Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Sixth Borough

Like any Jewish child born in the post-WWII era, I have an uncle named Arthur who is a doctor. Besides being a great guy and good uncle, he’s also handy to have around just in case anyone needs late night medical advice, a last minute flu shot or an update on how the U.S. insurance companies are slowly squeezing every last ounce of joy out of the medial profession. But, when we were younger, being a doctor also meant that he needed to be on call and couldn’t take his family on vacation during holiday break. So, instead of going to Disney World or some other family-approved tourist destination, he used to take my cousins to a local hotel for an “imaginary vacation” every winter.

In certain ways, I feel the same way about taking a trip to Philadelphia: the City of Brotherly Love, the home of the cheesesteak and, most recently, New York’s “Sixth Borough.” I used to think Philadelphia was far away, but when I started seeing Phish there and in nearby scenic Camden, I realized that not only was it close, it was possible to do the entire drive in less time that it takes to listen to the full version of the 70 minute “Reba.” In fact, one of my good friends from college even commutes from Philadelphia to New York every day, so he can balance his girlfriend and job as well as his apparent need for both fresh bagels and cheese steaks.

But since Philadelphia is a full two states away, I always feel like I am going on vacation whenever I take a trip down I-95, more often than not to see the Disco Biscuits. And there is something fun and strangely liberating about taking an imaginary vacation: sleeping in a hotel, eating unhealthy food in the name of trying something new and staying up late to do things I’d never dream of blogging about at home. All and All, depending on the Disco Biscuits’ tour schedule, I’d say I average about 2-4 imaginary Philadelphia vacations a year, which is usually enough to assure me that I still live in New York’s best borough.

My latest Philadelphia adventure took place this Sunday when I what haphazardly ended up “jumping on tour” with my friends for an overnight adventure to Philadelphia. It kind of makes sense that Philadelphia’s two most prominent styles of music are hip-hop (Will Smith, The Roots) and electronic-rock (The Disco Biscuits et all) because kidz in Philadelphia definitively have “that” look, from the sideways baseball caps to the baggy clothes. And while that may see obvious to some of you, I still find it funny that two distinct, different cultural subsets can emerge within a nights drive from one another, even in the global age of the internet.

Not that I had too, too much time to think about all that since being in Philadelphia meant I was ON VACATION and could do things that I rarely do back home, like hosting an all night party in my hotel room or letting someone else figure out how we were getting to New Jersey or, even, including a piece of melted cheese on my trademark tuna fish sandwich. For the first time in a short wile, I also drove down and stayed with an entirely new group of friends, each of whom I picked up outside my usual college/high school/Relix comfort box (in fact, I even met one at an indie-rock show). But while on vacation the rules of space and time are suspended in that summer camp kind of way and, by 4 hours in, we knew each other well enough to harp on each other’s insecure quirks.

Usually, when I leave town, even when it is only to Philadelphia, or say, New York’s Upper East Side, I try to taste a bit of local culture, be it a restaurant, museum or local landmark, in order to try to convince my parents that I’m not one of those lot kidz for whom seeing Phish in 72 cities really meant little man than seeing 72 Best Westerns and Waffle Houses. But, with a new group of friends comes new rules and regulations, and this time I used our hotel as a Lost in Translation-­like springboard for all my adventures, rarely leaving, mingling with my fellow guests and interacting with the local hotel staff as if they were speaking another language (which in many ways they were since, apparently, you can only order sushi at 2 AM in New York and L.A.).

You also learn a lot about new friends by staying with them in a hotel room and, even If they are just plutonic pals, I kind of feel like your relationship changes in a small way after you’ve seen them in their pajama. It’s kind of like jumping from casually dating someone to sleeping with them or, more accurately, going from having a playdate to a sleepover party. Slowly, you begin to figure out which of your friends gets all deep when the lights go out, which one of your friends builds a little pillow fort around herself and which one of your friends gets up way too early in the morning and feels compelled to wake everyone else up “by accident,” like a dog licking his master’s face in the morning.

All in all, it was great fun and I even discovered that they make Philly Cheesesteaks without the bread for people on Atkins. Now that’s progress people…

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Red State Mama

So, over the past eighteen months a good chunk of my friends have either gotten married or pregnant (sometimes in that order). For a while, my stock response was something to the effect of “sometimes I think I want to get married, but really, all I want is to throw a big, formal party.” But, as my mid-20s have gently segued into my, um, late-mid-20s, I’ve started to consider not only what would make me happy three beers deep, but, also, what would make me happy in the seemingly undefined “long term” and what would make my family happy in our seemingly defined Meet the Parents-like future. Growing up, my parents were pretty liberal when it came to most things (T.V., junk food, sex, drugs, rock-and-roll), but the one thing my dad promised, “would break my mother’s heart” was marrying a non-Jewish girl. And luckily for him, no gentile woman could ever spend more than one night with my nervous system OR understand my unconditional love of white fish and bagels.

But, just when I thought it would be another 8-10 years before I found the woman who would drive me slightly insane for all of eternity, I met someone who seemed to have all the proper qualifications: a 5’3, neurotic, New York-bred, Jewish girl with both a college degree and a pair of patchwork pants (in her closet). She even understand that the phrase "I love you like a 'Ghost' from '97" was a compliment, not some failed attempt at post-adolescent trick-or-treating or a secret reference to an ex-girlfriend from 11 years ago.

We met earlier this month at a party and made plans to go out for drinks, which quickly segued into a full on dinner (always a good sign of things to come). Over the course of the night, we touched upon all the appropriate subjects and one-by-one she passed the small Seinfeldian quizzes I subconsciously pop whenever I meet someone of interest:

Do you live within the social L that extends from the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side, across/below 14th St and into Brooklyn (but not past The Hook)?

Have you seen Garden State enough times to know when I am plagiarizing Zach Braff?

Would you be OK with dancing to “If I Could” at our wedding?

Are you so neurotic that you actually make me seem calm, cool and collected (or at least confident)?

In retrospect, it was one of those rare nights when the conversation flowed like wine, the wine flowed like water and the water flowed like, well, like fish (come on, you saw that one coming for a half a sentence). I've always said that you can tell a date is going well when the waiter hands you the check instead of placing it in the middle of the table and let’s just say he asked me if I wanted to open up a tab before we received our appetizers. The night got a bit fuzzy from there, but I'm pretty sure that sometime before dessert, I took a metal note of her favorite flowers and ring size. But, then, a few hours into our conversation, she touched on a topic more taboo than aligning with Red board over the Green board on PT and revealed a rather interesting tidbit:

She's a Republican.

And, let me clarify: not a financially conservative, intellectual for Israel, post-Steven Colbert, pro-Bloomberg neo-con or whatever the kids are calling everyone who lives in Murray Hill these days, but a real, Bush-loving, Cheney supporting conservative (who hates, even though they had the foresight to introduce Neil Young to My Morning Jacket way back in 2004).

After I pulled my jaw from the ground, I began to think what dating a Republican would mean for me: we’d probably have to balance our car with both red and blue bumper stickers, split custody of the T.V. between Fox News and the Daily Show at 11 PM every night and avoid the first week of November for any impending weddings, anniversaries or potential birthdays (unless, of course, the Democrats manage to retake the White House next year)

Now, I have friends who are so liberal they sometimes make me want to change parties altogether (and four years after we broke up, I'm still not sure how my ex-girlfriend managed to convince me that turning on my air conditioning was equal to voting for Bush, but driving from Saratoga to Boston in a SUV for a Nader rally was kosher), but I’ve always felt that dating out of party is kind of like sleeping with someone from a different religious background: It’s fun for a night or two, but our chances of tying the knot are about as good as Edwards scoring the Democratic Nomination.

But, it did get me thinking where exactly politics holds up on my list of Facebook vital statistics, especially since---my Mom and Dad aside---I grew up in red-county, poisoning the minds of young intellectuals in an otherwise blue state. In fact, of my four best guy friends from high school, one actually clocked in time working for Bush post-college, a second switched parties to appease his conservative investment banking boss, a third switched parties to appease my friend who switched parties to appease his conservative investment banking boss and a fourth is so idealistic that he actually thinks Bush is trying to spread Democracy. Since I also rely on at least a few of these friends for regular advice on life, love and loose commas, I’ve also justified to myself: namely, a job’s a job, money’s money, your friend’s money is money and that anyone that idealistic probably still thinks Phish’s hiatus was about spending time at home with the kids.

Luckily, before I paid the check and she managed to help repeal the first amendment, she also told me she liked the last two seasons of Seinfeld, so I obviously immediately chopped the check, but the night did get me thinking about if I could end up with someone who longed for the day when Gamehendge would be a red state. I even asked my Democratic Party-card holding Dad if he thought marrying a Republican would break my mother’s heart. He smiled and said, “No, she probably wouldn’t mind, but you better not ask me to help pay for the wedding.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It’s the End of the Year and I Know it (and I Feel Fine!)

It’s December, the weather is finally cold and the heat in my apartment building is on so high that I’m thinking of turning on my air conditioner so I can sleep. Which can only mean one thing…Holiday Party Tour! The holidays are the best: everyone is in a great mood, there are parties every night and, for three wonderful weeks, drinking eggnog is socially acceptable. Just this week alone I attended four holiday parties, some associated with work, others with friends, and one that was actually just a dinner disguised as a Chanukah celebration, but I digress. Holiday parties are also a time to take stock of the past year and say all those emotionally awkward things you’ve stored up all year, with the hope that when the clock strikes 12 on December 31 everything you say will be erased like a scene from Groundhog Day.

I also like holiday parties because they kind of connect the dotes between the various people I know and allow me to accidentally reintroduce my friends to, say, their roommate, next door cubicle neighbor or ex-girlfriend (damn small world). Plus, it’s always nice to see that all it takes is a few drinks and some sushi for the most uptight guy in your office to start streaking naked across the floor or, or more accurately, hugging you a lot and awkwardly apologizing to you in the bathroom the following morning.

I also have special “tour” friends that I only seem to run into during holiday party season each year. But since I also tend to appear in a disproportionate number of pictures while on holiday party tour, according to, say, my Facebook photo gallery, these people are my best friends who I see every week. My favorite holiday tour friend is probably Jess a.k.a. “JFS,” who I’ve seen more in the past seven days than the past 7 months. Jess and I actually met at a holiday party in December of 2005 and spent a whirlwind three weeks on hoiday tour together, before she accidentally/drunkenly walked into a mirror after an Ivan Neville show and was forced to go to the emergency room (which was kind of like the Altamont of our friendship). We seem to reunite each December for a few sold out nights of holiday party shenanigans---if only so she can rub it into me that she thinks of me whenever she looks at the scar on her foot---but ‘tis the season for forgiveness, right?

In fact, I love holiday party tour so much I wish it had a summer counterpart timed around July 4th or something. Luckily, my annual Hungover for the Holiday party has slowly been delayed to the point that if might actually take place around the time of my summer birthday, so maybe that will convince some other offices to delay their Christmas cheer until the summer months. At least my air conditioner will already be on…

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Auld Lang Syne Set 3:

And now for...

Mike Gordon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Luther Dickinson, Akron/Family, Antibalas, ALO, Christian McBride and Other Friends

Monday, December 10, 2007

Auld Lang Syne Set 2

This time with Marc Brownstein, Les Claypool, Reed Mathis, Railroad Earth and Umphrey's McGee, among other friends

Sunday, December 09, 2007

In-Store Pornography

Last night I went to see a free in-store performance by the New Pornographers at the Apple Store in SoHo with my friend Kristin. I’ve been to a few in-store shows over the years (Cold War Kids, Guster, Dana from Ominous Seapods, Badly Drawn Boy, Jonah Smith, Gov’t Mule and Secret Machines to name a few) and have always found them amusing, if not thoroughly entertaining. There’s nothing like placing a musician on display like a new product to make them feel awkward and I can’t help but feel awkward for them. Seeing a show at the Apple Store is even more awkward because it’s easier to charge your iPod than to score a drink at the so called “genius bar” (which isn’t too smart in my humble opinion) and, unless you get there early enough to secure a seat, they tend to stuff you in the back like overflow merchandise. To their credit the New Pornographers put on a great, high energy show, which lasted far longer than many of the indie rock shows I’ve seen over the years (a solid 40 minutes, plus an encore). Neko Case also played with her occasional bandmates which was a special treat, though given our spot in the room, her face was strangely reminiscent of a metal support beam.

But the one real problem with the show, and most in-store performances in general, was the awkward stage banter and eerie silent pauses between songs. Unlike a crowded rock room, where silence between songs is expected, at in-store shows musicians feel the need to be funny and every…single…word…seems to take on some overly weighty meaning. Honestly, I feel bad because most musicians I’ve met over the years aren’t that funny and, quite frankly, they shouldn’t have to be. It’s as if I was presenting at a conference on being neurotic and had to participate in a spelling bee between lectures on the suburban Oedipus complex and compulsive behavior under stressful circumstances (two of my specialties). Kristin said it reminded her of going to see a bad comedy at the movies where nobody laughed, which apparently is one of her greatest fears (perhaps she is speaking after me at the above mentioned conference). Thankfully, the evening did have its share of funny moments, mostly thanks to the event’s security, which consisted of Freaks & Greeks approved Apple Store Clerks with VIP passes placed over their pocket protectors, which apparently only granted them access to the data ports behind the onstage projectors (but imagine what you can plug into with an All Access pass…)

I also think it’s funny that the Apple II GS I used to play “The Oregon Trail” on has managed to beget an empire so large that it is now, reportedly, responsible for 80% of the music market. Now if I could only convince Hot Chip to cover “The Oregon Trail” theme song (and finally make it across the Columbia River without killing all my video game Oxen…did I just date myself to 1988?).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Auld Lang Syne Set 1

Auld Lang Syne Set 1: Al Schnier, Keller Williams, Marco Benevento, Chris Frantz, Fuzz and Other Friends

As another year comes to a close, another “best of” season begins. And once again we’ve asked a number of musicians, managers, writers and other scene staples to look back on 2007. Below we asked Al Schnier, Keller Williams, Marco Benevento, Chris Frantz, Fuzz and other friends a series of four questions and, fittingly, their responses touched on such diverse topics as the impending presidential election, the return of Bruce Springsteen and the fall of Britney Spears. We hope their thoughts help guide you into 2008. Look for new installments regularly throughout December.

Friday, November 30, 2007

CT 150

A look at our best IDs.....from Dr. Dog to the Disco Biscuits, Les Claypool to Death Cab, Ben Harper to Phish, Guster to G.Love, My Morning Jakcet to moe. and many, many,many more!


1.) Tom Hamilton & Aron Magner – “Swimming at Night”
2.) Tom Hamilton & Aron Magner – “Invite Your Friends”
3.) Michael Franti – “Sweet Little Lies”
4.) Michael Franti – “East to the West”
5.) G. Love – “Fat One”
6.) G. Love – “Sauce”
7.) Keller Williams

“Bonus Tracks” 8.) Benevento/Russo Duo – “Divided Sky” (Phish) 9.) Benevento/Russo Duo – “18 and Life” (Skid Row) 10.) Benevento/Russo Duo – “To Be with You” (Mr. Big)

Tracks 1 through 7 recorded on-site at the Langerado Music Festival (, tracks 8 through 10 recorded at Wakarusa (

Please click here to download

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Coffee Talk

I’m not sure at point writers actually began holding court in coffee shops, but I’m going to go ahead and give credit to the Beats. Personally, I like to write at home in my sweatpants with my lights dim and my headphones loud, but over time many of my favorite writers have used their local coffee shops as venerable Bat Caves. Since I’m much better at procrastinating than relaxing, I’ve spent a good deal of my time in L.A. holdup in a coffee shop sandwiched between my friends' apartments, where a day of internet only costs a cup of coffee. Though I haven’t really spoken to anyone, I’m going to say about 80% of the people in this room are writers of some sort: bloggers, journalists, budding novelists and, especially, on strike screen writers. The glass door that just opened even reads “We Support the Screen Writers Guild (this is L.A. after all).” Someone also told me the famous blogger Perez is in here right now, but keeping with blogger rules of edict, it seems more appropriate for me to ignore him in person and the write about him online anyway.

Even though I’m blowing through my last few Relix vacation days visiting my friends out here, I still kind of feel like I’m playing hooky and that my high school principal is going to bust in here in any minute and give me a Saturday detention or something. So I’ve actually been pretty productive while my friends are slaving away at their day jobs, if you consider string 25 Cold Turkey IDs together for our 150th episode being productive. Oddly enough, this coffee shop also seems to have blocked MySpace, which is another reason why writers seem to congregate hear. And they play some pretty good music, which so far has been a nice blend of Secret Machines, Modest Mouse and Fleetwood Mac. Since this place seems to be a few cups of coffee ahead of the curve, I’m going to go ahead and declare Fleetwood Mac back in that ironic, Yacht Rock sort of way. Either that or they just like bands whose names begin with the word M.

Since I like to relate every city I visit to New York, I now know that I am staying in West Hollywood, which is the Chelsea of L.A.. Last night we had dinner with my friends’ friend who lives in Silver Lake (the Williamsburg of L.A.) as apposed to Marina del Rey (the Lower East Side of L.A.), Bel Air (The Upper East Side of L.A.) or Brentwood (The Upper West Side of L.A.). Though I don’t think I can ever live anywhere outside the four block radius I currently call my home in New York, I really, really like L.A. if only because they serve this drink which I can only describe as a mixture of ice tea and lemonade, two of my favorite childhood cocktails. I didn’t know that you could even get those two flavors together outside of a Snapple can, let alone at every restaurant we’ve visited, but apparently that is how advanced they are out here. I also like the fact that since this place in three hours behind New York, my body will let me go to sleep before 2 AM and get up at a reasonable hour without the aid of the three alarm clocks and two phone calls I need to get out of bed by office hours. But, despite missing my friends out here, I’m glad to be going home tomorrow. Otherwise I might start to feel like Larry David trapped in some sort of Curb Your Enthusiasm alternate reality where everyone smile and no body understands sarcasm. ‘Till I return next season….

Sunday, November 25, 2007

California, No Doubt About It

I love visiting my college friends in Los Angeles because I feel like I’m a character guest starring in an episode of some television show spin-off from our beloved college dramedy. I know all the characters by heart and can jump in for a few scenes now and then, before returning to my regularly scheduled program. So in case you are just tuning in, here are our opening credits (some good opening credits music from my college days---Dispatch---is now likely streaming on your right via my podcast).

Nick: Nick is one of my boyz from college, which means we saw a lot of shows together in a really short period of time (which now feels like an eternity ago, but when we hang it seems like yesterday...time is truly strange). Instead of going abroad he spent a semester in Disney World driving the Monorail and dating the girl who played Winnie the Poo. He says she wasn’t a barrel of honey, but she could sure f*ck like an animal….

Caitey: Since Caitey is the only person to censer a picture of herself on my blog, I pinched this picture from her MySpace page. Caitey is one of those friends who has her own little language that it takes a few years of collegiate practice to truly master. For instance, the phrase “how’s the construction in your apartment coming” translates to “am I going to have a place to stay when I come to New York in December” and the question “is Juan still your roommate” actually means “am I going to have to share a bed or do I get a room all to myself.”

Amanda: In college Amanda and I unknowingly hosted the first post-jam radio show, where we’d play Phish before the Cure and Dexy's Midnight Runners right after the Allman Brothers Band’s “Midnight Rider.” She likes to change her haircut at least once a year, so her hairdos kind of mark our growth like houses on seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Nick Jones: Nick Jones and I lived on the same dorm before we both finished puberty and became good friends over the last eight years. Nick is also a race car driver looking for sponsors, so if you want to help him get out of his self-described post-college racing purgatory please send me an e-mail (who knew living out one's matchbox car childhood fantasy would cost 2 mill?).He used to date Caitey, so I am doing the divorced kid thing today, though I love them both equally depending on what is on the evening’s agenda.

Jesse: Jesse doesn’t have a MySpace pic for me to pinch, but works for Bob Marley which automatically makes her cool. She was also the only other person who liked G. Love at Skidmore, despite the fact that we count G.Love among our alumni on Wikipedia.

Dan: Dan was one of my housemates senior year, which means we threw a lot of parties and got to go to court together for breaking a noise ordinance violation one beautiful October day. Throughout college he had a steady stream of Chinese girlfriends and we used to joke that if he was drafted he’d be stationed in Asia. Then one of our housemates actually got called up to Iraq and we all felt really bad. He often goes by Z-man, which means he is the last name in my phonebook and occasionally gets calls from my pocket. Sorry Dan.

Chris: The newest edition to our cast in Chris, Caitey’s current boyfriend. We like Chris and hope that before Christmas he will make the leap from the "guest staring" category at the start of our end credits to the "also staring" category at the end of our opening credits. Welcome aboard and sorry if you'd prefer to remain anonymous!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wedding Tour: Viva Las Vegas

There’s an old adage that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” but it’s up to my lawyer friends to let me know if that clause still holds weight in the internet/blog/reality TV era, so I have no qualms about posting some pictures from Suman and Kristi’s amazing wedding in Las Vegas. Especially when my body is still on Las Vegas time. So, below are a few pictures my good friends Jen and Eric took during our Thanksgiving weekend journey to Las Vegas.

Despite the fact that Vegas is probably my least favorite destination city in the country (thus putting it behind Chicago and LA, but ahead of Fargo, Boise and Omaha, though the latter city is the subject of one of my favorite Counting Crows compositions), I’ve now been to Vegas five times in the past four years (including twice this month). But since all of my earlier journeys have been fueled by either Phish or Vegoose, I’ve never had a real Vegas weekend---or at least the type of Vegas adventure that might end up in a scene from either a Hunter S. Thompson novel or National Lampoon Vacation film. But thanks to my dear friends Suman and Kristi, I found myself digesting my kosher Turkey in the heart of Sin City with some of my closest friends. Since the average age our of our wedding party was 26, the entire weekend also took on a bit of a Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitters Dead feel and was actually both a wedding and a bachelor party rolled into one (I’ll leave it up to you, dear reader, to figure out which images correlate to which event). But I will tell you that the weekend involved a $2,800 bar tab at the 40 Deuces burlesque club (apologizes to my Relix cohorts, looks like I will be eating canned tuna for the foreseeable future), a $400 dollar bottle of vodka (much of which regrettably ended up on the floor during one heartfelt hug), a hooker (who to my friend’s credit he thought was just a friendly girl who spent 2 hours hearing about his lovely girlfriend), a strip club (which offered more levels of VIP access than Vegoose and Bonnaroo combined), a 13 bedding mansion (our Real World approved home which came complete with a pool table, hot tub, poker chips and towels), a party van (which looked like a Hummer, but felt like a DeLorean talking us on a Back to the Future adventure through time to our high school prom days) and a minister that look like neither Elvis or Frank Sinatra. I’m happy to say that I managed to walk away from Vegas with a few hundred dollars in my pockets (most of which I brought with me from New York, but I digress) and no wedding rings on my fingers, giving the weekend a refreshing festival feel. And of course like any festival, the event ended with a friend of mine passed out in the backseat of his car while I navigated my way through 7hrs of traffic back to LA for a much needed vacation from reality (or at least the type of reality you can find on TV between the hours of 8-10 PM each night on your local broadcasting station).

While congratulations are certainly in order for Suman and Kristi (whose wedding itself was amazing), the real winner of the weekend was my good friend Nick, who managed to win well over $500, wave that $500 in the face of a man he called Mikey (though his name tag clearly read Davey) while screaming “feel the breeze” and, sadly enough, rolling those winnings into a $500 tip when he accidentally left his earnings at a fine establishment at 5 AM (or so my cell phone log reads, I was already counting hetty sleep by that point).

Above: Since The Skidmore Scope (our alumni magazine) has rejected the last few photos I've submitted (apparently they favor babies over Bonnaroo), I'm going to try to get this in the Winter/Spring edition. I'll just leave out the whole hookers in Vegas part...

Above: The anti walk of shame...Suman en route to his wedding. His smile falls somewhere between elated and scared shitless

Above: John (right) was awarded best man duties, which included holding the ring, signing the wedding certificate and making sure Suman didn't end up in the next "Makisupa Policeman" narrative
Above: Nick, Jen, Eric and I at the wedding. Next time the four of us are wedding two of us might be under a hupa (and no this wedding isn't taking place is Massachusetts)

Above: Vegas is full of difficult decisions. Should I...

a) see a concert and visit the shark reef?
b) play poker and attend a comic book convention?
c) eat sushi and watch someone get married?
Since I've already been to a and b, we opted for letter c. The sushi was great and the wedding wasn't bad either! (though it did take us longer to get our order than for Suman and Kristi to tie the knot)

Above: Jen took most of these pictures, except this one of course since she's in it. She'd probably prefer it if I discussed her encounter with Page at the Mandalay Bay rather than commenting on her post-tour teacher glasses, but then again what are friends for?
Above: Since I temporally lost my podcast co-host Benjy on Daft Punk tour this summer, I figured I look for him in the most obvious location. Alas, no luck....

Above: The Bride, the Groom and their Beer

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from Cold Turkey

We’ve always felt that no month screams Cold Turkey quite like November and, to celebrate, we’ stuffed a few extra episodes onto our servers in time for Thanksgiving. From now until December we will be uploading a new episode of Cold Turkey every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, including exclusive interviews with Ben Harper, Death Cab for Cutie, Shooter Jennings, Thievery Corporation, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Mickey Hart, Susan Tedeschi, Dispatch, Editors and many, many more. It will all culminate with the Clifford Ball of all Cold Turkey podcasts, our 150th episode. So, in case you want to include some fresh links your Thanksgiving stockings, here are some recent podcast’s Benjy and I uploaded!

Infected Mushroom

Les Claypool

The Shins and Gogol Bordello

Deep Banana Blackout Do James Brown

Ben Harper

Mickey Hart

Mocean Worker

Del and the Boys Thanksgiving Special

Dark Star Orchestra at GOTVs

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Birthday Boys

Before I remember what actually happened, I figured I should post some pictures from my belated birthday party. And since I really have nowhere else to put it, I also included the I invite I sent out. All photos were taken by the great Morgan Fedele...


After a few weeks of continuously pressing refresh on my evite page, I’m excited that you’ve all either RSVPed for our party or at least glanced at our invite in that “yeah, I’m coming, chill out” kind of way. It should be fun, even if I’m not actually sure what we are celebrating. Anyway, as promised, I invited a few bands to come play for you while I stand around awkwardly and most likely walk away in the middle of our conversations. Sorry about that, I have an acute case of party ADD.


So I am excited that this Saturday, at 11:00 PM SHARP, American Babies are going to take the stage for us at Ace of Clubs. In case I’m speaking music geek to you,

American Babies:

Tom Hamilton

Joe Russo

Scott Metzger

Jim Hamilton

These four men have spent the better part of the past decade playing in some of my favorite bands---ever, really---including the Benevento/Russo Duo, Brothers Past, RANA, Electron and Bustle in Your Hedgerow and managed to create one of the best albums of the year, without actually sounding like any of the bands I just mentioned (think a post-jam version of Ryan Adams or/Counting Crows depending on how you order your self-depreciative indie/country-rock).


Since I know the only thing more fun than going to a party is going to a party fashionably late, I want emphasize that they are going on at 11 PM Sharp. So please, please, please try to get there by 11, even if that means starting your pre-game right this minute (I talked to your boss/mom, its cool).


Oh yeah, that’s 11 PM razor tongue sarcastic sharp, not SRST (standard rock star time) or even SNMGET (standard neurotic Mike Greenhaus evite time).


I’m also excited that after American Babies (around 12:30) we’re going to host the live debut of a brand new band, Cliffsidepush, featuring not only some of the best musicians around, but also some of my closest friends: Suman Mitra, Eric Pietrzak, Jordan Marion and Jon Gonzales. While these four rising stars know more than a thing or too about playing music in public, and have frequented some of my favorite haunts like Wetlands and Falstaffs, they also know my deepest and darkest secrets and know that all I really want for my birthday is a tall glass of chocolate milk. Plus, Eric is the only person who has played my parent’s basement, my college crash pad and my increasingly belated Hungover for the Holidays party and also shares my outdated haircut (whatever the 1990s were fun)


After that (around 2 AM) I’ll probably continue to get drunk and reminisce about a time I actually spent complaining about than enjoying, but I digress…


For those of you unfamiliar with the Ace of Clubs, it is located at the former Acme Underground (which is, oddly ,enough located under the Acme Bar and Grill).It’s official address is Lafayette and Great Jones, which roughly translates to “3rd street and Broadway” in MTA terms or “near B-Bar” in underage drinking terms.



And since no one likes to get to a party where they don't know anyone and everyone likes to get to a party where they feel special, I've also taken the liberty to coming up with a short time schedule of when you should all come by, complete with a special VIP pass.

1) Friends who attended a small collegiate prep-school in Rye, NY between the years 1993 and 1999 and, despite helping fund this glorious display of self-indulgence, are cringing at the increasing number of anti-Bush, pro-Phish references in my evites should show up at 10:36PM and reminded me what I looked like with braces and an, um, bad hair cut.


2) Friends with whom I spent one to 48 months in a small artistic oasis in upstate New York ironing out our rebellious post-adolescent, pre-indie rock angst should arrive at 10:42, spend 8-16 minutes reminiscing about a time we complained about before freaking out that we have now been out of Skidmore longer than we were actually there (graduation asterisk pending).


3) Friends with whom I spent one to 48 months in a small artistic oasis in upstate New York ironing out our rebellious post-adolescent, pre-indie rock angst and with whom I lived/squatted in a big yellow house thereby catapulting us to a level of not quite friend, but not quite family fraternal love should arrive at 10:50 and bring me the money you still owe me from that last electricity bill.

4) Friends with whom I spent one to 48 months in a small artistic oasis in upstate New York ironing out our rebellious post-adolescent, pre-indie rock angst and with whom I share a love of the theater/and or comedy should bring your passports because this bar is located a full 6 avenues from Avenue C and cheers Justin Shatraw when the clock strikes 12

5) Friends with whom I spent one to 48 months in a small artistic oasis in upstate New York ironing out our rebellious post-adolescent, pre-indie rock and with whom I worked on the Skidmore News should arrive at 10:46 and bring 1-3 tangible examples of the fact that I never knew how to spell or use my grammar check (but that I saw a ton of Phish shows back in the day).

6) Friends who I met in a "field" or "lot" and with whom I’ve spent the majority of the past decade discussing a popular quartet from either Burlington, VT or Philadelphia, PA should arrive at 10:50 and take shot every second that goes by when someone doesn’t mention the words PT of Kidz
7) Friends who are girls that I never hooked up with because of some lingering 7th grade insecurity, thus leading to a stream of crazy text messages, e-mail chains and blog entries, should arrive at 10:57 and probably avoid my blog Sunday

8) Friends with whom I work at a small music magazine whose out of office climate is alternately described as a “fraternity” or a “mafia family” should arrive at 10:45, wear a Relix t-shirt, dance in the front row and not expect me in the office until at least next Tuesday.

9) Friends who I don’t actually know but who consider themselves “fun,” “cool,” “sexy,” “interesting” or “easy” should come at 11 PM, and buy Juan a drink

10) Friends who are named “Dee” or “Gabby” and with whom I have now celebrated my birthday no less than 3 times this year should know the drill by now…

11) Friends who were in my Top 8 before I decided that having a Top 8 was causing more problems than it was worth and ultimately shifted to Facebook anyway, should arrive at 9PM and remember that your VIP passes are secretly discussed as the cash I need to fund this thing.

12) Friends who I met through seeing a lot of live music around New York city should pick up passes marked “special,” “why special” (red back),” “why special” (green back)” and “infinitely special” at the door and try their hardest to convince me that they never liked jambands, despite the fact that their dog is named Reba and their license plate read Forbin420 until last September

13) Friends with whom I share a “mom,” “grandma” or “great grandma” should arrive at 10:30 and promise not to mention anything that actually happens tomorrow night at Thanksgiving, Passover or the High Holidays (but smirk lovingly during those 4 questions)

What else?

Oh yeah, despite what this e-mail might imply, I have a blog (, tri-weekly podcast ( and JOB ( and Stop by and see what I’m doing when I should be sleeping and/or enjoying my 20s

I think that’s it, so I will see you all before 11 PM this Saturday. If you want to bounce with the bands with me, please check out their MySpace pages.

Love you all, even those of you who will give me an ulcer my showing up at 11:08

Mikey Greenhaus, on behalf of Jon “I have a real job now” Goldstein and Juan “I have a real job now, or at least a annual stipend” Martinez

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Kids Are Alright

Last night I had dinner with a pair of couples…one of whom now has a baby daughter…at Evan and Eve's apartment. I can’t remember the last time I had dinner with an 8 month year old (or ate a meal that included cheese which wasn't coupled marinara sauce for that matter), but it was a nice snapshot of what my life will probably be like in a few years. I’ve always liked kids, mostly because we have the same taste in food, and I'm still trying to figourout when exactly my appitite stopped evolving. Since my first friend abandoned his training wheels in nursery school people have assured me that life is going to drastically change after some momentous moment of maturation (driver’s license, legal drinking age, virginity, marriage, first Phish show, a variety of graduations), but in general I’ve found that my friends have remained the same until they have kids. Then people really start to change or at least refocus their energy (speaking of which, please check out my friend’s Russ and Beth’s awesome new blog here).

In-between conversations about the benefits of bundling three childhood vaccinations into a single shot (a “bad idea” I’m told), sending your child to pre-school in Park Slope verses Brooklyn Heights (a “good idea” they tell me) and phasing a 14 month old into some sort of pre-pre-school program (a toss up depending on your take on the whole nature verses nurture thing) the conversation segued into the benefits of living in Brooklyn verses Manhattan. Though I live in Manhattan and will probably stay here until I inevitably retreat back to Westchester sometime in my mid-30s, I’m not scared of the outer boroughs and am proud to say I’ve seen a show in each and every one of them (even Staten Island!). But, as many of my friends have settled on the other side of the East River, I've noticed a sort of reverse snobbery in their tone ....and, in my semi-intoxicated state, had an odd flash forward to an inevitable future where my wife is having a conversation with one of her friends on the rim of a sandbox in Prospect Park one Sunday afternoon about how congestion is suffocating our theoretical child and how Brooklyn’s daycare system is less competitive and more supportive than Manhattan’s, at which point I’ll probably interject something about how Staten Island is really where it’s at and reference that one show I show there ten years ago, only to be forced to spend the night on the crappy love seat that’s been giving me back problems since I played in a sandbox (thank goodness I salvaged those cushions!).

Needless to say all this reality talk scared me enough to instantaneously met up with a female friend of mine I like to call the anomaly (not Jewish, not neurotic, not into jambands and not serious girlfriend material) and have an equally enlightening conversation about the merits of the Blind Pig Bar verses the Pink Elephant tavern (one sucks but is where it’s at tonight, the other is chill but dead, go figure). Come to think of it I think I got along best with the 8 month old....

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lost in Translation

Last night I went to see my friend Lucy’s dance performance in this communist looking community center in the Lower East Side. As much as I pretend to be artsy, I don’t really know anything about dance, but was impressed that Lucy pulled off such a great “show.” In a lot of ways watching her performance was kind of like watching a movie in another language. I really had no idea what was going on, but could kind of figure out the story’s general premise with the few tools I did have: the lights, the music and the dancers’ expressions.

I know Lucy from Skidmore and wasn’t at all surprised that I recognized a number of people in the audience. Some graduated before me and other arrived long after I left, but they all seemed to mash into one big mutt of familiar faces, kind of like a background shot from an episode of The Simpsons.

After the show I went with a few friends to a BYOB Indian restaurant on 1st avenue and I ate some vegetarian dish that didn’t really fit into any of food groups profiled on the placemats my Mom had on the kitchen table when I was growing up. I’ll probably have indigestion for a week, but it was worth it to hear a song I can only describe as an Indian dance remix of “Happy Birthday” played over the restaurant’s PA. I didn’t really understand what was going on, but then again that was part of the fun.

I was actually only friends with one of the five people at my table when I was in college, but we all managed to find enough common ground to make the evening’s conversation feel natural. It’s strange that in a small micro-community like college there are certain universals…certain people, certain bars…who manage to transcend time and who everyone can relate to/make for of regardless of the year they graduated. At one point I looked over at a group of girls two years younger than me, who I vaguely remember hanging out with in some peripheral circle, but whose names are now lost in the lump of random Phish trivia that consumes most of my short term memory. I’m sure our paths will cross again at some point, either in person or on Facebook, and I’ll be sure to ask their names, but until then it’s nice to know they are somewhere in the backdrop, experiencing the same indigestion I am.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back to Blogging: The Return of Ron Dagan

Before I lose all the new traffic I received thanks to my Fan Site of the Month nod on, I figured I better post something here. So I’m going to try to fill up this space with a few short snapshots of my daily life here in New York each morning. I’m going to try to work my way up to daily again, but I’ve said that more times than Deep Banana Blackout has gone on hiatus. Anyway, here is goes:

Last night was the first Saturday in as long as I can remember that I actually spent in New York City without some sort of obligation, so, naturally, I tried to pack the evening with enough random activities that I felt sufficiently stressed. I started the day having brunch, err lunch, with my friend from high school Chris in the West Village. Now, Chris is one of those friends that I never see often enough, but with whom I always have a great time talking about life. But since we tend to only see each other once or twice a semester, the first half of our conversation always feels like a job interview: we go over our recent resumes, talk about our goals, namedrop a few mutual references and finally agree to call each other in a week or two. Of course since we’ve both been keeping up on each other's progress via the Internet, most of this is a formality, but regardless it's nice to know that I can get a Cliff Notes look at my good friends' lives in less time than it takes to prepare a two cheese omelet (hash browns, no toast)

Latter in the day, after popping into the Relix office for a few hours, I had dinner with my friend Jenny and went to see a Galactic/RSJ2 show at Roseland. Of all my friends in NYC Jenny has assumed the big sister role and regularly gives me advice on shopping, cloths, girls and all the other things I’m not very good at dealing with. We have a natural rapport and are both extremely neurotic, so if anyone wants to know any more about our friendship, how we are like brother and sister or the last 8 people either of us have dated, I'm sure the waiters at this fine Mexican restaurant can give you a nice recap in any number of languages.

Galactic was fun, though I still find it odd that I have friends who have seen them upwards on 30 times and still can't name a single song, and after the show I attended two unrelated birthday parties which happened to both take place at the same bar in the Lower East Side (New York's a surprisingly small place when you refuse to leave a ten block radius after 11 PM) But the best part of the whole night was when a friend of mine walked in from a Ron Dagan concert at the Canal Room. In case I am speaking Wet Hot American Summer to you, Ron Dagan is a kids folk singer whose tour schedule reads like the Directory of North American Jewish Summer Camps and, more than anyone else, is probably responsible for seeding both the 1990s jam and indie-rock scenes outside some canteen in upstate New York, New Hampshire, Maine or Pennsylvania. I had no idea he was still playing music, let alone the Canal Room, and think we should pare him with Michael Franti or at least Matisyahu at the Jammys this spring. Then again the show probably would start way after lights out in my bunk...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Goodbye Old Friend...

As anyone and everyone I know will surely tell you, I’m an overly nostalgic guy and tend to attach personal significance to even the most inanimate objects. I cried when my Mom got a new car when I was 5, complained when they redid my play space when I was seven and made a short film when we moved houses when I was 14 (seriously). But, I place no greater significance on any piece of furniture I’ve owned, slept on or spilled on than the “hippie chic” couch which has sat in my living room for the past 26 years.

According to popular legend…a.k.a. my Mom and Dad…when my parents lived in the West Village in the late 1970s (you know, when they still had to walk 8 miles up three hills and fight off Indians to get to school) their apartment was so small that their loveseat filled up the entire living room and it wasn’t until they moved into a slightly larger (and more Indian proof) apartment in the even later 1970s that they could afford, let alone fit, a full couch. A few months after I was conceived (perhaps on that couch?) they moved to the country, or at least scenic Armonk, NY, and brought with them the loveseat, its matching couch and a pretty hefty vinyl collection as the main relics of their post-hippie squalor.

I think my first tangible memories are of that couch… my Dad sitting on it Saturday mornings…my mom cleaning cat hair off it so my allergic Dad could sit on it Saturday morning (true love or the original neurotic Jew?)…my uncle sleeping on it for somewhere between 6 weeks and 2 years depending on who you ask Overtime that couch absorbed many memories, some fuzzy, some carbonated, from my parent’s friend Judy smoking some strange cigarette to the Transformer party I had when I was 7 to the sleepovers that dominated my family room throughout my adolescence (shoosh, don’t wake my parents). Over the years I’d say a good 17% of my high school graduating glass spent at least one night on that couch and the rapidly rising number of Chiropractors in my old neighborhood is tangible proof just for comfortable it truly is. Though most of my friends are still figuring out how to make their way in the world, I’m proud to say that my couch has already hosted some pretty important people: Andy (who sadly now works for G.W. Bush), soon to be billionaire investor/poker player Jon (who to this day swears he developed allergies when he lost a coin toss and had to sleep on the floor one night in 8th grade) and many more of you out there than I’d like to believe from those early college parties (let me hear tip my hat to Hayley, Pete, Jen, Eric, Ken, Neil, Adam, Buddy, Lucy, Amanda, Caitey, Jay, Ned, Jermanie, Anna, Nick, Iz, Corey, Bill and the many other Skidmorians whose backs will never be the same after a right on that big, uncomfortable blob of memories).

I moved into Manhattan in 2004 and, oddly enough, found myself living just a few blocks from where my parent’s first gave birth to that big, old, dirty couch and have lived here every since. I brought along both the couch and the love seat, though sadly not the vinyl, and, for the better part of the past three years, my roommate Juan has used it as his de facto bed (even though he has both a room in my apartment and another crash pad in Brooklyn). As I grew with New York it was where Benjy and I recorded many early episodes of Cold Turkey, where I wrote many articles for Relix and, where my brother established his first home in NYC and where I first encountered many of the people who heave since earned their own esteemed blog entries over the past two years (you know who you are...). I once joked that I hoped to seed the next generation of Greenhauses on the very same couch that brought me into this world, but my Mom, always the voice of reason, simply said, “honey, have you sat on that couch recently? I don’t think so.” I’d like to be buried in that couch, or at least give it a 30th birthday party, but sadly, today, I will lay my old stead to rest. His wheels have gotten too rusty, his legs too weak and his cloth too frayed to host a neurotic blogger, let alone a multi-keg party, and tonight he will retire to that great living room in the sky (or at least behind my apartment building).

I’m sad that I never gave him a name since I’ve known him for so long, so I am going to follow the Jewish tradition and name him after the first friend I lost along the way, my cat Wimpy.

I managed to salvage some of his pillows and am trying to figure out something heady to do with them after I get back from Vegoose. But, until then, I’d like to toast my old stead Wimpy, who stayed with me through the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the sober and the intoxicated and will surely be immortalized with one foot in the air like any solider who dies in battle.

Rest in Peace,

Mikey Greenhaus

Monday, October 22, 2007

Turkey Tuesdays: The Duo Naked

A heard an interview with Ryan Miller once where he described all his songs as his children, but then noted that some songs are bastard children you wish you could forget about from time to time. I feel that way about many of my articles and podcasts but, on the flipside, have a particular favorite episode of Cold Turkey. The meat of the performance was recorded at Wakarusa last summer when Benjy and I bribed the Benevento/Russo Duo with a bottle of Maker’s Mark to play an acoustic set consisting of their then new “Memphis” and a series of whacky covers (plus a Phish song). They drank, they played, they drank some more and they created probably the best---or at least funniest---episode of Cold Turkey we’ll ever do. For a few months it hovered in video form on the Relix homepage but, this week, we decided to package it in audio form with some Echo Project extras on the Cold Turkey page. We recommend you down some Maker’s Mark yourself be downloading.

Please click here to download

Friday, October 12, 2007

Different Strokes for Similar Folks

Last night I caught two rock shows by two very different rock bands in the same city: The National at Terminal 5 and ALO at Bowery Ballroom. Both shows---at least broadly ---appealed to the same target demographic (white 20-30 something’s) and were promoted by the same tastemakers (Bowery Presents), but aside from that they

veered in almost opposite directions. The National embodies a dark, intellectual, emo-aesthetic one can only truly understand after spending an evening crammed like a sardine on the L train en route to a loft party while wearing pants two sizes too tight. ALO, on the other hand, sparkles with a sunny, Summer of Love glow one can only truly relate to after losing yourself---or at least freeing your mind---in a game of trampoline kickball in the fresh air of High Sierra (man). Both bands are currently swooping back through New York after successful opening stints for their scene’s biggest band (Arcade Fire and Dave Matthews Band, respectively), both are riding high on mature, breakthrough late spring/early summer releases (Boxer and Roses & Clover, once again respectively) and, surprisingly, both seem to tackle very similar subject matters (especially when placed back-to-back on the same evening). So, in case these not-so-strange bedfellows are rolling through your city anytime soon, but sure to ready both the tissues and the glitter and try to envision the National and ALO switching tempos for an evening:

Some Lyrical Overlaps:


The National: “Secret Meeting”

Choice Lines:

I think this place is full of spies

I think they're onto me

Didn't anybody, didn't anybody tell you

Didn't anybody tell you how to gracefully disappear in a room

ALO: “Plastic Bubble”

Choice Line:

Living in a plastic bubble

A bubble in a plastic world

Ooh, ooh, ooh

Living in a plastic bubble

And it’s good.


The National: “Slow Show”

Choice Line:

You know I dreamed about you
for twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for
for twenty-nine years

ALO: “Girl, I Want to Lay You Down”

Choice Line:

Come Over, Cook a little dinner, a little Pasta

Listen to the music, a little Rasta

Girl, I Want to Lay You Down

The Speed of Life

The National: “Racing Like a Pro”

Choice Line:

Your mind is racing like a pro, now
oh my god it doesn’t mean a lot to you
one time you were a glowing young ruffian
oh my god it was a million years ago

ALO: “Maria”

Choice Line:

And if we loose our balance

And we start to drift and fall

And we wind up on our knees

Well remember we still can crawl

and, of course, Emptiness:

The National: “Ada

Choice Line:
Stand inside an empty tuxedo with grapes in my mouth
waiting for Ada
Ada hold onto yourself by the sleeves
I think everything counts a little more than we think
leave it all up in the air
leave it all up in the air
leave it all up in the air

ALO: “Empty Vessel”

Choice Line:

I’m an incomplete empty vessel

Waiting for the one to fill me up

Waiting for the day to hear you say “I Love You”

But you won’t so I’m gonna leave

I do believe I’ve had enough

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Turkey Thursday

Still feeling a bit burnt from last weekend's Arcade Fire concert (more on that later), so I didn't have time to roundup any past Cold Turkey cuts for Tuesday. But, luckily, Thursday is just as alliterative , so I hope these links help get you through this Cold Turkey Thursday.

Chatting with Cold War Kids

New Master Dickinsons

Part of Pink Floyd

Monday, October 08, 2007

Blog-IER Challenge

We participated in the Blog-IER challenge for a free supply of Perrier (for a whole year, like Bonnaroo to Bonnaroo!)...see what we made below!Above: What he look like from behind

Above: Our front side (notice the Jerry and Luther Tatoos!)

Above: What we look like sideways (imagine us at a hippie fest)

Also be sure to check out the current issue here!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Festival F.O.M.O.: A Look at Camp Bisco

It's been a few hours since I completely embarassed myself online, so this recent feature I did for should make up for lost time

Festival F.O.M.O.: A Look at Camp Bisco
Mike Greenhaus and Dave Vann

If the first 26 years of my life were to be organized a series of names, dates and numbers, a few choice asterisks would no doubt mark the setlist for my otherwise ordinary suburban existence. Of course, there are the ‘precious memories,’ like the first time I lost a tooth (I cried), my Bar Mitzvah (my Mom cried) and the first time I collaborated with a member of the opposite sex (what’s this site rated again?)…the personal victories (making it to New York City), the professional accomplishments (making it into a magazine) and that somewhat fuzzy middle ground between the two I often wish I had a message board of my own to make sense of each morning and then, of course, the embarrassingly geeky moments which only someone who once named all his goldfish after Grateful Dead keyboardists would truly appreciate…like, say, last spring when the Disco Biscuits surpassed Phish as the band I’ve seen the most last spring.

And, without delving into full blog-style retrospection, I’ll simply say that, shortly before the Disco Biscuits’ Highline shows last May I sent the following e-mail to Marc Brownstein and Jon Gutwillig while sitting next to my new goldfish, Little Bruce Hornsby:

Hi guys. So I don't geek too, too much (publicly), but am pretty excited tonight, for it marks quite the life transition for me. Nope, not getting married for having another bris, but, instead, after many years, tonight the Disco Biscuits will surpass Phish as the band I've seen live the most amount of times, which for a dork like me is pretty music the biggest deal in my music world. I know you don't take requests, but if my first and favorite Biscuit song, "Little Betty Boop," worked its way into your setlist tonight or this weekend, I'd no doubt bounce so high I hit the ceiling (or at least the balcony). Ah, yes it took over 7 years to work my way uptown from Wetlands to 16th St (got to love New York traffic).

Though I saw many bands many times before the Disco Biscuits and have devoted a great deal of my attention to many others since, I’m not surprised they’ve managed to absorb so much of my time and energy because, as my friend Dee is fond of saying, along with moe., String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee and a few select other great bands, they know how to use the F.O.M.O as a force.

It’s a technique invented by the Grateful Dead, perfected by Phish and Widespread Panic and wonderfully inverted by the third-generation jambands that still make headlines in our daily news section on this very site: the ability to mesh jaw dropping improvisational music with the Fear of Missing Out. In my opinion, it’s what makes the jamband scene standout from almost any other musical niche and, at the end of the day, is a primary reason fans keep coming back show after show, even if they’ve spent more holidays with a given band than, say, their family, significant other or even Facebook pages. It’s the special covers, the colorful theatrics and the rare bust outs that only seem to happen while you’re looking in another direction.

Even at a time when festivals by and large pride themselves on being open-eared and stylistically eclectic, I think it’s fare to say that the modern music gathering has taken a cue from jam-nation by firmly rooting both its visual and musical offerings in the uniqueness F.O.M.O. embodies…whether it’s Tool allowing a sit-in at Bonnaroo this summer or Radiohead playing its longest set since its club days last summer.

If mega-festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo are about sampling bits and pieces of several different types of music, mid-level festivals like 10,000 Lakes and Wakarusa are about epitomizing a region’s flavor and cozier gatherings like Gathering of the Vibes and High Sierra are about capturing a certain vibe, than Camp Bisco, moe.down and the various events held at Horning’s Hideout are about bringing together all the fans a given band has touched over past year in that slightly mushy, but always exciting Yearbook kind of way (or Summer Annuals if you collected comic books as a kid). Of course, Camp Bisco was also filled with those F.O.M.O moments, from rare new songs like “Glastonbury” and “Rockafella” to even rarer older material like “Rainbow Song” and “Sound One” to new covers of material by bedfellows like Muse to sit-ins by Disco Biscuit heroes like Simon Posford and fostered any number of musical gems (be sure to download the group’s surprise afternoon set or Posford’s rare performance with a live band).

Now, like any holiday celebration, it is sometimes difficult to separate the message from the Manishevitz, so, even though most of Camp Bisco’s best musical moments have already been analyzed for hours online, we thought we’d look back at some of the event’s best backstage moments through the eyes of longtime photographer Dave Vann. Below he presents the weekend from every angel possible, except of course what actually took place onstage, but from start to finish we feel you can feel the F.O.M.O.

Not your typical father/son bonding moment: Zach Brownstein helps his Dad Marc sign autographs

The bus stops here: Umphrey’s McGee enjoy a rare moment of rest before flying home to open for Dave Matthews Band

Can you can tell these guys live in Brooklyn now? 2008’s best band, American Babies, bond backstage.

STS9 + a few friends

Some Bisco kidz Sure have bling: Slick Rick backstage

1 for $3, 2 for $50: Lot Prices in the 21st century

Four men who love being called a jamband: Bustle in Your Hedgerow

Let’s skip the Sears trip this spring: the Brownstein family

The new Warren Haynes? Rising Festival Star Girl Talk

The Colorado Kid: Jamie Janover

SCI Remixed: EOTO

Field of Dreamz

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Turkey Tuesdays: White Phish

I had an uplifting thought the other day: there is a good chance that in 2008 Phish will come back AND the Democrats will retake the White House...which is kind of funny because in 2000 we lost the White House and, for all intensive purposes, lost Phish.

I'm not really sure what all that has to do with Turkey Tuesdays, but it makes me happy and so do these podcast. Enjoy!

1) Brazilian Girls "Play" Cold Turkey

2) Some Older School Hot Tuna

3) My first Broken Social Scene Interview

4) Sam Champion's Forecast

then again here is some proof that the world is most likely about to end

Monday, September 10, 2007

Feist's New Deal

Before I have a wife, 2.5 kids and paint my tye-die picket fence white, I will successfully “out” each and every indie-rocker with at least one foot in the jamband world. Not because I don’t like indie-rock, jambands and/or that melodic middle ground between the two genres, but because I think it's silly that people pretend to like only one style of music just because it’s playing at the cool kids table. With that being said, today’s post takes us way back to 2003, when Leslie Feist had a one night stand in jambandia that resulted a co-composition with fellow Canadians The New Deal. Yes that New Deal and yes that Leslie Feist.

For those of you unfamiliar with Feist, she is a key member of the Broken Social Scene camp (perhaps my favorite indie-rock collective) and is currently featured in that infectious iPod Nano commercial. So, without further adieu, here is a link to the song Feist recorded with the New Deal on their final studio album Gone Gone Gone.

I personally think it is pretty fantastic and encourage everyone to purchase a copy here.