Phish, Then and Now
Aug 06, 2010 | 1749 views | 3 3 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
But First, Here’s What This Veteran of 170 Phish Shows Says to Expect

TELLURIDE – It seems like we’re all getting into the PH game as the countdown begins to the Phish Phestival coming to Town Park Aug. 9-10, from the Customized Phacial (at Atmosphere Spa) to the “Stalking Phish” fly fishing trips (at Telluride Outside) to Phish Jewelry at New World Alternative Healthcare to Late-Risers Phish-or-Phloat Option, from Paragon BootDoctor, thanks to the heavy-rains-fueled high-flowing San Miguel river waters.

Late Risers, take note – late for these guys is 9 a.m.

But topping all the Phish-extravaganza is probably the Paragon BootDoctor organized Phish-toric Pub Crawl, Monday, Aug. 9, 1-4 p.m., led by Phishtorian Jim Tewksbury, out of the store at the south end of Oak Street (across the street from the Telluride Gondola).

Here’s what Tewksbury, a veteran of more than 170 Phish shows, has to say about the Telluride concerts. “Expect brilliant lighting,” says this Phan who has been following the band around the country for nearly two decades, as well as “breathtaking music and a lot of strange-looking people.”

His advice to novice Phish-goers: “Just sit back and surrender to the flow.

“And spell that with a P-H,” he admonishes.

Tewksbury started phlowing with Phish back in college.

Back in 1989, “I cut my teeth on the Grateful Dead,” he says, and “that kind of naturally transitioned into seeing and following Phish.

Oops, make that “phollowing.”

“I was introduced to Phish while I was still back East in college, by friends,” he continues, “and at first I was very loyal to the Grateful Dead – it almost felt like I was cheating on them, enjoying another band so much. But at that time in their career, the Grateful Dead were really spiraling downhill; the drug abuse was getting out of hand,” to the degree that “I’d see ten shows, and maybe two out of those ten shows impressed me slightly. It was bad; it was really ugly.”

By contrast, he remembers, “I’d go see Phish sober. That kind of says something. I didn’t need anything else to get excited. I didn’t need any additives, and I found myself dancing my ass off, five out of five nights.

“I had a frickin’ ball with those guys and became a huge Phish supporter. I don’t like the word ‘Phish-head,’” he cautions. “I’ve known those guys since way back from their whole meteoric rise to their somewhat of a fall” at the turn of the century.

These days, reports Tewksbury – who leads the Phish-toric Pub Crawl Monday, Aug. 9, 1-4 p.m. (on bicycles) of Telluride venues the band played back when Telluride was home to their first-ever gig outside the Northeast, in 1991; where they slept (one stop on the tour will be at the restaurant the late great Purple Pleasure Palace, a hotel of sorts, has morphed into today) and maybe even where they parked the U-Haul they drove cross-country to get here.

“They drove 40 hours” to get here, Tewksbury remembers, “and the back of the truck got pretty smelly.”

For the Aug. 9-10 Telluride Phish Phestival, he says, things will be different. “Now they’re all grown up; they all have families, and will probably rent a house somewhere.” And then he’s back to reminiscing about that phateful phirst visit. OK, OK, sorry, enough with the PH factor.

“They’d been promised some gigs – and a certain kind of money when they got here – by a shady entrepreneur in Telluride, who screwed them over,” but soon managed “gigs at the Moon and the Roma” – two stops, presumably, on the tour – although they “barely made any money.

“They kind of left Telluride with a weird taste in their mouth.”

A taste washed away, one hopes, over the years, from which they’d emerge as the best-known jam-band today without its own Sirius channel – and, to hear Tewksbury tell it, just maybe the wittiest-ever jam-band, to date.

“Now, they’ve evolved,” he says. “They’ve become a much more polished band – maybe a little less goofy and wacky than they used to be, although they’re still heavily influenced by Frank Zappa, with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor” the makes it likely they’ll still “bust out the trampoline” for at least one number, with “the guitarist and bassist jumping the tramp in synch. They still do that on a lot of gigs, but they have a more streamlined, more professional, slicker sound with the new sobriety – that’s kind of what having a family brings: A little more responsibility.”

These days, “they play better than ever,” says Tewksbury, who’s listening to the band’s new music. “They’re playing even better, after 18 years; they’ve really got me turned on It’s sexy; it’s hot; it’s good stuff.

“Their lighting,” he says, “is the reason a lot of us go to see Phish. Their lighting director does a masterful job. He’ll illuminate all aspects of Town Park, not just the stage – at certain special events, he goes above and beyond. He’s been in town already, taking measurements in Town Park – it’s really shaping up into something super-spectacular. I talked to him about a month ago – I’ve known him for a dozen or more years – and he said, ‘Jimbo, I won’t let the cat out of the bag – I can’t tell you why – but it’s going to be a magical event.’”

And just as he has more than 170 times before, Jimbo Tewksbury will be there, dancing the night away. “There might be a couple of slow numbers,” he confesses, “where I catch a breather, grab a beer or go to the urinal – but otherwise, I pretty much glued to the stage.”

To sign up for Phishtorian Jimbo Tewksbury’s Monday, Aug. 9 1-4 p.m. Phish Pub Crawl, call him at BootDoctors/Paragon, 970/728-4581. Participants must be 21 or older, with photo IDs.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 26, 2010
tewks still owes me money. finally a forum to "out" what a dickhead-loser MR. PHANTASY TOUR is. way to go real phan and chris - "htp" and "helpingfriendlytour" is one natsy bastard. so funny he calls himself 'jimbo' and everything too. what a joke. i guess he has a friend who has his ADHD medication on tap for him in telluride. i absolutely love it and hope more will share their stories. we all got "tewksburied" in bay area by his douchebag a year ago
Real Phan
August 20, 2010
You have go to be kidding me. Jim Tewksbury is a parasite to the phish scene, and I would be worried if i lived in Telluride, now that he has taken residence there. This guy is a drug-addled loser, who has never had a real job and simply uses people to get what he wants from them.

Im sure the band is not too happy about this junkie being shown as the "phishtorian", what a joke.

Watch out Telluride, this guy will beg, borrow or steal anything not tied down. Notice also that he has no friends his own age, he has burned every bridge that he has ever had, by his me-first attitude and hettier-than-thou crap. Not to mention that he is a pathological liar.
August 11, 2010
Who is this clown? A FishTorian?? Unbelievable! Is there really such a thing? I don't even know this jerk off, but it sounds like another tour goof off gone wild. A Fish tour of the places where they ate & slept. Jesus H. Christ! Gee, do you also get to sniff Trey's soiled underpants? Does Jimbo keep a pair of these on hand for an extra $5. Who cares what he expents anyway? Be sure to say hi to him, as his pupils dialate further into his head. Has this guy ever had a real job? Unbelievable loser, and you morons who give these detuche money are even bigger losers. Are you kidding me? This Guy went by Tewks in Cali last year, and now have re-invented himself as Jimbo? Wow! This paper ought to check itself and whom its interviewing.