Happy Birthday Mike Gordon: Phish Plays Mike’s Songs Live

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Phish bassist Mike Gordon was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts on this date in 1965. While the 55-year-old bassist is best known for his work with Phish, he also has a solo career that includes somewhat regularly touring with his eponymous five-piece band and the release of five studio albums. JamBase celebrates Mike Gordon’s 55th birthday with a look at five songs first played by the bassist’s solo band that made the leap into the Phish repertoire in the past five years.

Mike Gordon formed his solo band in 2008 with guitarist Scott Murawski, percussionist Craig Myers, keyboardist Tom Cleary and drummer Todd Isler. The quintet embarked on their first tour that summer and mixed material from Phish with songs from Mike’s debut studio album, Inside In and sophomore effort, The Green Sparrow as well as choice covers and Max Creek tunes.

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Gordon released his third studio album, Moss, in 2010 and followed with Overstep in 2014. He forged a songwriting partnership with Murawski in the band’s early days that continues through the present. A major change came for the group in 2015 when keyboardist Robert Walter replaced Cleary and drummer John Kimock replaced Isler. The five-piece entered the studio as a unit for sessions that yielded OGOGO in 2017. Mike’s band most recently toured this past winter, when they played 13 shows between January 17 and February 1.

How Many People Are You

The current Mike Gordon lineup debuted on June 5, 2015 at the Charleston Music Hall in Charleston, South Carolina. “How Many People Are You” was one of two tunes penned by Mike and Scott premiered by the band that night. The song has remained a staple of the quintet’s repertoire ever since.

Phish unveiled their rendition of “How Many People Are You” on July 22, 2015 at Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, Oregon. The show was the second of two nights at the venue that opened Phish Summer Tour 2015, a run that featured six other debuts including “Mercury,” “Blaze On” and “No Men In No Man’s Land.” Phish has since performed “How Many People Are You” eight additional times, the most recent of which took place on June 26, 2019 in Bangor, Maine.

[Video captured by LazyLightning55]

Crazy Sometimes

Mike and Scott co-wrote “Crazy Sometimes,” a song first played by Gordon and Murawski’s band on January 22, 2016 at Emo’s in Austin. The quintet released a studio version of the song on OGOGO. Phish debuted their version of “Crazy Sometimes” on July 18, 2017 in Dayton, Ohio just before their historic repeat-less Baker’s Dozen run. “Crazy Sometimes” was played by Phish on the final night of the residency at Madison Square Garden in New York City and has made six more appearances. Phish last performed “Crazy Sometimes” on December 8, 2019 at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina.

[Video captured by Kembra Allen]

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Babylon Baby

Mike Gordon wrote and recorded “Babylon Baby” for inclusion on his 2010 studio album, Moss. While the song was played twice during a “Mossery” event at the tiny Kenny’s Castaways in New York City on October 18, 2010; Mike’s five-piece debuted “Babylon Baby” formally on March 5, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. Phish gave the tune a go at UIC Pavilion in Chicago on August 15, 2011 and shelved “Babylon Baby” after additional performances on June 19, 2012 and August 2, 2013.

[Video captured by LazyLightning55]

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Victim

“Victim” is the most recent Mike Gordon/Scott Murawski song to get its Phish debut. However, the Phish version came more than two years after Mike’s five-piece first performed the tune. Gordon and company premiered “Victim” on September 22, 2017 just one week after the song appeared on OGOGO. Phish finally unveiled their take on December 4, 2019 at Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center. The quartet went on to play “Victim” again this past February during this year’s Riviera Maya destination event.

[Video captured by Kembra Allen]

Marissa

Phish has played the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh twice and both shows included the band’s debut version of a song from Mike’s solo project. The aforementioned “Victim” made the setlist in 2019 and “Marissa” was played by Phish at the vene on July 19, 2017. Gordon wrote “Marissa” with Murawski and included the tune on OGOGO. “Marissa” was one of four songs debuted by Mike Gordon at the High Sierra Music Festival on June 30, 2017. While Phish has yet to perform “Marissa” a second time, the tune is in regular rotation with Mike’s solo band.

[Video captured by Kembra Allen]

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