Phish reunion? Gimme Hoots. And Hellmouth.

My friends are nearly apopleptic. In a good way. The internet rumor mill (and, no doubt, a solid bit of guerrilla marketing) is churning out near-daily stories about the possible reunion of this generation’s jam band, Phish. Pauly is already promising to give up his lucrative poker writing to follow Phish anywhere. My buddy G-Rob is already talking about RV rentals and vacation time.

It’s a phenomenon my alt-country and rockabilly leanings spared me. When Phish was forming its traveling roadshow and turning it into an empire, I was happily mired in the cheap beer and whiskey of Uncle Tupelo, the Bottle Rockets, the Starkweathers, Robbie Fulks, and Reverend Horton Heat. In years since, I’ve eased comfortably into the jam band scene, picked up what I can about it, and adopted a few favorites. There is a lot to like about jam band followers (not to mention, scads of money to be made by enterprising entrepreneurs). It’s a scene where I’m quite comfortable, yet have no real legacy or experience. I try not to let my lack of legacy deter me from enjoying the scene, much like I hope I could drag any of my friends to an Uncle Tupelo reunion (oh, to dream).

Suffice it to say, however, if Phish gets back together, I am going to do the honorable thing and stay home. How is that honorable? Well, I think if I were a real fan of the band (read: Pauly, et al), I would want fair-weather fans who are more into the scene than the band to stay the hell out. I watched a documentary about the “last” Phish show and was impressed with the real Phans dedication, but the shows were already impossibly crowded. I’m afraid if I even considered joining a hypothetical tour, it would explode on impact.

I do like the whole idea of following bands. It’s always appealed to me, though I never really did it. No form of entertainment balances me so consistently as music.

A couple of weeks ago, I went downtown to catch a free show from Hoots and Hellmouth. The 20-something DJ introducing them said, “Welcome Hootie and Hellmouth…”–entertaining because this is Hootie and the Blowfish country (or was) and because it showed how Hoots and Hellmouth isn’t that well-known around here. The Philly-based alterna-folk-gospel-rockers (I made that up because I don’t know exactly how to describe the band) are the real deal and about as tight as you’d want in a band. Despite the horrible outdoor venue and an impatient kid, I was enthralled with the band.

During a break, I stood wth T and G-Rob and talked about how I’d like to drive up to Charlotte the next day to see the band play again. Before long, the conversation devolved into a joke about just going on tour with Hoots and Hellmouth (I think we decided we would call ourselves HootHeads). The more I’ve thought about it, though, it’s not the worst idea in the world. Hell, they are playing Wakarusa this weekend and there are a lot worse places to be than that.

Alas, Las Vegas and several weeks of work there call. No festivals for me this summer. Good thing I have an iPod.

[On a completely unrelated note…holy cow, Daniel Day Lewis did a great job in “There Will Be Blood”]

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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3 Responses

  1. the joker says:

    hoots playing at wakarusa? ill try to tear myself away from the jamtronica and check em out.

  2. MGM says:

    Well, at least “HootHeads” sounds much better that HooterHeads.

  3. Buckeyetimmy says:

    I think we forgot to factor in location, gas prices and long-haul company when we spoke being HootHeads.

    With the band schedule as it is, we’d need GPS, a sponsor and a gag for G-Rob.

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