Wednesday, May 01, 2002



Recently, I sent this e-mail to a high-ranking vice-president of a Fortune 500 media company:

"While the rest of the 'old media' wring their hands nervously awaiting those symbols of corruption and disintegration, the Pulitzer Prizes, we have
better news: Trey Anastasio is going on tour, man. (The usual places, this summer). And his debut solo album will be in stories April 30. Title: 'Trey
Anastasio.' Whoa. I'm gonna lay down outside Tower Records now so I get the first copy." I was being a little ironic, but he wasn't. My man got back to me right away.

"I know," said media mogul, who looks most comfortable in blue pin-stripe suits (he reminds me his suits are mostly gray) and would look completely at home at any corporate board meeting. "---- already has tickets to five of the shows."

We have a secret: We are Phish people. Quite a long time ago, Don Henley wrote a very good song with a very condescending (Henley condescending? I'm shocked) line: "I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac..." It was meant to be savagely ironic, but why? Why aren't people old enough to have their AARP cards permitted to pursue their passions, musical or otherwise? I paid my dues, AARP and otherwise, and if I wanted to put "I'd rather be Phishing" on the bumper sticker of the family's four door Honda Accord, why shouldn't I enjoy it?

My executive friend likes to go to Phish concerts with his 20-something son. Now isn't THAT Family Values, Mr. President? Interesting that Dubya's daughters have had law trouble with underage drinking, and that his brother Jeb, Governor of the Banana Republic of Florida, broke down in tears yesterday as he spoke about his daughter's illegal effort at getting the prescription anti-anxiety drug Xanax. I mean, holy moly: A parent who has any idea about what's going on with their kids could get them a legal prescription for Lorazepam (generic Xanax, $2 to $5 for a month supply, on most health insurance plans) from the Family Doctor. Governor Jeb Bush does have a family doctor, does he not?

One of my last and most welcome duties near the end of my tenure as Newsday's pop music writer was to cover a Phish concert at Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan. I remember enjoying the band's competence and wit a lot. But what I remember is what happened before the band went on. I am standing at the Roseland bar, drinking a Scotch. A younger Phish fan, high on something other than Johnny Walker Black, comes up to me and says, "Hey man, what are you doing at a Phish concert?" I say I write for a newspaper, but I'm also interested in the band. And he says, "Wow, man, I wish MY dad would go to a Phish concert."

Next installment: Trey's CD, and my Phish downloads: Feedback?
(c) 2002 Wayne Robins. All rights reserved.

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