One cold morning sometime last year, Phish phreaks woke up to phat bong tokes and the realization that the long great trip was over. Jerry was still dead, Phish”s future was uncertain at best and the kids soon discovered that touring with Eric Clapton just wasn”t the same. For some reason, Clapton”s yuppie “blues” fans weren”t buying the phreaks” cooked-on-a-Volkswagen-engine grilled cheese sandwiches in the pre-show parking lot. And on top of it all, Hemp necklace sales were way down. Bummer, dude.
A few glimmers of hippie hope have arisen since then. Moe”s still truckin” on, and Widespread Panic continues preaching to the tye dyed choir. But nothing compares to the hype or hunger for phormer Phish phrontman Trey Anastasio”s new project Oysterhead. In this effort, Anastasio resurrects ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland (whom Trey found while shopping for has-beens with Quentin Tarantino at the “Washed Up Career Fair and Flea Market.”) And the other party to this project is every bedroom bassist”s favorite slapper, Les Claypool, of Primus fame.
Not surprisingly, the music on The Grand Pecking Order never coalesces. Take three CD players put a copy of Teach Yourself How to Play Drums in the first one, a copy of any Primus album in the second and an early Phish album in the third and then press all of the play buttons at once. This accomplished, you would basically have your own homemade copy the Oysterhead album. One positive aspect of this collaboration is that Claypool and Copeland reign in Anastasio”s tendency toward pointlessly drawn out guitar noodling. It”s still there of course, but at least there is less of it. That said, this trio is often technically remarkable, but practically unfulfilling. If only they would use their powers for good instead of garbage.
And nothing short of intensive creative writing classes or a lot of acid could help the lyrics on this album. If they”re not entirely obvious, they”re surrealistically hideous. One typically horrible little number is “Shadow of a Man.” While its “hard hitting” social commentary on shell shocked soldiers returning from Vietnam might have been relevant 30 years ago, it comes across as trying way too hard today. I haven”t been this politically un-moved since BAMN”s last rally.
This album is so boring it should come with drugs.