Long ago and far away, print magazines were one of the primary ways to find out about new music. And in the pre-Internet days of the early 1980s, the twice-a-month arrival of the latest Rolling Stone was a major event. I would sit and devour every word of every issue, while scanning the writers' bylines and wondering who those people were. Like Parke Puterbaugh, a name that seemed impossibly exotic.
Years later, I moved here and discovered that Puterbaugh lived right down the road in Greensboro -- and that, in addition to being a record geek supreme, he was also a right nice guy. It's to his credit, I think, that he looks like he's trying to keep a straight face in the photo below. And now he's written the book he was born to do, "Phish: The Biography" (Da Capo, 318 pages, $25).
Phish has never gotten much critical respect, and I have to admit that their jam-band whimsy ain't really my ball o' wax. But Puterbaugh has always been a fan, going back to when he began covering Phish for Rolling Stone in the mid-'90s. He got plenty of behind-the-scenes access to report "Phish," and it shows in his even-handed treatment of the music as well as the band's virtues and foibles.
You can come talk to him about it directly tonight, when Puterbaugh does a reading at Raleigh's Quail Ridge Books. It will be my honor to commence the evening with an introduction at 7:30. Promise I'll keep it brief, so come on out.