Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig Presents Unexpected Deep-Dive into Twiddle, “Jamflowman” and More on ‘Time Crisis’ Radio Show
Here’s a pairing that you probably wouldn’t have thought of before today: modern indie-rock icons Vampire Weekend and Vermont jam quartet Twiddle.
While we probably won’t be seeing the two acts co-headlining a show anytime soon, VW frontman Ezra Koenig took quite a bit of time out of a recent episode of his radio show Time Crisis to discuss the band—the song “Jamflowman” in particular—and the jam scene in general with his co-host Jake Longstreth.
The discussion begins with Longstreth claiming that he sees the jam world as headed up by the Grateful Dead and Phish, followed by an ocean of other jambands, noting that he couldn’t really discern between bands like Twiddle and Widespread Panic. Koenig feigns indignation that his friend doesn’t know about “Widespread Motherfuckin’ Panic.”
The chat then gets into Twiddle’s “Jamflowman” song, with Koenig—a fan of the tune and Twiddle in general, it seems—noting that the cut gets some recurring grief among the more “mean-spirited people in the jam community.” The hosting duo plays parts of the song, some of them multiple times, with Koenig chiming in some vocals for select lyrics (really makes you wonder what it would sound like if VW were to cover Twiddle…).
Koenig goes on to challenge the haters of the song, saying that it might stem from jamband fans thinking that “their fandom and obsession with the various ‘Jamflowmen’ that they admire is somehow more sophisticated” than how Twiddle’s Mihali Savoulidis is singing about it in the song’s lyrics. “What if I told you the Jamflowman was Mr. Jerry Garcia or Trey Anastasio?” Koenig asks.
Koenig and Longstreth also question whether Twiddle are on Phish’s radar (looks like that’s a solid yes), talk about Bernie Sanders introducing Twiddle at their Tumble Down festival, mention the Long Strange Trip Grateful Dead documentary and its compelling story about Jerry Garcia and California’s Watts Towers, and dig even deeper into their theories on “Jamflowman,” including likening the song to a tall tale like Paul Bunyan or John Henry.
“19th-century Americans needed to believe in these big men, just like in the early 21st century we need to believe in a Jamflowman,” the duo collectively say (only partially tongue-in-cheek, like much of the “Jamflowman” discussion).
Listen to the full episode here (the talk on Twiddle begins around the 20-minute mark).