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Hiatus Fever

Brian Ferdman

2003-07-28

Recently, jamband stalwarts Widespread Panic announced an upcoming hiatus. Citing the need to pursue hobbies and spend more time with their families, the band will not play any live concerts for the foreseeable future. This hiatus announcement follows in the footsteps of similar hiatuses pursued in the past by The Grateful Dead, Phish, and String Cheese Incident.

Everyone is taking a hiatus these days. It seems as though a band hasn't really made it until they've taken a break. This slacker mentality has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and no one wants to be left out in the cold, stuck playing onstage while their colleagues are sitting at home, getting stoned and eating cheese from a can. It's not much of a surprise when you look at the roots of the word "hiatus." "Hia" in the original Latin meant "lazy," and "tus" comes from the archaic Latin word "tush," meaning "ass."

Only two days after Widespread Panic's bombshell of an announcement, Strangefolk also announced plans to take an undetermined amount of time off from performing live. (Truthfully, Strangefolk's decision was less of a bombshell and more of a rubber bullet.) Strangefolk was careful not to word their extended leave of absence as a true "hiatus" because the FCC passed a law in 2002 preventing more than one band from each state from taking a hiatus. The law was designed to prevent lazy bands from taking a hiatus and depriving communities of good music. Phish has already claimed the hiatus for Vermont, so Strangefolk is forced to take the lowly "undetermined amount of time off from performing live."

The Dead will be taking a hiatus from changing their name. Unfortunately, Mickey Hart and Phil Lesh will not be taking a hiatus from singing off-key. In addition, Bob Weir will not be taking a hiatus from forgetting lyrics. However, The Dead will be taking a hiatus from acquiring musicians. They've decided that one bassist, two guitarists, two drummers, two keyboard players, one vocalist, and a partridge in a pear tree is sufficient.

By the same token, Garage a Trois has taken a hiatus from adding new bandmembers. Already totaling four musicians, the band's pun-like name alluding to a three-way sexual act has lost its punchline. In other news, the Global Resource Alliance Promoting Every Jamband (GRAPE Jam) has announced a hiatus from allowing bands to give themselves names based upon puns on French sexual positions. German, being completely devoid of humor, is the new preferred language, and Garage von Vier will be coming soon to a venue near you.

After much deliberation, moe. has announced it will not be taking a hiatus from encoring with "Godzilla." Having seen this encore at nearly every moe. show, I will now be taking a hiatus from seeing moe. live.

Unfortunately, Gov't Mule will not be taking a hiatus from performing Prince's "When Doves Cry" live onstage. Maybe Warren Haynes is just like his father, and maybe I'm just narcoleptic, but that song is a great excuse for a nap.

Jack Johnson will be taking a hiatus from playing three-minute songs. In a bold move, he will now only play two-minute songs. Unfortunately, his fanbase of screaming horny women will not be taking a hiatus from attending concerts and ruining the experiences of those around them.

Medeski, Martin, and Wood will be employing a hiatus in their bandname. From now on, the group will be known as Medeski, Martin...and Wood! All written promotional materials must include the ellipsis and the exclamation point, and anytime the bandname is mentioned, the speaker must take a three second pause between the words "Martin" and "and." In addition, the speaker must say "Wood" in an exclamatory manner, raising his or her voice by a minimum of ten decibels. If fans and promoters do not comply with the new policy, Medeski, Martin...and Wood! will refuse to play "Bubblehouse" ever again, leaving an entire generation of fratboys trembling in fear. An unofficial spokesman for the band said, "These guys came from the jazz world. You gotta believe they're pretentious enough to do something crazy like this. People had better buck up and take the new policy to heart. Otherwise, you're gonna be stuck listening to them playing that squeaky-squonky free jazz shit, and you can kiss your Shackman songs goodbye."

The hiatus concept is not specific to the jamband world, as hiatus outbreaks have infected the pop world, too. *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys have both taken an indefinite hiatus until their fanbases grow old enough to afford high-priced, musically-deficient reunion tours. Destiny's Child has taken an extended hiatus while star singer Beyonce pursues her solo career of horrendous acting and delicious booty shaking. The other two members of Destiny's Child, Kelly

Something and Generic Female Singer #3 are also pursuing solo careers, although no one seems to care. Their albums, Second Fiddle and I Was in Destiny's Child, Too (No, I'm Not Kidding-I Was the One in the Back), have been less than successful. Critics blame the lack of booty shaking in both albums for the decline in sales.

Clearchannel will be taking a hiatus from buying things. The hiatus is necessary because there is very little left for Clearchannel to purchase. After a year off, Clearchannel expects the world to build just enough stuff for the corporation to consume.

I will be taking a hiatus from paying taxes and obeying laws. The stress of obeying the law has become daunting, and I feel that my time and money would be best utilized in more free-spirited, selfishly creative endeavors. I encourage others to follow me in my quest of self-absorption. By the way, I don't know if I'll have email access next month, so please address all correspondence to:

Brian Ferdman

Cellblock 26-B

James A. Thomas Center

Riker's Island Penitentiary

14-14 Hazen St.,

East Elmhurst, N.Y. 11370

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