Watch Actor Jonathan Frakes Tell The Story Behind Phish’s Song ‘Riker’s Mailbox’
The track appears on the band’s 1994 studio album Hoist.
By Scott Bernstein Mar 23, 2023 • 11:10 am PDT
Actor Jonathan Frakes, best known for his role as Commander Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, is also a talented trombonist who contributed to the track “Riker’s Mailbox” that appears on Phish‘s 1994 studio album Hoist. Frakes recalled the circumstances that led to the tune during an interview featured in a recent episode of the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast.
Hoist was recorded in Fall 1993 with producer Paul Fox at American Recording Co. in Woodland Hills, California. It was the late Paul Fox who recruited Frakes to participate in the sessions.
Jonathan Frakes lived next door to Fox. The members of Phish were hanging at the producer’s house, which shared a “dented to shit” cow-shaped mailbox with Frakes’ home. “[Phish] knew I played trombone because they watched Star Trek and were big fans of the show,” Frakes explained. “They asked Paul to ask me to play trombone on their album they were working on.”
“I’m invited out and I’m so psyched as you can well imagine. I get to the studio. They put the chart up on the music stand, it is beyond my capability,” the actor said. “The chart was too high, it was too fast but I attempted it,” Frakes added and and stated, “it became very clear it was not going to work.” Jonathan Frakes noted Phish recruited the trombonist from Tower Of Power to play on the song.
“The outtakes of my attempts to play the charts on whatever song it was I was meant to play on were saved and became this 29-second cut on Hoist called ‘Riker’s Mailbox,'” Frakes recalled. “It was my mailbox, it my outtakes and Paul [Fox] — god bless him — gave me a gold record.”
Watch the interview with Jonathan Frakes from Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum cued up to the part where he talks about Phish below:
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