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Multimedia Discussion of music and video files in the file archive.

 
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  #1  
Old 31-07-2010, 10:40
geezaman Gold member geezaman is offline
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The Greatfull Dead and Phish - Where to start?

It seems that both of these bands have either attracted drug users, or at least drugs have followed them about in their tours. In addition individuals such a Dr Leary and Bill Hicks (amongst others) make reference them.

Just as 420, Hunter S Thompson, Tihkal, and so many other terms and names seem to hold an almost mythical status within drug culture. It seems that in the realm of music and drug culture it is bands such as Phish and The Dead that hold this status.

On this basis Snuffkin is assuming that a great many people find Phish and The Dead conducive to good drug experiences and so feels he'd like to see what all the fuss is about. He has popped by Youtube and liked what he heard from both bands. His problem is they have both made such alot of music and he knows no one personally to make recommendations of where to start... so he has come here to request that information.

Where would be a good place to start (what albums etc to start with etc)?


There are a great many posts and threads here and elsewhere where posters state for the best experience on ____ ( take your pick of any substance ) you need to listen to ____ type of music, or ____ by ____ .

Snuffkin, is sure some specific tracks or type of music must be more likely to provide the listener rushes while say on ecstasy. Additionally he is sure music can effect the sort of visualizations that one may see. However the biggest effect must be whether the individual actually likes the music or not.

On this basis please only suggest, but additionally please do suggest as so far Snuffkin has enjoyed what he has heard of both bands.

Peace
G

Last edited by geezaman; 31-07-2010 at 11:51.
  #2  
Old 31-07-2010, 17:30
Phenoxide Phenoxide is nu online
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Re: The Greatfull Dead and Phish - Where to start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by geezaman View Post
Snuffkin, is sure some specific tracks or type of music must be more likely to provide the listener rushes while say on ecstasy. Additionally he is sure music can effect the sort of visualizations that one may see. However the biggest effect must be whether the individual actually likes the music or not.
Jam band music certainly does seem to have an affinity with psychedelia. I suspect the exploratory nature of it, sometimes patient, sometimes frantic blends well with the mindset of psychedelic drugs. It's also far less verbal than most genres of music - the instruments (one of which is the light show!) take the lead. Then again I wouldn't want to overanalyze it to the point of robbing the magic! Snuffkin is quite right though; if the music isn't someone's cup of tea while sober, it's unlikely to result in an incredible experience while under the influence.

So where to begin? I'll speak only of Phish, as I'm sure there are many a knowledgeable deadhead around here that could offer better advice on their music. Some people will say there is no substitute for seeing these bands play live in person. There is some truth to this. These bands are at their best in the live setting especially when they're pushing the boundaries.

That said the studio albums and live albums are also extremely good. Though they lack some of the visceral energy of the live shows, the music is still excellent. The best place to start depends a lot on what you normally listen to. If you are used to the 3-minute lyric heavy radio format then some of the albums may be a bit of a culture shock. I'd browse around online and sample a bit of everything. Many of the Phish album tracks are on Youtube these days. Here's a few choice albums and tracks (in my opinion):

Junta: This is going in at the deep end; lots of through-composed epic instrumentals and quirky Phish lyrics. Choice tracks: The Divided Sky, David Bowie, Fluffhead

Lawn Boy: My first Phish studio album, and a very good place to start in my opinion. Accessible while at the same time showing off their versatility and musical chops. Choice tracks: Squirming Coil, Reba, Split Open and Melt, Bouncing Around the Room

Rift: A concept album. Works best listened to start-to-finish. Good to listen to while going to sleep. Choice tracks: Rift, Maze

Billy Breathes: Less jamming, more mellow. Extremely focussed production under the watchful eye of Steve Lillywhite. Arguably Phish's strongest studio effort. Choice tracks: Free, Waste, Billy Breathes

Farmhouse: Perhaps the most pop-friendly album. Choice tracks: Bug, Dirt, Piper

Joy: Their most recent studio effort. A more mature, wiser effort, if lacking some of the playful spirit of their earlier material. Choice tracks: Backwards Down the Number Line, Joy, Light

A Live One: Possibly the best introduction to the band's live work, and to see how the album versions can evolve into a different beast in the live setting. Everyone will have their favorites on this, but You Enjoy Myself, Slave to the Traffic Light, Harry Hood and Squirming Coil stand out for me.

It's also worth watching a few of the high quality videos from live performances. Chris Kuroda puts on a mean light show, especially for the epic jams.
  #3  
Old 01-08-2010, 04:47
Terrapinzflyer Terrapinzflyer is offline
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Re: The Greatfull Dead and Phish - Where to start?

I'll agree with much of what Phenox said. For the music, both bands, particularly the Dead, the live shows tend o have much more magic.
If memory serves, with Phish, Junta and Lawn boy were both self produced, pre Elecktra contract and were quite good. For Live would start with Hampton Comes Alive. Would also highly recommend Mike Gordons (the bassist) collaborations with Leo Kottke- amazing stuff.


As far as the dead goes- so many eras to choose from- check out archive.org for literally thousands of downloadable/streaming shows- all for free. Some of my favorite eras- 66, 72-73, 75, 77, 85, 88, 92...

Archive also has a LOT of other bands worth checking out- all bands that explicitly allow recording and distribution of their live shows.
  #4  
Old 01-08-2010, 07:20
Jon Dose Jon Dose is offline
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Re: The Greatfull Dead and Phish - Where to start?

What a great thread! Thanks for starting this one! I went to college fresh out of high school, and had some roommates that were huge phish fans. Being the huge music lover that I am, I gave them a shot. They weren't my cup of tea. Being a guitar, and piano player, I was impressed at the musical ability involved with this band but I just couldn't seem to really enjoy the music, due to the weirdness and the unconventional style. I heard them quite often, for almost a year till one day, some friends of swim came by with some acid that was obtained at a phish concert. Swim's roomates and swim bought some and took it. Sometime during the peak, one of swim's roomates suggested that we listen to phish. Swim wasn't particularly against it since he was feeling great, even though he didn't expect to enjoy it much more than he usually did. The song Poor Heart from the album Lawn Boy was playing and at the very end, something caught swim's ear and all of sudden, he LOVED IT. The next song came on and he listened to it with an open mind. Due to the acid, his mind was cracked wide open and he had listened with more respect, wonder and amazemen than he had ever listened with. The rest of the night was one of the most memorable trips swim has ever had and it is all because of Phish. Swim had listened for over a year, but became a Phish fan overnight. The next morning, swim woke up and went to the local record store and bought all the Phish albums he could find. This was in the year 2000. Today, Phish is in the top 5, if not the top 3, on the list of best bands in the world as far as swim is concerned. Where to begin? Oh god, it's hard to say.

I will say this though: Phish's first 3 albums or so, are better than the later stuff. The later stuff is shorter, more pop like, and less traditional in the jam band sense. Phish turned me on to jam bands in general and I have yet to hear one that I really enjoy as much as Phish. The first album, Junta is great. Pay close attention to the songs David Bowie, Fee, Fluffhead, Fluff's Travels (play both fluff songs back to back), Esther, You Enjoy Myself and Foam. The second album, Lawn Boy is great from start to finish. My favorites though are Reba (maybe the best,) Bouncing Around The Room and Run Like an Antelope (A GREAT jam). The third album, A Picture of Nectar may be my favorite. It too, is great from start to finish but pay close attention to the songs Cavern, Poor Heart, Stash, Guelah Papyrus, and Magilla.

I am so excited to even be helping to turn someone on to Phish. I can't even begin to explain how wonderful of a band they are. Try to always listen to them with an open mind. Smoking a little weed or taking some kind of hallucinogen always helps but is not necessary. Try to think of them as totally different and understand the musical talent behind the songs. They sound improvisational, but the songs are actually intricately written and are amazing. Look past the fun, but sometimes ridiculous lyrics. They should not be the center of focus when listening to them. The real treat is listening to the amazing time changes, guitar and piano work, as well as incredible drum work. Even the bass, is something to be paid attention to. Sometimes it almost seems as though each member of the band is playing a different song, yet when played together, comes out as some of the most fascinating sounds ever heard. If I can offer any kind of advice to a music lover, it is to keep listening to this band until something clicks. Once something does click, you will feel priveleged to know something so rare, and unique. They aren't commercial and have no attitude involved so they don't really have an image, so to speak, but that's part of what makes them so cool. They get by on their own merit and on the greatness of their music. And it really is great. Just 4 guys, playing their hearts out, trying to jam. And jam, they do. They are amazing. Just listen and listen, and remember that it could take anywhere from a few minutes, to a few years to really understand them enough to appreciate them but once it happens, you will never forget them and will eventually be glad that you gave them a chance.

As for the Dead, I can't say a whole lot because like the above post, I too feel like there will be many more people that will certainly be more knowledgeable on the subject of that band and will be able to tell you more than I will. However, give the songs "Uncle John's Band," "Truckin," and "Friend of the Devil," a listen. They are not my favorite band by any means but they are definitely cool in their own way and somewhat paved the way for bands like Phish.

Recently, I have discovered the band Mr. Bungle. They are very unique, and take a bit of open mindedness to fully appreciate them as well. Try the songs "The Girls of Porn," "Squeeze Me Macaroni," and "Goodbye Sober Day", just to start with.

Happy listening!

JD
  #5  
Old 15-09-2010, 02:04
skjellyfetti skjellyfetti is offline
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Re: The Greatfull Dead and Phish - Where to start?

Hey geezaman, how are your musical explorations going? A month or so has elapsed since your post and I'm curious to hear if you've had a chance to dive into this music, and what your thoughts are.

To add to the comments about the Grateful Dead - as Terrapinzflyer said, the live music archive has a wealth of live material. You can stream audience and soundboard recordings, and also download audience recordings. The Dead had diverse tastes, and as you can imagine for an exploratory band with a 30 year history, they covered a lot of ground. This being the case it is definitely worth dipping your toe into different eras to get a feel for how they sounded at different points in their career.

In my opinion they were at their most overtly psychedelic in the 60s and early 70s. 1972 - 1974 shows them still very out there, but with a more jazzy and sophisticated sound (not that their earlier improvisations lacked in complexity). From the late 70s on things tended to be a little more concise and more of a kind of rock sensibility came to the fore. Of course one has to be careful of generalizations with the Dead as they had a tendency to confound expectations and do something unexpected.

Some commercially available albums I would recommend(this reflects my bias as I tend to prefer the earlier years):

Live Dead - this is their quintessential live album and is a great example of them at their peak in the 1960s. Here you will find a fantastic version of 'Dark Star', which many feel is their signature tune. A song designed to be open-ended, allowing for extended explorations into the cosmos.

Anthem Of The Sun - this album was explicitly constructed to be listened to on LSD. An experimental blend of live and studio performances. To quote Jerry Garcia: 'we mixed it for the hallucinations.'

Aoxomoxoa - I've heard Garcia mention that this album, in conjunction with Live/Dead, is a snapshot of where the band was at in 1969. Where Anthem Of The Sun tended to focus on longer jams, this presents the band focusing on songs. Garcia remixed the album in the early 70s, and this is what is widely available, but if you can track down a copy of the original mix, then do (it is floating around the internet). The original mix is much trippier and weirder.

Workingman's Dead/American Beauty - these two albums from 1970 are many people's favourites. The band had spent several years exploring and experimenting during very weird and high times, and came out the other end wanting to simplify things, with a focus on more traditional music(bluegrass, folk, country). Here you'll find many songs that became staples of the band's live repertoire, and remained in rotation for the next 25 years.
  #6  
Old 15-09-2010, 14:34
veritas.socal veritas.socal is offline
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Re: The Greatfull Dead and Phish - Where to start?

wow. swim is almost completely opposite. swim saw the boys like 36 times(and jgb 9 times) and def loves it agg. but late 80s, early 90s is my fave years. they did much loinger jams in 60s/70s, though, Much psychedelic shit, esplike 72/73...f**k yeah

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