Volume 92, Issue 14

Friday, September 25, 1998

it was sugar


Swimming in The Dude sea

By Neil Malhotra
Gazette Staff

For Phish fans, The Dude of Life is an icon in the same way that Robert Hunter was for Deadheads. But now The Dude is making his own waves with his entourage, Great Red Shark.

"There is a lot of overlap – we kind of attract a lot of the same crowd, but there are differences too," says The Dude, also known as Steve Pollak. "Some people may have heard of The Dude of Life through Phish but then they see our show and it's very different. And from what I heard, most people are extremely psyched that the show is different.

"I'm taking [the music] to a different level, I'm taking it in my own direction. It's something special – it's a little hedonistic."

Some bands prefer not to be linked or associated with a scene or another group of bands, but for The Dude, it's different. "I don't mind answering questions about Phish because they are among my closest friends. Trey [Anastassio, guitarist for Phish] and I went to high school together and were roommates through college."

Phish has not been the sole benefactor in this relationship, as the band backed Pollack on his first recording, 1994's Crimes of the Mind. This first album passed by without making many splashes outside the Phish community, but The Dude has moved on to his next piece of work.

He has the first 80 per cent of his next album ready and continues to work through a busy touring schedule. On this new album, Great Red Shark will be the featured band, but Anastassio will make several appearances, along with fellow band mates John Fishman and Mike Gordon.

"We actually started it about three years ago and it has just been an ongoing process," The Dude explains. "It has been a while, but you want to make sure you do it right."

He is propelled by the audience's energy. "A lot of it has to do with the interaction between the audience and the band and that's not a new concept. But to make something happen with it is what makes the difference between a good show and a great show."

And as for sitting in with Phish, well, we'll just wait and see what swims to the melodic surface.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998