Phipps & Phriends are old school

Pa.-based band hasn't fully embraced digital age

Pa.-based band hasn't fully embraced digital age

November 06, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Ashley Paul Phipps, founder of jam band Phipps & Phriends, is an anolog man living in a digital world.

Phipps, known to most as "Ash," said the past three years have been ones of transition for the band, which formed in 2005 after his other band, The Phipps Brothers, broke up.

The new band has had to change its mindset, Phipps said.

The old band - which recorded three original albums - earned its stripes touring the East Coast in the 1980s and '90s, back when screwing up during a recording session might have meant doing it over, Phipps said. But at the end of the day, Phipps said, you could be sure that quality prevailed.

The ease of technology changed things. His beef with digital production and the Internet is a matter of principal.

"It's too easy," said Phipps, 38, of Gettysburg, Pa. during a recent interview with The Herald-Mail.


Phipps & Phriends, based in central Pennsylvania, is set for a show at Market Cross Pub & Inn in Shippensburg on Friday.

Phipps grew up in York, Pa. He said he went to the same school as Blind Melon guitarist Chris Torn, who is also from York, and others who went on to make it big.

"Music was really the only outlet we had to keep us out of trouble," Phipps said.

For now, the Phipps & Phriends plays a lot of covers, but there are plans to head back to the studio to record an album of originals, said Phipps, who put his voice as somewhere between Gregg Allman and Joe Cocker.

Q&A with Ash Phipps

Going at it alone, what sorts of things were you guys up against?
I was still thinking what an '80s or '90s record company would want when it was 2000, 2001, when it was a completely different ballgame. The Internet was just starting to bust at the seams. It was like anyone could put a mic to a computer and sing and the world would hear - and quality went out the window.

How did you adjust?
It just came to a point when we were struggling so hard to make it. I thought, really, what I really like about the music is the reaction - to communicate with people, the performance reaction. It didn't so much have to be about the art or the production. The performance and the finished product is what it's all about.

Do you plan to go back to doing original stuff?
I plan on doing another original album in the next eight months. It's discouraging sometimes. There's just a tendancy for people to go online and give thier music away.

So, where do you stand with digital editing? Have you fully embraced it?
For my music, it's not the direction I want to go. I'm up to date, but that's not the direction I want to go.

About Phipps & Phriends

Genre - Rock

City - Gettysburg, Pa.

Lead vocals, bass - Ash Phipps

Lead guitar, backing vocals - Jason McClellan

Drums - Sterling Ingram

Upcoming show - 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7 at Market Cross Pub & Inn, 105 W. King St., Shippensburg, Pa., 717-532-3967

Web -

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