November 2010

Interview: Mike Gordon’s Balancing Act

For Mike Gordon, having just finished an exhaustive two month swing of projects that included a 13-date Phish tour, the donning of another musical costume for Halloween as Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus, the release of the new Mike Gordon Band album, Moss, and a 17-date tour behind it (that at one point included ten shows in just 11 days), it comes as no surprise that the opening track on his latest album is titled Can’t Stand Still.

[Photo by Brad Worsham]

Gordon has always been known for his tireless output — be it his bass playing with Phish, his collaborations, his solo career, writing, filmmaking or any number of other outlets — but at this point, the creative synapses are firing on overdrive.

Unlike many musicians who take the approach of churning out a record and touring behind it before taking an extended break, Mike takes a more calculated path. He aims to strike natural balances between his work with the two main bands (Phish and MGB), his professional time and his down time, his bass playing and other instrumental endeavors, and even his music and other creative outlets. It’s all a balancing act. And in the words of Albert Einstein, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

On Being a Bandleader

Given that Mike Gordon’s solo career exists in its relative infancy, as does his role as a bandleader, this era brings about many exciting changes and challenges. For example, he’s had to learn how to put together setlists; increase his sensitivity to people’s reactions to songs; internalize what’s going on in the room; and “let the music become what it wants to become.”

“It’s about discovering what is already there, and figuring out certain balances,” Mike explains. “For example, I really like playing music that people can dance to. So, if the people are dancing, do we try to keep them dancing? Or do we give them something more contemplative, or a slow song, to change moods? And if people seem to be sweaty and revved up and want to dance, is it OK to be counter-intuitive and say, ‘Maybe it’s time to change it up and explore something that’s more soul and less about body?’ You only learn to make these decisions by trial and error.”

READ ON for more of Ryan’s feature on Mike Gordon…

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Isolated Tracks: Stones – Gimme Shelter

Over the four-plus years of Hidden Track’s existence, some of our favorite stories to cover are the leaks of isolated tracks. Whether it’s David Lee Roth screeching, yelling and singing Runnin’ With The Devil or Geddy Lee tearing through Tom Sawyer, we love hearing the intricacies that are so hard to pick out on the full-band audio.

The latest set of isolated tracks to surface are of the Rolling Stones’ classic Gimme Shelter from 1969’s Let It Bleed, which were first posted on the blog Dangerous Minds. Let’s start with a vocal track featuring harmonies from Mick Jagger and Merry Clayton…

From there, we’ve got Keith Richards rhythm guitar track…

READ ON for more isolated Gimme Shelter tracks…

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Cover Wars: It Makes No Difference

Written by guitarist Robbie Robertson and sung by bassist Rick Danko, It Makes No Difference was first released in 1975 on Northern Lights-Southern Cross, the first real studio record from The Band in four years. An incredible tale of heartbreak, the track clocks in over six and a half minutes, one of the longest in The Band’s catalog (Acadian Driftwood, also on Northern Lights-Southern Cross is almost seven minutes long).

Cover Wars

The Contestants:

Dave Katz & Ed McGee of Ekoostik Hookah lead us off this week with a tight duo version featuring acoustic guitar and piano. Source: 5-8-2002


READ ON for the scoop on the rest of this week’s contestants…

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Rush Returns To The States in ’11

If you missed out on Rush’s Time Machine Tour as it crossed the country earlier this year, you’ll have another chance in 2011. Yesterday, the legendary Canadian trio announced more

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Video: Grateful Dead – The Fight

We came across this interesting clip of the Grateful Dead performing Casey Jones at the Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington, MN back on October 23, 1973. Towards the middle of

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Tour Dates: Deer Tick Duo

Earlier this year Deer Tick released their third full-length record The Black Dirt Sessions, an intimate and personal album thanks in part of lead singer John McCauley’s extremely confessional lyrics.

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Easy Star All-Stars: Dubber Side of the Moon

It’s been done and will be done many times again but when artists decide to honor a classic rock album, it can end up being a stale, cheesy rehash or resulting in something truly strong. Thankfully, when it comes to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon the Easy Star All Stars can dub this album primarily fabulous. 

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