KELLER WILLIAMS : : THE NEXT STAGE

 
"You know, when you go to a show and everyone is kind of focused in on what's happening and then all of a sudden... everyone at the same time just feels it, and they cheer and throw out a big burst of energy... I live for that shit."
--Keller Williams
Photo by C Taylor Crothers
 

Yes.

So then the people reading will know what I'm talking about. You know, when you go to a show and everyone is kind of focused in on what's happening and then all of a sudden at one time everyone as an audience without any kind of script or anything, everyone at the same time just feels it, and they cheer and throw out a big burst of energy... I live for that shit. So when you incorporate things that are happening that night and in certain cities, people just eat that shit up and I love it.

So now straying away from that aspect, I wanted to talk about this summer. No High Sierra Music, no Bonnaroo, but you are still all over the festival circuit and are even headlining certain fests like Smilefest.


By C Taylor Crothers
And no Telluride! (Grimaces) All three of those festivals, you know... it's really a bummer. Those are three of my favorite festivals and I am extremely grateful to be a part of everything that I am a part of this summer, and I am on a lot and I have so much to be grateful for, but Telluride, High Sierra, and Bonnaroo are my three favorite festivals and I am definitely bummed that I'm not a part of it. But you know, there's always next year.

I know that I have told you this back the first time we met, but that late night set with you and Cheese the first year at Bonnaroo still to this day has to be my highest musical experience to date and I will never forget it.

Oh man, thank you again. That was pretty amazing.

That first year of Bonnaroo in general was pretty remarkable in and of itself. There was just such an amazing vibe permeating all around it.

Especially because there was that hint of fear to it as well, in some of the folks, as far as how many people were going to it and what could happen with that many people. Especially after Woodstock with the fires and all that.

So detouring from the festival circuit, but still on the same note as far as huge amounts of people, and I'm sure people have asked you about your opinion on this subject, but what was your take on Phish deciding to hang it up and doing so at a final festival with such a large amount of people?


Keller Williams by Jeffrey V. Smith
Well, I can relate artistically and I think they are looking at it for themselves too as well for the sake of history. I think that a lot has to do with Trey and the eclecticity--if that's even a word, which I'm sure it's not--of his brain. Just listening to his music and just thinking about how his brain works with his arrangements, you know, it seemed he could never be satisfied within one thing. The way he surrounded himself with an orchestra of musicians and took it out and did what he wanted to do. So to come back to it, I'm sure he had a real sense of family, but at the same time, if he is not happy with it, there is just no reason to continue on. I think that they did a really noble thing, to quit while you're ahead. I just read in Rolling Stone that Trey said he didn't want his daughter going to high school with kids that follow her dad around the country. It's a strange thing; I mean the hiatus seemed like a really good idea and then them coming back and me reading mixed reviews... I was able to go see one of the Hampton shows when they first came back in the beginning of January, and I had seen a lot of Phish back in '96 through '98, so I kind of had that to compare it to. I didn't really go too much after I started to get a lot more work and so I thought you could tell that they didn't really have the fire that they had in '97. But then again, a lot of that has to do with where you are yourself at that time. I was seeing Phish when they were just coming out of the rock club circuit, you know, and I am from Virginia, so I would go see them at the Boathouse up in Norfolk or at Flood Zone and at Trax in Charlottesville, so these tiny places with less then a thousand people. There was always this huge excitement, and then jumping from the theaters to the arenas seemed a little bit early. I can remember seeing them in an arena, and it was half full, and I can remember how cool and exciting that was. The best part then though was you could tell that they totally loved it. I really have nothing to say negative about Phish, man. They blazed the trail and have done things their own way, and I think that is really respectable and the music that they have produced both on stage and on record is just something to be very proud of for that band.

I think that the readers are going to appreciate those words very much. Especially with the fact that music lovers in this community really take their music seriously and to heart, and there are many people who have a home away from home with Phish, and they are losing that part of their lives. So on the other hand, for our readers who love Phish and have respect for you and your work, to hear you say such positive things about them and really look at the good in their decision, it helps a tremendous amount.

I agree. And it's not like the music is going to end, you know. Each band member is going to be touring with their own thing.

Let's go back to you coming out of Virginia. You just mentioned Charlottesville and Trax, which is where another Virginia band came out of, Dave Matthews Band. You are also about to go out for a few dates opening for DMB--how did this come about?


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