STTF x EGT Collaboration
Written by Jon Caruso & Christy Articola (STTF)
Written by Jon Caruso & Christy Articola (STTF)
When heading down the pathway of life, there are an infinite number of possibilities hidden within every choice we make. Choosing which paths to take on our journey through the great beyond are informed by our innate desires, environment and influences. These memories and visions of a membrane vast provide a foundation for our journey - similar to how the bass guitar harmonically provides a structure that
music is built upon.
An often-overlooked instrument, the bass not only provides the foundation to music, but it also helps establish the rhythmic, melodic and harmonic direction of where a song can go. Robert Challoner once wrote in his 1880 book History of the Science and Art of Music (p.283): "The bass part ... is, in fact, the foundation upon which the melody rests and without which there could be no melody." The resonance and power from the bass help establish and drive the jam. A great bassist alone has the power to move an entire audience with the right grooves. On a similar note, a unique bass line can establish
a song’s hook and identity.
In the case of the band Goose, they have done a great job forging their own path and establishing their identity - in not only the jam band space, but music as a whole, with sit-ins from artists outside the jam band realm like Big Boi, Margo Price and Lucius. Trevor Weekz, bassist of Goose, is a constant within the history and evolution of this band, alongside Rick Mitarotonda and Ben Atkind. The el Goose Times and Surrender to the Flow had a rare opportunity to speak with Trevor as we discuss a variety of concepts which relate and contrast:
First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us – it’s truly an honor!
Of course, I think what you have created with The el Goose Times is amazing. It’s truly a staple of the community, same with Surrender to the Flow.
Tell us a little about you: from your life growing up in Wilton, up to your life as a touring musician today.
Growing up in Wilton was quite an experience, because we were in the woods with lots of free time - but we also had easy access to NYC. The town itself was also saturated with talented musicians of all ages. I remember being in high school and hearing some of the older kids play and finding them to be inspiring and a goal to aim for, in terms of where I wanted to progress. When I was learning bass and basically had no clue what I was doing, it was great to have this wide range of people to play with. Making sounds with musicians more experienced than you is definitely beneficial when getting a
lay of the land.
I lived in Wilton my entire life until going to school in Burlington. I was in VT for 5-6 years and then I moved around a couple more times. Now, I'm rooted back in CT; it’s a nice place to rest and recharge when off the road.
When did you start playing bass? What appeals to you most about the instrument?
I started playing bass early in high school - mostly dabbling at first - then started practicing rigorously around the age of 16. I’ve always felt that the bass wields great power in a band. This can be demonstrated most easily by the power of negative space using the instrument, such as leaving breath or not playing at all during certain sections of a song, then observing the impact when it returns. It has often been considered somewhat of the link between drums and the other instruments as well, which could be argued in many cases, I’d say.
Some of my favorite aspects is that it gets people to dance and how much you can feel the sound of the instrument; there is not much that compares to getting hit in the chest with a pillowy bass tone through a powerful PA.
Who are some of your personal musical influences, bassists or otherwise? Are you mostly self-taught or did you take lessons?
My biggest musical influence is, without a doubt, Peter Castaldi. I learned a ton from him early on about the fundamentals of communication between humans with a musical instrument.
Beyond that there was much to learn in regards to theory and groove, as well as knowing the role of the instrument and ways to best compliment a song or propel an improvisation. Throughout high school, I had a teacher Tod Baharian who mainly taught guitar but gave me a strong head-start on bass. I was always appreciative of the deep and often profound conversations we had as well - either before, or after our sessions. I found out years later that he also taught Peter back in the day! I then went to college at the University of Vermont minored in music studying Jazz and Motown bass and various theory/history.
What are your favorite past times when you’re not touring?
As of recent, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring NYC and watching all the different humans go about their days, while pondering my own. Otherwise, I like to spend time outside and relaxing by a river. Also phases of DOTA2.
Do you have a favorite movie and/or TV show?
My favorite movie is Dances With Wolves. It’s fantastic. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Kevin Costner is a legend, and absolutely crushed it with this movie as he directed, produced, and starred in it. On a sidenote, it has been a life goal of mine that, later in life, I will be a guest professor at a University teaching a class called “What is the Cost?” - which will be a deep dive into the life and work of Kevin Costner himself.
How long have you known the other guys in Goose? It seems like a few of you go pretty far back, especially you and Rick.
I’ve known Rick the longest. We first played a show together in 2007, just after I graduated High School. He had a family friend’s New Year’s Eve party that we played together with Peter Castaldi, and Max Porteus. I believe a recording still exists to this day. Over the years we played music together on occasion in various locations in our college years, culminating in a strong push with Vasudo, then after a brief break, Goose.
I met Ben during the formation of Vasudo, which we played beside in for a good portion of 2012, and then in Goose starting in 2014. Word on the street is that he likes potatoes, can confirm.
I first met Jeff when I visited Rich at school, I believe in 2009. We hung out for the weekend and booked various times at rehearsal rooms to go play in. Most of these sessions turned out to have a certain magic about them that we still talk about to this day. One particular comical note was this one guitar player we were with paused us from starting up one day, after we had all our rigs ready to go, to turn to me and ask me to elaborate on my life story/background which threw me by surprise, to say the least. It made for a good laugh.
I met Peter right around when Goose was getting its first legs. We jammed with Peter Castaldi, aka “the LINK”/“Yoda”..etc, and had a blast. I then ended up filling in on bass for Great Blue on several shows over the next couple years, which was always an amazing time.
Also, I’ve known Coach by far the longest, we’ve been great friends since high school.
What has the band’s rise over the past three or so years been like from your perspective, going from clubs to arenas? To add, what are some of
your favorite venues that you’ve played so far?
The past few years have been an interesting ride to say the least; starting in 2019 when we saw a strong inflection point of growth. Everything seemed to be happening at a rapid pace. Seeing shows actually start to sell out for the first time ever was exciting... for example, when we were discussing some aspects of Goosemas that year, I think the number of 400 people was thrown around as something that would feel great and make sense with the particular venue and support acts. Not long after this conversation, the show ended up selling out many weeks in advance at 1100 people. It was hard to believe at first.
More and more occurrences like this, and situations where we upgraded venue sizes for a particular show, were happening until things took a pretty substantial turn when everything shut down. This gave us the time to play catch up on some of the recording that we hadn’t found the time to do, as well as button up some aspects on the infrastructure side.
With all growth comes new challenges that are hard to foresee, especially when it happens quickly. I often find there to be new pressures as the venues move up in size, however each time I feel it moves the bar. Ever since we played our first arena show, it feels much more comfortable and less daunting to go and play big theaters afterwards. It’s great because it allows us to be more relaxed, which is ideal for putting on the best performances that we’re capable of.
In terms of favorite venues, I often lean towards anything outdoors. Something about being out in the fresh air and soaking up the vibe of the surrounding nature adds to the uniqueness of any given show. Of note I would say: feeling the breeze by the beach late at night in an amphitheater at Playing in the Sand 2020, watching lightning come in from the distance above The Caverns, and looking up at the massive sea of people at Red Rocks.
What are some of the biggest challenges that come with touring, especially as
the band grows?
The challenges certainly seem to evolve as the years go by. I am truly grateful for our team and crew around us... they are absolute legends and amazing people - and have made many aspects of being on the road feel lighter. Still the essentials are required, such as maintaining a good diet and getting enough sleep.
Staying healthy both mentally and physically is a priority which allows me to give everything I possibly can while out on stage. I feel that we owe it to ourselves and the fans and everyone behind the scenes as well who work so hard and travel far and wide to make the shows happen.
Tell us about the song you wrote, “Wysteria Lane,” and the inspiration behind it.
The underlying concept behind the song is really about exploring the thin layer between our perceived reality, and what potentially - and most likely - exists just beyond that perception to all the places you can go, if you are open to new experiences and the infinite realms one can tap into.
Let’s talk Phish and TAB: what was your first Phish show and your first TAB show? Do you have a particular favorite?
My first Phish show was the Hampton reunion show in 2009. That was a truly magical moment. The memory of the opening notes of “Fluffhead” is certainly goosebump-inducing.
I can’t remember the specific date for my first TAB show, but it was when I was attending college at UVM, and they played at Higher Ground. The whole night rode on such a high energy and felt genuinely positive.
What was it like playing with Trey Anastasio at Radio City Music Hall? It felt like a huge moment for not only the audience, but for the band as well.
Playing with Trey at Radio City was incredibly surreal. It’s one of those moments where you question if it’s really happening and the reality really sets in weeks later when you’ve had time to process it all. So much was happening in that moment and over the course of the weekend... it takes time to really wrap your head around it.
I’ve spent many an hour listening to recordings of Trey play, or live and in-person, that it was quite a trip to hear him onstage with his signature tone through our monitors, while playing off of the band.
What was going through your mind when you learned you would be on the road with TAB? This tour feels like an opportunity for some really cool musical jams and collaborations.
Hearing about the tour just adds to the list of news we receive that makes the entire journey seem like a dream these days. For many years we weren’t really focused on what could eventually be, but instead just put our heads down and worked hard at creating something we cared deeply about and wanted to share with other people. It feels great to have that pay off with opportunities to play legendary venues or collaborate with incredible musicians.
The entirety of TAB in its current form consists of highly talented players all who seem to come with a great attitude and positive air about them. I am looking forward to what collaborations may come forth on and off stage - we shall see what happens!
Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to leave with the community? Again, we sincerely appreciate your time and really look forward to the tour (and beyond!)
I think I would just reiterate the notion that what you put out into the world will attract a likewise energy back to you. Try to be welcoming of those around you at shows and create a safe community for people to enjoy themselves. I always love hearing about how people met lifelong friends or partners at concerts, connecting them beyond that evening alone.
Note: We are not affiliated, associated with or in any way officially connected to Goose.
We just love the band and community that much.