- Tim Wheaton
Episode 63 features Adam Scheinberg, who wears and has worn many hats in his life. Adam is the architect of Phish.net (as you know it today). He also did a lot of the masterminding of AllThings.Umphreys.com and does a major portion of the web work for them. If that somehow isn’t enough for you (because it wasn’t for Adam!), he is also the president of the Mockingbird Foundation.
Adam was directed to me by Brando Rich of Cash or Trade (you may remember him from episode 54). Adam had helped with some of the initial frameworks for the CashorTrade site and their coding, so it was cool that Brando thought to recommend him for the podcast.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Adam’s family actually originated from the state of New York. Some of his family still resides in Connecticut, while he has actually moved down that coast a bit to reside in Florida. He starts off with some pretty astounding quick hits about his Grandfather and his life.
Adam was set to follow in his own Father’s footsteps: becoming a lawyer. He tells about the day that he was set to turn in his paperwork to apply for law school. He got some serious cold feet on what his previous plan for life had been and that became every bit the life-changing event that it sounds like.
This path change ended up leading to Adam taking some time off to head out of the U.S., following Phish on their European tour in 1998 after he graduated college. Looking forward to "an adventure that had no direction", Adam packed his bags and headed off alone to travel to Europe.
Following his amazing time in Europe, meeting some people who would re-enter his life later down the road, Adam entered the world of computer programming. His disdain for the setlist randomizer on Phish.net led to him reaching out to offer to fix it for them. This became, really, the catalyst for him eventually taking on a complete re-write of the Phish.net website.
He originally started kind of toying with the site while Phish was on hiatus. Coincidentally, their decision to reunite came while Adam was working on re-tooling the site. The powers that be contacted Adam, essentially asking him how much longer it would take for him to have the site reconstructed and ready to go.
Adam shares my respect for Umphrey’s McGee and said "they are a band not afraid of taking technical risks". He talked a little bit about having written the tools to specifically help the band write their setlists. I have always been very real and forthcoming about how much I love what the band and their management does. They are imaginative, they are extremely thoughtful about their fans, they think way outside of the box and they love to keep it fresh.
I loved hearing the stories that Adam told about the band and their dedication to their craft for what they play onstage at their shows, as well as for the product they deliver overall to the fans. I shared a story of my own from an LA show that I got to spend some time backstage with the band before the show and how a tease made its way into a song that night and how I got to see it all take shape. A special moment that I don’t take for granted at all.
After working our way further into his professional life, we made our way through his personal and family life as well. Adam talks about meeting his wife, their marriage and quickly starting their family. We evolved into talking about TV and movies with our kids and some of the things each of us have lucked out with our kids watching that isn’t as painful as, say, Caillou (not really at all sorry, Caillou).
It took us a while to get to it, but Adam talked about his move into the Mockingbird Foundation. He created some goals for the foundation and eventually made the tough decision to step down from Phish.net. I’m shortening this (that’s what the episode is for, people!), but eventually this all just led to Adam becoming the President of the Mockingbird Foundation. Some of the stories he tells about grants that he has been able to be a part of with the Foundation are completely remarkable. It’s brilliant what they do for communities and children.
Not to avoid the hot button topics, we talked about both "Party Time" during the 2018 New Years Run as well as using the word "Curveball" at one point in the episode. Yes, those things only mean something to those of you who are Phish fans.
We basically wrapped the episode with a "Lightning Round" of music questions for Adam. I won’t give you his answers here (again… podcast episode, y’all), but I will show you the questions:
Top 5 Phish songs. Top 5 Umphrey’s songs. Favorite cover songs by Phish. Favorite cover songs by Umphrey’s McGee. Favorite studio albums by bands not named Phish or Umphrey’s McGee. And finally, if he could see any band no longer playing (whether due to retirement or death, etc.) which band would he want to see live.
Music used in this episode by Umphrey’s McGee:
2×2 is from Red Rocks, CO on July 2, 2016
Wappy Sprayberry is from The Fillmore in Detroit, MI on February 3, 2017
Cut The Cable is from First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN on April 28, 2016
Miami Virtue is from Chicago, IL on December 30, 2016
The Floor is from Salt Lake City, UT on March 10, 2018
Kula is from Atlanta, GA on December 30, 2018
You can find Adam on Twitter at @sethadam1 and pretty much all of his links are in his bio. If you aren’t one for Twitter, then check out mbird.org to read more about the Mockingbird Foundation.
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Intro and Outro music proudly provided with a partnership by Umphrey’s McGee.
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