Lawyer Works for Charity in Cyberspace

Helps Fund Music Education with Phish Book

Many people have a favorite band. Fewer write a book about it, and almost none give away the proceeds. But that’s what a local antitrust lawyer helped do, in a unique publishing effort.

Charlie Dirksen has put in countless hours researching one of the biggest rock acts. He has been a major force behind a mold-busting book. But as part of the Mockingbird Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit incorporated under the laws of the state of New York, Charlie will not benefit from his contribution.

The Foundation works almost exclusively via the Internet, in a cooperative effort of 1488 contributors investing thousands of hours. The result of their work is definitively the most complete and accurate book about the band and their music, an encyclopedic desk reference of epic proportions published by San Francisco-based publisher Miller Freeman, Inc. The book will hit store shelves in the next few weeks.

The Phish Companion has been a labor of love for many people over many years, Dirksen explained. It has been an enormously rewarding project. Other fans write books, but not with official help and not for charity. Other bands have fans, but not like Phish.

Over the past 18 years, the Vermont quartet has become the world’s most consistent touring act, with sell-out shows worldwide. Their dozen albums have done well without radio play, MTV exposure, or significant promotion. Their continuing legacy is recorded in dozens of mailing lists, hundreds of websites, and thousands of live shows in circulation among devotees. “Now,” Dirksen is proud to say, “there’s a book that matches that intensity, in scope and integrity.”

The Phish Companion includes the most complete information available about every Phish performance and every song Phish has performed. It also includes interviews, discography, dictionary, show reviews, tape notes, tour summaries, essays and poetry, charts and graphs, maps, and much more. The table of contents is available via fax by contacting the book’s project director, Ellis Godard.

The book also has heart. None of those contributing to the book or working for the Foundation are receiving any financial compensation. All of the group’s proceeds are going directly to nonprofit work in music education for children. And that same charitable spirit continues to motivate Charlie Dirksen’s contributions to the Phish community.

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