Phish Bass Player Releases Mind-Blowing Solo Project
Over spring break, I road tripped through Canada with nine friends from Bucknell. We passed the time in the car listening to live recordings of folk, jazz and electronic jam bands on one of my favorite radio stations, SiriusXM JamOn.
Along our seven-hour journey between Toronto and Mt. Tremblant, we stumbled upon a special highlighting Mike Gordon and his new solo project, called Overstep. Mike Gordon is the short, bushy haired bass player behind the funky riffs of classic jam band, Phish. The program alternated between songs from the album and monologues from the bass guru about influences in his life for each song. Even the guys unfamiliar with Mike Gordon or Phish found themselves hanging on insights into the vigorous creative process behind Overstep.
Overstep marks a bold change in how Mike Gordon has previously composed songs with Phish. In Phish, the four band members would get together and jam, molding grooves and melodies by chance over the course of improvisation. From there, they would add lyrics and the finer details.
In Overstep, Mike Gordon sat down with creative partner, Scott Murawski, and composed songs from start to finish with intent. This process opened up a different avenue of creativity for Gordon. For example, in sitting down and writing a piece, he attempted what he calls a “list song” where he only sings a series of nouns connected by the word “and.” All together, these nouns tell a story in abstract.
“At first I saw the face, and then the eyes, and then the wink/and the lace and the legs and thighs step in stride/but instead you went too high/too high never see you again.”
I really love the change of pace Gordon’s going for with this new album. He’s a creative genius that has spent the past 30 years making jam band history with Phish. But he remains hungry as he looks for new ways to express human condition through music. Gordon notes that he tried to create vibes not only different from his work with Phish, but from anything else that has been done before.
Gordon explains that his songs will come to life particularly in the live setting. He has incorporated the opportunity for audiences to influence the course of his songs on the fly. While only time will tell exactly what this means, Gordon has said that there is a base to certain songs that live audiences will “write” on top of by performing certain body movements and chants. In this way, Gordon is on the cutting edge of the jam band creative scene.
The album came out late February, and is available for download on Mike Gordon’s website. If you dig funk or jazz, there is a very high probability you will dig this new work. Hope you enjoy!