Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


The Genesis of Phish and the Glory of The Stooges

Phil Collins called it "a convincing argument," and while he might have been referring to Trey Anastasio's introductory speech, the same could easily be applied to the performance of "Watcher of the Skies" by Phish.  A "convincing argument," as in, let's get those discussions rolling and finally do that reunion with Peter Gabriel.  The moment that the cameras panned in on the band's performance, which opened last night's Rock Hall induction ceremonies, suddenly everything began to make more sense.  If you know a thing or three about Phish, they can certainly play their instruments (and also the occasional vacuum cleaner).

They nailed it.

Yet that didn't necessarily mean that I wanted to see Anastasio as the guy behind the podium doing the induction honors for Genesis.  It seemed like an odd pick, out of all of the name musicians that one might think of to pay tribute to a band with a sizable legacy like Genesis.  As it turns out, Anastasio is one of us - a prog nerd that got the ultimate phone call asking if he'd like to induct his heroes, and there was no way that he was going to pass up the opportunity - and thank goodness, because his speech was fantastic.

As you might expect, Anastasio was visibly nervous (think: The Chris Farley Show), although he had confidently taken Phish through the Gabriel-era "Watcher of the Skies" moments before making his speech.  The members of Genesis looked occasionally uncomfortable during the speech, particularly Phil Collins.  Not that they necessarily disagreed with Anastasio's assessment of their career, but hey, even the members of Genesis put their pants on one leg at a time like everybody else, and Anastasio was gushing.

I found the absence of Peter Gabriel to be a hard thing to deal with.  As the members of Genesis spoke, guitarist Mike Rutherford called Gabriel's excuse (he was getting ready for a tour) "genuine," but with the amount of notice for this event, you're telling me that PG couldn't have re-arranged his plans and made arrangements to fly in for the evening?  Weak.  I'm guessing that if  it had been an induction marking the achievements of his solo career, he would have conveniently found a way to be there.  As a big Gabriel fan, it was a large opportunity missed to do something cool for the fans.

After their speeches, the members of Genesis left the stage one by one, and I heard the opening notes of "No Reply At All" - it sounded like Genesis!  Wouldn't it make sense for Collins and crew to jam one out with the Phish guys?  It certainly would, but instead, it was Phish, no Collins, Banks or Rutherford.  While it was a fantastic pick, "No Reply" was a bit out of the ballpark for Phish.  It was like being at karaoke night where that one guy gets up to take an ill-advised crack at "No Reply At All" (or in my case personally, anything by AC/DC) - it just happens that that guy was Trey Anastasio, and this was not karaoke night.  Not officially, anyway.

Credit the Phish guys, Genesis, the Rock Hall, or some combination of the three, with an excellent choice of two songs to represent and pay tribute to the musical output of Genesis. (Note to self:  Must. pick. up. The Movie Box. ASAP!)  I can't argue with the song choices, and it was a nice kickoff to a night that was filled surprisingly with great speeches (Iggy Pop, Jackson Browne, David Geffen, Little Steven, etc.) and performances (THE STOOGES!).  For an evening that looked mighty ho-hum on paper, it played quite well on television.  I enjoyed nearly every moment up to the moment that the members of The Hollies took the stage.  It's a shame that Allan Clarke couldn't be gentlemanly enough to share the moment and let Terry Sylvester properly be a part of the performance celebrating their induction.

Things I never thought I'd hear:  Graham Nash welcoming his "friends in Maroon 5."

Things I'd rather hear:  Graham Nash welcoming his friends, The BeeGees.

I'm cruel like that.

Choice Cleveland moments:  Phil Collins thanking The Belkins during a moment in his speech where  he recognized the important people that gave Genesis work in the early years.  Graham Nash also acknowledged the help and support of Cleveland based artist manager (and early WMMS personality) David Spero during his remarks.

Where was I again?

Oh yeah - THE STOOGES.

  • anniezaleski

    Iggy Pop: One bad mofo. I love him. Haha. “Let's get some rich people up here! Rich ladies!” Also, at least Green Day, Pat Smear and Eddie Vedder aren't too stodgy to rock with Iggy. Awesome.

  • anniezaleski

    Iggy Pop: One bad mofo. I love him. Haha. “Let's get some rich people up here! Rich ladies!” Also, at least Green Day, Pat Smear and Eddie Vedder aren't too stodgy to rock with Iggy. Awesome.