Behind The Song | Walfredo Reyes Jr. On Walfredo By Phish

On February 13, 1997 Phish began their first headlining tour of Europe at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London. The quartet debuted two songs that night which featured each member performing on a different instrument than they usually play - "Rocko William" and "Walfredo." The latter was named after famed drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr., a musician the band had many interactions with over the years.

Walfredo has written a blog post which gives plenty of background on the song and his relationship with Phish. Reyes Jr. mentions that in the '80s he played a number of shows in Vermont as a member of David Lindley & El Rayo-­-X. He could always count on seeing Trey, Fish, Mike and Page in the audience at performances near the group's hometown of Burlington. Phish reconnected with Walfredo during their stint opening for Santana in 1992, but the next time the band opened for the guitar great Reyes Jr. had left the band to go on tour with Traffic - hence the line "Where did you go? How much did you get paid?"

The drummer also recounts meeting up with the members of Phish in October of 2000, when both he and the Vermonters were booked on The Tonight Show, "Afterwards they took me inside their tour bus and said, 'Wally, check this out; we wrote a tune we hope you will like.' With Trey on acoustic guitar and the rest of the band on vocals I heard the song for the first time. I remembered feeling the song had humor, nostalgia and memories of those times from different points of view. I was honored that they took the time to capture moments in time of my life and theirs."

"Walfredo" has only been performed twice since that initial European tour - in Las Vegas on September 30, 2000 (just days before their performance of "Twist" aired on The Tonight Show) and again on June 27, 2010 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Reyes has shared what appears to be fan-shot video of one of the earliest performances of "Walfredo":

We highly recommend reading all of Walfredo's blog post.

[Published on: 3/7/14]

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