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Wiley Griffin Talks Teddy Midnight, Multibeast Phish Tribute, And Influences

first_imgWe sat down with Teddy Midnight guitarist Wiley Griffin to discuss what is up next for the group in 2017, along with his new Phish tribute Multibeast. The new group features Griffin with Kung Fu bassist Chris DeAngelis, Consider the Source drummer Jeff Mann, and Uncle Ebenezer keyboardist Shoheen Owhady. The group plays NYC’s American Beauty this Thursday, March 2nd (with support from Grateful Dead tribute Reckoning – tix here), followed by a performance at Woodstock, NY’s Bearsville Theater on Saturday, March 4th (SkyDaddy will support that night – tix here). We also had a chance to discuss how Phish and other jam scene artists have influenced his own musical stylings.Read on for this exclusive interview, below.L4LM: You officially joined Teddy Midnight in late 2015, and released a great full-length album in Blue Velvet this past September. Are you feeling completely locked in with the group at this point?Wiley Griffin: Totally, The band in a short time has accomplished a good bit. The album Velvet Blue (came out in September 2016), joining Omni Arts Booking Agency playing a ton of NE shows- it’s been a solid year plus. We all put in a lot effort into that project. And we’re pushing even harder leading into festival season.L4LM: What’s in store with Teddy Midnight in 2017? New music? Festival dates (saw that Resonance lineup with Amon Tobin and STS9!)?WG: The Resonance announcement is pretty huge for us. We are at Brooklyn Bowl in April opening for Pink Talking Fish doing a Jamtronic Juke Box (segueing tunes from the top live electronic in our scene).And we have something pretty big next month. We are 98% finished so it’s okay to tell y’all… We are dropping the first ‘tape’ in our mixtape series called Tedward Midi Vol 1. Coming out very soon, date tbaTBA Other than that be on the look out for some more new music and fun festival announcements!L4LM: You guys have some upcoming shows with The Magic Beans in April. That’s a great combination of bands, and should make for a couple of amazing shows.WG: Oh man, I’m really excited to the road with those guys! Seeing them at the Phish After-Parties was really great. They are amazing musicians, and super nice people! There will def be sit-ins and epic jams on this run!L4LM: You are currently doing a mini-run with a great core of musicians, taking on the music of Phish. Tell us a little about Multibeast, how you got the name, and what to expect…WG: I think I speak for all the members when I say this is one of the funnest side gigs we’ve done. These guys are great musicians and we are all stoked on the concept of playing full Phish sets. Multibeast is a reference in the lyrics to “Tela,” which is part of Trey’s college thesis The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday (aka Gamehendge):And she comes to me in this lonely land And looks down from the multi-beast On which she rides like the wind The wind from beyond the mountain The wind from beyond the mountainPhans can expect a lot of what they love about Phish, the vibe, the deep improv, diversity in the set list, high energy and of course the songs they love!L4LM: How did the idea for Multibeast come about? Who is in the band?WG: Jeff Mann (Consider the Source) reached out to me to do a Phish night for his Tuesday night residency shows at the Pacific Standard Tavern in New Haven CT. I was happy to oblige, and so was Chris DeAngelis (Kung Fu).From there we reached out to the keyboardists of the popular Phish tribute acts of Uncle Ebenezer and The Lawn Boys to see if they could help us out. They were both happy to help, and we added a couple shows because we had some down time from touring.We all bring own expertise to the table and our love for Phish. Chris and Jeff are absolute beast musicians, so tackling some of the tricky stuff was painless. David [Kaufman] and Shoheen [Owhady] are both amazing keyboard player’s that have in-depth knowledge of Phish’s music.For me, it seems like I’m always engaged in learning something from the Phish catalogue on some level, just for my own pleasure. Going into this it was great to have tunes like “YEM” under fingers for a while now, but it’s now even better to be able to get on stage and play “YEM” with a full band.L4LM: What do you think a Multibeast looks like?WG: Probably like Falkor (the luck dragon from 80’s movie The Neverending Story), but smaller like the animals the rebel army rides in Star Wars,except they walk on all fours and have the mass of a hippo.L4LM: Which Phish performances are your personal favorites?WG: I’m huge 1.0 phan. In the past month I’ve been constantly watching videos and listening to shows from 90-99 era in prep for these shows.6.23.95 Waterloo, NJ my mom took a crew of middle schoolers to and epic Phish show. John Popper sat-in during the “Harpua” segment. 8.14.96, I went to this show with my dad and my best friend; It was just one of those experiences that you’ll never forget. Plus, there is some really epic jams that night, they also played “Mango Song”… just to name a few.L4LM: How has Phish, the jam scene and other jam artists influenced your own musical stylings?WG: For a while it was just Jerry, Trey, & Jimi. Then shortly after I started studying Jazz and going to music camps etc. I found about Soulive, STS9, Lotus, Particle, the Biscuits, Umphrey’s, Keller… the list goes on.They’ve all been influential in so many ways that it feels like it almost goes beyond the music. This music has been the soundtrack to my life. In creating my own music, I keep that in mind. I feel a responsibility to make something that connects with people. Something that makes you feel.L4LM: What other genres/artists do you listen to, or have inspired you?WG: I’ve been getting into the blues lately. T-Bone Walker and Albert Collins are two recent finds that I’ve just fallen in love with.L4LM: One of the most exciting parts of seeing Teddy Midnight live is picking out all the subtle Phish teases you throw into your jams, such as “Bathtub Gin,” “Tweezer,” and “It’s Ice.” It’s clear you’re no novice when it comes to knowing and appreciating their music. Tell us about your personal relationship to Phish as a fan? How were you introduced to them? How long have you been listening to Phish?WG: Phish has been a big part of my life. My brother and his friends were really into them in high school. They went to a lot of shows from 93-96. I was in elementary school and I remember being ‘baby sat’ by him and his friends. We’d listen to the Phish albums like Lawn Boy and Rift. I used to sneak into his room and read Doniac Schives (the Phish newsletter) and take his tapes.By middle school I was playing guitar, trading tapes, and booking shows for my band the Wiley Griffin Tree-O at the local coffee shop (“Wilson” and “Suzy Greenberg” were played a lot).L4LM: In what ways has Trey’s guitar playing influenced your own? Are there any specific examples of your work that were directly inspired by Phish?WG: If you listen to the second guitar solo on the Teddy Midnight Velvet Blue track “Velvet Mist” (6:00min mark), I would say that was a Trey inspired solo. The way he can create melody on the spot, while leaving space to building up to an inevitable peak is something I really enjoy.But I think more than that, Trey is just a great influence as composer and musical innovator. When Junta came out Phish’s style was very different from anything people heard. That’s something that also inspires me, pushing the envelope and finding new ways of doing things.L4LM: Are you hitting any of Phish’s Baker’s Dozen run at MSG this summer?WG: YES!!! Who’s got my 13 night miracle? (waves finger in the air)L4LM: Great chatting with you, Wiley. We appreciate your time. Good luck with the Multibeast shows this week in New York City and up in Woodstock!Multibeast plays NYC’s American Beauty this Thursday, March 2nd (with support from Grateful Dead tribute Reckoning – tix here), followed by a performance at Woodstock, NY’s Bearsville Theater on Saturday, March 4th (SkyDaddy will support that night – tix here). [cover photo courtesy of Sobokeh Photography]last_img read more

Ramadan on collision course with virus for Asia’s Muslims

first_img‘Trapped’ Some signs suggest the order may not be respected — authorities in the northern state of Perlis have said they will allow food traders to operate from home and on the roadside, potentially increasing the chance of crowds gathering.Hadi Azmi, a 31-year-old video editor, said he understood the need for restrictions but he also felt “trapped”.”I feel weird as the fasting month approaches because we have to remain indoors and we cannot meet our parents and siblings to break fast and pray together,” he told AFP.And in Indonesia, a possible explosion in coronavirus cases when millions travel to hometowns and ancestral villages after Ramadan has forced the country’s president to issue a ban on the annual exodus.Like Christmas or the Chinese Lunar New Year, the movement kicks off an extended holiday when many Indonesians celebrate Eid al-Fitr with their families to mark the end of Ramadan.The government has called on residents of major cities, including the capital Jakarta, to stay put, and on Tuesday President Joko Widodo said he would ban any mass migration.Researchers at the University of Indonesia have warned the travel rush could lead to one million infections in the densely populated Java island alone and an eye-watering 200,000 deaths.”If you care about your loved ones, stay where you are until all this ends,” Ridwan Kamil, governor of 50-million strong West Java province, said recently.Jakarta resident Romy Gustiansyah said he wouldn’t visit family on Sumatra island this year over coronavirus fears.”I’m sad that I won’t see my family for Eid, but I’m trying to stay optimistic,” Gustiansyah told AFP. “This is just a delay. That’s what I’m telling myself.” Across Asia, home to about half of the world’s Muslims, the coming Islamic holy month of Ramadan is on a collision course with the coronavirus pandemic as clerics call on the faithful to cram into mosques.Authorities have tried to limit the fallout during the sacred period of fasting, which starts Thursday, but in many cases religious leaders have brushed aside concerns about activities that could spread COVID-19.In Bangladesh, clerics lashed out at attempts to reduce the number of people going to mosques, and demanded the country’s secular government allow millions of Muslims to join daily and weekly prayers. In the run-up to Ramadan, mosques have been filling up across Pakistan with hundreds attending Friday prayers, sitting shoulder to shoulder and paying little heed to social distancing.”I will take all the preventive measures, washing my hands and using my mask but it doesn’t mean I will stop attending prayers, especially during Ramadan,” taxi driver Zubair Khan told AFP in the northwestern city of Peshawar.The virus threat at large religious congregations has been highlighted in recent weeks by three waves of infections in Asia, linked to separate, massive Islamic congregations in Malaysia, Pakistan and India. “The quota on the number of worshippers imposed by the government is not acceptable to us. Islam does not support imposition of any quota on worshippers,” said Mojibur Rahman Hamidi, a senior member of the hardline Hefazat-e-Islam group.Islamic leaders in Bangladesh, where tens of thousands of people defied a nationwide lockdown Saturday to attend the funeral of a top preacher, reminded people it is “mandatory” for a healthy Muslim to attend prayers in a mosque.In Pakistan, devotees said worship is more important than coronavirus concerns.Authorities have buckled under religious pressure, allowing daily prayers and evening congregations at mosques after clerics promised to instruct religious leaders to clean their facilities regularly.center_img Rising death tolls Asia is home to some of the world’s largest Muslim populations stretching from the Indonesian archipelago to the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan, and close to a billion Muslims live in the region.Regional death tolls from COVID-19 have been much smaller compared with Europe and the United States but are rising steadily, sparking fears the virus may overwhelm often underfunded healthcare sectors.The coronavirus pandemic has triggered lockdowns throughout Asia, with schools shut and businesses closed, but mosques have largely stayed open.During Ramadan, mosques hold regular prayers and large “iftar” meals to break the fast at dusk, while families host feasts at home with relatives and friends in Southeast Asia, there has been fierce debate in food-mad Malaysia about whether to allow popular Ramadan bazaars, where Muslims buy local delicacies before breaking their fasts.Malaysia has imposed a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, and the government last week said that to ensure social distancing, they would only allow so-called “e-bazaars”, where people order goods online from local vendors which are then delivered to their homes. Topics :last_img read more