This summer has been a quiet one. I haven't got the chance to start listening to Phish's tour before it ended neither the several vinyl records I bought since April. But I've read quite a lot and some of the books I dove into have been related to our band.
Fare Thee Well
After finally buying the huge Fare Thee Well 12 CD / 7 BluRay "Complete" box (still missing the Santa Clara shows, where the lyrics "Fare Thee Well" have been sung), I added to my shelves the accompagning book.
It's a beautiful coffee-table kind of book with a lot of beautiful pictures. Seriously, the production of the concerts and the talent of the photographers have done wonders. I received it in the morning of the day I flew to my vacation in Morocco, so I have left to dive deeper in those lights.
This has all been wonderful
I also bought a book I've been willing to read for a long time : David ''Zzyzx'' Steinberg's "This has all been wonderful". Everybody know for sure Zzyzx's website for Phish statistics but not as many know that the guy wrote a book about his summer 1994 tour, "the year Phish became Phish".
The book isn't very long but I haven't begun it yet. I hope it will immerge me in the 94 scene with description of the lot and the fans more than the actual music. We'll see...
A Live One (33 1/3)
I've been intrigued by this book since it came out last september. It's part of the 33 1/3
series of Bloomsbury Publishing
where each book focuses on a particular record. The series counts more than a hundred books and I already ordered several more like Miles Davis' Bitches Brew
, Michael Jackson's Dangerous
and, more surprising, Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack
A Live One is written by Walter Holland, a long time Phish fan. It explores each track of the double album with some thoughts about the history of the band and the evolution of their sound. It's sometimes quite complicated to read because of the technical and musical notions involved, especially for a non native english speaking person like me. But it's very well written and interresting. It can open up a new way to listen to a jam and it certainly pushed me to listen to this great live album once again.
The Phish Companion (Third Edition)
But if there must be only ONE book to read (except for the Helping Friendly one of course) it's The Phish Companion.
I have the first and second editions for years and I've been waiting for this one for a long time. It has been actually announced and available to pre-order more than three years ago. But the book have been completly re-worked and it's been released independently by the Mockingbird Foundation in June 2016.
The biggest modification is the organization of the book. Where the first two had several sections (setlists, songs, interviews...), this new version compiles everything chronologicaly from 1983 to 2016. Histories of each song are sprinkled after the show it appeared first. It can be puzzling at first but it's finally the best way to read the book very naturally, from start to finish. There is still an index at the end of the book to find directly the history of the song you want.
It's sold at 39$ on the official website (phishcompanion.com) but the international shipping are way too expensive. The only thing that I miss from getting the book directly from the Mockingbird Foundation is the rad package with written in big letters "READ THE BOOK" (as seen on Holger's pictures). It has then been available on Dry Goods and then Amazon some time later at 49$ (the retail price) with varied shipping fees. That's why I received it in the same parcel as Fare Thee Well right before leaving to Morocco. But unlike the other book, I find a blank space for it in my luggage !
I read it avidly during my holidays and it's a hell of a good read. Pictures are in full colors and the printing is beautiful. In the end, the two past edition avidly s look very amateur-ish in comparaison. Each fan should really get their hands on a copy.
A few days before I left, phish.net announced a contest where you had to take a picture of the book in a remote place or with a nice setting and post it on the Internet with the hashtag #ReadTheBook. That's the kind of challenge that I like, without thinking of winning, just to have fun.
I started taking pictures of the companion on the beach. Ok, they aren't very creative, even if you see the "Sand" history on the page... So I've posted only the first one.
I wanted a picture of me reading it in the ocean, on my bodyboard. With the help of my wife, we took several photos and I had a hard time choosing the one I would send.
|The funny thing is that I opened the book at random to pose for the picture and find myself on the page of "Wading in the Velvet Sea"...
Then my wife took the rein with some good ideas.
The first one was having my shadow reading the book in the sand. A clever idea but not really fulfilled in the end.
The second one was more elaborated and needed some settings. The idea was to dry the book like a T-shirt and a wetsuit with a surf board in the background. I like that one a lot but after posting it on Twitter, I realized the book wasn't clearly visible after all.
While up on the roof of the house for the previous photo, I took some more with the landscape of roofs in the background. I posted the one with the tree but not the other one because I didn't like the light, even if you can see the ocean in the distance.
And then there's a last one I took very quickly without really thinking of it, one day before leaving the beach. We were sun bathing and reading right next to this life buoy but I only thought of using it in a photo at the last moment.
I was about to publish this article yesterday when I've received a message from Phillip Zerbo, editor of the Phish Companion. And guess what ? I won third place in the contest with this one !! I later saw in the phish.net post the other winners' great photos. Happy ending !
Anyway, I hope your summer has been full of fun, music and good reading too ! We'll see us on a webcast one of this day ?