In case you missed it, The Princeton Footnotes released a cover of “Julius” that has over eleven thousand views on YouTube as of today. I touched-base with Douglas Corzine (Princeton ’20) about the group and the background of their cover of “Julius.” -charlie
CD: So what’s the background of this excellent cover?
DC: The Footnotes have been around since 1959, and our repertoire changes every year. “Julius” was one of the group's signature songs in the early 2000’s, but the arrangement was retired about ten years ago.
DC: Last October, we celebrated the group's 60th anniversary with a multigenerational concert where Asher Murphy '00 and Ben Rice-Townsend '05 led a group on Julius. It was the most frenetic a cappella performance I've ever seen. Those of us who didn't know the arrangement were impressed with how well it captured that jam-band energy, and we started talking about putting it back in the rep.
Our music director, Dorian Pousont '21, spruced up the arrangement and we started rehearsing it at the end of February. Unfortunately, we never sang it live: We had just chosen a soloist when Princeton switched to online classes.
As we were leaving campus, I casually suggested that we make a virtual choir video. Dorian and our president, Josh Babu '22, started planning this video soon after that. Julius was the natural choice. We recorded our parts to a click track before Dorian edited them together, then we taped ourselves lip-syncing and I made the video.
CD: Who’s involved in the video version, and are any of you fans of the band?
DC: Well, the video features twelve current members of the Footnotes, but that's not everyone who was involved in this; our alumni were a big part of the equation. Jake Bartolone '99 and Dan Huron '00 collaborated to arrange “Julius” when they were at Princeton, and Asher Murphy '00, was the original soloist in it. I’ve reached out to them about their relationship with Phish (I think at least one of them was a big fan). While some of the current undergrad members are casual fans like me, none of us have seen the full band in concert. Zach Stecker '17, a Footnotes alumnus who has seen a number of shows with members of his family, told me that his brother uses Phish.net religiously, and I checked out the site to see if your forum said anything about our video.
The singers in the video are the current Footnotes: myself (Douglas Corzine '20), Ben Kimmel '20, James Armstrong '21, Dorian Pousont '21, Remy Reya '21, Greg Smith '21, Josh Babu '22, Chaz Bethel-Brescia '22, Arin Champati '22, Rupert Peacock '23, Michael Salama '23, and Byron Zhang '23. We’ve been singing together for almost a year, but this “Julius” video is the first time we’ve done so virtually.
CD: How have the reactions to the video been?
DC: We got plenty of comments from people who loved our video, but my favorite responses connected us to the existing fandom. We were told that Trey Anastasio grew up in Princeton, and that the band would appreciate our music, and asked questions like, "Has the band contacted you yet?" and made comments like "If Trey sees this, he is going to love it." The fans who reached out to us were confident that the band would see our cover, but I was still shocked when Tom Marshall (who grew up with Trey and wrote the lyrics to “Julius”) tweeted that he was "honored by such an amazing version" of the song, and then I was even more surprised when joshkorin (a YouTube user whose first comment on our post was "Somebody get this to Trey!") added a follow-up message only six hours later: "Can confirm that Trey has seen the video. He thought you guys were awesome!" Watching the community of fans respond to our video has been wonderful and surreal.
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