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Wednesday, September 14

Confessions of a Noob.... An editoral by S.A.

Confessions of a Noob.... An editoral by S.A. 


I've listened to Phish for over 15 years, and yet many in the scene would still consider me a "noob."  My first exposure to the quartet from Vermont was their Lawn Boy album, played at full volume and on repeat by my older brother. If I could offer anyone a piece of advice in both music and life, it is this: Don't always trust first impressions, because mine was "This sucks."
The noise that emanated from my brothers' cheap, off-brand, little stereo sounded like no music I had ever heard. It didn't even really sound like music. It sounded like, well, it sounded like sound, a giant wall of sound that I couldn't make sense of. There was only one song on the entire album that I didn't immediately hate, "Bouncing Around the Room."
Begrudgingly I would find myself humming the tune, and getting the lyrics stuck in my head for days. I'd actually request that my brother stop playing that song. And then the strangest thing happened. I slowly started to enjoy other tracks like "My Sweet One" and "Bathtub Gin." That giant wall of sound made sense to me now. I could pick out every brick, see every inch of mortar, and when it all combined it was the most intriguing music I had ever listened to. By Christmas, I was asking for more of their albums and I was very excited to unwrap Hoist and Junta. Within a year, I owned the entire discography.

With their 13th studio album on the way I am cautiously optimistic that I will love it as much as I do the other 12. A weird thing happens to me every time I buy a new Phish album. It's like I start the whole journey over again. At first I don't understand it,  then I'll find a song I like, then a few more, and then I will fall in love. I wouldn't trade it for the world, it is a journey of discovery that always yields a reward.
Many fans belittle Phish's studio work, but for me, that's why I'm here in the first place.  I listened to those albums for years until I graduated high school and finally had an opportunity to go see Phish. I drove for 15 hours, and waited in traffic for 12 more to attend their "It" festival. I was dreadfully unprepared, but thanks to the kindness of phans, I had my daily intake of H20 and calories, with some free party favors taboot, taboot. The albums may be what brought me to the dance, but the phans, the atmosphere and the performances are what made me never want to leave.
I still have not physically been to many shows, only 8 in total. I have, however, couch toured and you tubed countless hours of Phish shows. So yes, I am a noob to the live scene. But no one in the parking lot has ever once judged me or been anything less than helping and friendly. They've all read the book. They know the love for this band, this community is something we all share and understand, despite arriving at it from different avenues. After over 15 years I can safely say, I never want to get out of this maze.
- S.A. Renzi