Runaway Gin – A Tribute to Phish is gearing up for their 2019 summer tour. After a huge spring including their 300th show and an incredibly received “Make Phish Evil Again” concept show, Runaway Gin – A Tribute to Phish will embark on a 10-show summer tour.
Gin Tour is set to launch May 24 at the Charleston Pour House for their annual Memorial Day Weekend show. The next day, they will head to Rooster Walk for a debut performance before taking a break until a much anticipated Phish After-Party in Charlotte where they will only play songs Phish has covered. The meat of the schedule begins after Phish tour with dates in Atlanta, GA; Greenville, SC; the Outer Banks of North Carolina; Virginia Beach; Asheville, NC; Richmond, VA; and Baltimore, MD.
L4LM contributor Zach Ubaldini had a chance to shoot lead guitarist Andy Greenberg some questions about the upcoming tour, Runaway Gin’s new gear, and some of Phish’s new music. Anyone planning on making a stop on Gin Tour should check out the merch stands where limited amounts of Game of Thrones-themed shirts will be waiting…Gin Terr is here.
If you happen to be in these areas, give Gin a chance, the experience is second to only one. Check out their HD-shot “Reba” along with the complete list of dates below. For more dates, videos and live recordings visit Runaway Gin’s website here complete with videos, posters, photos, and setlists.
Runaway Gin – A Tribute to Phish – “Reba” – 3-30-2019
[Video: Andy Greenberg]
Zach Ubaldini: Runaway Gin – A Tribute to Phish starts their Summer Tour at home May 24 at The Charleston Pour House. What are some of the spots besides home you are excited to hit again?
Andy Greenberg: Honestly I am super excited about every spot we are playing this summer! Rooster Walk is going to be a rager, playing the Saturday midnight slot after Galactic and we may have some special guests up as well. Loads of buddies playing in this festival! Charlotte will be insane after Phish – I’ve probably only played about 2 times after Phish at this point and obviously we’re not going to miss their show. We will definitely carry that inspiration back to the Visulite and lay it thick on some funky non-Phish covers. In July we’re back at Terminal West, the Firmament, Salvage Station, OBX Brewing Station, the Broadberry, the 8×10, which all have amazing sound and production. Each of these venues make it easy for us to play at our highest level and I can’t wait to get back to each one to see what happens next! We also have a new venue we’ll be hitting in Virginia Beach called Elevation 27 and we are really really excited about this show because the new venue is supposed to be incredible and our fanbase also seems to be very excited for this show.
ZU: What are some cities that have really given you the best feedback?
AG: We’ve always gotten a really great response in Tampa/St. Petersburg as well as Atlanta, Richmond, Baltimore, and more recently Asheville. Of course, there’s Charleston–our home where we have played vastly more shows than any other city at this point… Always great vibes from there! Honestly though, most everywhere we’ve played has been amazing!
ZU: You guys are known as one of the country’s best Phish tribute bands. With so many people playing Phish, what upgrades has Runaway Gin made in the past year to offer a true Phish experience?
AG: Wow, that’s really an honor to hear! We really enjoy playing this music and are really grateful to Phish for being themselves and inspiring this project with their music. I know a lot of fantastic musicians all over the country and beyond on every instrument who also have been inspired to play this music and it’s no competition for us – we do it only for the music and experience… We are constantly upgrading every part of our project.
In terms of gear, I just got a new guitar back in November and the rest of the band have all been using in-ears since the last Charleston Pour House run I believe. The in-ears have made a really big difference in the stage mix for me and each of their mixes. Put simply: we can all hear each other better than ever right now. It’s funny how easy it is to take that kind of thing for granted but it’s really tough to communicate with each other without being able to hear each other clearly at all times. Also, it is definitely helping us to sing better! My most recent addition is a synth that I will debut at a show very soon. It is going to give us a broader sonic palette and a wider array of stylistic options during improvised and ambient sections. It’s the same synth Trey used in the late 90’s.
ZU: Your Languedoc is obviously a big change…I know it took you nearly 6 years, what was the process toward acquiring it?
AG: I really am still not exactly sure how it happened. One day he just responded to my email after many years of no response and was basically like “let’s do this.”
ZU: What other upgrades/changes to your rig did you need to make, or did you stay true to Trey’s theory of keeping gear, just understanding it better?
AG: Since I got the Languedoc, I haven’t changed anything on my guitar rig. It’s helped me get used to the ‘doc being familiar with all the other aspects – it’s easier for me to hear what changed and build upon that. So yeah, definitely same gear theory and Jerry Garcia’s too. The more variables or “things” that are less within your control, the less you will be able to focus on creating the music itself… which is really what it’s all about.
ZU: Last year you guys headlined your first festival. With more spots on lineups like Rooster Walk 11, what is the approach to playing a “power set” opposed from your regular 2 sets?
AG: That’s a really great question. There’s so much to think about there… I guess you have to think about the festival–who else is playing, what is your time slot? Then you start to project– what would I like to hear at that point? And then you think–what would everyone else most probably feel invigorated by? The approach has to be vastly different than a headline single bill show. We must become creatively more like a dish in a multi-course meal rather than the main course. More like a picture in a portfolio rather than one single picture hanging as the centerpiece of a room.
ZU: As Phish produces more music, what are some things Runaway Gin does to stay current on Phish’s changing style & new music?
AG: Definitely going to Phish shows and relistening is the best way to stay current. We constantly change practice techniques, but it’s more based on what we’re currently working on more so than anything to do with where Phish currently is… Well, I guess you could say it all has to do with where Phish currently is musically. It’s really weird what we’re doing really if you think about it. We’ve learned their catalog completely out of chronological sequence which results in us acquiring the “skills” that each song teaches us–as a group and as individual players and singers–out of natural linear sequence. But also you could say that our unique sequence will cause a different narrative arc in terms of the development of the band and jam trajectories.
ZU: What’s been your favorite Kasvot Vaxt song to perform, and why?
AG: Definitely “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long”. Because it’s super silly and funky and that groove is thick–perhaps Phish’s thickest groove yet. Also, the bass/guitar interplay in the jam is always super fun.
ZU: Has the evolution of Phish the past 8 years cultivated an evolution of Runaway Gin’s performance?
AG: WIthout a doubt! I was sort of “reborn” into Phish in 2010 and it was from that era that much of the inspiration from my playing of Phish’s material comes from. The earlier material like the 90’s was obviously key in getting me into Phish originally and those shows made me who I am but that was a long time ago. I have listened to the last 8 years of Phish vastly more in the last 8 years than I have any other Phish eras.
ZU: Have you taken a crack at any of the Ghosts of the Forest stuff yet on your own or with the band?
AG: Yea! Some of that material is just so catchy, it got stuck deep in my head and so I had to figure out exactly what it was. That’s really the same way it was in the very beginning for me with Phish. Many really powerful, gorgeous, and memorable moments throughout the GOTF shows.
ZU: What are your top three cities that are next on the list for Runaway Gin – A Tribute to Phish?
AG: I am really hoping we finally get out to Colorado soon! I really am looking forward to returning to New York City and I can’t wait to get New Orleans, LA–my home of 6 years before I moved to Charleston.
Runaway Gin 2019 Summer Tour:
Friday, May 24th: Charleston Pour House – Charleston, SC
Saturday, May 25th: Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival – Axton, VA
Friday, June 21st: Ophishal Phish Afterparty – Visulite Theatre – Charlotte, NC
Friday July 19th, Terminal West – Atlanta, GA
Saturday, July 20th: the Firmament – Greenville, SC
Friday, July 26th: OBX Brewing – Kill Devil Hills, NC
Saturday, July 27th: Elevation 27 – VA Beach, VA
Friday, August 2nd: Salvage Station – Asheville, NC
Friday, August 9th: the Broadberry – Richmond, VA
Saturday, August 10th: the 8×10 – Baltimore, MD