Interviews

Pink Talking Fish Combines the Songs of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish With Original Jams

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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.

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Derek Heid