Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Today in Phishtory: Mango Song and Gateway Drugs

Phish released Picture of Nectar 22 years ago today. Sweet Jesus, time flies. In college, my stoner friends debated for endless hours if the actual image on the CD was Saddam Hussein (it's the former owner of Nectar's).

In 1992, I lived in Atlanta in a gigantic southern-style mansion of a fraternity house. We usually blasted music on the front porch all the time. That Spring, a couple of musician friends who were the first Phisheads I knew, played Picture of Nectar nonstop. No one in my core group of friends had an actual Phish bootleg yet. We had tons of Grateful Dead tapes, but the only Phish in the house included all three studio albums. So the first wave of Phisheads wore out those CDs.

My favorite Phish song in 1992? The Mango Song.

Yes, the Mango Song. Consider it my gateway drug to Phish. I identified myself as a Deadhead in 1992, but Phish didn't resonate with me as much as it did with other friends. Phish was a slow burn. Although I had seen almost a dozen shows, it would be another year before I bought my first Phish CD (Rift).

22 years later... I never listen to studio Phish. I mean, I hardly ever listen to as much Phish as some of my friends. I like to save it all for the live show experience. So when I hear an overplayed song, it kicks my ass because I have not heard it in a very long time and it feels fresh and new. Makes it feel living in the moment with that song significantly more special. Sort of like abstaining from masturbation until you actually have sex.

I was feeling a little nostalgic this morning and I wanted to play Picture of Nectar. I couldn't find it anywhere in my apartment in LA. All of my CDs are in storage (in a milk crate, sitting on a stack of other milk crates, in the far corner of my childhood bedroom back in NYC where I grew up). I did the next best thing... found it on YouTube. So here's a 6+ minute walk down memory lane.

I love gateway drugs.

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