This is part two of a conversation with Phish lyricist Tom Marshall. Jump over to for Part One and then come back here as Marshall discusses his various writing projects, including his collaborations with new generation jambands like the McLovins, his ongoing writing work with Anthony Krizan, and his longtime writing partner, Trey Anastasio, as Phish heads into the studio within the next six months, while Marshall continues to trail blaze his own path through his varied and scenic artistic adventures.

Can you talk about your recent work with Anthony Krizan and the McLovins?

TM: When Trey and I write, it’s for Phish or Trey. That’s kind of it exclusively. When Anthony and I write, it used to be for Amfibian exclusively. Since our last concert in 2008, Amfibian hasn’t been touring at all, and I don’t have any plans to really get the touring machine back on the road. I’m happy not touring. I like recording and writing music, and not so much performing it. Unless I go on stage with Phish, which I do like. (laughter) But then, I’m on for 80 to 120 seconds and I’m done.

There have been a couple of other outlets for music. One is with Sherman Ewing who Trey and I went to school with at Princeton Day School. This is going back a long way. He is a singer/songwriter in New York City, and he just came out with a pretty cool album. He’s a guitar guy, and has a cool band, and knows really, really cool musicians. One of those that he’s known for a long time, separately, from my connection to Anthony, is Anthony. He’ll use Anthony as a co-writer, but also as a guitarist on his album, and actually record in Anthony’s studio unbeknownst to me for many years, and then, we realized we had this connection. Sherman’s most recent album just out is called Single Room Saloon, and I wrote the title track with Anthony and Sherman. We also collaborated on a song on his album, Maryland.

Another outlet is the McLovins, the jamband of high school dudes. Two of them just graduated high school. You’ll no longer be able to say they are just high school guys. I’ve gotten to know Jake [Huffman] pretty well, and Jason [Ott] and Jeffrey [Howard], also, but Jake, through his mom, Carol Huffman, who is also the manager of the McLovins, and we have become friends. She’s a great person. All of a sudden, she asked for a song because they needed a song for their upcoming album. Anthony and I wrote “Cohesive,” and they do a great version of it, and it was a successful project as far as I was concerned. And it was a fun one, and it was also fun to see our music being appreciated and played live and it was fun writing with the guys, too. We did another one called “Subdivision 2,” which isn’t out yet.

Most recently, [Anthony and I] just wrote another great song, and this one wasn’t a collaboration with the boys, but we wrote it for the McLovins, and it’s called “Hesitate.” It’s really good. I think it’ll be perfect for the McLovins.

How did “Hesitate” get written?

TM: This song came about because Jake told me he needed one more song to round out their songs that they’re getting ready for their album. They had enough material, and they wanted one more song, so Anthony and I made a date to record last Wednesday at his studio. I walked in there, again, with no lyrics, but I kind of had this idea from the point of view of someone who is a stage person, and I got it from my brief stint as a performer, but also combined it with Jake’s point of view. It’s like a twist on the idea that on stage, when you’re singing, you’re seeing people nodding and smiling, but when you get off stage, you’re not such a great communicator and people expect you to be the same as the way you were on stage—that kind of vibe. Jake really really identified with it, so it worked out really well and it is a good song for them. It’s a dance one, too; it’s really upbeat; it’s a great song, and I really like it.

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