The scene outside Phish concerts is the focus of “The Lot,” the latest episode of JamBase partner Osiris Media’s Undermine podcast. Holly Bowling, Joel Cummins, Dean Budnick and PhanArt Pete Mason are among those featured in the fourth installment of Undermine’s second season.
Phish lyricist Tom Marshall continues his role as narrator and tour guide. The episode starts with Baba Cool’s Brooke Hancock, poster artist AJ Masthay, the founder of Section 119 CEO Gregg Carey and “shakedown artist” Brandy Davis recalling how they began their businesses and the micro-economy developed out of the Phish parking lot scene. “The Phish community is really so friendly and welcoming and encouraging. I’ve never experienced such an environment where people just tell you ‘keep making art,’” explains Davis.
Discussion then turns to PhanArt and the shows Mason puts together showcasing different unofficial wares members of the community sell. Mason details the evolution of PhanArt from a book to a website to his shows that help many fan artists. Danny “Pin Daddy” Steinman reveals how his penchant for writing led him to begin making pins, both official and unofficial, for a variety of bands and brands including Phish.
Next, Budnick weighs in on the history of the lot and how it dates back to what went down outside Grateful Dead concerts. “When I think of the lot scene when it comes to Phish, at least initially, it just seemed sort of charming to me in a lot of ways and so pure and so organic,” Budnick says. “Because the Grateful Dead lot scene was just out of control by the time you got to the mid to late-’90s.”
Undermine continues with talk of the 12 Tribes, a cult that operates a bus that often is parked at Phish concerts. Discussion then turns to the bands that developed by performing post-Phish shows such as the Disco Biscuits and Umphrey’s McGee. Joel Cummins of UM recalls seeing Phish for the first time at the UIC Pavilion on June 18, 1994. He explains how Umphrey’s set up shop at the Dead Creek campgrounds in 1999 and 2000 outside the Noblesville, Indiana venue then known as Deer Creek. “One advantage we had playing at Dead Creek campground is that we were playing for new people, but we had also had a bunch of our friends going to those shows. So we told everybody ‘camp at Dead Creek,’” notes Joel. “We had 150 or 200 of our friends that were super amped for us to be there.”
The episode ends with pianist Holly Bowling and bassist Karina Rykman chatting about how Phish inspired them. Listen to Undermine’s “The Lot” episode below: