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Performances Song History

Minkin

Music/Lyrics: Gordon

Vocals: Mike, Marjorie Minkin, Lillian Cherry

Albums: The White Tape

Historian: Julia Mordaunt

The original intent of “Minkin” was a brief commercial/jingle, made by Mike, to let the world know that artist Marjorie Minkin had arrived. Minkin is Cactus’ mother, but even more familiar to phans, the creative genius behind the backdrops that lined the stage at a number of early shows.

To create “Minkin,” Mike set out with his four-track and recorded obscure conversations with his mother, none of which related to Minkin paintings. He then took the dialogue, manipulated the words and changed their order to fit a verbal exchange about her artwork. Additional voice-overs praising Minkin’s creative style were added to the jingle by Lillian Cherry (Nanny), Mike’s grandmother. Many of you know Nanny from her appearance on stage with Phish at the 1994 New Year’s Eve show. A small bit of music was added, and the commercial for this artist was born.

Minkin paintings were huge backdrops hung at the back of the stage at select shows from 1991 to 1994. These giant abstract works were originally on canvas and then painted onto plastic. According to Mike, “the texture of a Minkin painting is so vividly intransigent that it seems to reach out into the room and grab you.” So, who does Marjorie Minkin consider to be the main influence of her paintings? The family cat, of course, The Ubiquitous Smokey.

Phish has never performed “Minkin” (aside from a tease during the 10/31/86 “Melt the Guns”), but you never know when it could leap into rotation. Oh, and for what it’s worth, bite-sized paintings are also available. Da da da da da, Minkin.

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