Page 10-The Michigan Daily- Friday, December 11, 1992
Normal in a pH-unbalanced world
Phish demonstrate their 'funky-classical' style that is almost jazz-ish
I1i[I'1 : A a'i': i1~i
by Andrew Cahn
In the most recent Phish
newsletter, the band included photos
of themselves which they said would
be included in their new press pack-
ets. Drummer Jon Fishman was
completely naked with his genitals
tucked inside his crossed legs to
simulate castration. Bassist Mike
Gordon had pants on, but removed
his - shirt to expose his gut.
Guitarist/chief muse Trey Anastasio
wore goggles as was standing way
too close to the camera, so only his
face was visible and the contents of
his wardrobe were uncertain.
The fourth picture, was of, well, I
couldn't tell, but the caption under-
beafh read "Page McConnell," signi-
'fying the keyboardist. This was not a
characteristic move by the band's
straight man. Zeppelin had John
Paul Jones, and Phish has Page
McConnell. How does he feel about
being the normal guy of the group?
"I work hard at that," he said.
"There's no doubt there is some in-
teresting characters in the band, and
I do have the appearance of being
more conservatsivc. A c x mC m
time, I take it pretty f < Lu: i rm i
of the musicality of the group, I
don't think I think I'm conservative
in my harmonic structure. I don't
have any problem with that image."
While Fishman wears his polka-
dotted aprons, and Trey dons a mus-
cle shirt, Page usually looks like
something out of an L.L. Bean cata-
log, but like he said, this does not
carry over to his playing or compos-
ing. In fact, in a recent MTV special
commemorating 25 years of Rolling
Stone Magazine, one of Page's com-
positions, "Magilla" was used to
represent the crazy world of Ilunter
S. Thompson's mind as the gonzo
journalist and a female companion
conspired to blow up an effigy of"
Stone publisher Jann Wenner.
"Magilla" is clearly a bop tune,,
and Phish's current jazzy sound is
partly (due to Page's presence. Pre-
Page recordings show the band's
L W w;i may explain the
r s ( "Good Times
D 10i. nes "o i"ighway to hell."
What Page brought to the group
when he joined was an extensive
jazz vocabulary, with influences in-
cluding Monk and Ellington.
Phish is rock music's version of
the Modern Jazz Quartet, for they do
many of the same things musically.
Though Phish does play some rela-
tively straightforward tunes, many
of their numbers are thoroughly
composed pieces that. almost make
them sound like a chamber group.
"I like what they do," he said. "I
don't generally sit around and listen
to them much, but when I have lis-
tened to them, I found it definitely
innovative, and I like their textures.
They were doing things in the fifties
and sixties that people hadn't done
before and really haven't done since.
They sort of went their own way,
and I like to think that were doing
Despite these jazz roots, Phish is
hardly a jazz band. One intellectu-
ally misguided soul likes to call
them a "bad jazz" band. I like to call
them a "funky-classical" band, but
like most idealistic musicians,
McConnell doesn't really care how
their classified, just as long as peo-
ple like them.
There are even a few Phish cover
bands around the country. Page said
he hasn't actually heard another
band play a Phish tune. "It almost
happened to me in Burlingon,
Vermont once, but I left because I
had a feeling that it might have hap-
PHISH will appear at the Michigan
Theater tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are
$12.50-$14.50. Call 763-TKTS.
Neeme and the wolf
In the tradition of Lennon and
McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel,
we have Neeme Jarvi and Sergei
Prokofiev. Yes, the P-man has
been dead for 40 years, but Jarvi
keeps him alive with his exciting
interpretations. Here's a gui'e tip
the latest Prokofievskian offer-
ings: this Saturday on WIV
(Channel 4, 8 p.m.) Jarvi and his
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
perform "Peter and the Wolf,"
with Kelsey Grammer narrating.
On CD, Jarvi has recently
recorded some rare Prokofiev
gems for Chandos: the suites from
"War and Peace," and the Cantata
for the 20th Anniversary of the
October Revolution. We've never
heard either of them; we suspect
they're great. And finally, in
concert, plan ahead to see Jarvi
and the DSO do Prokofiev's
Third Piano Concerto the
weekend of January 23rd. With
Alexander Toradze soloing in the
Ilill Orchestra Ilall, it should be
sCe, thcire al e rLrn a y
The Performance Network
moves to the Mendelssohn Theater
this Saturday for "Raise the Roof,"
their annual fundraiser. Various
dancers (including Whitley
Setrakian, of course), actors and
other assorted whackos will
combine for a "delightfully giddy
variety show." The giddiness
doesn't come cheap; tickets are
$15 at the door. Showtime is 8
p.m.; call 663-0681.
Friday, Dec. 11
Net Sci fud
$3.00 single/$5.00 double
University Activities Center
For the love of three oranges! It's Sergei Prokofi.ev and Neeme JArvi.
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
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