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Article

Rift

Posted on

Rift

type:
Music
Current Status:
In Season
performer:
Phish

We gave it a C+

Sorry, man, I can’t hear you with all this jamming going on! Oh, you want to look at one of the Spin Doctors T-shirts? Excellent! Like, I tie-dyed them this morning! They almost look like they’re from the ’60s, don’t they?

Wait, before you go, maaan, have you heard about all the other jam bands around? You know, not just the Doctors but, like, Phish and Blues Traveler? I mean, this thing is becoming a trend or somethin’! I went to that excellent HORDE tour last summer and saw all those bands, and it was cool! Thousands of kids like me in tie-dye and long hair, and we all got to act like young hippies! That excellent Spin Doctors album Pocket Full of Kryptonite is in the top 10, too. None of that ”alternative rock” or rap s— for me! This is rock & roll, man!

I know what you’re thinkin’ — that, like, it’s rock & roll like they used to play it in 1975 or somethin’. And okay, I was only 6 years old at the time — but listen, I know good stuff when I hear it! I think! It’s just so great to see musicians, like, play their axes, maaan! I mean, everyone else is sampling or lip-synching, but where do you go when you want to hear guys jam — like these really, really long 10-minute tunes with free-form guitar solos kinda like Garcia processed through a computer? Nowhere, man, except here. So, okay, sometimes I fall asleep when they riff on the same chords for 10 minutes, but hell — my parents told me about bands like this, and now we have our own, man!

They even look really old! Ya gotta admire someone like Chris Barron of the Doctors, who’s only, like, 25, and already looks like Bill Kreutzmann when he was 40! Excellent!

What’s that, man? I can’t hear you too well. You think they’re boring and old-fashioned? No way! First, forget that Deadhead stuff, man! I mean, okay, so a song like the Doctors’ ”Freeway of the Plains” — it’s on this new album of their old and new stuff called Homebelly Groove…Live — kinda reminds me of the Dead’s ”China Cat Sunflower.” And just about every Phish record, like the new one, Rift, sounds like the band practiced playing Terrapin Station all the way through and then learned it backward! But that’s original, right? They’re from Vermont, I know, but their ax man does the best Jerry I’ve ever heard.

But really, man — there’s more goin’ on than just Dead influences! These bands really dig deep! I mean, Barron sounds a lot like Steve Miller, right? And don’t you love the way the guitarist in the Doctors — Eric Schenkman, I mean — can go round and round on the same solo until your head throbs? It’s like — I dunno, Cream or something! And Blues Traveler is like Foghat on Quaaludes! Outstanding! And all that organ on the Phish album reminds me of those excellent old Traffic albums I stole from my folks. And the lyrics, man! ”Take the highway through the great divide.” I mean, Phish is even better than that Dead cover band that plays here every Wednesday.

What, man? You’re leaving? What do you mean — ”derivative re-creations of a long-dead rock past”? Well, gee, man. But wait — Chris Barron just asked if we can ”see the vibe”! Can’t you? Can’t you? Rift: C+