Phish For Breakfast On Halloween

Words by: Seth Wolfman | Images by: Dave Pecoraro

Adrian Tramontano - The Breakfast :: 10.27 :: Vermont
On October 27, The Breakfast ventured to the sacred jam grounds of Burlington, Vermont for their 9th Annual Fonghoulish Freakout Halloween show. In the weeks leading up to the show, they announced that they would be covering an entire album in the Halloween spirit but did not announce what album it would be. Fans at the show started to suspect something was up when Phish bassist Mike Gordon planted himself in the crowd. Then, sure enough, after playing romping versions of Breakfast originals "Buquebus" and "See The Light," the band queued up the Phish classic "The Squirming Coil." Instantly the audience knew The Breakfast was tackling Phish's second album, Lawn Boy, and began rejoicing as we were treated to Phish monsters "Reba," "Split Open and Melt," "Bathtub Gin" and "Run Like An Antelope," with Gordon eventually joining the band for the encore. Burlington was once again awash in the sounds and olfactory hues that had sprung some 20 years earlier.

Breakfast guitarist Tim Palmieri had a lot of music to prepare for this show, and now that it's over he had a few moments to give us some insight into what it takes to get ready for such a lavish and laudable stunt.

JamBase: How did you choose to play Lawn Boy?

Tim Palmieri: We were discussing what we were going to do for Halloween since we have done some wonderful productions in the past. Our venue wasn't nailed down yet. We wanted Toad's Place in our hometown of New Haven but didn't get it. Once Higher Ground said they'd host the Freakout this year, we thought, "Why not cover an album in Phish's musical costume style? And since we're in Burlington why not pay homage to one of the greatest bands out there?" On top of that, our new keyboardist didn't know one note of Phish so it was a good lesson and experience for him getting to [get to] know Phish's music. He developed a greater understanding of the scene and love for the band, and ultimately freaked out!

Palmieri, Tramontano, Spears - The Breakfast
10.27.07 :: Vermont
JamBase: What was it like trying to learn such a complex album in two weeks?

Tim Palmieri: Well, some of us started learning Lawn Boy earlier than two weeks before. However, Matt [Oestreicher - keyboards] didn't start until two weeks out. Adrian [Tramontano - drums] and I love the album and knew most of it by listening. We knew "Reba" and "Split Open and Melt" would be the toughest. "Oh Kee Pa Ceremony" was the most difficult two minutes of music that I've had to learn in a while. At first I thought I'd be able to just solo over the changes but when I listened to a live show, it was the same part as the album. Trey's parts are all scripted. I was super happy once I finished learning "Reba" and "SOAM" for I love those songs and wanted to learn them since I started listening to Phish.

What was your favorite moment of the show?

My favorite moments of the show were nailing "Reba" - no pun intended [laughs] - and singing, or more like shouting, "I Will Survive" with Mike Gordon on bass.

How did you feel on stage knowing that Mike Gordon was watching?

Mike Gordon & Tim Palmieri :: 10.27.07 :: Vermont
At first it was definitely nerve racking knowing a member of Phish was out there watching and listening for I knew we weren't playing it at 100-percent. Vocally those guys were amazing with execution and arranging. But, when I started "Squirming Coil" and we got into it, I felt honored that he came out to see us and that we had this opportunity to put our souls and affinity for Phish into the night.

What did it mean to you to play with Mike?

Mike is a genuinely nice guy. He has come to a few of our shows at the Higher Ground so I've had the pleasure of hanging and talking with him before. To play [with him] and share the stage was awesome and an honor. Any musician has influences throughout their life that really shape who they are and you don't think you'll get to jam with them in-person someday. Phish, being one of those influences, I never dreamed I'd get to play with Mike. So, it was a real treat.

Tell us a little bit about the history of the Fonghoulish Freakout

The first Fonghoulish Freakout was October 31, 1999. The name came because we are Italians and it's a play on the Italian swear for "fuck you" mixed with Halloween rhetoric, even though the Italian spelling is way different. Every year we've adapted some sort of small theme but in recent years really have blown it up. We had a circus theme, a Star Wars theme, a Big Lebowski theme and a power trio theme. It is just a great time playing on Halloween. I love seeing all the costumes, wearing a costume to rock out and just getting crazy. Next year who knows what we are going to do. It has to top this year's Freakout, which will be difficult but that's what makes it fun.

JamBase | Land of The Phree
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[Published on: 11/14/07]

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breadloaf starstarstarstar Wed 11/14/2007 05:14PM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

You have to give it up for Mike Gordon. He is such a supporter in general of a wide variety of music, whether he is sitting in or simply there to enjoy. I have seen him at Higher Ground shows this past year ranging from Leo Kottke (surprisingly, he did not sit in with Leo), to Bill Frisell- to Phix!

In addition to his musicianship, he is a very positive citizen of the music community. Thanks, Mike. See you at Ween, perhaps?

phishphreak77 starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/14/2007 08:02PM
+7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i'm lucky enough to have been a long time fan of the (Psychedelic) Breakfast and let me tell ya... these guys deserve much more exposure than they have gotten. all the hype over the Phish album cover should draw plenty of eyes and ears to their original material. a great bunch of guys on the stage as well as off. make sure to check out for more info on 'em and next time they're in your area... CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE AND EAT SOME BREAKFAST!

dianaview Wed 11/14/2007 08:08PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


the breakfast is seriously one of the jam scene's best kept secrets. i'm so glad they're finally getting the publicity they deserve, because no other band rocks it as hard and as consistently as they do. been seeing them for years now, and plan to keep seeing them as long as they keep playing!!

Chaloupka Wed 11/14/2007 09:43PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I've only seen The Breakfast once, and I thought meh. Don't get me wrong - they're very talented. I just didn't think their music/songwriting was very cool.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/15/2007 03:48AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

me too chaloupka. they really beat me up..but that was years ago. they have changed since I saw them I am sure.. I will give them another chance sometime.

but, to see the lawn boy album.. WOOW.. thats wayyy cool.

gfunkadelic starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/15/2007 09:41AM
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This band is not for sissys!!

Great article.

Check out the youtube clips of this show,

okalrightic starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/15/2007 09:43AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

the breakfast absolutely kills it every time i've seen them. great band. so jealous of everyone who was there for this show

jimmy row Thu 11/15/2007 10:01AM
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Palmieri can absolutely SHRED mannnnnnnn

rulosa01 starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/15/2007 10:17AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

good to see some breakfast love up at jambase. they are killer, seriously go check 'em out.

DISCOROCKSTAR starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/15/2007 03:42PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I've listened to the show and thought they nailed it! Wish I could have been there!

EVILFUNK starstarstarstar Thu 11/15/2007 04:49PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


with all of the money these guys could have tried to make off of a phish tribute im impressed that they kept it a surprise and went about it all cool like they did...this actually seems like an honest tribute to phish driven by appriciation for phish and thats pretty cool...does this remind anyone of the time Phish covered Tearrapin?...well...that was a bit heavier of a moment than this i guess but same kind of thing....just dont make it a habit of it and i can respect it. -the jam police

birkenjam Fri 11/16/2007 06:50AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

i remember seeing the psychedelic breakfast set up their own stage in the parking lot of SPAC in '01 to play for the pre- phil and friends (with tDB and ratdog opening) rage session.

rulosa01 starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/16/2007 10:19AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

"I've been eager to catch a show with the new lineup-- anyone have an opinion on that???"

yea... fucking sick.

moejoerisin Sat 11/17/2007 05:18PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i dig these guys.. they've got a raging guitarist and a really solid rhythm section, and they get into a lot of hard-hitting fusionesque jams.

derickw starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/19/2007 09:16AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


the whole weekend run was something special. these guys continue to rage for anyone able to listen. they might not be for everyone but you have to give them a shot and check out a show near you. you'll be hooked. the new keyboardist has added such a new dynamic to this band, i look forward to seeing what this re-energizing will do and i can't wait for some new material that is supposedly in the works. Keep it up BoyZ

dianaview Tue 11/20/2007 07:44AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


woo hoo! breakfast nov. 30th in NYC at the lion's den!! see ya'll there!!

dsdon starstarstarstarstar Tue 11/20/2007 09:09PM
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nyc on the 30th. i will be there! this band has to be seen! some amazing talent.

klout Wed 11/21/2007 03:00PM
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What an amazing show this was...

Friday November 30th @ the Lion's Den.... C U THERE!!!!!