Historian: Mark Toscano, Ellis Godard
Steve Reich – the man – often shares conversational space with the likes of John Cage, Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Tony Conrad, and other moguls of the 20th Century minimalism & avant garde music scenes. Though known for many of his innovative pieces (“It’s Gonna Rain,” “Different Trains,” “Music For 18 Musicians”) involving varying permutations of instrument and voice, he is often most associated by the uninitiated with his experimental percussive compositions for marimbas (especially "Six Pianos" and “Six Marimbas”).
Trey, part of an elite group (disaffected, disenfranchised college music students), likely crossed paths with Reich’s music on more than one occasion. But it was Mike who brought Reich’s music to Phish, borrowing a pattern wholesale from one of Reich’s pieces after being turned on to it by friend Dan McBride. That original track, titled with Reich’s name, appeared along with other Mike tracks (including “Minkin”) on a compilation tape titled “Deep From Within the Weird Beard.” Unlike other pieces on that compilation however, the Reich-inspired and -titled piece did not appear on the later White Tape.
The track, consisting of clunking marimbas and various sound effects, can still be found adhering to “Alumni Blues” to “And So To Bed.” Due to its instrumental irregularity and general sophomoric superfluousness, it has never been performed live. Fans interested in Reich’s work may want to check out the mammoth 10-CD retrospective box released in 1997 to commemorate the composer’s sixtieth birthday.