Almost five years after the interview conducted by Dean Budnick, Chris Kuroda was interviewed by Scott Boyarsky and Hal Waterman, who were involved with the fan website CK5 (http://www.ck5.org, now defunct). This conversation delves further into Kuroda’s work philosophy, his personal tastes, and his life outside the band. A few of the questions are repeated from the previous interview, but Kuroda’s opinions had evolved over the preceding five years.
The full interview was initially published on the CK5 website and republished in the Phish Companion 1st Edition. The interview was then edited and streamlined for re-publication in the Phish Companion 2nd Edition. This blog post includes the edited interview from TPC 2nd Ed., followed by the remaining interview “bonus material” from TPC 1st Ed.
Enjoy! - Matt Schrag aka @kipmat
Interview with Chris Kuroda from TPC 2nd edition
Excerpted from an interview conducted by Scott “Seabass” Boyarsky and Hal “Brother” Waterman backstage prior to the 10/7/00 Shoreline show, the last show before the hiatus.
HW: Where are you originally from?
CK: I was born in Princeton, New Jersey. I grew up in Chappaqua, New York, which is in Westchester County. When I was about 21, my family moved out to Allentown, PA.
HW: What’s the most rewarding part about this job?
CK: Well, my whole life when I was growing up my Father was thirty years at the same company, Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange, executive guy, got in a suit, commuted on a train everyday. Throughout my whole life growing up, I said to myself, I will not be a “nine-to-fiver.” So, when I think back about the whole thing, the fact that I actually accomplished that might have to stand out over everything. The second greatest thing is all the support I get from all the fans. I get a lot of support, and you know, as a human being it just makes you feel so good. And believe it or not, an extremely rewarding thing to me is when I nail a “David Bowie.” It brings tears to my eyes sometimes. Doing the job, that’s how I express myself to the world. I get to express myself through light and there is a lot of joy to that!
One of the many exciting aspects of the week before Phish tour is hearing news about the crew technical rehearsal; where they are, what they’re working on, and especially what Chris Kuroda’s new light rig will look like. As Lighting Director for Phish (a position which also incorporates the role of Lighting Designer), Kuroda has been continually innovative with both available technology and presentation, making the band’s lighting an integral part of the Phish concert experience. Dean Budnick (author of The Phishing Manual and erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of jambands.com, now part of the Relix Media Group) conducted an interview with Kuroda toward the end of the marathon Fall 1995 tour, offering an intriguing glimpse into Life on the Road with Phish. Budnick subsequently posted the interview text to the Usenet newsgroup rec.music.phish, but the interview has not been republished on this site until now. Please enjoy this trip down memory lane, as we look forward to more dazzling lights on Summer Tour!
- Matt Schrag aka @kipmat
[Dean Budnick is the editor-in-chief of Relix and has reported on the live entertainment industry for Billboard, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. He directed the documentary Wetlands Preserved: The Story of An Activist Rock Club, which opened nationally before airing on the Sundance Channel. He also is the creator and host of the Long May They Run podcast, which reached #1 on the Apple Music Podcast charts, and he has written many books, including Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped, and a forthcoming book with Peter Shapiro, The Music Never Stops: What Putting On 10,000 Shows Has Taught Me About Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Magic, https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/peter-shapiro/the-music-never-stops/9780306845185/.]
Interview with Chris Kuroda 12/5/95
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dean Budnick)
Organization: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Okay, here's the text of my interview with Chris. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. This interview took place around 5:00 on December 5th, before the second night of the Mullins Center run.
BTW, after the show Chris told me that he had forgotten to say one thing that was really bugging him. He's asking everyone to stop bringing laser pens to the shows and to discourage your friends from doing so. I noticed one on Trey's guitar on Saturday and people have been shining them up at the chessboard as well. On with the interview....
[Thanks to our guest recapper Dana Slattery (@tweezeher). -Ed.]
Spring tour feels a little like Summer tour, doesn’t it? Considering some recaps for this short sprint of shows boast it as the first leg of the Summer 2022 run, and I myself had been gently corrected with torches and pitchforks after a post to CashorTrade, it seems debatable. After a 3-night run on the coast of Alabama, and 2 scorchers on a tennis court in South Carolina, the Birkenstock tans on the dusty Deer Creek lot (Ruoff Home Mortgage Center to the layman…) look, feel & likely smell like a Summer tour.
Is it sun stroke or is the nitrous just good? After 2-nights of Phish and 3-days of Phish lot, the lines become blurred. Both were in seemingly endless supply in Indianapolis this weekend. The Sunday show started 90-minutes earlier than the previous 2, bringing a feeling of ‘Let’s get this show on the road’ and "party time." No one is interested in driving back through the mid-west with a trunk full of whatever you brought to the lot. So, yes, deals.
[Thanks to our guest recapper Michael Ayers (user @yhgtbfkm) . -Ed.]
As I was packing my bags to get ready to drive to Indianapolis, my phone beeped with an email address. The fine folks over here at .net asked me if I would be interested in recapping both Friday and Saturday, as nobody had volunteered for Saturday. They said I could even wait and send both Friday and Saturday in one big review as opposed to doing two. After pondering it for a few minutes I responded back that I’d love to, as writing one long incredibly mediocre review would be far less damaging to my ego than two short, incredibly mediocre reviews. So without further ado..prepare to be disappointed.
[Posting some photos courtesy of Matt Bittmann, taken from the pit last night (June 3, 2022, Deer Creek), because the recapper of last night's show will be recapping tonight as well and has chosen to recap the two shows together. Recap will be posted tomorrow. If you want to read a recap of last night don't miss Scott Bernstein's " The Skinny" on Jambase. -Ed.]
[This article was published in the San Francisco Bay Guardian in 1999, so is Copyright © 1994-99 San Francisco Bay Guardian. It is being re-printed here, and now, because it is hilarious and its author Summer Burkes is a great writer. Special thanks to Philip Zerbo (co-editor of the Third Edition of The Phish Companion) for posting the text of this article to Rec.Music.Phish in October 1999. Also want to thank Josh Martin, whose recap of Charleston1 reminded me of this article and how I'd wanted to try to locate it and post it to the blog. -charlie]
Hook, line, and stinker:
Staring in train-wreck horror at the cult of Phish
By Summer Burkes
THEY ARE PHISH, I am chum
I must admit, I'd been unfair. I'd hated Phish with a passion since the
moment they entered my consciousness, even though I couldn't ever recall
actually hearing one of their songs.
We wanted to wish MICHAEL GORDON a very happy birthday on this, the 11th anniversary of the June 3, 2011, "Down with Disease," that should be (re)listened to at all costs, now, either here on Relisten or on LivePhish.
It was a very humid day. The forecast called for mostly sunny skies with rain right around doors, so it was a bit of a gamble to figure out the calculus of when to leave for the lot. Luckily, hopping in rides with 1.0 friends made that easy.
We got to the lot around 4:20pm and jumped in line. At about 5:00pm there was incoming lightning, so the venue and band touring crew made the call to go ahead and pull us into the venue to shelter in place in an effort to weather the storm. We all posted up in the hallways to wait it out, and wouldn’t you know it, the lightning blew over without a drop of rain! So the show was not delayed, nor was it shortened to one set, which was the dreaded outcome had the lightning postponed doors.
[We would like to thank user @Jmart, Josh Martin, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Here’s the thing: You like Phish. And if you’re reading this, chances are you actually love Phish with a chunk of your heart so large as to baffle most of your family and other acquaintances.
From your love of Phish, we can deduce something further: You love to dance. You have a repertoire of moves to fit any occasion. Imitating someone else’s moves in your crew is valuable social currency.
How do your dance choices reflect your show experience? Let’s discuss.
(For sake of reference, all dancing was observed from the floor, halfway back on Mike’s side)
We all Phish for our own reasons and rage in our own ways. For me, I love reuniting with my favorite people while exploring parts of the country I might otherwise never visit. So, when Phish announced their tour opening run in Orange Beach that began the day after my 40th birthday, it was easy for me to decide how to welcome in the new decade. Nor was it difficult to convince my crew to head to Alabama, a new state for several of us, to celebrate with me. We rented a large condo at the Wharf big enough to accommodate us all and spent the weekend swimming, eating, and Phishing. There was no better way a Phish fan could usher in a big birthday.
At this point, it would just be silly to deny that Phish has hit a new stride in this era we call 4.0. Since returning to the stage in Arkansas on 7/28/21, Phish plays with a conviction and awareness that at any moment, the universe can throw us a curveball; they are playing every show like it could be their last one. With nearly 40 years of touring and hundreds of songs to take turns vying for our attention, Phish continues to amaze and inspire us all by only looking forward, eternally blazing on, growing, and improving with one even more ambitious set of music after another. Phish is in a state of pure creative flow, and that was on full display on this hot summer night in swampy southern Alabama.
[Thank you Dianna Hank user @Dianna_2Ns for recapping last night's tour-opening show. -Ed.]
Last night, Phish returned to The Wharf Amphitheater in Orange Beach, Alabama, to kick off their 2022 Summer Tour. This was the band’s second ever visit to The Wharf Amphitheater (the first being for a one-night stand at the venue, eight years ago on 8/1/2014), and only the 13th time the band has ever played in the state. Lights went down shortly after 8 PM and for the first time in the song’s history, “Twist” took the show-opening slot, getting right into the meat of the tune within three minutes and leading into 10+ more minutes of exploratory playing. While the jam felt to have been cut slightly shorter than it could’ve been, the band returned back to the "Twist" lyrics cleanly and finished the tune. “Halley’s Comet” followed and the band showed that perhaps they were a little overeager with that choice, forgetting almost an entire verse before cutting the diddy even shorter than usual with less than one minute of “jam” before segueing into “Sand.” Hopes again rose for a nice 1st-set jam out of this consistent jam vehicle, and the band delivered: Again, within three minutes, we found ourselves in a nice groovy pocket, and the four then continued to interplay with one another for another seven minutes of interesting and efficient playing, before sticking the landing and returning to the outro together.
Last summer we invited everyone to rack up some good karma by making conditional pledges to donate to Mockingbird when their chosen events on Summer Tour occurred.
The most popular choice was to donate an amount for each 20-minute jam, but some fans pledged to donate if a specific song was played at a specific show, or in the hope that a friend would hear a "YEM," or if Mike wore neon shoes. People donated for all sorts of different things/reasons/events, hoping their tour wish(es) would come true! Some were realistic, some not so much, but when the donations were counted, the fundraiser was more successful than any of us ever imagined it would be: over twenty-thousand ($20,000) dollars was raised for music education programs!!!
Thirty years ago today Phish performed a show in a hockey arena, Achilles Rink, on Page's birthday, that featured inarguably the sickest version of "Brother" e'er performed, as well as a magnificent jam-chart-worthy "Possum," and among the earliest known somewhat-exploratory "Harry Hood"z that may speak to your soul. Thanks to the good people behind relisten.net, you can listen to an aud recording of the show today, right now, at no cost to you, here. You can also read more about the show and listen to the sbd on LivePhish courtesy of band archivist Kevin Shapiro here. Happy birthday Page!
You put your head down. You look back up. An hour has passed.
You put your head down. You look back up. The clock has stopped.
You close your eyes. You open them. But your eyes are still shut.
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
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 over $2 million to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.