Underground Bassist Accurately Transcribes Many of Phish’s Greatest Jams to Full Score Sheet Music – And Then Condemns the Band.
We know there are some great musicians out there hiding under a rock no one has heard of. Case on Bass is an example, he creates experimental rock, avant-garde and soundscape music, all of which are underground genres. Also going by the name Casebere, Case on Bass doesn’t help his cause any by not doing any promotion through social media.
In fact the only way you would ever hear about him is to randomly see him perform. Then you’ll either be blown away or threatened by the music – it’s very mysterious music. You’ll also find that he accomplished a feat that to Phish fans is an extraordinary accomplishment, showing die-hard dedication to the band. But to him it was just “something I had to do in order to get to the next level.”
The feat is that Case on Bass hand-wrote to full score sheet music fourteen of Phish’s “Hall of Fame” jams. Like the epic 12-29-94 “Providence Bowie” or the 11-17-97 “Ghost” to name a few. He says he did this over a period of 5 years on weeknights and weekends (he worked fulltime in a non-music related career). Before the doubters start to speak up about the accuracy of the transcriptions, the handwritten sheet music was inputted into computer software and checked for accuracy. However Case on Bass insists the handwritten scores are easier to read and more “authentic” and will only show the handwritten versions of the scores.
Case on Bass states his Phish transcriptions are at least 95% accurate – not counting the edits he made in some of the jams – which leads to a controversial and touchy point. Within the Phish transcriptions Case on Bass made some arbitrary and seemingly minor edits in Phish’s greatest jams – like cutting out 2 seconds here or 5 seconds there. He documents all of this in the notes to each transcription, and then writes a description to justify himself.
Some think that may be a party foul among Phish heads. “How dare you try such a thing!” some Phans may say. But the edits are very minor and do not change the essence of the jams.
You would think that somebody who would do this must be a fanatical fan of Phish. “Not really,” says Case on Bass, “I liked them a lot in high school and then went through a ‘kill daddy’ phase around 2000, not listening to them again for years. When I came back to them, I only listened to their interesting jams, never whole shows, and I would edit out the singing parts on my iPod to get to the jams.”
So does Case on Bass still like Phish now? Yes and No. I interpreted his response as a backhanded compliment: “Nowadays Phish can do whatever and people will still like it. They have a responsibility now to maintain the jam band/Grateful Dead scene. They inherited it because they earned it, but it’s a huge responsibility – not just musically, but economically and socially for tens of thousands of people who are into that scene,” says Case on Bass, “As long as Phish plays their classic songs from 20+ years ago, everyone is happy.”