Marc Brownstein On How He’s Been Inspired By Phish

By Scott Bernstein Sep 7, 2016 7:29 am PDT

The Disco Biscuits bassist Marc Brownstein is an active social network user, who often interacts with his fans, shares his thoughts and feelings as well as photos from his life on the road and time with his family. Brownie’s latest post is all about the inspiration he gets from Phish.

The bassist discusses how he was musically inspired by Mike Gordon’s work at The Mann in Philadelphia back in June and the discipline he learned through a phone call Phish drummer Jon Fishman made to HeadCount volunteers. Here’s what Marc shared in his latest “public journal” on Facebook:

So many things I want to say on my public journal right now but I’ll start with: Thanks for a great summer tour, Phish!

23 years after becoming my favorite band to see live, these guys continue to inspire me, and when I say that, it’s not just some cliche or empty comment. I am literally inspired by these guys to do things to make myself a better overall person and musician especially. This summer, at the Mann, during Roggae, Mike started going on some arpeggiated shred fest and I was forced to go home, pick up the bass, and practice harder than I ever have in my life. As a result I discovered a level of discipline that I’ve never had before, practicing for hours and hours a day, playing every conceivable scale: minor, major, diminished, half diminished, chromatic, whole tone, in quarter notes, 1/8s, 16ths, arpeggios of each, multiple octaves in every key. I would pick one key a day and delve so deep into it that I was discovering new ways to play old scales, new positions to play the same notes, and in the process have become more familiar with the entire neck of the bass than I’ve ever been.

[Phish – Roggae at The Mann]

Another key moment of inspiration was Fish’s phone call with the HeadCount volunteers describing the intensity of his own warm ups. The discipline he described was exactly what I needed to find within myself to get to the next level musically, which is something I aspire to do.

I hear my idols like Mike and Oteil play and sometimes I have to remind myself that they are ten years older and more experienced than me. But more than anything, they practiced more when they were younger. That’s the key factor, how many hours you dedicate to your practice, whether it’s yoga or music or anything. Seeing my wife attempt to master yoga in her late 30s and watching her progress is another major inspiration to me in terms of remembering that this is a journey, and it’s not over. In fact, the way I look at it, it’s just beginning. I love playing scales now. I didn’t when I was younger, I found the fundamentals kind of boring, and as a result my technical playing progressed slowly. Technical prowess on bass doesn’t always equate to the music sounding better, because it’s really about being able to feel the pocket and play the groove, but as a bass player with lots of room to improve, I look at the future and think, it’s only getting better and it’s only getting brighter.

So thanks for the continued inspiration Phish, and thanks for letting us all watch the show from the comfort of wherever we happen to be. I knew tonight would be special, and they didn’t fail to deliver on the most sacred of the jamband adages: never miss a Sunday show…

Can’t wait to take this level of excitement I have musically and bring it up north for the next installment of Biscuits next weekend!

[Hat Tip – @PhishAtTheMann]

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