Archive for the 'Phish' Category

Synchronicity In Drunken Motion

I have a friend. speedWay readers know her by the moniker Absynth Eve. My friends in Vermont know who I mean. But seem to not understand why me & Absynth Eve hang out.

Absynth Eve is my friend.

My old friend; we met in 1994. I was selling beer & Jagermiester shots from a cooler on the sidewalk in front of the Burger King adjacent to the Glenn’s Falls Civic Center arena in upstate New York.

It rained torrential that Halloween night. But I was sheltered by the part of Burger King’s roof that hung out over their sidewalk. The Burger King management had seemingly no qualm with the unlicensed vendor who boisterously hawked booze on their premises. They were too over run with their own customers to care.

A giant digital clock above us kept revelers assiduously aware of the time. The revelers were duly appreciative; lest we become inadvertently too drunk or stoned or spun kookie on shrooms to keep track of the time for ourselves.

Phish would play at 9PM sharp. And it would be legendary. So no one wanted to miss even the first notes of the gig.

Sometime after dark — maybe around 7 — a young lady approached me. She was soaking wet and looked a bit shaken.

“Everything OK?” I asked.

“No!” She explained. “I just got into a car accident!”

“Oh shit. Were you drunk?” I queried.

“Shit yes I was.” She assured me. “Good thing I wasn’t actually driving!”

“No kidding.” I agreed. “I try not to drive drunk. Though I do so enjoy a cold behind-the-wheel brew!”

“Me too.” My new friend winked. “Except I like to have a beer in one hand & a shot in the other. You know. Smoke a joint maybe & pop a few shrooms. Steer with my knees…Which is exactly what I was just now up to. But someone crashed in to me! What should I do?”

Like is this girl for real? I wanted to know.

“Hold on!” I protested what appeared a hole in her story. “You said you weren’t driving.”

“Not actually driving.” She corrected me. “I was in the drivers seat. Beer. Shot. Bong hit. Popped a couple shrooms. Dig? All of the sudden I needed to use my knees to steer because my hands were full and — even though the car was parked — the shrooms made it go vroom!”

Ah yes. I could see it happening.

“Shit girl.” My voice filled with admiration. “You got so lit up that you crashed your parked car?? That is WAY cool!”

I gave her a beer and a shot. And — having been slooped on booze myself at the time — forgot about the whole encounter. Until a half-decade later. When I made a new friend at the Bar back home in Loserboro, Vermont. We chatted about some things and got drunk. At some point I mentioned something about the time I sold beer in the rain outside the Burger King at the ’94 Halloween Phish show.

“Underneath the huge clock?” Absynth Eve asked, eyes widened with surprise.

“Yeah. Right there beneath the clock. Freezing cold out, but no one gave a fuck. The beer business boomed. Oh yeah,” I added. “I sold liquor too.”

“Jagermiester?” Sophie asked.

“How did you know?”

“You gave me a shot.”

“No shit?”

I wasn’t surprised. I’m not shall we say profit savvy with fun things. I like to give fun things away.

“No shit.” Said Absynth Eve at the Bar in Loserboro while we chatted & got drunk when we thought we’d first met back in 1999. “Don’t you remember me?”

I wanted to. It’s always good to remember things about a new lady friend like their names and when you first met. I strained mentally until the words flew like snarfed beer from my mouth:

Oh shit, I exclaimed. “You’re the girl who crashed her parked car!! Yo I got mad respect for you.”

It was all over after that. In the near-decade that has passed we have been some things. Tremendous allies. Near mortal enemies. Fuck buddies. Ex fiances. Sages. Fools. Healthy advesaries. Petty rivals.

Kindred spirits.

Partners in the crime of survival.


To this day & always.

And if you don’t like it you can KISS my fat black ass.

Bur probably you won’t get the chance; you probably won’t see me around.

Not the Superstar?

Superstar Brown pivoted. Faced the ticket taker he had sneaked passed the moment before. Stepped gingerly back. Behind him a sizable crowd of concert patrons funneled inevitably into the cavernous hockey arena; a crowd with whom Superstar Brown hugely wished to blend.

Positively wanted it in every possible way.

But the ticket taker squarely eyed his every move; he was cold caught; soon two yellow-jacketed goons would Handle my friend & deposit him at the end of the line.

Superstar Brown looked back hard at the ticket guy. Quizzically. Like, “What’re you doing here?”

A ticket taker indeed! At a rock concert? What in the heck for?!

There must be some kind of mistake.

The ticket guy glared. Superstar Brown slipped imperceptibly backward. Nearby a pack of goons drooled. The ticket guy gestured to the goons. Pointed to the intruder.

But the intruder had a Jedi Mind Trick handy.

Like, this is not the Superstar you are looking for.

He seemed to say. Peered deep into the ticket guy’s eye.

Nothing to see here.

This is not the Superstar you are looking for.

“Not the Superstar? No.” The ticket dude agreed readily. “This is not the Superstar I’m looking for!”


Shit was so smooth it looked inadvertent. The ticket taker turned away. Took tickets.

As Superstar Brown shuffled along heroically.

Dear Drugs: THANK YOU!! for a real good time..


Without illegal drugs, my life, up till & including tonight, would have sucked toast. Way bogus. I mean bad; a total waste of time.

It would have all been so stupid!!

Shit yes. I have problems. My life has been hard. But when I’ve needed them drugs have been there for me. When I had nowhere else to turn it was drugs that saved the day.

Even when my life sucks directly because of drugs it still beats the sad crap out of how bad life would suck with no drugs at all. I will go so far as to say I feel certain I would’ve killed myself long ago if the drugs weren’t on my side.

Why? Because drugs gave me something to live for. A reason to stay awake for another day & night when the sun comes up each morning. Yeah & you know what?

Drugs give me Hope!

Mostly they’ve helped me celebrate life with people I love. I am going to die one day. When I do I’ll look back over this 1 & 3/4 decades-long drug binge and congratulate myself for a job smashingly well done. Yeppers kiddoz! My first hit of weed was the smartest choice I ever made. Until I finally got to check out some of that L$D!!

And when you go without food — due to smoldering abject poverty — for a day or few you will thank Adolph Hitler, Sweet Mother Earth and maybe even Jesus — that evil cocksucker — for all the amphetamines.

So thanks again drugs. Just sorry you had to wear off so soon. Ya’ll come back now y’hear!

Ok. Off to sleep.


Fuckin OZZY dudes!

Hang On to your open containers kiddoz!


OzzFest ’07 is free.


Yeah & ya know what? I’m so there dudes!!

& we’re flying high again

To think! Just days ago Michael over @ Algorhythms & I pulled the plug, as it were, on the rock & roll fantasy. Arena rock, we reckoned, was in a persistent vegetative state; not precisely dead but it smelled funny.

“Barring a miracle,” Michael lamented in a recent post, after he shelled $200 to see his favorite 70’s rocker band, “the next time I hear Old Time Rock & Roll in concert, it’ll be a bar band playing it.”

Concurred. “The rock & roll wave,” I waxed in epitaph, “That swelled beneath the Stones & Beatles — and crested smashingly halfway through track 11 on Paul’s Boutique — has broke & rolled back for good.”

Barring a Miracle.


The wave breaks both ways.

The Prince of Darkness works miracles. Amphetamines cure hyperactivity.

The world is topsy turvy. What can I say?

Fuckin Ozzy!

I used to sneak into Phish concerts most nights every week. Stand in the crowd. Mill forward. Find someone skinny. Hover, nonchalant, until the moment they hand their ticket to the taker then slip, eyes-first, in behind them.

Reappear inside the concert hall. Dance ferociously.

2 easy!

One time I got caught by the ticket dwark. He grabbed my arm but I didn’t stop. He pursued. Caught me — a few crucial feet from his post. Several fellow ticketless patrons shrug-shoulder strolled through the unattended hole in the dwark-gate. When the dwark turned to chase them — futilely — he promptly lost track of me.

A higher than drugs moment; or I should say higher than the drugs alone could take me. I thought I was so cool. A hero.

Like Ozzy.


Or is the Ozz-man sneaking everyone into OzzFest so he can be cool like me?

I bet he’s doing it for that stupendously higher-than-drugs feeling.

Also because OzzFest ’07 will, for all involved, be a positively devastating big money smash.

Free OzzFest is like if you want to have a Huge Disco Kegger of some kind. And Pabst Blue Ribbon provides the keg, party gratis, plus pays $1000 cash for the privilege. For Promo. Dig? A chance to market their beer directly to the people most likely to drink it.

Free Beer Courtesy of Pabst Blue Ribbon. PBR is yo’Daddy! Who’s yo’Daddy?

Provide Fun Fuel to a bunch of Fun Fools and they’ll reciprocate briskly. A genuine gratitude will drive them to drink! Benders will be embarked on. Jobs lost. They will buy & drink Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in the morning. Best of all: they’ll apply peer pressure and buy more for friends who’ll be drunk on PBR before noon despite their gravest misgivings.

That’s what OzzFest’s sponsors intend. Fun is the strategy. The sponsors will tell you they are so cool because they paid for your good time. You will agree. 2 cool!! Free Ozzy??


Festival patrons will reciprocate briskly with their discretionary funds. Seek to spend, post-festival, just to say thanks! Dudes. For a real good time. I buy fun things. What do you sell that’s fun?

Yeah. Like:

badvertisements! Powered by Ozzysense.

One wonders about the role dynamics between Ozzy & his wife Sharon played in the business model’s development. I am a terrific admirer of this scheme. I say again: one wonders. Yeah, wonder. Like wowzers dudes! Whoever swung the brainwork on this job: you’re my hero.

Should win the Nobel Prize for Economics.

Very exciting. Thank yooz!

Now I’m goin off the Rail like
a crazy train
I’m more addicted than Jane!!
& when I say
I’m Ok ya know they LOOK’et me kinda strange!
Cause I’m goin off the rail like a crazy train

Keep The Tires Off The Line, Dude!


Former Phish frontman Trey Anastasio was arrested in December 2006 by upstate New York cops for driving while intoxicated and illegal possession of a variety of medications (Xanax, Percocet, and Hydrocodone) prescribed in someone else’s name. Anastasio, 42, whose real first name is Ernest, was nabbed by Whitehall police just miles from the Vermont border following a traffic stop. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, DWI-drugs, and driving without a license.

This comes as no surprise to long-time Phish fans like myself, who watched with embarassment as front-man Anastasio blubbered in tears at the band’s last concert in northern Vermont in August 2004. It amounted to an onstage mid-life crisis in front of 100,000 faithful fans — many of whom hiked dozens of miles into the concert site after a nearly impassable mud-slick prevented their entry into the concert’s parking/camping area.

Besides all that, Phish ‘performed’ the absolute worst sets of music, that weekend, of what otherwise was a remarkable rock & roll career.

Forgive me if I snicker…

Also, I feel compelled to point out that I’ve driven through Whithall NY myself, countless times, in all manner of unlawful conditions & with all kinds of illegal shit in the car. No problem — maybe on account of all the miles I clocked following Phish to weird places like Ft. Worth Texas & Oxford Mississippi. One learns to follow the bands own advice & Keep The Tires Off The Line…

…But I guess not when they travel with a hired driver in the tour bus.

Thanks to Xela for the Heads Up.

3 Honky yahooz & One Loose Tampon & a half-pill of Speed

Who here likes a Good Dope Deal?

Like,, the ones that rule so hard it’s Freaky. The ones you still talk about to this day. They’ll give you a shit eating grin on your deathbed. And your loved ones will grin one of their own behind tears wept at your grave.

You know the kind I mean. Where Honky 1 wants speed but his lady friend gave him money for pot & tampons. Honky 2 has speed but he needs money. Honky 3 has weed & money.

Some dope deals are like a tug of war. I have pushed & pulled. I’ve suffered my confidence crisis that leave a strip-mined taste in the soul when I thought I’d not get enough.

I’ve been wrong. But not Guilty.

If I’ve ever run a deliberate, personal burn I don’t recall it. If anyone remembers better I’d be grateful to know.

So what does Honky 3 need?

Honky 3 needs to get his ex-lady friend’s Naturacare tampons out of the trunk.

‘You got the natural ones in your trunk?!’ Honky 1 is astonished.

He now has 6 bucks freed up for speed. Plus $40 for a sack. And half a mind to make that $40 a $20 and buy Honky 2 out of pills. Would she notice?

Honky 2 has speed plus six bucks earned from two pills sold to Honky 1. Honky 1 offers to trade him a single tampon for another.

The three Honkiez rolled out funny tears from laughing.

‘Half a speed pill.’ Honky 2 bargained.

Honky 1 deftly received the tentatively offered pill and swallowed inside of a heartbeat’s time. Whole, no chaser. Lest Honky 2 change his mind.

Honky 1 broke the stunned silence. ‘Dude!’ He goes, ‘You just traded me Speed for a…tampon!’

‘You guys are Homos!’ Honky 3 declared. Turned on the car & packed a bowl.

Honky 2 turned on the radio. Cranked it when he heard the song. It was Lynard Skynard

They drove along the country road. Windows wide, as southern blanched rockabilly crackled like moonshine in a campfire through the frigid clear-winter night. And the 3 Honkiez bust loose & sing it. With all their considerable shake fist right-to-party Might.

Sweet Home Alabama
Oh sweet home!
Where the Skies are So blue.
& the governor’s TRUE!

Sweet Home Alabama


Here I come. Alabama!

Then Honky 2 did the guitar solo. Honky 3 drove & thought awhile. Honky 1 stared out the window & drooled.

‘You know what?’ Honky 2 broke the silence. ‘Honkette 1 told me last night she has percaset to trade for Adderall.’

‘Right now?’ Honky 3’s voice rang like a money bell.


‘You got speed?’


‘I’ll buy it all.’

’30 bucks.’

Honky 3 reached over and slipped unnoticed 30$ from the $40 held loosely in Honky 1’s hand. He put the bag of pot in its place. Honky 1 unpeeled his right eye from the passenger window. Reached his mouth forward and managed to light the long-forgotten weed-pipe.

Honky 2 counted his money & began to recite a long forgotten poem. Everyone laughed & everyone grinned.

Honky 1 tossed a weed-nugget to Honky 2. Noticed he still had ten dollars. It made no sense because Honky 1 never had money left at the end of these things.

‘You owe me 10 bucks.’ Honkey Yahoo 3 said. ‘Pay me whenever.’

‘Sweet!’ Exclaimed Honky Yahoo 1. He made a vague plan to remember something about how the next day he should eat. Strapped on his seatbelt — a standard precaution during synaptic race-rocket ignition. A weird echo-mutation of a childhood poem sing-sang through his head.

I will not play Tug-Drug war.

Instead I play Drug Hug war

I play it with Zeal

It’s got sex appeal!

Who here loves

A good Dope DEAL?!

(crowd goes wild)

Where everyone laughs

& Everyone Grins

And we’re all in the bathtub now making Bathtub Gin!

See you dudes on Pluto! Remember:

We’re far greater than the sum of our parts whenever Everyone Wins

So LONG suckaZ!!

One time me & MG Tank were driving out to a Phish show in Rochester NY. Flipping dials on the FM radio. Suddenly the announcer was like News Flash!! Phish are coming to town — along with what the local police chief described as the Phish band’s notorious Drug Problem.

My jaw dropped. MG Tank’s eyes lit up. I Laughed riotously. Let out a one-word gasp:


MG Tank stammered excitedly and finally said ‘DUDE!!!’

Then both at once: ‘That’s me & YOU!!’

Wow. Notorious?

That’s right. Alert the Youth! We are the Drug Problem & we’re coming to your Town.

We’ll help you Party Down!!

Just then we saw a cop about a quarter-mile back & closing fast in the passing lane. He pulled alongside & eyed us suspiciously. I looked at MG Tank & noticed his eyes were clasped fearfully shut behind his sunglasses. I knew it was my job to Jedi mind-trick the cop since MG Tank was busy driving.

‘We are not the Drug Problem you’re Looking For.’ I said aloud. MG Tank opened his eyes. Flipped his sunglasses onto his forehead. Then turned & winked at the cop. Nothing to see here.

Couple’a rock & roll fans is all — with a borrowed station wagon & enough dried alien turds to make a medium-sized village laugh literally until they puke.

Oh yeah — and a homemade bumpersticker that says I Am Your Brain On Drugs ASShole!!

Problem? Shit we’re the solution.

The cop sped suddenly off & dissolved into the horizon. Why? I guessed for quantum reasons; perhaps because though we both traveled down a Thruway on Earth we in fact inhabit different planets entirely.

MG Tank had a different theory:

‘I think he went to go eat a used douche.’

We were both right more than likely.

Gets me to think on the time in Nebraska on Fall ’95. Now…Tank & me got away with It. But the one dude in Lincoln got away with It in style.

All I saw was two cops storm him from behind. Wanted to search his backpack. On the probable grounds that he seemed to prefer that they didn’t. A commotion ensued as the cops salaciously groped the kid — I call him the Quarterback — & barraged him with dumb questions.

Like: BOY! What kind of Drugs you got on you??

I don’t know what the dude had on him. A big old honker pile o’Whatevers I bet. God bless him if he did. I know for sure he had a glass marijuana pipe which he kept in a sewn padded pouch. The pouch was about the size of a football. It flew through the air like one too. Spiraled just overhead of the concert-goers who were crowded along the sidewalk.

Why not? That glass marijuana pipe was Evidence. And evidence is always better off hurled 20 feet down the way least ye Quarterback get sacked. Especially when not one but both cops haul off & chase the evidence down the street.

The Quarterback split smartly & laid low until he was safely inside the show. I never knew his name. But I’ll never forget how he made those two cops look like butt-wipe stooges in Lincoln.

The evidence was caught by a random admirably alert passerby; the Wide Receiver.

The cops got to the wide receiver. But what could they do? In front of a hundred witnesses the pouch fell into his arms out of the clear twilit sky.

Or did it?

‘Watcha Got There boy??’ The cops demanded.

The wide reciever smiled & shrugged. Held his hands palm-open. Turned his pockets inside out; patted his head & rubbed his belly.

‘Not a damn thang.’ He said. ‘I swear on Jerry’s grave.’

It was true. The pipe-pouch was gone. Poof. Hand-off maybe. Who knew?

The cops lurched idiotically this way & that. Someone politely suggested they check the Lost & Found. And the people all watching enjoyed a good laugh.

Story For Sale

A pitch I’m working on for a magazine article:

I’ve lived my whole adult life in a small town in southern Vermont. One problem that’s dogged me all these years here: Homelessness.

I’m 35 years old. A bit more than a decade ago having nowhere to live was in large part a lifestyle choice. I lived part-time ‘on the road,’ as it were, following Phish & the Grateful Dead around America. Selling whatevers to whoever in the parking lots before the concerts — then dancing my ass off & partying like an all-around rock & roll star every night.

Those were the Days my friends!

Back then I had an Excuse to be homeless. I was ‘between tours.’ Had something way better to do than hang around this crappy town. Always a matter of weeks at most until the next gig rolled around.

These days what I hate more than anything is when a friend asks the typical friendly question: So Mike E — what’ve you been Up To??

Dodging questions like that mostly.

But back in the day…boy. It was like — Yo I’m partying like a Rock Star every night of the week!!

What the hell are you doing?

I never considered myself ‘homeless’ back then. Never used the word to describe myself — like I said it was a lifestyle choice. I owned it. Can’t speak for the kind folks whose couches I habitated but the choice worked well enough for me.

In the winter of 2000/’01 I recall first using the word Homeless to describe my situation. I was living in a … this is weird. I lived in a restaurant that winter.

One morning I woke up in that restaurant, and realized: I’m not going On Tour next week. And something about where I just woke up is Wrong.

I was at the Bar later that night. There was a girl there and I could tell she thought I was Cute. Normally not a bad thing at all except for the part where soon enough she’d ask: So…where do you live??


I’d grown to loathe the question.

So I cut through the bullshit and introduced myself as such:

‘Hi. Name’s Mike E — yep. Mike with an E. I’m a journalist — that’s right. A professional journalist. Working deep undercover on a story about the poverty/homelessness/drug addiction Connection.’

ShaZAM — worked like a charm in its own way. Except…Be careful I guess. That’s my advice. Careful how you introduce yourself to some girl at the Bar. You might just get stuck with it.

Not the girl — she’s long gone. I’m stuck with the Story.

Big Question: who wants to pay me to tell it??

the talking balcony

My First Rock & Roll concert (age 13):

Heart, at the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans.

First time I got arrested for absolutely no reason:

11 years later, on Bourbon Street, the night before Phish played the State Palace.

First (& only) time I ever hurled from booze:

On Bourbon St the night after Phish played jazzFest (’96) arm in arm with Superstar Brown while he yuked too.

First time I lived for a week under a bush in a major American city:

JazzFest ’97, after my Valuables fell inadvertantly out of my pocket on Bourbon St.

First time I sat on the curb for a fascinating hour-long chat with the peculiarly grooved 2nd-story balcony across the street:

Somewhere in the Quarter. I plumb forget where — & most of what was said — but as I walked away that balcony gave me the best advice.

Listen. You Make stories. And tell them. That’s all…

Cheers to New Orleans!! Not a city, she, so much as one strange & long tale to tell.