise songs and a different lyric style for quite some time now. Starting with "Billy Breathes," continuing with "Ghost" and now with "Farmhouse," they have made it clear they are looking for that groove, the flow, that differs from outright experimentation demonstrated with songs like "Theme from the Bottom" or "Maze." That flow is just as enjoyable, as is their white-boy funk. That's the beauty of it. IT IS WHITE BOY FUNK! They know it, and we know it, and we all funk out together. To blame the phans for getting in the way of the radio success of "Farmhouse" is ridiculous. The phans are part of this band, like it or not. The band will continue to evolve, and if they decide to make an effort to get back to outright experimentation, are they then going be stuffed back into the pocket of American culture? Maybe so, maybe not.

-- Scott Portugal

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