Mike Gordon Talks Upcoming Tour, Dead & Company And ‘Meaty’ Phish Album

By Scott Bernstein Jun 20, 2016 2:30 pm PDT

This Wednesday Phish will kick off Summer Tour at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota marking the quartet’s return to the Twin Cities for the first time in 16 years. Phish bassist Mike Gordon discussed the band’s absence, the new Phish album, turning down Dead & Company and more with local outlet the Star Tribune.

Mike seemed surprised when reminded Phish hasn’t played in Minneapolis or St. Paul since 1999, but had a simple explanation. “Twenty-five years ago, we toured nine months a year, now we tour six weeks,” Gordon told the Star Tribune. When asked what to expect on Wednesday he responded, “Expect the unexpected.” When pressed on whether Phish would honor Minnesota native Prince who passed away earlier this year, Gordon responded, “We like to avoid what’s overdone,” but added, “we were big fans. We got to go party at Paisley palace once. He was a powerhouse of creativity.”

The bassist was asked to join Dead & Company when members of the Grateful Dead were putting together the band though eventually declined. “It’s such a dream gig,” Gordon said. “I went for a week of rehearsals. I was flattered they wanted me as the first choice for bass. The prospect of doing it was exciting. I love the Grateful Dead.” Mike explained that he knew becoming a member of Dead & Company would be a huge commitment and would delay a solo album he has in the works, “It was the biggest dream going that I’ve ever had to say no to. Phish has made a career out of saying no to things. We’re trying to stay on our own personal paths of integrity.”

Another topic Mike discussed was the new Phish album which is currently in the works. “(Producer) Bob (Ezrin) gave us an interesting assignment to check out inspirational music to get a more raw emotion,” Cactus revealed. “He wanted us to carve away the fluff and wordplay.” As such, the foursome taught themselves a handful of cover songs, not for potential use on the album, but as a means for conjuring new ideas.

“Indirectly, it had a big effect,” Gordon told the Star Tribune. “This album is particularly heartfelt. Not ballads or sappy. It’s meaty, though I probably shouldn’t use that word since I’m a vegetarian.” Head to the Star Tribune for more from Mike.

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