Barking Up the Ancestral Tree

391090_10150475755449595_1079669056_nI’m of the belief that each language has limits on what it can contain. I also believe the language we think in influence our attitude and outlook to some degree. We think about things differently in English than someone speaking French or Aramaic just because of the parameters set by the words we can use. Different definitions, but more- different nuance, subtle differences in connotation more than meaning.

I think every language we lose is another tool we no longer have for studying and understanding this wacky world around us. Math is the language of science and is able to describe many of the wonders of the Universe in definite and concrete terms, but Math can’t convey the wonder. It is not possible to write awestruck existential poetry in the language of quadratic equations.

One thing that makes us Humans stand out as a species is the complexity and sophistication of our linguistic systems. I don’t believe we are alone, but farther ahead. Few would argue that Dolphins and other intelligent animals do not have a language of their own. Audio signals meant to convey ideas, feelings and instruction.

The sounds made by domesticated animals were once considered crude and carrying very little meaning. This notion has recently been overturned, many scientists as well as dog and cat owners will acknowledge there are different meanings for the different sounds they make, although they do convey a good deal more non-verbally.

In the wild, dogs and cats and their immediate relatives do not use barks or meowing as a way to communicate with each other. These are, in fact, rudimentary languages our pets have developed specifically for humans, to be able to converse on a basic with their people.

Our own systems are intricate, refined by several thousand generations of evolution and adaptation. Sometime recently, in the grander perspective, we learned to convert our words into visual symbols, no longer must we draw a bird to conjure the thought of a bird. The written word has been around five to fifteen thousand years, depending who you ask, but again in the big picture it is a splitting of hairs.

The impact of the written word is probably comparable to the impact the first spoken language had on us and our intelligence. The written word seems permanent, and carries great weight. There is still, this late in our own game, a percentage of the population that will believe something true simply because it is written, rather than spoken. If someone took the time to scratch it into a recognizable combination of characters placed in specific order to convey the idea, it had to be true.

Writing is not the only adaptation we have made of our languages, only the most sophisticated and inspired. We have also learned to communicate through a system of raised bumps, for those who cannot see.

COHERERWe have used blinking lights to exchange information, smoke signals, flags held at different angles, electric pulses converted and read as dots and dashes, and indeed even primitive ritual drumming which became akin to a political broadcast for neighboring tribes and approaching enemies.

A selection of beats and rhythmic patterns, and subtle variations applied to each could inform anyone within earshot of our latest achievements or intentions.

I won’t be surprised when the Archeologists or Historians announce proof that the first attempts at mechanical reproduction of rhythm was invented by ‘primitive’ societies such as these, and indeed the very first drum machines were created as an early attempt at the answering machine.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Pleading The Fifth

As a musician I’m often asked what my favorite band or favorite song is. As far as rock and roll or whatever we’re calling it these days,narrowing it down to any one song is nearly impossible, and it depends on when you ask me, how my mood is, and

    Beethoven Fifth Symphony 2nd movement conducted
    by Mikhail Pletnev/ Russian National Orchestra 2009 what particular internet arguments I am involved in at the time.

For bands, it still varies as the wind blows, but I can usually keep it to a gaggle of regular suspects, The Beatles, Camper Van Beethoven/ Cracker, Robyn Hitchcock, Pixies/ Frank Black, Phish, They Might Be Giants, Stephen Malkmus/ Pavement…

But in the grander scale of things there is one composer and one piece of music that, to me, stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Ludwig van Beethoven and the Fifth Symphony, specifically the second movement.

I’ve long respected and admired the work of Beethoven, but sometime in the early 90’s this particular piece was cemented in my conscience. It has since held its unwavering place at the top of my list, with as many gold stars as I can give it.

It was late one night or early morning when I came home after a long, crazy party. I wasn’t quite ready for sleep, but my body was exhausted. I wanted something mellow to listen to and lull my thoughts away. Something without lyrics I would have to pay attention to.

I found my CD of Beethoven’s Fifth by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The first movement slipped by in all its majesty, and soon I was immersed in the brilliance of the second section.

I ended up not sleeping, I hit repeat on the CD player a few times and listened to it over and over. I found it speaking to me, without words it was transmitting some information directly into my soul. It left me laughing. Not a snicker or a little giggle, a riotous uncontrollable laughter, I am surprised I didn’t wake any neighbors.

There is good reason the Fifth Symphony is still one of the most well-known compositions in history. And everyone is familiar with the first movement, especially the opening, even if they don’t know what it is.

‘Da-Da-Da- DUUUUUM’

But here, in the second movement, something is being conveyed, a story is being told. I get glimpses of it still when I listen late at night in that state between waking and dream. Beethoven is telling us the history of Humanity, the history of the Universe, and the individual history of the single, isolated, inconsequential human life, all standing one next to the other, all a metaphor for the rest.

There is something transcendent, majestic, exuberant, existential and a terrible, terrible sadness and loneliness that, somehow, we all seem to share.

I know it’s one mans opinion but I will easily call this the most beautiful piece of music ever written, possibly the greatest accomplishment of artistic expression of all human history.

As an artist and a musician I can admire it, revere it, but I can’t really understand how it was written. I can’t ever see my mind being so inspired to turn out something so brilliant. But I can, and do, thoroughly enjoy it. And this I plan to do as long as I have a brain cell left in my head, and ears which still hear.


© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Streets Turned Ugly

darkstreetWandering back onto streets I haven’t walked in years. Who was it used to talk about the streets being owned? Owned by us, ‘These are our streets!’

Somehow we have lost our title or lost control, or just walked away in disgust.

Now the reflections that peek back from dirty windows come across unfamiliar and awkward. I can imagine myself in this same spot seven years ago, looking into shop windows as I pass, catching reflections of ghosts staring back at me.

Only now I realize I was seeing pictures of myself as I would look in the future, how I look now.

These mirrors don’t recognize me anymore. They can’t compliment me anymore. I stare at myself and I feel at odds, as if I should think of something to say to my reflection.

But I can’t, it just seems useless and trite. I stand alone, trying to find a few words to offer myself. I only stare back, speechless, hollow and afraid, no longer able to face me.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

At War with the Spiders

spiderwarsI am currently engaged in a war with the spiders for control of this room, a slow quiet battle. With the lights on I know I am winning; though I do notice the stray strand here, the beginning of a web that was not there yesterday.

They hide behind wood, the spiders become shadows; tucked into a corner until the lights go out. In the darkness, they scurry over the walls, eagerly working, even affecting my dreams as I sleep.

The knowledge of how many I must have swallowed so far used to give me grim comfort, for surely they could not win with this many of their ranks accidentally being eaten.

But now, I think they may fall into my mouth on purpose, tiny little kamikazes, an attempt at some slow sort of poisoning.

I am otherwise not malicious toward these insects. I don’t kill them intentionally. I even warned them when I first decided to inhabit this part of the house. I gave them a full three days to leave, and told I them please try to stay out of my mouth.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter

Cat & Cockatiel

Today’s exercise in my Writing Group was ‘Pick one bird and show it to someone who has never seen a bird.’

Photo219I want to say it was a Cockatiel, but it’s been so many years; and never having seen a bird, the name wouldn’t mean much to you.

But it was a shocking color of white, brighter than Hector, my cat. And quite unlike the cat’s fur, which either juts out chaotically to do as it pleases, or lays against the skin soft and composed; the texture of the bird’s feathers, they rippled almost like a cloud might, or the foamy, overlapping of river rapids; my first impression of the bird was that it had been an attorney or judge in Victorian England, and still liked to show off its white powdered wig.

But there was an intelligence there, I could see it. Not like with a cat or a dog, that you can look on directly and get a glimpse of their empathy. The way the eyes are set on the bird, it had to turn its head sideways to get a good look at you.

And it kept its head moving, twitching to focus on something new every few seconds, probably just habit for this type of animal, but it reminded me of someone distracted, after too much coffee, watching the mailbox for their paycheck to arrive.

My cat, also, was quite taken by the bird, but in a different way. Hector was still mostly a kitten at a time. But she was a natural hunter, and the bird brought out something primal in her.

My neighbor had invited us up, and I felt bad when Hector started slowly stalking toward the cage. Of course, the bird was in no danger, it couldn’t escape, and the cat couldn’t get in. But you can’t explain details like that to bird or cat.

So Hector was slowly making her move, approaching the cage, her body crouched and quiet and preparing to pounce.

The bird turned it’s head sideways to look directly at her and said ‘Pretty Kitty’.

I have never before, probably not since either, seen a cat so shocked. She knew humans could talk, and she knew birds were for hunting. She was quite taken aback to hear this food, this prey, speaking to her. She remained curious, but completely gave up trying to eat it; and never really bothered with the bird ever again.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

The Persistence of Entropy

Dali, Disintegration of Persistence of Memory

Dali ‘Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory’

I have never really measured my own self-worth by wealth or material possessions. Growing up ‘modestly’, to put it nicely, I never had opportunity to do so. It has been instilled in me from a young age that possessions are fleeting, wealth is temporary.

I could own a big house and fill it with toys and still be miserable. I could chase after money until I had enough to keep generations of off-spring comfortable and never wanting, and still feel empty inside. And, even these can disappear over night.

So, I have long-held that the only things I can really own, the only things that can’t be taken from me; are my experiences, my memories, my words.

About five years ago my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It has been a difficult road, to say the least. The woman who I once thought strong enough to hold up the world, to watch her deteriorate is painful, frustrating and sometimes infuriating.

And it has completely uprooted my beliefs, my notions about life. I watch as she struggles to express herself, as she tries to unravel a memory now tucked away just out of reach. Any notions I had of permanence or owning my own thoughts has been capsized.

The only thing I thought I really owned, my mind, is just as flimsy and fleeting as anything else. My thoughts, ideas, memories and experiences; they are just as flimsy and corruptible as any material possession.

It shakes me to the core. At the same time, it gives me a renewed urgency to get my ideas and memories out of my head and onto the page.

Time is not on my side. Even my experiences can be taken from me. If I don’t share them, if I keep them locked away in my brain, there very well may come a day when they can no longer escape; and remain forever prisoners of my darkening mind.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Horselover Fat rides again…

pkdSaturday, 29 November 2003
Topic: from the soapbox

So, I was in a car accident last Sunday. I remember it was just starting to snow, that kinda half-snow, half-rain that makes the roads such a joy to drive on. Besides that and the fact that I was probably going too fast in the first place, I came to a red light and hit my brakes. Nothing, The car kept moving ahead, and hydroplaned right into the car in front of me. The fact that I saw it coming and stiffened up in anticipation, instead of letting by body go slack, that probably made it worse, but that’s another story for another time…

I can’t work or drive for now, doctors orders. I have bumps and bruises all over, and a bandage over my eye. Apparently I hit my head on the steering wheel. It took twelve stitches to close me up, and they told me I am lucky I didn’t lose my right eye.

So I decided I would take this time to catch up on some reading, and to get some writing done. I found an old battered copy of “Valis” by Philip K. Dick, who is, and anyone who knows me knows this, my literary hero. A mentor of sorts, a lot of my writing, not just stylistically but idealistically, has been inspired by him. I have read everything I could get my hands on written by Dick, back even before a lot of it was put back into print.

“Valis” deals with a lot of metaphysical themes, a lot of which are based on ideas that were only unearthed recently in the caves of Qumran and in the manuscripts found at Nag Hammadi. These ‘lost’ religious articles, suddenly appearing after sleeping in the desert for two thousand years, have always intrigued me.

One thing about having all this time off work, is I have way too much time to think. Not just about the life of a mad genius sci-fi philosopher who died poor and unrecognized, and would not garner any real fame or respect until twenty years past his death. Not about the strange coincidence that I have been interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls since I first heard of them, and just happen to pick up this book where my favorite author of all times is talking at length about them. And what exactly does that mean, what does that imply if anything? That these two fascinations of mine would merge here together as I lay bed-ridden and broken. Coincidence? Synchronicity? Fate? Quantum Holistics?

Or is it merely that my mind being as it is, is attracted to the writing of Phil Dick, and as such is also attracted to the long buried manuscripts of an ancient secret society. Not necessarily an eerie similarity, but a matter of “well, naturally I like his writing, because he is interested in the same, weird, whacked out things that I am”.

When my mind isn’t playing this metaphysical game of chicken and the egg, it is trying to weigh me down, drag me into depression, based on the accident and the consequences there-of.

I nearly lost my eye, half my head is covered in bandage, the area just below my eyebrow has been repaired with stitches, it is black and ugly like a caterpillar resting on my eyelid. “Right Peri-orbital Laceration” is what they call it. My face is no longer symmetrical. The right side of my face is swollen, puffy and a sickly bruised yellow in color. Half of my head is sore and in almost constant pain, the other half is still numb- completely without feeling, like Novocaine has been shot into my skull. The pain or the numbness, I’m not sure which is scarier.

My shoulders are sore to move, my knees are wounded and scraped. I have random bumps and cuts about my body. My sides hurt when I laugh or bend the wrong way- ribs or internal organs or just superficial bruises? Its a lot to think about when you have nothing but time to sit and think. No wonder I’ve been trying to occupy my mind with such heavy subjects as the Gnostic Gospels.

Never mind the fact that my car is gone. And I don’t know when they will let me drive again anyway. Transportation, work, money- they are all trivial things in the light of health- but they are issues which weigh on me late at night when sleep will not come.

Why did this have to happen? Why now? Just when things were beginning to fall into place. A job I could bare to go to everyday, a nice little routine I was falling into where I would be content. There were some things to look forward to, a book I was planning on publishing once the funds were there. A girl I wanted to fall in love with once the time was right.

And then suddenly, in literally an instant, it was all turned upside down. Everything seems to be up in the air at this time. One step forward then two staggering steps back. And the work it will take to get back to where I was has just seemed so overwhelming. I can do it I know, but in my darker moments I wonder if I should bother, whats the point?

And once the darkness of depression splinters into my brain, it clouds over all else and turns it to black. All hope, all dreams, black. And the lingering question of “Why?”

So last night I was searching around the Internet for information of the Nag Hammadi texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Gnostic Gospels. I found a few good sites and read as much as I could before the weary gloom would creep its way into my thoughts.

I tried a different search then, on Philip K Dick. I have read most of his work, but don’t know that much about him; only what they put at the end of the books in the About the Author Section, and from the seemingly form-lettered publicity profile: Born in Chicago, lived in California, wrote 110 short stories and 36 novels, ate dog food in the grips of poverty, was addicted to amphetamines to keep his prolific writing pace, was married and divorced 5 times and died of heart failure in 1982. I was hoping some web site out there could help me glean a little closer into the actual man behind these words.

I found one site, where they had clips of Dick actually speaking. Actually speaking. In the fifteen years I have been reading his work, I had never heard his voice before. I listened to the first clip; an hour long tape Dick had recorded as a synopses for a novel he was working on, he recorded it on tape rather than type it because of a broken arm at the time.

His voice came through my stereo, a kind voice but obviously roughened by cigarettes and booze, and that slur that only comes from years off drug abuse, the “acid accent” I call it- and the fact that his words would sometimes meld together as he spoke a mile a minute trying to keep pace with his racing mind.

Once I adjusted my brain to hear his odd way of speaking, I lay in bed and felt like he was there in the room, telling this idea he had for his next book directly to me, in confidence. Bouncing the idea off me in private discourse.
The next clip was an hour long interview. By interview it meant that the host of the radio show would ask a simple question, and Dick would veer off on several tangents and cover as many and as few topics as he cared to before he would allow another question.

Somewhere in the middle of a rant, Philip K Dick somehow came upon the subject of God, this didn’t phase me all that much. It was obvious that the Great Beyond was a matter of deep thought for him and for me as well. I sat an listened as his low-flying form of conversation strafed over many religious, spiritual and metaphysical hot-points. Touching for a second, a moment of lucid, profound thought swirling out of a tornado of jumbled words and thoughts, and moving on quickly to the next target.

He got on the subject of Gods Will and his Ways. The mysterious ways in which he works. How he makes things come to be.

Sometimes, he was saying, (I am paraphrasing here) God has to take measures to bring people to their destiny. People get stuck in routines and will stay in those routines unless physically removed. So God will take action to put people where they need to be, to meet people they need to meet. And he will do this by the simplest means possible.

Such means as, say, a car accident. ( My brain nearly jumped out of my head at hearing this.) Sometimes the easiest way for God to put you where you need to be is in such a tragedy. You wonder, why did this happen to me? It messed up all my plans. Only in retrospect do you realize, if I hadn’t been in that car crash, I would never have met so-and-so. That car crash was the best thing that ever happened to me, and such and such. Fate comes, he closed the topic, like a firecracker being dropped down the back of your pants by invisible hands. You are walking along minding your own business, and then BANG!!!

Well, hearing this, the talk of a fateful car accident, coming from a twenty-five year old tape of an interview with my literary mentor, it shook some things up in my head. Maybe the lack of real sleep, the pain medication and the long hours of solitary thought contributed to the significance it had taken. But it seemed to bring about some answers in me, and at the same time it also asked a whole new round of questions. Neither can be fully explained here.

The answers deal with fate and with life in general and the random curves it seems to throw at us sometimes. The questions tend to wonder about the same, and about the seemingly innocent paths we choose which invariably lead us to where we were bound to wind up anyway, and the harder we think we are fighting against our destiny, the more we are only hastening it; about random decisions and utterly meaningless moments that only make sense when we look back upon them; about time and space and synchronicity, and how a genius mad man returned twenty years after his death to tell me that all would be okay.

The Universe Contains A ‘Why’

blackholeOut here on the silent fringes of reality, where I lurk in the passage between night and morning, those few slippery moments when time doesn’t exist. Here, I can reflect.

I find myself often stumbling over the same old question, ‘why?’

And ‘why’ is such a useless question, why only matters to Scientists and Philosophers. Why has no use in the real world. why does the sun shine? It doesn’t matter; the sun shines, and will continue to do so whether I understand it or not; will continue to do so despite my constant asking of why.

Why are we here? It doesn’t matter, we are here.

I often wonder if this one word is what separates humans from animals. This ability to ask a meaningless question. I doubt that my cat questions the purpose of her existence.

Wrapped in the toils of daily survival; work, sleep, eat; hunt, provide, recharge; there is no time for such Metaphysical wonderings, no extra energies for such trivial pursuits.

But here, in the quiet night, in the reflective meditations that float just above the surface of dreaming, the question arises, staring us in the face, like a gleaming, grinning intruder unexpectantly appearing out of the darkness.

So therefore, it must have a purpose. Simply by the fact that it is there, that it exists. The universe contains a why. Why?

Maybe our entire existence is a question. Maybe we are here to ask that question, maybe we are that question. The question.

I light a cigarette and let my thoughts flow out and mingle with the rising smoke. Watch out the window as the first few slices of sunlight begin to break through the cover of black. I wonder about my past, my memories, my paths so far, and their possible meanings.

Doing my best to leave the silence undisrupted, a few ripples of sound disturb the moment and dissipate away. In the quiet wake, once more I wonder. smooth black reflection. Why?

I don’t pretend to have any answers, after all, I am merely a question.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter

Wall of Water

October 3rd Writing Group exercise: ‘Experience a Rainstorm’

rainI sat in still traffic, waiting for the light to turn green. From the west, I saw something approaching. I couldn’t tell what it was. It seemed to be a shadow, a darkness creeping toward me. It reached the intersection; my stomach tied itself in a knot, I saw that whatever it was, it would be upon me soon.

The darkness crept over my car; it was such a distinct border between shadow and light, unlike I have ever seen. Raindrops beat furiously on the roof. I yanked the handle for the wipers, but they were unable to help. Blades dragged back and forth on the windshield; smearing dirty, greasy water; making it harder to see.

The storm came on so quick, there was no build up, no drizzle or sprinkles to warn me; only a sudden switch between clear skies and this torrent.

A honk came from behind me. I couldn’t see the stop light; I wondered if the car behind me could, or was just anxious to move. I crept forward a little, pulling onto the shoulder, letting the car behind me go on its way. I shook my head a moment, thinking of this blinded driver in such a hurry, wondering what could be so important that he had to proceed.

I felt trapped inside frosted glass, the sound like popping popcorn distracting my thoughts. I rubbed a sleeve at the window, a vain attempt to clear the fog. Should I crack a window to defrost the glass, and soak me in the process? Or should I wipe it away as best I could, knowing this would only make the fog come back stronger, more determined to block my view?

My question was met by silence; it took a moment to register. As quickly as the rain had come upon me, it was now gone. The wipers swept the last of the water away, and squeaked against dry glass, informing me they’d completed their task.

It was as if it never happened. The sun was beating down again, the sky peaceful and clear. The only evidence was the darkened pavement, and off to the east now, the retreating wall of water creeping out of view.

I thought for a moment about the car that had been behind me, but was in such a rush to move on. I wondered if he was still stuck inside the odd, localized downpour. Perhaps, for one reason or other, he was chasing the storm, or perhaps the Storm was chasing him.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Let Lying Dogs Sleep

Today’s Writing Group exercise: Your dog wakes you from sleep in the middle of the night, barking at the front door, at someone or something outside. What do you find when you investigate?

roxyYou do not know my dog very well. If she is barking at night, it means there might be a rabbit in the yard. Granted, it always seems to be the same rabbit, and yes it does seem to be taunting the dog. The rabbit will sit in the yard, perfectly still, seeming to stare at the dog through its sideways glance. Plus, I have never before seen a rabbit that can smirk.

Fireworks and rainstorms also freak her out– luckily the fireworks are limited to certain holidays, sporting events, general elections, visits from the Easter Bunny, tooth faerie or Santa Klaus, a kids good report card, a family celebration or event or commemoration or dinner together, an especially good rerun of the Simpsons on TV, or just to break up the general monotony of people being able to sleep at night.

And the storm has to be pretty severe, or at least highlighted with thunder or lightening, or be a heavy noisy splattering of water on the roof, or sometimes a light drizzle will do it, or if the weatherman might accidentally say the word ‘rain‘, or if someone down the block happens to be running a bath.

If it were to be, when  I opened the door and saw a person standing there, staring in, it would probably shake me out of my shoes. But, the dog, I don’t think would be afraid or get nervous, not if there was any slim chance of this stranger scratching her belly, or offering her a bit of food.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

The Return of the Bozos

kenkeseyhigher

Ken Kesey

Today in Phishtory- Thursday, 08/14/1997
Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Center, NY

In 1964 Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters first took to the road aboard a bus named ‘Furthur’. LSD was still legal and relatively unknown. Kesey and company took it upon themselves to travel the country, turning people on, changing many minds, and generally breaking Americans out of a decade of conformity and ennui.

After traveling to a Beatles concert, they became aware of the power of live music and the grip that performers could maintain over their audience.

In the middle 1960’s The Merry Pranksters hosted a series of gatherings called ‘The Acid Tests’. The Warlocks (later to be known as the Grateful Dead) were the house band for many of these events.

Ken and the Pranksters are generally regarded as starting the hippie movement, and along with Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’, popularizing the idea of breaking out of ones comfort zone and traveling the country.

So it was a sort of meeting of different worlds when Ken Kesey came out on stage calling for his Merry Pranksters. (“Where are the bozos? It’s been two years since anyone has seen the Bozos”. The two years, of course, referring to the end of the Grateful Dead).

Many people take this as the ‘stamp of approval’ by Kesey, the Pranksters, the hippies, the dead-heads, et al– that Phish were the true successors of the jam band scene. I don’t think it’s wrong to say that, but I think it is also entirely possible that the Pranksters just saw a party waiting to be crashed, and a few thousand fresh minds open to expansion.

Hear the whole show here:
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1997-08-14/ya-mar

further reading:
Tom Wolfe ‘The Electric Kool-aid Acid Tests’:http://www.tomwolfe.com/KoolAid.html

Terrapin Station

phishToday In Phishtory – Sunday, August 9th, 1998
Virginia Beach Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA

It was the three-year anniversary since the death of Jerry Garcia. There was a feeling, and anxiousness, that Phish might acknowledge it, they would have to say something. And after two sets of great Phishiness, they came back for the encore and played Terrapin Station.

You can hear it in the crowd, you can hear the excitement, the release, the exuberance. For a long time it seemed like Phish was doing everything they could to distance and separate themselves from the Grateful Dead, if only to solidify their own identity. (Look back at some 80’s set lists, they played a lot more Dead in the early, early days).

But after Jerry died, things changed. I guess there was a feeling like they had to say something, and I guess the band felt it as well.

I was not at this show, but I remember getting the cassettes, and it is a great show, but the Terrapin Station tore me up. Fifteen years later it still gives me goosebumples.

hear the whole show here:
http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1998-08-09/punch-you-in-the-eye