Marquee Memories: Geographer

We're a little over a week away from being treated to Geographer's newest single, "Van Halen" - but the formative concert experiences Mike Deni shared with us didn't include that hard rock band. He does tell a few great tales of becoming a James Taylor fan, tripping with Phish and a crowdsurfing phase inspired by Bruce Springsteen. Watch and enjoy:

James Taylor

"The picture that I'm gonna paint for you is a nine-year-old boy. He's been dragged to a James Taylor concert in some amphitheater in northern Jersey. I was just sort of like, 'Ugh, this is like being dragged to the mall.' Then as soon as he started playing and I'm seeing all the people around me, and I'm just like, 'This is a nice experience to have.' That was when it formed in my mind, I want to do that for a living. I think what I admire most about James Taylor on stage is just, he's very captivating and I think that really appealed to me because artifice, like kids can really sniff out artifice, I think, especially, and that's also the death of every performer is artifice and it's the hardest thing to get rid of because you're, it's artificial what you're doing, you know? But he has to tap into that, that like vein inside of him and send it to all these people who want it so badly."
I feel like I get a lot of guff from people about him. Like they're just like, "He's not cool," or whatever and I'm just like, "I don't understand why. Just because he is such a softie, but aren't we all?"


"So this is just a Mom warning. I'm sorry I lied to you. So my mom allowed me to go to a three-day Phish concert in Oswego, New York when I was in high school. I assured her there would be nothing bad happening there. We were just going camping and then watching a band that we like. So right when we get there, I'm hanging out with a bunch of older people too, and they're all super-duper hippies and they're like, 'Hey, we've got some mushrooms.' And I'm like, 'I'm at a Phish show. This is what I should do, right?' And I'm young and I'm rebellious and I want to have a great experience. When the mushrooms, when they kicked in, I just looked at my feet and I'm walking like many miles to the Phish show, just looking at my feet. People are trying to get me to look up and I'm just like, "No, no, no, this is... this is where I'm at right now. This is what I like to look at."
And right when "Chalkdust Torture" hit its apex I looked up and I truly, genuinely had the thought, "We are all connected." Like there was a golden halo around the whole crowd. It was just like humanity and we're all connected.
"And I was just like, "Yeah!" And then the rest of the time I was just like dancing like crazy. Also, when I came back from that three-day Phish show I was just like really into hugging. And in like Jersey, you know, in the '90s there wasn't so much hugging going on but I was just like, "No, we should hug." So it was like a lot of like, I brought the love back."

Bruce Springsteen

"Bruce Springsteen is the all-father. He's from New Jersey, I'm from New Jersey. I also did not like him until my mid-20s. And the reason, if anyone doesn't like Bruce Springsteen, it's because they're aware of him, I think, in the '80s to '90s phase. And the way I got in was through "Darkness on the Edge of Town," which is a really stripped-down Bruce Springsteen record. Very different from "Born in the U.S.A." So the first concert I went to of his was after being obsessed with his music and (laughs) so he comes out on stage, I think he introduced himself so it's dark and you just hear, 'Ladies and gentlemen, the only man audacious enough to introduce himself, Bruce Springsteen!' And then the lights come on and it's him. And just watching him control the crowd that was so just indelibly burned into my mind that I actually had to recover from it. Like Bruce Springsteen is so tapped into you. He's like, 'You're at church!' So then the next tour I went out on I was basically doing a Bruce Springsteen impression. I crowd surfed every single show (laughs) and some of them weren't that large, they were just in, like in Canada there were some bars and I would just like get up on the bar and then jump and it was so exhilarating. But it was because I saw Bruce Springsteen and I was just like, 'Bruce you gave me wings, I'm gonna do it.' But the concert. It was just so interesting to just be introduced to the church of Bruce and it's been a long, great journey ever since."
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Last updated: 22 Sep 2023, 19:13 Etc/UTC