In typical mainstream media fashion the latest news being written about Phish doesn't focus on their widely successful return to the stage, that Trey Anastasio is staying clean and sober and can actually be considered a role model because of it, nor the fact that everywhere Phish played this summer the band and its Phans provided a much-needed jolt to local economies (although this story details a StubHub list of the top 20 metro areas with the highest ticket sales, saying that newcomers to the list all hosted a Phish show this year).
Nope, none of that.
Instead, articles published in local newspapers where Phish stopped on its Late Summer Tour this month focus on 20 drug-related arrests out of 20,000-or-so people in a tired story that undoubtedly occurs in those towns at other concerts, but because of the reputation Phish-heads continue to endure the media loves to continue to portray each and every Phish-head as a drug-taking, numbed-out hippie.
The fact that the Albany Times Union basically ran the same story twice with different headlines, and with conflicting information without running a correction, shows the laziness and sensationalist tendencies of that newspaper. What's even more infuriating is when you look through the list of arrests there were in fact 22 people arrested but not all were on drug charges, so the headlines are not only sensationalist, they are incorrect.
Here are links to several stories demonstrating what I mean. Funny that only the local Saratoga Springs newspaper carried a positive review of the show, even if the writer doesn't have a clue what she's talking about (I'll start with a link to it):
Review: Clear-Headed Phish Makes for Heady Concert (The Saratogian)
31 People Arrested at Maryland Phish Concert (Washington Post)
Drug Arrests Mark Columbia Phish Concert (Baltimore Sun)
22 Arrests Made at Phish Concert (Albany Times Union)
Police Arrest 22 at Phish Show (Glens Falls Post Star)
23 Arrested at Phish Concert (WRGB 6)
Phish Concert Arrests Detailed (Albany Times Union)
Phish Fans Rock at SPAC, then Attempt to Steal Rocks from Quarry (Albany Times Union ... AGAIN!)
That last story seems particularly bogus.
In other Phish-related items found around the Internet ...
An article published in the Syracuse New Times, that city's alternative newsweekly, provides a fairly accurate glimpse into an evening spent at a Phish show, even though it is sprinkled with tired, old cliches about Phish-heads and pot smoking:
Phish-ing for Compliments (Syracuse New Times)
Meanwhile, here are a couple of posts from fellow Phish Bloggers. Mr. Minor details the Aug. 7 show at The Gorge (the only show I've caught this year, but what a show it was to catch), calling it The Show of the Summer. And Dog Gone Blog posted an essay about Phish's evolution as songwriters. Both posts provide insightful, well-written material.
Here is Josh Sternberg's much-linked-to article on Mashable.com titled What Twitter and Facebook Can Learn from Phish. Seems like I saw a similar article somewhere earlier this year ...
The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host A Phish Retrospective in the Reed Fine Art Gallery in the Campus Center beginning Sunday, Oct. 4 at 4pm and running through Nov. 21. The retrospective will honor the band's three festivals, The Great Went, Lemonwheel and IT, at the former Loring AFB in Limestone. According to the university's web site, The IT Men - the two, large green figures that greeted festival goers as they entered the grounds for the 2003 festival - have been restored and installed on the west end of Pullen Hall. Theu will be officially unveiled to the public on Friday, Sept. 18 at 3:45pm during the U of M's homecoming weekend.
A 60-minute documentary filmed by Chris Pepino of True Form Pictures about his journey to Coventry, titled We Enjoy Yourself, will premiere Sept. 4 and 5 at the New Jersey Film Festival, which is taking place at Rutgers University. Here is the official trailer for the film, as well as information about the film festival.
In other news, Mike Gordon is getting ready for a string of 21 shows with his solo act starting Sept. 8 in Brooklyn, N.Y, winding its way down to Jacksonville, Fla., back up to Madison, Wis. and ending 26 days after it started on Oct. 4 in Burlington. The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey opens the last seven dates of the tour. In case you haven't already seen it, there is a video posted on Vimeo.com called Get Bassed - Mike Gordon Fall Tour 2009 with typical Mike wackiness.
In an unrelated item, here is an article appearing in an obscure publication called Koach College Outreach discussing Mike's Jewish ancestry and the role music plays in his faith.
And of course Trey is slated to perform with the New York Philharmonic "for orchestrations of classic Anastasio compositions and the New York premiere of his composition Time Turns Elastic. An Evening with Trey Anastasio and the New York Philharmonic begins at 8pm on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Carnegie Hall." It appears there may still be individual tickets on sale, but I could not confirm this through the Carnegie Hall web site. Call the venue box office for more information at 212/247.7800
Finally, Backwards Down the Number Line is now available to purchase and download through iTunes for 99 cents. A quick listen confirms that Joy is going to be slickly produced, closer to the production of Farmhouse and Undermind than the rough cuts found on Round Room.