Phish ‘Undermine’ Podcast Profiles ‘Gamehendge’

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Phish podcast Undermine from JamBase partner Osiris Media continues today with an installment profiling Trey Anastasio‘s The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday rock opera, aka Gamehendge. Co-hosts RJ Bee, Matt Dwyer, Jonathan Hart and Brad TenBrook use Gamehendge as the basis for a discussion of the quartet’s evolution in 1987 and 1988.

Lyricist Tom Marshall serves as tour guide and intersperses memories and facts from the creation of Gamehendge and Phish’s first forays outside New England. “By 1987 [keyboardist] Page [McConnell] was helping to define the sound of this growing band. They had started to play Nectar’s regularly and had ventured outside of Vermont to play shows,” Marshall explains. “During this time, Trey also started playing a blonde guitar made by his friend Paul Languedoc which offered sustained warmer notes and lustrous harmonics that would come to define his guitar playing and sound.”

RJ, Matt, Jonathan and Brad go on to dive into 1987 and 1988 by looking at important shows from those years, discussing a few major themes and the birth of Gamehendge. Bee points out the huge contributions McConnell made to the group as they evolved as a four-piece, while Matt notes the departure of Jeff Holdsworth left more room for Anastasio.

The co-hosts talk about Trey’s tone changing and the importance of Anastasio using the Languedoc. Additional subjects hit upon were the covers added to the Phish repertoire, the brilliance of “Fluffhead” and how drummer Jon Fishman‘s use of vacuum helped define the band.

Junta engineer Gordon Hookailo shares memories from the recording of Phish’s debut album. Hookailo appeared on the two latest episodes of Osiris podcast Phemale-Centrics. The conversation turns to Gamehendge with Marshall discussing “Icculus” and spinning an early recording of the song. Bee, Dwyer, Hart and TenBrook then talk The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, which Anastasio originally put together for his Goddard College thesis.

The co-hosts discuss a historic night in Phish history: March 12, 1988. On the same night, the quartet debuted The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday after attending a Frank Zappa concert in Burlington. Longtime Phish manager John Paluska first saw the band that evening according to legend. “It seems a little bit too convenient,” Matt says of the convergence of events. “Gamehendge is mythology, so why wouldn’t the debut of Gamehendge be shrouded in its own mythology?” adds Jonathan.

In 1988, Phish made their first trip to Colorado. The co-hosts detail the story behind the mostly ill-fated trip, which did wind up playing a crucial role in the band’s history. Undermine’s fifth episode ends with the co-hosts sharing their takeaways from the years 1987 and 1988 for Phish.

Stream “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” Undermine episode below:

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