Genesis performing on The Midnight special on December 12, 1973. Peter in full costume. Guitarist Steve Hackett says about the tune:
“I remember pushing the band to acquire a Mellotron back in the 70′s and, luckily, King Crimson had one to spare at the time – the ‘Black Bitch’ I think they called it on account of it always breaking down… This song alone was a strong reason for re-approaching the early material – from Phil’s inventive morse code rhythm to Tony’s momentous introduction which always sounded best in Italian Palasports – an aircraft hangar type of rumble ideally suited to spacecraft impersonation.”
Welcome back to Ambient Alarm Clock where this week I have a special playlist prepared for you. Those who know me well, will know that playlisting is a constant habit of mine. Each month I assemble numerous playlists of new and old music of all sorts, and today I felt like sharing my most recent one with you all. I often start my playlists the same way (with one of my favorite songs) to set the tone, and from there they branch out into all sorts of different directions. I think this is something that I will try to do more frequently, so let me know if you dig it and want to hear more.
1. Intro (Ace of Cups – Music)
2. Woodsman – Inside/Outside
3. Women – Bullfight
4. Frame – Frame of Mind
5. Pyschedelic Aliens – Gbe Keke Wo Taoc
6. Black Beats – The Mod Trade
7. Sun Ra – Drop Me Off in Harlem
8. Roy Orbisson – Mean Woman Blues
9. Alex Bleeker & the Freaks – Dead On
10. Jerry Garcia Band – I’m Troubled
11. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Fright Night (Nevermore)
12. Genesis – Dance on a Volcano
13. Woodsman – Serfer
When Phish announced their fall tour at the end of August, the three night run falling on the weekend of Halloween quickly drew everyone in the community’s attention. But Phish was careful to add that the fall tour would include a “very special Halloween show,” without providing any further details. Since then, rumors have circulated surrounding a possible musical costume, or even a full-on Gamehenge performance.
That all changed on Wednesday when Trey spilled the beans to an LA times writer, confirming Phish’s plan follow their tradition of covering an entire album on Halloween. But what he said was particularly interesting, and has stirred the community in a new direction. As you read this, fans are probably trying to dissect Trey’s words to decipher any possible hidden messages.
“This year…this one’s for me. The one we picked, I’m going to get more out of this as a musician than I ever have before. Three songs into it, I called everybody and told them, ‘None of the other ones – I wouldn’t think, hopefully – will have nearly the effect on my playing this one’s going to.’ ”
This comment certainly narrows the list, but there are still many questions. I’ve put together my own list of albums, in no particular order, that I think would fit the criteria based on Trey’s comment and various other factors. Let us know your thoughts on this year’s musical costume in the comments section.
1. Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Many consider The Lamb to be the pinnacle of Genesis’ studio albums, and also one of the cornerstones of progressive rock. It’s a concept album, with lyrics mostly written by Peter Gabriel, telling the story of Rael – a Puerto Rican man living in New York – who is trying to rescue his brother from some from very bizarre circumstances. Phish has never covered their music in one of their own performances, but they did perform two of their songs at the Rock Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this year.
Trey has publicly professed his love for Genesis, and it would certainly fit the criteria of an album that would change him as a musician. For that matter, I actually think any of Genesis’ Gabriel-era albums would work, and are all possible. Trey has stated that his favorite is Selling England by the Pound, however, the (Gabriel-era) song they performed this year was off the 1972 album Foxtrot. The Lamb also was featured as one of the names of the campgrounds last year at Festival 8.
It should be noted, but not looked at too deeply, that Phish’s Halloween tickets have the same image as a 2007 Genesis poster from Philadelphia, featuring a picture of the Dog Faced Boy.
“Every musical rule and boundary was questioned and broken [by Genesis]. It’s impossible to overstate what impact this band and musical philosophy had on me as a young musician. I’m forever in their debt.” -Trey Anastasio, 2010 Rock HoF induction ceremony
2. Frank Zappa – Hot Rats
Hot Rats was Frank’s first solo album after departing The Mothers. It contains “Peaches en Regalia,” which has been in the Phish rotation since the beginning. Does it fit the criteria? Well, there’s no question that it would change Trey musically. But when he says, “this one’s for me,” I don’t think you could include Zappa. It is widely known that Jon is perhaps even a bigger Zappa fan than Trey (having released an album of hand picked Zappa favorites) so that doesn’t seem to work. But nonetheless, it’s a possibility, and one that was supported by longtime Phish fan, and writer of the Phish Companion, Charlie Dirksen.
Zappa was a huge influence on how I wrote music for Phish. Songs like “You Enjoy Myself” and “Split Open and Melt” were completely charted out — drums, bass lines, everything — because he had shown me it was possible…Zappa gave me the faith that anything in music was possible. He demystified the whole thing for musicians in my generation: “Look, these are just instruments. Find out what the range is, and start writing.” – Trey Anastasio, Rolling Stone 2005
3. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
With “The Rover” being played this summer, and Trey’s well-known affinity for the band, this one has to be considered in the running. While I don’t see it changing him as a musician as much as some of the other albums, it certainly would be “for Trey”. But once again, Jon is also a major Zep fan. I also don’t see it taking three songs for him to realize the effect it would have on him, he’s probably learned to play the entire album before. I think Zep fans will have to wait this year.
4. Yes – The Yes Album
This album certainly fits the criteria in most ways, and would be a top pick for many fans. Last year at Festival 8 the band could clearly be heard jamming on “The Wurm” section of “Starship Trooper” during the sound check, leading some to believe that this was one of the albums they had scrapped in the decision process. The one obvious issue (aside from the incredibly challenging music) would be Jon Andersons’ vocals – who would possibly be able to sing them? Needless to say, seeing Phish cover this album – and Trey cover “The Clap” – would be one of the ultimate musical experiences, especially for us Yes fans.
“Starship Trooper Jam” (10.29.09)
5. King Crimson – Larks Tounges in Aspic
This album is highly probable, and would certainly fit the criteria in every way. Trey mentioned to Relix in 2003 that he had wanted to learn both Larks Tounges and Brian Eno’s Another Green World for Halloween that year. This obviously never happened, so there is good reason to believe the idea is still on his mind, or at least half of it. While the band has never covered a King Crimson song before, they have jammed around certain themes from this very album in the past – most notably the “Split Open and Melt” from 8.10.97. Along with The Lamb, Larks Tounges was also a campground name last year at festival 8. (Watch Bruford’s drumming in the video).
6. Brian Eno – Another Green World
As mentioned above, Trey referenced this album as a possible Halloween cover album in 2003, and has stated his affection for Eno’s music on various other occasions. It would fit the criteria of being a “Trey album”, and would surely change him as a musician. Brian Eno is largely considered the founder of ambient music, and I think this would suit the band perfectly at this stage, as they have been delving into ambiance quite regularly in 3.0. For those of you who don’t know, Brian Eno is the genius behind a great deal of Talking Heads music – he co-wrote every song on Remain in Light. I recently talked to Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz about the influence Eno had on their playing during that time period.
7. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Consider this the underdog pick. It would fit the criteria in every way, and should be considered a top choice. Trey has pushed hard for this album in the past, and has said how much he enjoys playing albums that people aren’t as familiar with. Kevin Sheilds’ unique guitar style on this album was revolutionary, and has inspired countless imitators in years since (he strummed the strings with the tremolo bar) so that would surely change Trey as a musician. Pitchfork writer, and longtime Phish fan Rob Mitchum made Loveless his call for the musical costume this year in a twitter message written to me yesterday.
“‘Loveless’ is the best album recorded in the ’90s. History will tell, and 20 years from now that album will be considered a complete classic, while a lot of the albums that are real popular today will have been forgotten.” – Trey Anastasio
This week, I have something slightly different, but equally special, to share. But first, I would like to thank all of the readers who voted for Dog Gone Blog in Parker’s survey. It’s an honor to see that fans chose DGB as a destination for tour updates and analysis. Thank you for all your support! So now back to today’s selection – a SBD recording from Genesis’ 1975 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Tour. This is great recording and a must-have for any serious Genesis fan or music collector.
Many consider The Lamb tour to be the pinnacle of Genesis’ live performances, and also one of the cornerstones of progressive rock. This show from the Convention Hall in West Palm Beach, FL on January 10th, 1975 is one of the finest recordings, and displays The Lamb’s spectacle performance in full form. This was the last tour to feature Peter Gabriel before Phil Collins would take the reins at vocals.
While The Lamb is not my personal favorite Genesis album (I prefer Selling England), as a whole, it is a masterpiece like no other. The way Gabriel projects the story of Rael through his lyrics, nearly bringing this fictional figure to life, creates a feeling that this is more than just music we are hearing. I hope you enjoy.
Back in NYC > Hairless Heart > Counting out Time, Carpet Crawlers, The Chamber of 32 Doors
01. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway 04:37
02. Fly On A Windshield 02:48
03. Broadway Melody Of 1974 02:12
04. Cuckoo Cocoon 02:13
05. In The Cage 08:07
06. The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging 04:15
07. Back In NYC 06:15
08. Hairless Heart 02:14
09. Counting Out Time 03:52
10. Carpet Crawlers 03:52
11. The Chamber Of 32 Doors 05:41
12. Story Of Rael 02:51
13. Lilywhite Lilith 03:00
14. The Waiting Room 05:35
15. Anyway 03:34
16. Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist 03:48
17. The Lamia 07:13
18. Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats 03:01
19. The Colony Of Slippermen 08:22
20. Ravine 01:35
21. The Light Dies Down On Broadway 03:39
22. Riding The Scree 04:30
23. In The Rapids 02:23
24. It 05:38
25. (Encore) The Musical Box 10:58
Yesterday we talked about Phish and their ability to put their own stamp on a cover song. As was mentioned, this is largely due to the band member’s wide spanning musical tastes. Trey has hinted, in interviews over the years, at some of the influences that led to ideas for Phish songs. And, those that he has not hinted at can be heard just by listening. Phish represents so many different musical genres that it’s almost inevitable that some of their influences will show through in their own music.
This is nothing new, artists have been lifting chord progressions, rhythms, melodies, licks etc. for ages. Some are more apparent than others, and some go as far as copyright infringement. Many will remember the ordeal that occurred years ago when the Stones released “Has Anybody Seen My Baby”, only to find out later that Keith Richards had very obviously lifted the melody from K.D. Lang’s “Constant Craving”. Or as any educated music fan knows, Zeppelin blatantly stole “Whole Lotta Love” from the Small Faces’ “You Need Lovin’”. Or similarily the “Lemon Song”, which is direct lift off both Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killin’ Floor”. Some say that Robert Plant stole his entire singing style from Steve Marriot of the Small Faces.
While Phish are most often compared to the Dead, their music hardly resembles the Dead’s. Instead, Phish cited a much wider, and deeper, source of influences. All of these various artists contributed to Phish’s sound, or songwriting, in some way. We’ve talked about the influence Genesis had on Phish, and as many of you know, it was quite substantial. But there are others who have played a role in developing Phish’s sound, such as Zappa, Ravel, Jimi Hendrix, and even Leonard Berstein (West Side Story). Today, we take a look at some of these major influences, and their specific effects on Phish’s music.
Maurice Ravel, the French composer known for such classic as “Daphnis et Chloe”, “Miroirs” and “Le Tombeau de Couperin”, has played a large role in Trey’s songwriting. Many of Phish’s songs emulate the underlying textures of “Le Tombeau de Couperin” – Ravel’s dedication to those lost in WWI. In an interview with a Japanese journalist in 2000, Trey said he had been listening to Ravel daily, and had become obsessed with him. He goes on to say:
“[Ravel] probably had mostly an influence on a tune like “The Inlaw Josie Wales” or the end of “Dirt” where there’s a little bit more….there’s a piece of his music that’s called “Le Tombeau de Couperin” and that kind of cycling, well, it’s just one of my favorite pieces of music ever. I’d love to write music like that. It’ll never be that good (laughs) – but sort of like that. “
Anyone familiar with Ravel’s music will understand the connection when hearing songs like “YEM”, the orchestrated section of “Fluffhead” or “Guyute”. Ravel’s ability to create these incredible aural pastures is one of his great musical accomplishments, and Trey has attempted to resemble this sound in some of his own writing. Perhaps the best representation of Ravel’s influence on Phish is the introduction to “My Friend My Friend”. To me, “My Friend” very much resembles the third movement in “Le Tombeau de Couperin” called “Forlane”. Listen to Katherine Scott’s rendition below and then listen to “My Friend My Friend” and compare.
“My Friend My Friend” (1995.7.3)
But also, the second movement, “Fugue”, is quite similar to “The Chase” section in “Fluffhead”. Give a close listen below and hear for yourself.
“The Chase” (1989.10.1)
If you want to explore the Ravel connection further, check out the similarities between the intro sections to both “YEM” and “The Curtain” and compare them to the first movement in “Le Tombeau de Couperin”. As Trey has said, when he went off into the infamous cabin he mentioned at Coventry to write “The Curtain”, he was listening to nothing but classical music. So, you can see where a great deal of this comes from.
Every Phish fan knows there’s a huge connection between Phish and Zappa. The quirky lyrics,the humor, the rock compositions, are all a result of Zappa’s heavy influence on Trey and Jon. I won’t go into this one too much, as I’ve already written an entire article on Fishman’s Zappa picks, which talked a lot about the band and Zappa. But it is worth mentioning one song in particular and its similarity to “Reba”. “Dina-Moe Hum” is undeniably, the main influence behind “Reba”. I’m sure you will all instantly realize how familiar these two songs sound. However, what’s even more interesting is that another of Zappa’s song resembles the jam in “Reba”. “Son of Orange County” has the same chord pattern as the one in the “Reba” jam, which Zappa used to grace with an E Lydian solo (Trey uses a D Lydian solo).
“Son of Orange County“
Jimi’s influence is mainly attributable to Trey’s playing, but some of his writing also resemble Jimi’s composed numbers. One of the most noticeable examples, and again you will all instantly recognize it, is in Jimi’s “1983″ off Electric Ladyland. The descending lick you hear at the end of “Bouncing Around the Room” is a direct lift off a similar repeating riff (2:34) in “1983″ – one of my all-time favorite Jimi songs.
“Bouncing Around the Room” (1993.3.22)
We’ve talked about the Genesis connection shortly after Phish covered two of their songs at the Rock Hall of Fame induction, so this one won’t go on too long. But as Trey has said he was obsessed with the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway while he was in highschool, and that it played a large part in the creation of the Gamehenge saga. Trey’s early attempts at recording resemble Genesis a great deal, most specifically with regard to The Lamb. Check out “Waiting Room” off The Lamb and compare it to Trey’s original version of “Fluff’s Travels” off The White Tape, and I think you will hear the connection. Trey was experimenting with all sorts of abstract sounds, which would lead into compositions, very much in the same way Genesis did. And, to further substantiate the connection, Genesis also has a song called “Duke’s Travels” off the album Duke; however, it bares no resemblance to “Fluff’s”.
Last night two of the greatest forces in music came together – the music of Genesis and the musicianship of Phish. Phish opened the 2010 Rock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with “Watcher of the Skies”, off Genesis’ 1972 album Foxtrot, a fitting song that opened many of Genesis’ shows along their 1973 tour. The band took upon themselves a major challenge in covering one of the band’s extended compositions, which Collins commented was “played very well”. However, this style was better suited toward their playing than the cover of “No Reply At All”, the poppy 80′s hit off Abacab that followed Trey’s induction speech. After the first song, Trey spoke and then handed the award to several of the founding members of Genesis – Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett.
“Watcher of the Skies” (2010.3.15 Rock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Waldorf Astoria Theater, New York, NY)
Phish’s roots are deeply entrenched in the music of Genesis, and for a long time, I have felt they were among the largest influences on Phish’s songwriting. Songs like “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight”, “The Knife”, “Musical Box”, “Watcher of the Skies” and many others, have a distinct influence not only on some of Phish’s music, but also the early recordings of Trey in his basement in New Jersey.
While Genesis’ later post-Gabriel material is well-known, there are only a select group who are familiar with Genesis’ extended compositions from their earlier albums such as Foxtrot, Trespass, and Selling England by the Pound. And among those familiar with their later material, few are aware of its complexity. As Trey said, few would know that the hit “Turn It On Again” features verses and choruses in 13/8 time, and others in 8/8, and 5/8. Last night Trey gave a nod to the devoted Genesis fan, saying “this one’s for us”.
Many wrongly assume that the greatest influence behind Phish’s music was the Grateful dead – due to their similar touring style and extended jams – but Phish’s music incorporated many more sophisticated influences as well, Genesis being a major one.
Genesis was one of the first rock groups to incorporate various aspects of classical music into their own style of progressive rock. And, as Trey said last night this type of songwriting had a profound effect on him during his early years as a musician. Many attribute Trey’s classical influence solely to Zappa, and overlook the major effect Genesis’ had on him.
The types of aural textures Genesis created can be heard in songs like “Fly Famous Mockingbird”, “Slave to the Traffic Light”, “The Curtain”, “YEM”, “Harry Hood”, “TTE” and many other Phish compositions. Gamehenge, in many ways, was Trey’s attempt to recreate the musical theater effect that Genesis was able to produce on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Last night Trey made specific reference to “Stagnation” as his favorite song off the 1970 album Trespass. For a long time I have heard a connection between “Stagnation” and the composed section in “Harry Hood” (especially the version from Trey’s 1985 demo tape). For those familiar with Genesis’ early material, there is no denying the connection.
“No Reply at All” (2010.3.15 Rock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Waldorf Astoria Theater, New York, NY)
For us Genesis fans, last night was one of the ultimate musical combinations. A true dream come true for many of us. Let’s cherish it with these great recordings provided below and hope these songs reappear on summer tour!
DOWNLOAD “Watcher of the Skies” (2010.3.15 Rock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Waldorf Astoria Theater, New York, NY)
DOWNLOAD “No Reply at All” (2010.3.15 Rock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Waldorf Astoria Theater, New York, NY)
Here’s a few favorite Genesis songs. Enjoy.
(This is a rare recording as Gabriel left the band following the release of The Lamb, and so the songs from it were only performed a handful of times with Gabriel at the helm. One of my personal favorites.)
“The Cinema Show”
This is a dream come true for me. Seeing one of my favorite bands cover another favorite will be quite a treat. I’ve been waiting for this moment a long time, and have quite a bit to say about the Phish-Genesis connection. We’ll get to that in the coming days…
For now, here’s the scoop on tonight’s performance ceremony from our friends over at Hidden Track:
The members of Phish will take the stage tonight for the first time in 2010 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City where they will open this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. As previously announced, Phish guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio will induct Genesis which will be followed by Phish performing a couple of Genesis classics.
Tonight’s ceremony – including Phish’s performance – will be broadcast live on Fuse starting at 8:30PM EDT. The 2010 Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame inductees are ABBA, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies, The Stooges, David Geffen, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry, Jesse Stone, Mort Shuman and Otis Blackwell. Other musicians due to perform include solo star and J. Geils Band singer Peter Wolf, Pat Monahan, and Fefe Dobson.
“Dancing With the Moonlit Knight”