My Problem Right There
Music/Lyrics: Trey Anastasio, Amanda Green
Historian: Eric Wyman (PYITE)
“My Problem Right There” was one of three collaborations between Trey and Amanda Green introduced to Phish’s repertoire in 2010 (see “Burn That Bridge” and “Summer of ‘89”). The song is another from the stage adaptation of Hands on a Hard Body for which Trey and Green wrote the music and lyrics.
Hands on a Hard Body is about two dozen people who have to endure standing with one hand on a brand new truck the longest, winner takes the truck as a prize. The song’s inspiration is one of those contestants, Ronald McCowan. Ronald is a self-professed “country boy” brimming with the confidence that he can outlast everyone and bring home the truck. Relying on a diet of oranges and Snickers bars, he is one of the most magnetic personalities in the contest. In one of his pre-interviews he tells the story of how he knows he won’t be able to sleep the night before the contest. “My mind’s gonna be focused on that truck... I’m gonna tell my mind, step back now. Go to sleep. I don’t know how in the world I’m gonna go to sleep that night, because that’s gonna be my problem right there.”
Initial versions exemplify the band working on fine tuning a song’s arrangement and timing on stage. In the 10/10/10 debut version Mike added a brief interlude with the sound of snoring after the “In the shade of the heat, I can nap anywhere“ lyric. This was never repeated and by the third performance Trey had significantly improved upon the delivery of the lyrics and the flow between the start and stop melody.
The song itself is smacks of influence from Little Feat, which should come as no surprise as its development coincided with rehearsals for Phish's performance of Waiting for Columbus in Atlantic City on 10/31/10.
”My Problem Right There” – 10/22/10, Providence, RI