Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish are arguably three of the most beloved musical acts in history. And if this were a few years ago, they'd have not a lot in common. However, Eric Gould's Pink Talking Fish has completely changed that.
Pink Talking Fish is a tribute act to all three bands and finds a way to combine them into a comprehensive set. Each song bleeds flawlessly into the next, and then back again.
At AURA Music and Arts Festival's live streaming series on December 10, they wove together this little medley: "Run Like Hell" > "Psycho Killer" > "Run Like an Antelope" > "Run Like Hell." Needless to say, it was mind-blowing. The band also has a chameleon style of jamming, changing to fit the mood of each song while still going into unique grooves of its own.
If you missed the webcast, you have no reason to worry. Not only will it be posted on YouTube fairly soon but Pink Talking Fish is performing three dates in Florida this week: Guanabanas in Jupiter, the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton, and the Dunedin Brewery.
We spoke with Eric Gould, founder of Pink Talking Fish and a former member of electro-jam band Particle, about what begat this bizarre brainchild.
New Times: How did this megatribute concept come to fruition?
Eric Gould: I moved to Kansas City in 2008. Up until that point, I've never taken part in a tribute group, outside of some concepts we did with Particle.
When I got out there, I did some pickup gigs for fun, played more covers than I ever had, and had a lot of fun doing it. For the five years I was living up there, it was a piece of my performance. One day, I was thinking, "Tribute music is fun, but it's not my passion to do it straight-up one band or just a normal cover band." So I thought of my three favorite bands that could be compatible together.
At first I just wrote a set list and thought, "This absolutely has to happen." I showed it to one of my promoters, who told me I had to do it, kinda lit the fire under me, and the rest is history.
Pink Talking Fish has a revolving cast of members. What led you to having a revolving membership? And what led you to including Jeff Lloyd and Jamie Newitt [of the Heavy Pets] for this tour?
I became a dad in May of 2013; I adopted a little girl from China. It was around the time when Particle was getting ready to tour hard and start doing over a hundred shows a year. Some of the members really wanted that. So, you know, if you love something, set it free.
I realized in order to be the best dad I could, I couldn't do that volume of touring and had to step back from Particle and put my focus into Pink Talking Fish. Through the revolving cast, I could set up the shows I wanted to play on my own schedule and not have any conflicts around it.
It was a mix between that and some players were the right fit, and rather than committing to people with busy schedules right off the bat, this was just an easy way to go about it, and everybody was into it.
We've got some staples. the keyboard player coming down with me, Richard James, is phenomenal, and he's basically a full-time member of the band. The Heavy Pets guys, I reached out to them earlier this year about the concept, and they loved it. There was a period of time in Colorado where we needed a guitarist and a drummer, and they came by, and it was fantastic. It was just a clear choice that when I go down to Florida, they would be part of the lineup. I think it will be really fun for them to perform with this group for their hometown fans.
There is a huge difference between Particle and Pink Talking Fish, but is there a different mindset you get into onstage with Pink Talking Fish?
Particle and Pink Talking Fish are complete different entities. Particle is an electro-rock force that is phenomenal. I love it. Particle is dear to my heart, always will be. It's my baby. I created it with Steve and Darren, and Pink Talking Fish is... my second child [laughs].
I just love it so much. The similarities would be on the energy of the jams. We definitely get some nice tension-release points and some driving, groove-style jams that any fan of Particle may find commonalty with. Other than that, the nature of the material is completely different. The stylistic elements of Pink Talking Fish are extremely diverse; I don't really need to explain that if you know the song catalogs.
The other thing is that it's heavily focused on set design. Part of the magic of this band is the "what comes next" feeling. How is this material going to be integrated so that it's a fun and fresh experience for people who already know and love the music? We work very hard in designing the proper show, and it's a different show each and every night, so we try and make these combinations gold.
We write a show, we present it, and there's a lot of improv that leaves us open to the spirit of the music, but we know where we're going eventually.
You're doing a live streaming video concert for the AURA live streaming series. Is this unlike anything you've done? What are you looking forward to? [The recording took place yesterday.]
We've done a lot of audio casting, so there's been a lot of people who tuned in, but never video streaming. We've definitely been rallying people around the country; we've heard about big listening parties in a bunch of different states. There are going to be clubs that are going to be showing the webcast.
Even one group of people rented out a theater to stream the show. We've definitely rallied some good stuff around it. We're getting out in the country as much as we can, but it's not fast enough for some people. This is the best possible thing to help present ourselves to the country.
Anything you'd like to tell us about upcoming shows?
The final shows of the year are these Florida shows. I love that we're spending the New Year in Florida, because I really knew this band was going to be more than a personal dream project when we went down and performed at Wanee Music Festival in April. The crowd reaction that we got from those thousands of people proved to me that this was going to be a bigger journey then I expected.
It's kind of a fairy-tale ending to be closing out in Florida, where we had an epiphany down at Suwannee; now it's great we get to experience that Florida energy again. In 2015, we have a lot of shows lined up and some cool new concept shows coming up in Boulder, Philadelphia, and in Boston as well as many other great shows lined up. We all feel great about where we're at and where we're going. There's so much positivity surrounding this band.
Pink Talking Fish plays Thursday, December 11, at Guanabanas, 960 N. Highway A1A, Jupiter; Friday, December 12, at the Funky Biscuit, Royal Palm Place, 303 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton; and Saturday, December 13, at the Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Visit pinktalkingfish.com.