Amid a scandal that has shaken the Mockingbird Foundation to its very core, the charitable foundation announced today that that it has severed all ties with its now former Executive Director, Ellis Godard. The controversy began in the late evening hours of October 24, 2010. The second set of Phish’s show at the Mullins Center in Amhearst, MA was winding down and literally tens of users were glued to the setlist on phish.net. Godard was on setlist duty when the Phish world appeared to come to a standstill. Either that or the band launched into a 30 minute “Free.” And just when it appeared Godard had simply abandoned his responsibilities to the Phish community things got worse. With one simple keystroke, Godard claimed that Phish had played “You Enjoy Myself.” The error was mockingly tweeted across the internets and even memorialized on awesomescreenshot.com. With that unparalleled combination of negligence and malfeasance, Godard tore Mockingbird’s credibility to smithereens.
The truth is that Godard’s dismissal is yet another in a series of drastic changes to the Mockingbird’s Phish.Net platform. Scarcely a year ago, setlists were being transmitted to Phish.net through a loose affiliation of unemployed fanboys jotting down notes at the shows and the occasional carrier pigeon. Setlists would appear on the site anywhere from twelve hours to twelve days after the show. Enter technology guru Adam Scheinberg. “I was working on a script to send hourly emails to Trey requesting he play ‘Camel Walk’ at every show on the ’09 Summer Tour, when I realized my skills could be put to better use,” recalled Scheinberg. Scheinberg continued, “Ellis was running a pretty ragtag operation, but it did manage to pull together over $500,000 in directed grants to music education for children. So it was clear he wasn’t a complete shit-for-brains.”
Scheinberg transformed Phish.Net into a ruthlessly efficient operation. He would create a database documenting every time each song in the Phish catalog was played. Song histories were added to the site for every song Phish has played. And setlists were posted to the site in real-time. Sometimes before the band even knew what they were playing. In discussing the changes, Scheinberg explained that he made the setlist entry system “so simple, even a trained monkey could use it.”
But none of that helped Godard last night. Reporters from Hidden Track and Jambands.com were waiting for Godard outside his home this morning shoving assorted Schoeps and Sennheiser microphones in his face and demanding an answer. But answers didn’t come. Longtime fan David “Zzyzx” Steinberg reports that Godard simply hemmed and hawed about it being some sort of sociological experiment before muttering “Wanton in a key I live and me for horse rent.” At that point, Godard fled the scene. According to Steinberg, “the whole thing went on for precisely sixteen minutes and forty-three seconds, which is longer than roughly 97.6% of Phish 3.0 jams.”
Count Charlie Dirksen among Godard’s disappointed colleagues. “I’ve known Ellis for over fifteen years,” Dirksen said, “and I really thought he knew something about the Phish from Vermont. But I was wrong. Even more wrong than I was about that ‘Fire on the Mountain’ tease on 12/31/95. But at least I’m admitting it this time.”
This gaffe was simply the last straw in the odd descent of this once respected uber-phan. In recent days, Godard was reported to have claimed that he wouldn’t recognize the song “Alaska,” even “if Trey sang it to me on my lap.” However, those reports could not be substantiated. The Mockingbird Foundation will appoint a new executive director in the coming days. Scheinberg is said to be writing a script that will not only choose the new leader, but actually cause a white plume of smoke to be emitted from Nectar’s.
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The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed just about $1,500,000 to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.