Let's talk about the state of improvisational bliss. I've been investigating this for a while, and I'm curious where you go when it's really happening?
When it's really happening it's like meditation. When it's at its best and you're really channeling it all together, it's like you're brain turns off. The thought process turns off. In order for me to talk to you right now, I can't be reading or writing an email, or else I would lose my train of thought. And we all do it. Everybody out there gets on the phone with their mom and then an email pops up and they try to read it and then the mom is like, "What are you doing right now? Are you even listening to me?" Everyone knows that concept of being able to concentrate on one or two things. If you're playing music and you have a thought process going on in your head, you can't purely be singing what to play. If you're really 100 percent in the music, you're shutting down your thought process and all you're thinking is the notes. That's what I think. Where do I go? I'm there; I'm just completely in the music. Does that make sense?
Yeah. I've asked different musicians this question a lot and there are similarities in themes, but there's always something unique to the individual. Musicians have talked about visual experiences happening when they're really in the zone -- like seeing colors or geometric patterns and shapes…
Sick. Like purple strips and stuff?
[Laughs] Yeah, or…
It may be from the DMT the kids are blowing up from the front row, I don't know… [laughter]. Maybe that's just a Disco Biscuits thing.
I'm not sure that goes down in the jazz clubs anymore.
[laughs] Right, right, right. Sometimes you'll smell mothballs up on stage and you'll be like, "What the hell is that?!" And then you'll be, "Oh right, it's that." Good lord. Always happens at the beginning of a "Basis" jam or a "Crickets" jam. [laughter]
That's pretty awesome. People go deep.
People go deep.
Well, that's been the debate for a long time -- are people just there to get all twisted, or…
Nah, dude. No, no, of course not. Hold on one second and I'll read it to you. I'll read you what I have to say on this because I want to get it right. This is from the Associated Press, "Musical Climax Like Having Sex" is the headline: "People like music for the same reason they like eating or having sex: It makes the brain release a chemical that gives pleasure, a new study says. The substance, dopamine, is involved both in anticipating a thrilling musical moment and in feeling the rush, researchers at McGill University in Montreal found."
Look, we're all there for the same reason. Yes, everybody is going to get high. But when people say, "I was completely sober last night and that show was incredible." That's because nobody is completely sober at a concert. You're legitimately… not even from the music, but from the anticipation -- you know that feeling walking into Madison Square Garden to see the Grateful Dead or Phish or something? And there's the excitement. That excitement is the dopamine. That's the dopamine getting released. So, sure, if you want to go deeper than that, by all means go deeper. I remember thinking to myself once, if you smoke weed at a concert you get so much higher than if you smoke weed sitting on the couch. This is years ago I had that thought. I was at Trey show at the Tower Theater and somebody busted out of a bong of all things. I was like, "What the fuck?" At the Tower Theater -- I couldn't believe it. I took a hit and I was blitzed. The concert blitzed from being high on weed is so much strong than the regular blitzed. And there's scientific reason for that: your brain is releasing extra dopamine because of the musical climax or the music anticipation even.
So, I'm weary when people say, "people only go to get high and they don't even like the music" or whatever. I'm very weary of that argument about any band. I think what it's really is about is personal taste, you know? [laughs] I heard that for like ten years about being a Phish fan from people that weren't Phish fans, and Phish is obviously one of the… there's nothing to be said about their standings in the musical world. They've done fine for themselves them young men. But, it doesn't change the fact that the same shit is said about our band that was said about them twenty years ago when I was becoming a fan. And the same shit was said about the Grateful Dead before them. People are going to concerts for the dopamine high, and if you don't like the music, that's not going be there for you. It has to be personal to the person and what they like to see.
I remember having a conversation with some friends in the mid-90s about the Grateful Dead, and the attitude was like, "Well, take away the drugs and nobody will care about this music. It's because everyone is getting high." For a long time I struggled as a defender of the music and trying to separate the two. And a few years ago I came to a conclusion that it doesn't matter -- look, if you want to only go see bands where nobody in the audience takes drugs, well, good, have fun seeing that band. But I'm not going to discredit music or a band that has an audience that wants to let loose, lose their inhibitions, go deep with the music or whatever it maybe.
Honestly, we're just trying to throw a party over here. We're trying to throw a party where we somehow create an emotional connection between the people that come to the party and us. That's our business. We're in the process of throwing great parties, and our job is to hook them in with an emotional connection. The dopamine, the anticipation -- whatever scientifically is going on in the brain -- I know it happens to me when I listen to music. You know, it's incredible. People talk about how it gets them through exercise. Of course, it gives you an extra boost and it's real. Music is amazing.
I think about it with movies too. How do they do get the whole room to cry at that one moment? They're building up to it for fucking two hours, you know? They know. They how to do it. They know how to get to that moment where everyone lets loose emotionally. As an artist, you're always thinking about getting to that moment, how you're going to get there and how you're going to connect. And how you're going to build up to that moment.