Sunday 02/26/2012 by Lemuria

INTERVIEW: AARON WOLFE

In August 2000, Jay Kahn (RIP) and Ellis Godard interviewed Aaron Wolfe. The following exerpts were published in the first edition of The Phish Companion.

EG & JK: What do you remember most about Princeton Day School and the folks you went to school with?

Aaron Wolfe: Princeton was a pretty quiet, homogeneous place. But even then we knew that the suburbs created the best rock and roll. That's why we all took up the air guitar with such dedication.

Tom and I formed an air guitar band called, unbelievably, "A Dot Tom" – decades before the Internet and the assault of the "dot.coms." The songs were mostly adaptations of other people's songs. Neil Young's “Cinnamon Girl” was remade – without reason whatsoever – as “Michaelson Girl.” Some were inspired by things we saw outside the windows of our Latin class.

EG & JK: What's your first memory of Tom Marshall?

AW: Tom could make me laugh without making a sound. And without moving. He would be perfectly still. Just standing there… and it was funny. Well, maybe he would move a little. Like a hair or a finger or something.

EG & JK: What do you remember of Marc Daubs Daubert?

AW: Daubs pushed boundaries in ways that were not appreciated enough. He was a break in the preppy, suburban paradigm that we lived in and brought life to our world. He was also really good at talking to adults.

EG & JK: When did you first meet Trey?

AW: We both liked the same girl. She told us she couldn't decide which one to be with, but that we should know that there was another, distant competitor who she said she would just call "Mr. X." Finally one day she gathered Trey and me and told us to sit down. We waited. Then she made a solemn announcement. She was already going out with Mr. X. [So] Trey and I became friends and listened to Moby Grape records at his Dad’s house.

EG & JK: What's the earliest lyric of Trey's that you remember reading or hearing?

AW: In those long ago days we used to love to repeat a line we found in an R. Crumb book, "… Surrender to the Void, Cloid." We liked making up songs that would be slow and then fast – start and stop. We would always blurt out a line when we were making up stuff back then and it’s hard to connect what to who. Phonetics was key. “Ticket stub…” had a nice ring to it. But the first thing of Trey’s that wasn't some burped utterance was the cassette he had made at Goddard College or Burlington. I listened to it. It started and stopped a lot. I liked that. I remember thinking it was ambitious.

EG & JK: When did you first see Trey in a performance, and what can you recall about it?

AW: The first performance I ever saw by Trey was probably a hockey game. Hockey was unfathomable to me. But musically there were countless performances that we would create for each other in parking lots, back rooms of parties. Parents’ tables would be left pockmarked by the rhythmic beating of spoons. But I don't think it was until many years later that I actually saw Trey play in front of anyone besides friends. It wasn't until a show he played with Phish at Madison Square Garden that I really – as an audience member – got to see him play music. It was amazing. The place was full of people. I was strangely nervous for the band. Just because it was the first time I'd seen them it felt like it was their first show. When they went on stage they seemed so calm. It was an utterly surreal experience.

EG & JK: How did Trey change (musically or otherwise) in and then after high school?

AW: I remember thinking when he quit playing drums – I think he even sold his drums to devote time to guitar – I remember thinking, in a hesitant, conservative moment, “I hope that's a wise decision.” Guess it was a wise decision.

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Comments

, comment by 3conecap
3conecap Nice! I love all the old, pre-Phish stories!
, comment by mgh2001
mgh2001 haha, I wonder where Trey would be if he hadn't started playing the guitar.
, comment by forbin1
forbin1 Great read...thanks for posting..
, comment by Kodiakfloyd
Kodiakfloyd Makes me think of watching my good high school friend who plays in a band play guitar at my Highschool Hockey game with his rendition of the Jimmy Hendrix Star Spangled Banner version. I was laughing/loving it standing on the ice while he was wailing away but our parents were thinking it was some Woodstock version. #sand
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