Confessions of a Lot Wookie: An Inside Look at One of America’s Most Notorious Rock Cults

Posted on by Stephenson Billings
In the summer of 2008, "Zane" stared into the abyss and the abyss stared back.

In the summer of 2008, “Zane” stared into the abyss of metal music and the abyss stared back.

We met at a gloomy little diner off the interstate. His gray eyes betrayed a world of experience I couldn’t begin to fathom. He looked uncomfortable in his sharkskin suit and quickly gulped a mug of black coffee.

I knew he had a story to tell. He knew it, too. The two of us sat there for several minutes just waiting for it to spill out.

“First of all,” he began, “I just want people to understand there is hope.” His addiction had started with marijuana but had steadily advanced to, “LSD, nitrous oxide, you name it…”

For the sake of this article, we’ll call him “Zane” but that’s not his real name. Today he has a career and a community to protect. “I have to be very careful,” he warned me, clutching a pack of menthol cigarettes, “you see, I used to be a lot wookie…

I had encountered this fascinating young man during my investigative work into the global warming conspiracy but his history was so compelling, I knew it deserved its own safe space. Hopefully this column can offer a modicum of solace to others who have suffered like the brave hero of the incredible tale that follows.

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Zane’s downfall followed an all too predictable pattern in our nation today. In early 2007, a female acquaintance at his college emailed him a link to The Pirate Bay, an illegal European website. He was directed to an album by a heavy metal music group he had never listened to before, The Phish.

The music that played on his iPod was lush and confusing, but Zane was at a confusing time in his life. The angry lack of rhythm, the frustrating lyrics, the utterly hopeless mystery of it all appealed to his tortured soul.

He searched Yahoo and found a cult of devoted followers in an underground message board. They spoke to each other using an elaborate code. He was able to glean hints of extravagant festivals where the wine and narcotics flowed freely. The women, according to numerous firsthand accounts, were even more willing to surrender to that flow.

Yet the bar for entry to the internet fraternity of the Phish was held high for new converts (n00bs in Phish slang) and they bitterly harassed Zane’s naiveté. This only made him redouble his efforts.

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He purchased an electronic “vaping” marijuana smoker. He ordered psychedelic t-shirts and graphic posters for his dorm room. Eventually, he attended the Phish’s impromptu music jams held in public forums across the country. He traveled from city to city with likeminded fans of the Phish, or phans as they prefer to be called.

“It was the summer of 2008 and the financial markets were all over the map,” he told me. “I wish I knew then what I know now about credit default swaps. But the markets, the economy, none of it meant anything to me. I didn’t care if America burned to the ground. All I wanted was Phish, Phish and more Phish!”

Zane ended up seeing so many concerts that he was invited backstage. There, he became a confidant of two of the group’s central figures, Trey Anastasia and John Fishman. They sought out his critiques after performances. He gave them advice about future musical numbers. Soon, he grew to be a trusted member of the inner circle.

Lured into a life on the road

Lured into a life on the road, “phans” of the Phish find comfort in bright lights and body odor.

Together with John and Trey, Zane drank the very best cognacs in crystal tumblers until dawn. The musicians would play tunes from their hit album, Lawn Boy, while smoking hand-rolled marijuana “blunts.” The band had their own private blend of reefer flown in daily from the finest fields in Jamaica. Women literally threw themselves at their feet– fashion models and farm girls and an endless stream of movie stars.

There was one memorable evening, Zane recalls, when a gorgeous young celebrity– a name we would all recognize– beckoned him into an orgy with drummer Fishman. In that cloud of opium smoke, she introduced the men to secret tantric sex maneuvers that prolonged their ecstasy for hours and hours. The night was so significant that the Phish later memorialized it in the song, “Time Turns Elastic.”

It was a heady life for a young man from a simple gated suburb of Connecticut. He thought he was at the top of his game. Deep within the occult sanctum of the Phish, Zane learned some incredible things about the creation of this rock band and their real purpose in the American cultural scene. The truths Zane revealed to this journalist are so severe and shocking, they are best left to a later column. Suffice it to say, there’s far more to this conspiracy than meets the eye!

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Passions ran deep in the gilded cage of the tour bus and one day Zane found himself pressed against the bars. He was arguing with keyboardist Page McConnell about the chords to the song, “Chalkdust Torture” when bassist Mike Gordon grabbed him from behind without provocation and wrestled him to the ground. The musician was in a fit of jealousy over his liaison with the aforementioned celebrity actress even though the threesome had happened nearly a month earlier.

On the floor of the tour bus, surrounded by discarded lingerie and empty magnums of Veuve Clicquot, Zane almost broke Mike’s fingers. The thought of never hearing, “You Enjoy Myself” again was the only thing that held him back. At the front, drummer Fishman had been lost in reverie as he navigated the twists and turns of their mountain path. When he noticed the commotion, he begged for the two men to stop fighting. But it was to no avail. McConnell began clapping for more in that discordant way of his. Exasperated, John finally slammed on the brakes in the hot midday sun.

Zane was smart enough to sense this moment was inevitable. His rucksack had been hidden by the door with three bottles of the finest cognac and a pound of Fishman’s Jamaican reserve for over a week now. With tears in his eyes, the drummer gave him a long, deep hug before lumbering back into the bus. Trey’s forlorn face was pressed against a back window. The guitarist tried to muster a wave but instead made a fist. He banged it against the window, silently mouthing the word “Why?” over and over again.

The summer of Zane’s innocence was over in a gust of exhaust fumes. He stood alone on the side of that desolate Colorado highway.

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potbowl

For America’s ever earnest millennials, marijuana is a bitter mistress.

Some time later– it may have been days or months, who can tell in the fog of addiction?– the hero of our narrative woke up behind a dumpster in some hardscrabble mining town. He went to wipe the vomit from his chin with a piece of newspaper when something caught his eye. Staring at him from page 8 of the Wall Street Journal was an old friend from his lacrosse days. The two of them had once dreamed of getting MBAs, working at Goldman and marrying supermodels together. Here the lacrosse-playing lout was, being fêted as an activist shareholder who broke up a sprawling mineral concern and making investors millions in the process.

In the bathroom mirror of a nearby Kmart, Zane took stock of his own life. Dreadlocks, urine-drenched Tevas and a $500-a-month marijuana habit. No, the face of a lot wookie would never be stippled on the front page of the Journal.

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Recovery was a long and rocky road, but the collapse of the economy in the Fall of 2008 made everyone in New Canaan a bit more willing to help out an angel who had looked homeward. With the assistance of a vigorous prep school alumni organization, Zane did eventually deprogram from the Phish cult. He returned to Bard to complete his B.A. in Comparative Literature and just last year landed a management position in the call center of his father’s nanocap arbitrage business.

“I want to show you one last thing,” he said as our interview wound down. Leaning across that grimy diner tabletop, he rolled up the sleeve of his crisp Brooks Brothers shirt. “I work out three times a week and always catch myself staring at this in the mirror.” On his left bicep was a rainbow-colored tattoo of a fish. “Sometimes when I’m working on my glutes, the Nautilus machine makes this strange noise, like the hiss of a nitrous tank. That brings it all right back.”

The 27-year old looked wistful beyond his years and all of the sudden the tsunami of his bitter tale washed over me. I reached for my valise, hoping, praying, there was a packet of tissues buried there somewhere.

 

  • Kaylee-Aurora

    I hate to think that this poor man has a mother out there who will read this some day. Can’t people just wake up and realize pot is terrible for you? And who wants to see these types lurking around with there dreadlock hair and that oil scent they wear. I remember this people from college. I knew a girl who went off to follow them, We really tried to intervene but it didnt work. What a world we live in when the police still allow this!

  • Marco Esquandolez

    It has to be a joke, or you’ve been duped. Phish was on hiatus from
    2004 until 2009.

    • Fidel Castro

      Brah do you, like, even Phish? 2008 tour was so epic with the nitrous most phans barely remember it.

      • Krimson

        That’s “teh phish” you poser!

    • Blanche Beecham

      Marco, do you even carry a valise? Not a sissy murse, a manly, elegant, classy valise. I certainly hope that someday you have enough testosterone to handle one. Donald J. Trump, the next President of the United States of America carries a valise. You may never make it to that level and be stuck with your, your hacky sack.

    • IJR

      Phish was terrible from 1984-2017.

  • Cassidy Pen

    I have known and also grown sentimental to aged and broken phans who’ve suffered while in contact with this jamband. Their stories, while personal and tragic, are so similar in many ways.

    • Dr. Arthur Bacon Plimpton

      Somebody should do the world a favor and get all these dead heads fixed.

      • DeadHeadGirl

        Last time I checked, I wasn’t broken.

    • Stephenson_Billings

      People have been warning the world about the dangers of this sort of lifestyle since the 1960s and some parents just dont listen. They think its just a phase but when the kid comes home broke and with a full blown pot habit, its just almost nothing you can do but pray. Sad really.

      • The antichrist is everywhere!

  • Courtney Wilson

    It saddens me to see that pot has depleted today’s youth of their work ethic, morals, drive, and sense of moderation. And we, as a nation, are *supporting* this drug. I just don’t understand it.

    • Stephenson_Billings

      That is why the socialists keep trying to make it “legal” in liberal states.

      • Glyn Parson

        first of all ignoramous this article is a joke the band was not even performing in the above mentioned years. Secondly jack ass liberal states pay in more in taxes while conservative states spend more then they make and take in handouts from the liberal state. But stay ignorant fool.

        • Stephenson_Billings

          Yeah well there seems to be some disagreement about that as other people have posted here regarding the 2008 concert series by the Phish so please don’t try to distract from the main point.

        • John Humbracht

          poe’s law

  • Michael DiPalma

    I hate to think that this poor Kaylee-Aurora has a mother out there who will read her post some day. Can’t people just wake up and realize that ignorance is awful?

  • Blanche Beecham

    Young ladies need to learn how to spread icing on a cake for dessert, not spread their legs for these rock bands with the marijuana needles and doping up in vans.

    • Guest

      marijuana needles? Ahahahahah oh god. This is the funniest website I’ve ever seen. It’s even better than the onion.

  • Howard DeMarco

    The government needs to fund a rehabilitation program for these aimless souls. Offer each one of these phans a free vasectomy or hysterectomy in return for a free Rolling Stones cassette. Such a low cost program would relieve their pain and protect normal Americans.

  • methmonster

    We don’t need to worry about pot with pedophiles like Danny Molek running around.

    • danny molek

      i am not a pedophile. you are a psychopath.

      • methmonster

        Chop it off Danny and stop the insanity!!!

        • danny molek

          You have destroyed my ego and made me almost commit suicide and castrate myself. Although I am not a pedophile, whoever you are wherever you are, whatever you believe, you will always have a place in my heart. I love you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

    • danny molek

      Hey methmonster. I’m doing great. I’m selling my Ween Sgt. Pepper cartoon DVDS on my facebook and Ween Forum. It’s $25 and has everything any stalker or troll would want to know about my righteous and virtuous penis. Inbox me if you want to sell them for me. Thanks.

  • Taperecorder13

    This is satire. If you didn’t catch that, then you are an idiot and shouldn’t be allowed to use the internet or have children. You should be fixed.

  • Dr. Arthur Bacon Plimpton

    We used to take a firehouse to people like this back in my day. Sounds like these dirty little freaks could use a fresh bath but they’re probably afraid of water and sunlight. Hope you got your shots before hanging around these dope fiends!

    • Stephenson_Billings

      I think most of these kids are just lost souls who have traveled too far out into the modern world without moral guidance. Many come from leftwing and even atheist households and have never known the healing power of Christ. It’s a sad reflection of what society looks like when it goes socialist. These kids can’t last long in the real world.

  • Blanche Beecham

    Why must musicians be refer doers? Is brain damage a cool gig?