Phish keyboardist, Page McConnell, turns 50 today. JamBase just posted a great article on how he has influenced many other keyboardists on the scene today. Page is easily my biggest influence as a keyboardist & I couldn’t help but answer the same questions that were asked about The Chairman of the Boards. You can read the complete article on JamBase by clicking here.
I was first exposed to Phish in middle school, as my older brother, Chris, would play A Live One on repeat in his room next to mine. At first, I never understood why he listened to it, as I was only really exposed to alternative rock at the time. It wasn’t until he started playing the “Squirming Coil” outro jam on piano, note for note, when I started to pay more attention to who Phish was. Chris was classically trained at piano, so it’s safe to say Page was a big reason why he liked Phish.
Naturally, I found myself listening to the rest of A Live One & eventually started borrowing Chris’ copy of Lawn Boy. At this point, I was already many years separated from piano lessons as I quit after 3 years, but I could always relate to the keyboard sounds throughout the albums. Luckily, I was able to retain a lot of Page’s stylings & technique when I got back into playing piano in high school. I’ll admit that a lot of my piano licks, rhythms, & arpeggios were acquired from the A Live One version of “Squirming Coil” alone.
I admire Page’s versatility in being able to play piano & B3 organ across the many different genres that Phish covers in their catalog. I’ve always tried to adapt this idea of “no boundaries,” which might explain why I’ve always played in several different types of bands throughout the years. As I continue to write & create music with Passafire, I hope to leave the same lasting impressions on our fans that Page has for me & my music career. Happy 50th birthday, Page!