During the early '90s, Phish emerged as the heirs to the Grateful Dead's throne. Although their music is somewhat similar to the Dead's, the group adheres more to jazz-derived improvisation than folk tradition, and they have a looser, goofier attitude. After all, their drummer regularly plays a vacuum during their concerts. Phish's main claim as the inheritors to the Dead's legacy is their approach to their musical career. The band didn't concentrate on albums, they dedicated themselves to live improvisation. Within a few years of their 1988 debut, Phish had become an institution in certain sections of America, particularly college campuses. And their in-concert popularity didn't necessarily translate to huge record sales; their biggest-selling albums usually halted at gold status. Still, Phish were the de facto leaders of the neo-hippie jam band movement until deciding to go on hiatus in 2000.
Mike Gordon will perform his first-ever solo tour, a 9-date run in support of Inside In, released recently on Ropeadope Records. The tour will kick off October 5 at The Fillmore in San Francisco, and will stop at 8 cities, playing in theatres and clubs before concluding on October 16 at New York's Irving Plaza.
The tour will feature a seven piece all-star group handpicked by Gordon that is as eclectic in its instrumentation as it is in personnel. The group is comprised of longtime Phish collaborators James Harvey on keyboards and Gordon Stone on pedal steel and banjo, as well as trombonist Josh Roseman (Dave Holland, Charlie Hunter), guitarist Scott Murawski (Max Creek), tap dancer and vocalist Jeannie Hill, flutist and vocalist Julee Avallone and drummer Doug Belote (Anders Osborne, Tony Furtado). The band will perform songs from Inside In as well as other material from within and without.
Inside In, which was released August 26th, is the complement to Outside Out, Gordon's first full-length feature film. All songs on Inside In were written and performed by Gordon and recorded in his home studio featuring a revered collective of guest musicians such as Jon Fishman, Bela Fleck, and Col. Bruce Hampton as well as many others.
Jon Fishman will also tour in October playing drums for The Jazz Mandolin Project (a group whose title began as a personal title towards a goal and transpired into a group whose sounds offer something for everyone, from rock to drum and bass and jungle music to plenty of jazz).