Richard James, keyboardist for Pink Talking Fish, explains that the concept behind the band’s name “was designed by our bassist, Eric Gould. It’s a hybrid tribute act fused together by the psychedelia of Pink Floyd, the frenetic rock and roll of Phish, and the high-energy dance music of the Talking Heads. There were some other musical acts thrown around in the developmental stages of the group – Tiny Tim, Twisted Sister, and Paul Simon – but unfortunately they just missed the cut.”
Pink Talking Fish’s goal of paying tribute to three wildly different acts might sound like too much for a pair of ears to digest: Pink Floyd’s era-defining prog-psych, Phish’s jam-band largesse, and the Talking Heads’ post-punk New Wave/world sound. But the band sees the link in its fan base. James says, “At our shows different folks will stop us to tell us that they love the concept, and that all three bands have been very meaningful to them within their musical journey.”
The blend of styles is successful largely owing to the musicians’ skills. They find sonic minutiae in the sizable catalogs of their three inspirations and work from there, like a jam band.
“A lot of it is finding rhythmic similarities between two songs,” James explains. “Once we’ve found two similar sections in two different songs, we try and figure out a smooth and seamless way to segue from one tune to the other. We generally approach song mashups in a few different ways… The composed parts are deliberate, and the rest of it is open to interpretation. However, we try and be tasteful regarding what we decide to open up and jam on. At this point in the game we all trust each other and can feel out where things are going musically on the fly.”
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Where there is an experimental attitude, you’ll find the Floyd fans at ease. The free-form je ne sais quoi suits the Phish-heads, while the overall bizarreness is in line with the Talking Heads. All three fan bases have an affinity for dancing and a good time.
Joining Pink Talking Fish onstage will be Fort Lauderdale’s own the Heavy Pets with “Walrus: A Tribute to the Beatles” – offering another set of fans a reason to join in the bonhomie of music appreciation.
This all-ages concert is as good as any to indoctrinate the young into the sounds of four cool bands from yesteryear and to show the positive power of music, especially in these dark days of humanitarian discord across the globe.
Pink Talking Fish
With the Heavy Pets at 9 p.m. on Friday, December 18, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Advance tickets are $20 and $23 day of show. All ages. Call 954-449-1025 or visit jointherevolution.net.