The Dude of Life

Under the Sound Umbrella

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It would not be entirely accurate to say that the Dude of Life (a/k/a Steve Pollak) is to Phish what Robert Hunter was to the Grateful Dead, i.e., a friend of the singer and lead guitarist who became the band's lyricist and an unofficial member. Nor would it be entirely accurate to say that the Dude is to Phish what Wavy Gravy was to the Grateful Dead, i.e., its clown prince. But neither comparison is entirely false, either. The Dude, who has written a number of songs recorded by Phish, has also recorded on his own, albeit backed by members of Phish, as he is here on his second album, along with other musicians. He writes quirky lyrics that border on novelties, such as "Tow Truck Driver," in which the singer describes shooting the man who towed his car off his front lawn, and "Paparazzi," which advises that, if you become famous, you should let them take your picture because you can't outrun them. The Dude sets such sentiments to music that is sometimes reminiscent of late-period Beatles (those rock songs that John Lennon wrote for The Beatles, Abbey Road, and Let It Be) and early David Bowie (Space Oddity, Hunky Dory), and sometimes just generic rock and funk. Derivative? Sure. A spin-off of a more popular entity? Okay. But the Dude is not without his own odd perspective on things. Look, it would not be entirely accurate to say that he is to Phish what Warren Zevon was to Jackson Browne, but .... You get the idea.

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