OPT Exclusive – An Interview with The Shirt Tosser from 7/3

Just over two weeks ago I posted People Gay for Trey Toss Shirt Before 7/3. At the time the buzz around the Phish community is that the shirt was tossed by the person who started the Gay for Trey website. I assume this rumor started because the shirt that got tossed resembled a gay pride flag. In fact, the shirt was a sound receptive light-up shirt than can be found here.  Apparently the Gay for Trey guy then ran with the idea that it was he who was responsible for the hilarious pre-show shenanigan. As you can see in my post from two weeks ago, I asked for the person who threw the shirt to contact me so I can ask him some questions. A few days ago that person did, his name is Paul Teitelman, a fan from Toronto.

(Paul, right side, and his Canadian cohorts – Jon Weiner Photography)



Seeing as we still have about two weeks until Phish hits the road again, I figured it would be interesting to ask him how he was able to get Trey’s attention for almost a whole minute before the show started (longer than Trey’s attention is in most jams now). As you will soon read, the shirt tossing was the punchline of a multi-show ‘inside’ joke between Paul, his friends and Trey. If you have not already seen the popular video that was once titled (not sure when the title changed) referring to the “Gay for Trey guy” tossing Trey a shirt, I suggest watching it below before reading on. The second video is another perspective of the event.






Paul and I discussed the event, among other things, via email over the course of Friday and Saturday morning;


Friday, July 23rd, 2010
Online Phish Tour- So you are the person who threw Trey the shirt in Alpharetta, Georgia on July 3rd, right before they played the first ever Character Zero opener?


Paul Teitelman- Sure am bud.  You can even see the extra shirt that I brought along for Trey hanging off the rail [in the pictures]. I am the real deal and am very excited to get this story out there once and for all to set the record straight across the Phish blogosphere.


OPT- How did you get Trey’s attention so easily? People are always yelling for his attention. It’s pretty impressive you actually got him to walk to the front of the stage, take your shirt, hold it up, go for his guitar, listen for you to ask for a picture, put down his guitar, pick up the shirt again and hold it up and smile.


PT- For sure – totally agreed. Story here is that we actually did the entire South run – was so hot such a great run! We had 4th row seats in Charlotte (was on Page side so actually 1st row page side) and they saw us rocking out harder than anyone else so they knew us from the first night. Then in Raleigh we had 2nd row seats and we all wore our tqualizers. At the beginning of the first set Page recognized us from the first night and just laughed to himself. Second set as they walked on we all turned on our tqualizers and they all burst into laughter.


They were loving the shirts and after the encore we all stood on our chairs to celebrate an amazing show (FUCK YOUR FACE!!?!?) and both Trey and Page motioned to us saying they loved the shirts and they appreciated them a lot. During the second set Trey and I even rocked out during Fluffhead – he started bouncing looking right at me and I followed suit – freaked my shit so I knew they knew us (and especially me) well from that night.


So, deep down I was confident that I had made a strong connection with Trey, and felt he would love having the shirt. That’s why as soon as he comes out he sees us in the front row (yet again) signals “hey you guys with the shirts again” kind of thing and then I present him with the shirt for himself which he immediately comes over to take (was happy about that because bouncer said I would get in trouble if I threw it onstage hence why I was yelling for him so desperately to catch his attention).



Didn’t originally plan on giving him the shirt, was actually an extra one I brought along for myself as a backup in case mine broke (end up breaking that night lol) but knew that we had a chance at first row (we had pits and went early at like 4 to lineup for the race) so figured what the hell let’s make it happen and only jokes things will come from it. And that’s why you hear me yelling “I TOLD YOU, I TOLD YOU” to my buddies as soon as he grabbed the shirt because I knew deep down he would love it. Plus, if we hadn’t made the connection over the Charlotte/Raleigh shows in the previous nights he CLEARLY would have just been sketched out by me screaming that I got him a t-shirt, anyone would ya know? But he knew they were the light up shirts (clearly never saw them before) so he was genuinely excited to have one for himself (or for his kids).


It all happened so fast that I yelled “Trey, wait, one more!” because I wanted to take the picture of him with the shirt, posed for me and everything and it’s got to be one of the more classic stories/pictures of all time regarding phish + fan interactions, check it out below dude! 


OPT- How did you all manage to get such good tickets? Did you get lucky or just pay a bunch for resale tickets?


PT- Just hit the fucking jackpot through the Phish lottery. We all go through the lottery every time and usually get screwed over by getting too many tickets and then having to sell them on the lot for 1/2 price or less (or make “interesting” trades, hehe). Funny thing is in over 20+ shows each between me and all my buddies we’ve only one won pavilions once I believe. Then we end up hitting the jackpot for the entire South run – 4th row, 2nd row, pits and then good pavilions for the final Alpharetta show. We absolutely freaked our shit and couldn’t believe our eyes when we got the email notifications back. Not sure how I’m going to be able to go back to the lawns after that experience though…


OPT- As you probably know, Trey often just wears one or two shirts during a tour–how would you feel if he came out at the Greek in a couple weeks wearing the shirt you tossed him?


PT- Aaaaah dude this would be way too amazing!! Not going to lie, I yelled at him a bit to wear it second set (or at least for the encore) 1st night Alpharetta because we were all so excited he actually took the shirt and was so happy with it. I honestly thought he was going to bust it out on the final night (seeing as it was July 4th + fireworks + light up t-shirts) but it never happened. I even put batteries into the shirt and everything in case he wanted to bust it out that night but he never did. Also included a little note in the shirt as well just saying me and my buds love the band, most hardcore fans, from Toronto and we want them to come back and rip a show one day in TO.


OPT- What kind of shirt did you throw him, exactly?


PT- I threw him a light up t-shirt called the Tqualizer, they can be bought online at Tqualizer – the exact shirt was the “Chiller” shirt… Have no affiliation with this company but my buddy found the site like a year ago and we bought shirts knowing that one day we would wear them to a Phish show.


OPT- Where around Toronto are you from?


PT- I’m from a town called Thornhill (affectionally known as T-Hill), it’s just outside of Toronto and it’s part of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area.) We have a really hardcore crew of Phish fans up here and we travel all around to see shows and especially “runs” – like 4 shows in a row kind of thing.  Seen 24 shows since they’ve been back including the Fenway kick-off show, Miami New Years, both Hartfords, SPAC’s, etc. and then the South run (we drive, we fly – we do whatever we got to do!). (I’m kernelforbin on PT if you want to see all the shows)



OPT- Man, so you guys have to travel far pretty frequently, impressive. Us fans in the USA certainly take that for granted. Does it put a reasonable sized dent in the bank account? Maybe you can get a position for Phish in their wardrobe department and follow them for free.


PT- Yeah, we REALLY like our Phish shows so we travel, on average, about 5 – 6 hours per show, that’s why we try and save up for “runs” that are close. Darrien was the closest venue to Toronto and after that we usually try and do the Hartford>SPAC runs, Deer Creek>Alpines and any other close ones. We also hit up the New York shows as much as we can, lol – for the ‘Dagua show we took the afternoon off work, drove all the way up for the show and then drove home that same night so we wouldn’t have to miss work the next day; that was a bit intense but the “I am the Walrus” cover made it more than worth our efforts.


Not going to lie I never put a monetary value on Phish so I do whatever it takes to see as many shows as possible; it’s my favourite thing to do so why not ‘ya know – can’t I live while I’m young!?!?!


OPT- Ok, so you are part of America’s hat. Did you feel dirty celebrating America’s independence as an outsider? I hope you know how they feel about Canadians down in the south. They don’t take too kindly to your type.


PT- We actually had a blast dude, everyone was super cool and we really felt the “southern hospitality” that we’ve heard so much about. Didn’t get any negative vibes from anyone and even had some fun with some people in line as I was being a joker and trying to trade our saying of “eh!” with the southern saying of “y’all” but realized it wouldn’t work because we say “eh” way too much, lol. Also, July 1st is Canada Day so we had some fun telling people in Raleigh all about that (no one cared but we had fun anyways as we met some fellow Canadians and both him and I called the Llama opener – always LOVE a Llama opener!!)


OPT- Well, I’m joking about the South not “taking kindly to your type”, I assumed you guys had a sense of humo(u)r because Terrance and Phillip are so funny. Did the Fourth of July celebration reinforce your country’s inferiority to ours?


PT- Ahhh South Park reference here we go lol, LOVE the show but it’s hilarious cause all around the world (was in Europe before the summer tour this year) the only way people know about Canadians is through South Park. Canada isn’t as bad as y’all make it out to be ๐Ÿ™‚ we just don’t have Phish summer tours, and not going to lie you also have some pretty hot girls down in the South from what I saw (more people = better selection!). Fourth of July celebrations were really cool but not nearly as intense as the celebration in Toronto after we took you guys out in the gold medal game of this year’s Winter Olympics on our home turf!! ๐Ÿ™‚


OPT- I’ll be at Telluride>Alpine for this leg–any chance I’ll spot you in those shirts on lot at DC or Alpine?


PT- Ah all the way through!? That’s amazing man, mad jealous, and yeeee for sure! I’ll be at both Deer Creeks and Alpines and I’ll be busting the shirts for at least one show each as I have a pavilion and a lawn for each, so don’t be surprised if you see some tqualizers in the crowd – would be hilarious if a bunch of us all showed up with the tqualizers and like half the pavs had light up shirts – could you imagine – they’d flip their shit!! Second leg of Summer tour 2010 – run of the T-Qualizer!! (**cough cough, someone from tqualizer.biz better hook us both up for all this free promo)



OPT- So, did the “Gay for Trey” guy just “straight” up steal credit for this because the shirt kind of looks like a rainbow flag? Or, did someone on the internet start this rumor?


PT- To be honest I really don’t know what the guys incentive was for the whole gayfortrey bull shit. Apparently it’s not even his site (if you check the PT threads) and the shirt sure as hell isn’t gay (it’s fucking COOL if anything). I actually thought the guy was a good dude – he told me his youtube channel and email and everything and then I go and check and there’s this gayfortrey.com bullshit on it. I didn’t care because I was so happy the whole thing got documented but never (and still don’t) understand his motives for that.


**On a side note, the guy who posted it left halfway during the 2nd set when he had front row seats so NO COMMENT on that other then to say that’s pretty fucking pathetic – who leaves from the front row??


OPT- Ha, I like how you say “no comment” and then go on to say it’s “pretty fucking pathetic”. I agree, however– it had to have been the rainbow pattern of the lights on the shirt that led people to believe, somewhat, that it was the “Gay for Trey” guy, wouldn’t you say?


PT- Yeah lol, didn’t want to get too worked up about it but it was pretty fucking pathetic. Yea I do agree with you on that one but everyone in the front pit section knew about the shirts – we were pretty vocal and excited about A) him taking the shirt and B) being dead centre, front row – and saw them in action so not sure why he went with the whole “gayfortrey” publicity stunt.



OPT- So you are not Gay for Trey–in any way?


PT- Hahaha great question, let’s just say I’m as gay for Trey as any other hardcore Phish fan is out there. Fucking love Trey, and the whole rest of the band. It’s funny because right away Mike asked “Hey, where’s my shirt??” Me and my buds all offered him ours but he wasn’t interested in a hand me down sweaty phish fan shirt (and I don’t blame him either but you can hear me saying “You want my shirt? to him in that same video clip). I’m a drummer myself so fucking looove Fishman but all in all there’s no sexual feelings for any of them in any way, shape or form other then the fact they are my favourite band of all time. (yes that’s how we spell favourite in Canada!)


OPT- I was just going to say, please stop Canadaing up my interview with your oddly placed U’s. Coming from a heterosexual male that has intense sexual feelings for Trey Anastasio, I have to say that I am confused by your entire answer.  If Trey asked you backstage at setbreak, would you agree to a no-holds-barred anything Trey wants to do free-for-all?  If not, would front row tickets to a whole tour change your mind?


PT- Haha sorry bud got to hold true to my Canadian roots! Such a weird/funny question dude, maybe if he offered me that deal back in the summer tour of ’98 ๐Ÿ™‚ As much as I love Phish and the band would never allow myself to be sexually subjected to whatever exploits he would potentially have in mind (figuratively speaking). Also, seen enough shows now that nothing would really be worth having the scarring image of Trey’s face being up in my grill. Don’t even want to thing about anything more than that, so in short – no, as I am not gay for Trey!


OPT- This is sad, I figured everyone was sexually attracted to Trey.  Trey can have his way with me any day.


PT- Hahaha, well I’ll leave you and Trey alone then bud. I’m just mentally attracted to him, no sexual feelings what so ever just love the band and their music and everything they stand for – having fun!



OPT- I plan on making OPT shirts to hand out or sell cheaply for the Fall Tour. If I gave you a few in a few months can I rely on you to pass one on to Trey or another band member during one of the shows?


PT- I will absolutely try my best! Hopefully there are some close shows to TO (like Cinci, Albany – hit those last year great arenas) again on the fall tour – arena shows just sound so good even if they don’t have the same ambience and fun tailgating element of the summer venues.  The band should totally hook us up if they ever catch wind of this story – maybe he read my note and they’re planning a return to Canada – who knows!?! ** Haven’t been here since 2000 but every time they do come up North they always throwdown big! The Spirit of the North


OPT- Thanks for seeing my post about the video and emailing me about it. Is there anything else you would like to tell the Phish community to wrap this up?


PT- No worries man been a blast. I think this is all just too fucking funny and very happy I have a good avenue to get our side of the story across and clear up this whole “gay for trey” mystery once and for all! As for the whole Phish community – just keep up the great work with the blogging/coverage/sharing of setlists & photos – be sure to check out GlowStickWars if you haven’t heard of them yet (good buddy of mine trying to make glow sticks safer for all!). Keep having fun and just continue to treat other phish fans with respect, even if some of us come all the way from Canada ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait for what the band has for in store for the future – all these new covers and their constant dropping of “we are the all request band” is just way too exciting but hopefully they save the return of Dog Stole Things for Alpine Creek baby neeeeed that one bad! All the best dude.


You can follow Paul at his blog, Paul Teitelman – Life and Times of an SEO Expert and Music Fanatic

(The Money Shot)



(Mike Wants One too, Jon Weiner Photography)