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Phish

Phish performing at American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL on December 30, 2009. Left to right: Page McConnell, Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon.
Background information
Origin Burlington, Vermont, USA
Genres Alternative rock, jazz fusion, neo-psychedelia[1]
Years active 1983–2000
2002–2004
2009–present
Labels Elektra, Rhino/WMG, JEMP
Associated acts Dave Matthews and Friends, Phil Lesh and Friends, Oysterhead, 70 Volt Parade, Amfibian, Benevento/Russo Duo, Jazz Mandolin Project, Pork Tornado, Ramble Dove, Rhythm Devils, SerialPod, Surrender to the Air, Trey Anastasio, Trey Anastasio Band, Vida Blue
Website www.phish.com
Members
Trey Anastasio
Mike Gordon
Jon Fishman
Page McConnell
Former members
Jeff Holdsworth
Marc Daubert

Phish is an American rock band noted for its musical improvisation, extended jams, exploration of music across genres and devoted fan base.[2] Formed at the University of Vermont in 1983, the band's four members performed together for over 20 years until an official breakup in August 2004. The band reunited in 2009 for three shows at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia, and have resumed their former activities with a full summer, a fall tour, a new album titled Joy, their eighth festival in Indio, California, and four shows in Miami, Florida, culminating on New Year's Eve. On March 15, 2010, Phish performed two Genesis songs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in New York City. Trey Anastasio gave a speech and inducted Genesis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Their music blends elements of a wide variety of genres,[3] including rock, jazz, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, funk, bluegrass, reggae, country, blues, and classical. Each of their concerts is original in terms of the songs performed, the order in which they appear and the way in which they are performed.

Although the band has received little radio play or mainstream exposure, it has developed a large and dedicated following by word of mouth, the exchange of live recordings and selling over 8 million albums and DVDs in the United States.[4][5] Rolling Stone stated that the band helped to "...spawn a new wave of bands oriented around group improvisation and superextended grooves."[6]

Contents

History

1983–1992

Phish was formed at The University of Vermont in 1983 by guitarists Trey Anastasio and Jeff Holdsworth, bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman. For their first gig, at a Halloween dance in the basement of the ROTC dormitory, the band was billed as "Blackwood Convention", a reference to a bidding convention in contract bridge. Their second gig — and their first billed as "Phish" — was November 3 in the basement of Slade Hall at UVM,[7] though another source gives the date as December 2.[8] The band was joined by percussionist Marc Daubert in the fall of 1984,[9] while the band was first promoting themselves as a Grateful Dead cover band.[7] Daubert left the band early in 1985,[10] and Page McConnell joined on keyboards in September. Holdsworth left the group after graduation in 1986, solidifying the band's lineup of "Trey, Page, Mike, and Fish" — the lineup to this day.[10]

Following a prank at UVM with his friend and former bandmate Steve Pollak — also known as "The Dude of Life" — Anastasio decided to leave the college. With the encouragement of McConnell (who received $50 for each transferee), Anastasio and Fishman relocated in mid-1986 to Goddard College, a small school in the hills of Plainfield, Vermont.[10] Phish distributed at least six different experimental self-titled cassettes during this era, including The White Tape.[11] This first studio recording was circulated in two variations: the first, mixed in a dorm room as late as 1985, received a higher distribution than the second studio remix of the original four tracks, circa 1987. The older version was officially released as The White Tape in 1998.[12]

By 1985, the group had encountered Burlington, Vermont luthier Paul Languedoc, who would eventually design two guitars for Anastasio and two basses for Gordon. In October 1986, he began working as their sound engineer. Since then, Languedoc built exclusively for the two, and his designs and traditional wood choices have given Phish a unique instrumental identity.[13] Recently, however, Languedoc has begun crafting guitars on custom order and, on a very limited basis, to the general public through local music shops.

As his senior project, Anastasio penned The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday, a nine-song concept album that would become their second studio experiment. Recorded between 1987 and 1988, it was submitted in July of that year, accompanied by a written thesis. Elements of the story — known as Gamehendge — grew to include an additional eight songs. The band performed the suite in concert on five occasions: in 1988, 1991, 1993, and twice in 1994 without replicating the song list.[14]

Beginning in the spring of 1988, the band began practicing in earnest, sometimes locking themselves in a room and jamming for hours on end. Dubbed "Okipa Ceremonies" (also spelled Oh Kee Pa), one such jam took place at Anastasio's apartment, and a second was at Paul Languedoc's house in August 1989.[15] The band attributes the sessions to Anastasio, who discovered the concept in the films A Man Called Horse and Modern Primitives.[16] The product of one of these sessions was included in the band's first mass-released recording, a double album called Junta, later that year.

On January 26, 1989, Phish played the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. The owners of the club had never heard of Phish and refused to book them, so the band rented the club for the night. The show sold out due to the caravan of fans that had traveled to see the band.[17]

By late 1990, Phish's concerts were becoming more and more intricate, often making a consistent effort to involve the audience in the performance. In a special "secret language,"[18] the audience would react in a certain manner based on a particular musical cue from the band. For instance, if Anastasio "teased" a motif from The Simpsons theme song, the audience would yell, "D'oh!" in imitation of About this sound Homer Simpson. In 1992, Phish introduced collaboration between audience and band called the "Big Ball Jam" in which each band member would throw a large beach ball into the audience and play a note each time his ball was hit. In so doing, the audience was helping to create an original composition.

In an experiment known as "The Rotation Jam", each member would switch instruments with the musician on his left. On occasion, a performance of "You Enjoy Myself" involved Gordon and Anastasio performing synchronized maneuvers on mini-trampolines while playing their instruments.[19]

Phish, along with Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead and The Beatles, was one of the first bands to have a Usenet newsgroup, rec.music.phish, which launched in 1991. Aware of the band's growing popularity, Elektra Records signed them that year. The following year A Picture of Nectar was complete: their first major studio release, enjoying far more extensive production than either 1988's Junta or 1990s Lawn Boy. These albums were eventually re-released on Elektra, as well.

The first annual H.O.R.D.E. festival in 1992 provided Phish with their first national tour of major amphitheaters. The lineup, among others, included Phish, Blues Traveler, The Spin Doctors, and Widespread Panic. That summer, the band toured Europe with the Violent Femmes and later toured Europe and the U.S. with Carlos Santana.

Poster for Phish's 1995 Halloween extravaganza

1993–1995

Phish began headlining major amphitheaters in the summer of 1993. That year, the group released Rift packaged as a concept album and with heavy promotion from Elektra including artwork by David Welker. In 1994, the band released Hoist. To promote the album, the band made their only video for MTV, "Down With Disease", airing in June of that year. Foreshadowing their future tradition of festivals, Phish coupled camping with their Summer tour finale at Sugarbush North in Fayston, Vermont in July 1994, that show eventually being released as Live Phish Volume 2.[20] On Halloween of that year, the group promised to don a fan-selected "musical costume" by playing an entire album from another band. After an extensive mail-based poll, Phish performed The Beatles' self-titled album — as the second of their three sets at the Glens Falls Civic Center in upstate New York. Following the death of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia in the summer of 1995 and the appearance of "Down With Disease" on Beavis and Butthead, the band experienced a surge in the growth of their fan base and an increased awareness in popular culture.

In their tradition of playing a well-known album by another band for Halloween, Phish contracted a full horn section for their performance of The Who's Quadrophenia in 1995. Their first live album — A Live One — which was released during the summer of 1995 became Phish's first RIAA certified gold album in November 1995.[21]

During this fall tour, the band challenged their audience to two games of chess, with each show of the tour consisting of a pair of moves. The band made their move during the first set, and, during the break between sets, the audience members could vote on their collective move at the Greenpeace table. The audience conceded the first game at the November 15 show in Florida, and the band conceded the second at their New Year's Eve concert at Madison Square Garden. Having played only two games, the score remains tied at 1-1.[22] This year-end concert would later be named as one of the greatest concerts of the 1990s by Rolling Stone magazine.[23]

1996–2000

Phish retreated to their Vermont recording studio and recorded hours and hours of improvisations, sometimes overlaying them on one another, and included some of the result on the second half of Billy Breathes, which they released in the fall of 1996. Alongside traditional rock-based crescendos, the album has more acoustic guitar than their previous records, and was regarded by the band and some fans[24] as their crowning studio achievement. The album's first single, "Free", peaked at #24 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart and #11 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, becoming the band's most successful chart single of their career[25].

That summer, they mounted their first two-day festival — The Clifford Ball — at a decommissioned Air Force base in Plattsburgh, New York. Between 70,000 and 80,000 people were in attendance; MTV was on-hand to document the experience. In Phish's own makeshift city, Great Northeast Productions created an amusement park, restaurants, a post office, playgrounds, arcades, and movie theaters. Aside from six "traditional" sets, the band rode a flatbed truck through the campground, serenading the audience at 3 a.m.[26] The concert's production company went on to host six more Phish festivals.

By 1997 jams were becoming so long that several sets contained only four songs; their improvisational ventures were developing into a new funk-inspired jamming style. Vermont-based ice cream conglomerate Ben & Jerry's launched "Phish Food" that year and proceeds from the flavor are donated to the Lake Champlain Initiative. Part of Phish's new non-profit foundation, The WaterWheel Foundation was also composed of two other now-defunct branches: The Touring Branch and the Vermont Giving Program.[27]

The Great Went, Phish's second large-scale festival, was held that summer at Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine, just miles from the Canadian border. The official count for the show was an impressive 65,000 people, qualifying the festival to be the largest city in Maine.[28] For many fans however, the crowd felt larger. Band and audience collaborated yet again in a colossal work of art: individual pieces of art by fans were connected to a large piece of art by the band. A giant matchstick was lit, burning the resultant tower to the ground.[29]

Phish returned to Limestone in the summer of 1998 for the Lemonwheel festival, drawing 60,000 fans.[30] Phish headlined Farm Aid in October, sharing the stage with Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and Paul Shaffer. Again, altering their approach to studio releases, the band recorded hours of improvisational jams over a period of several days and took the highlights of those jams and wrote songs around them. The result was The Story of the Ghost in October and the instrumental The Siket Disc released the following year. On Halloween in Las Vegas, Nevada, the group performed Loaded by The Velvet Underground; two nights later they played Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon unannounced and in its entirety to an audience of 4,000 in Utah.[31]

In 1999, the band decided to forgo the annual summer festival to prepare for the New Year's Eve millennium celebration. However, at the eleventh hour, Camp Oswego was held in July at the Oswego County Airport in the upstate New York town of Volney, with 65,000 in attendance.

For the Millennium Celebration, Phish traveled to the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in the Florida Everglades. Of the major New Year's Eve concerts around the globe — Sting, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel — at 85,000, Phish had the largest attendance of any paid concert event that night.[32] During ABC's millennium coverage, Peter Jennings and World News Tonight reported on the massive audience and featured the band's performance of "Heavy Things". Called "Big Cypress", the enormous festival culminated with an extended seven-and-a-half hour set that began at midnight and ended at sunrise.

2000 saw no Halloween show, no summer festival and no new full-band compositions: May's Farmhouse contained material dating from 1997 and original material from Trey's 1999 solo acoustic/electric club tour. That summer, the band announced that they would take their first "extended time-out" following their upcoming fall tour.[33] During the tour's last concert on October 7, 2000 at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, they played a regular show and left without saying a word as The Beatles' Let It Be played over the sound system.

The hiatus allowed the members of Phish to explore more deeply their musical side projects. Anastasio continued the solo career he'd begun two years earlier, formed the group Oysterhead, and began conducting an orchestral composition with the Vermont Youth Orchestra. Gordon made an album with acoustic guitar legend Leo Kottke and two films before launching his own solo career. Fishman alternated between Jazz Mandolin Project and his band Pork Tornado, while McConnell formed the trio Vida Blue.

2002–2004

Over two years after the hiatus began, Phish announced that they were getting back on the road with a New Year's Eve 2002 concert at Madison Square Garden. They also recorded Round Room in only three days. In their return concert, McConnell's brother was introduced as actor Tom Hanks. The impostor sang a line of the song "Wilson," prompting several media outlets to report that the actor had "jammed with Phish."

At the end of the 2003 summer tour, Phish held their first summer festival in four years, returning to Limestone for It. The festival drew crowds of over 60,000 fans, once again making Limestone one of the largest cities in Maine for a weekend. In December, the band celebrated its 20th anniversary with a 4 show mini-tour culminating at Boston's Fleet Center. During the Albany date on this tour, Phish invited founding member Jeff Holdsworth onstage for the first time since 1986.

In order to avoid the exhaustion and pitfalls of previous years' high-paced touring, Phish played sporadically after the reunion, with tours lasting about two weeks. After an April 2004 run of shows in Las Vegas, Anastasio announced on the band's website that after a small summer tour the band was breaking up.[34] Their final album at the time, Undermind, was released in late spring.

The band jammed with rapper Jay-Z at their second Brooklyn show in the summer of 2004, and performed a seven-song set atop the marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theater during The Late Show with David Letterman to fans who had gathered on the street, a move reminiscent of The Beatles' final performance on the rooftop of the Apple building in London. Their final show of 2004 — Coventry — named for the town in Vermont that hosted the event. 100,000 people were expected to attend.

After a week of rain that prompted rumors of a sinking stage, Gordon announced on the local radio station that attendees should turn around, no more cars were being allowed in. As only about 20,000 people had been admitted, many concert-goers abandoned their vehicles on highway roadsides, shoulders and medians and hiked to the site, some as far as thirty miles. With the number of people that walked in, the crowd grew to an estimated 65,000 in attendance.

The band broke down crying onstage several times during the final concert, most notably when McConnell choked up during the ballad "Wading in the Velvet Sea" and elicited Anastasio to say a few words of farewell. Coventry was an emotional goodbye for Phish and for its audience; an end to Phish's chapter in rock music. With little help from radio, music television channels and album sales, Phish became one of the top ten grossing live acts in North America.[35] As Rolling Stone put it:[36]

Given their sense of community, their ambition and their challenging, generous performances, Phish has become the most important band of the Nineties.

2004–2008

During their break-up, members of Phish maintained various solo projects. Trey continued his solo career with his own band and performed with Oysterhead in June 2006. Gordon played with Leo Kottke and the Benevento/Russo Duo. At Bonnaroo in 2006, he played with his newest project, Ramble Dove, which is the name of the country outfit he fronted in his directorial feature Outside Out, and also joined Grateful Dead drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann along with Steve Kimock and Jen Durkin as the Rhythm Devils. Anastasio and Gordon toured as a four-piece with the Benevento/Russo Duo in the summer of 2006. McConnell debuted his new solo project at a festival in September 2006 held by jam band moe. and released his self-titled debut on April 17, 2007. Fishman has performed occasional shows with the Everyone Orchestra, The Village and the Yonder Mountain String Band, but had, for the most part, retired from the music business.

Phish received the Jammys Lifetime Achievement Award on May 7, 2008 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Jammys Executive Producer and Co-Creator Peter Shapiro said, "Few bands have meant as much to the improvisational music community as they have, so celebrating their career is something that is a natural thing for us to do."[37]

Rumors of a Phish reunion began in earnest following a May 2008 Rolling Stone interview with Anastasio, where he was quoted as saying, "...at this point in time I would give my left nut to play [You Enjoy Myself] five times in a row every day until I die."[38] The following month, rumors began to circulate that a reunion was in the works, as well as a studio collaboration with Steve Lillywhite, producer of 1996's Billy Breathes.[39] A letter from McConnell appeared on Phish.com later that month, both tempering the rumors and giving them new life, saying that "the announcement of a reunion is premature. However, later this year we hope to spend some time together and take a look at what possible futures we might enjoy.... The prospect of Phish reuniting is something I consider very seriously, and I think about it a lot." McConnell went on to remind fans that "there is plenty of misinformation floating around. Try not to focus too much on secondhand sources and random gossip. If there is anything real to announce, it will come from the four of us as a group."[40]

After performing three songs together at the September 2008 wedding of their former tour road manager,[41] the long-awaited announcement from the four as a group came on the first of October with the report of three planned reunion shows: March 6, 7, and 8, 2009 at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia.[42]

2009–present

Following the reunion weekend, the band played thirteen shows of a summer tour,[43] including an inaugural concert at Fenway Park,[44] and headlined Bonnaroo 2009 in June with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Beastie Boys, and Nine Inch Nails.[45] During their first set of the second day, Phish was joined by Springsteen on guitar for "Mustang Sally", "Bobby Jean", and "Glory Days".[46] Twelve additional dates in July and August were announced as a Late Summer Tour, including four nights at Red Rocks, two nights at The Gorge, a stop in Chicago, and several nights in the Northeast.[47]

The rumor regarding the collaboration with Lillywhite became fact as they worked together on Phish's fourteenth studio album, Joy,[48] which was released September 8, 2009.[49] A single from the album, "Time Turns Elastic", was released on iTunes in late May.[50] The band played nine of the ten tracks throughout the course of the first leg of their summer tour, starting with "Ocelot" on the first night of the tour.[51] The band announced a "save-the-date" for a three-day festival on October 30 & 31 and November 1. Phish.com contained an animated map of the United States, and individual states were slowly removed from the map, leaving California.[52] Confirming several rumors,[53] the band announced that Festival 8 would take place in Indio, California. Festival 8 featured the band covering the Rolling Stones album "Exile on Main St." as their traditional "musical costume",[54] and also featured the band's first full acoustic set on Sunday, just after noon.[55]

Phish entered the foray of video games via Rock Band in 2009. Included in the Bonnaroo song pack, with other artists playing at the Bonnaroo Festival that year, is Phish's "Wilson" (December 30, 1994 at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY as released on A Live One),[56][57] the first of their songs to appear in the game. A Phish "Live Track Pack" for Guitar Hero World Tour became available on June 25, 2009.[58] Recordings of "Sample in a Jar" (December 1, 1994 at Salem Armory, Salem, Oregon), "Down With Disease" (December 1, 1995 at Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania) and "Chalk Dust Torture" (November 16, 1994, Hill Auditorium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, as released on A Live One) have been released, compatible with Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii.

The band has since completed a fall tour taking the band throughout the Great Lakes, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic.[59] They have performed in Florida at Miami's American Airlines Arena for a 4-night New Year's Eve run.[60]

In March 2010, Trey Anastasio was asked to pay tribute to Genesis, one of his favorite bands, upon being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to Anastasio's speech, Phish appeared and performed two Genesis songs, "Watcher of the Skies" and "No Reply At All." Genesis did not perform.

It has recently been announced that footage from Festival 8 will be released in April 2010 as a 3D movie: "PHISH3D." [61]

The band has also recently announced a 29 show summer 2010 tour which includes a two night stop in Telluride, CO.

Music

Phish's music is an eclectic blend of rock, jazz, funk, progressive rock, new wave, ambient, bluegrass, psychedelic rock, reggae, Latin, folk, blues, country, and classical. Their more ambitious compositions (such as "You Enjoy Myself" and "Guyute") are often said to resemble classical music in a rock setting, much related to the genre of progressive rock. The band has performed nearly 650 individual compositions.

Discography

In addition to their fourteen studio-recorded albums, Phish has released a multitude of live shows: seven traditional live albums, and a series of 27 complete concerts called Live Phish. Phish has also released 6 videos, containing live concert footage and documentary material. The band's Junta and A Live One reached platinum status, and the albums Lawn Boy, A Picture of Nectar, Rift, Hoist, Billy Breathes, Slip Stitch and Pass, Hampton Comes Alive, and Farmhouse reached gold status. In addition, their DVD Phish: Live in Vegas achieved gold status, and the DVD of It went platinum.

Phish at The Gorge on July 13, 2003

Concerts and fan culture

The driving force behind Phish is the popularity of their concerts and the fan culture surrounding the event. Each a production unto itself, the band is known to consistently change set lists and details, as well as the addition of their own antics to ensure that no two shows are ever the same. With fans flocking to venues hours before they open, the concert is the centerpiece of an event that includes a temporary community in the parking lot, complete with "Shakedown Street": at times a garment district, art district, food court, or pharmacy.[62] For many, one concert is simply a prelude to the next as the community follows the band around the country.

Tickets by Mail

Fans were able to purchase tickets before the general public by using Phish Tickets By Mail, a mail-order service available through Phish.com or their newsletter, Doniac Schvice. The service was first made available for tapers' tickets prior to the 1993 new years run and became available for both tapers' and regular tickets by Summer 1995. Orders were filled on a first-come-first-served basis, making every attempt to return all orders before tickets went on sale through traditional outlets. All levels of seating were made available through Phish Tickets By Mail (including the best seats in the house). Starting with the 1995 new years run, mail order tickets featured unique designs by long-time band artist Jim Pollock. In 2002, Phish abandoned the mail-in method of Tickets-By-Mail in favor of an Internet-based ticketing system, allowing ticket-seekers to submit all necessary information online. Abandoning the first-come-first-served philosophy, orders were instead filled by lottery.[63]

Fifth member

A dedicated group of fans — CK5 — unsuccessfully attempted to have Chris Kuroda officially recognized as a member of Phish. The band's lighting designer since 1989, Kuroda is completely responsible for the visual aspect of a Phish concert, establishing it as important as the aural.[64] As much of each concert is unrehearsed and improvisational, Kuroda is able to "play" the lights in time with the music.[65]

Comparisons to the Grateful Dead

Phish is likely the foremost Grateful Dead-inspired band and is thus a primary example of a jam band.[66][67] Often compared to one another,[68] the bands' similarities are cultural as well as musical. Fans of both bands would often tour for weeks at a time, travel from show to show, and support themselves by selling food, homespun goods, and other goods to the pre-show parking lot community. Just as Jerry Garcia had frequently collaborated with a non-Dead member, lyricist Robert Hunter, Trey Anastasio frequently shares writing credit with lyricist and non-Phish member Tom Marshall.

The comparison extends to the business practices of both bands: the primacy of live shows over studio albums and commercial appearances, the fan-friendly taping policies[69][70] and generous archival release programs,[71][72] and the familial quality of the organizations themselves further align the legacies of the two bands.

Musically, the bands' similarity is more of ethic than aesthetic. Their embrace of group improvisation in a rock context is their unifying factor; however, Phish tended to more closely follow a jazz language or tradition in their playing (similar to The Allman Brothers Band),[24] which is very distinct from the Grateful Dead's roots in folk and Americana.[73]

Furthermore, the similarity extends to both bands' relationship to pop culture, with Ben & Jerry's naming a flavor of ice cream after each — "Phish Food" after the band and "Cherry Garcia" after the Grateful Dead guitarist.

Fan activities

Like the Grateful Dead before them, which had legions of loyal fans nicknamed Deadheads, fans of Phish — known as phans, phriends, phamily, Phishheads, or any number of ph-substituted appellations — have created over a dozen fan organizations. Maintained by fans for fans, these run the gamut of profit status, and indirectly work to the benefit of the band. While pot smoking is common at Phish concerts,[74] one of the more noticeable groups is "The Phellowship", a group that celebrates seeing shows sober together,[75] and the "Green Crew" who work after concerts removing trash and refuse.[76] People for a Louder Mike (PLM) was an informal effort to campaign for the increase of Gordon's bass in the mix,[77] there are organizations for gays and lesbians[78] as well as female fans,[79] and communities of fans on Usenet newsgroups such as rec.music.phish and on Phish.net. The Mockingbird Foundation — a fan-run charitable organization dedicated to music education for children — has announced two $5,000 grants as a result of the Reunion fund begun in fall of 2007: one to the town of Hampton, Virginia, and the other to the town of Hampton, Nebraska.[80]

Live recording circulation

Because Phish's reputation is so grounded in their live performances, concert recordings are commonly-traded commodities. Official soundboard recordings can be purchased through the Live Phish website. Legal bootlegs produced by tapers with boom microphones from the audience in compliance with Phish's tape trading policy[81] are frequently traded on any number of music message boards. Although technically not allowed, live video of Phish shows are also traded by fans and is tolerated as long as it is for non-profit, personal use. Phish fans have been noted for their extensive collections of fan-taped concert recordings; owning recordings of entire tours and years is widespread.

References

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External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Phish is an American rock band noted for jamming and improvisation. The band's four members performed together for the better part of 21 years until their breakup in August 2004, but have since reunited in 2009. Their music has elements of a wide variety of genres, including rock, jazz, bluegrass, heavy metal, folk, blues, progressive rock, acoustic music, and European classical music. Each Phish concert is original in terms of the songs included, the order in which they appear, and the way in which they are performed: most of their songs are never played the same way twice. Although the group receives little radio play or MTV exposure, Phish has developed a large following by word of mouth and the exchange of live recordings.

The following quotes are from a variety of Phish songs performed throughout their history. The majority of Phish lyrics are penned by lyricist Tom Marshall, a childhood friend of founding member Trey Anastasio.

The following lyrical excerpts are listed in alphabetical order.

Lyrics

  • All of These Dreams

If you go there, and after you do
All of these dreams would be yours to pursue
The rest of your lifetime devoid of a care
If you keep your eyes open, you may find yourself there

  • Anything But Me -

You've become an island in the hazy world surrounding me
Offering a vast reward each time I safely cross the sea
All too often I become lost in the fog and haze
Clinging still against my will to promises of clearer days

  • Back on the Train -

When I jumped off, I had a bucket full of thoughts
When I first jumped off, I held that bucket in my hand
Ideas that would take me all around the world
I stood and watched the smoke behind the mountains curl
It took me a long time to get back on the train

  • Brian and Robert -

If you're just staring at your walls
Observing echoing footfalls from tenants wandering distant halls
Then this one is for you
If children playing all around to you is noise, not pleasant sound
And you feel lost on the playground...
Then this one is for you

  • Bug -

Nothing I see can be taken from me

  • Bye Bye Foot -

Where I end and you begin
I wanna find that line and cross it back and forth
Until it's erased by our footsteps

  • Crowd Control -

It's crowded in the lowlands but the fools stay on the hill
You control us now, you have the reins
Do something or we will

  • The Curtain -

As he saw his life run away from him
Thousands ran along chanting words from a psalm. 'Please me and have no regrets'

  • Dear Mrs. Reagan -

Dear Mrs. Reagan, I hope you're feeling well
Fighting drugs and abortion will keep you out of Hell
Send in the troops, they'll shut the system down
Take away their leaders and replace them all with clowns
Out in the Rose Garden, time for a speech
Make up your face so it looks like a peach
Aw, Nancy dear, what shall I say?
Tell ol' Ronnie it's all okay

  • Destiny Unbound -

She started the ignition and without permission, the two of them flew down the dusty road
But the road wasn't finished and the pavement diminished
They soared off the edge and they plunged in the sludge
She said, "There isn't even any road, our destiny was bound
We were the ones for us, but now we're in the ground"

  • Dirt -

I'd like to live beneath the dirt
A tiny space to move and breathe is all that I would ever need
I wanna live beneath the dirt
Where I'd be free from push and shove like all those swarming up above
Beneath their heels I'll spend my time
I'll wriggle in the earth and dew
And sometimes I will think of you
And if you ever think of me, kneel down and kiss the earth
And show me what this thought is worth
I'll never hear your voice again

  • Discern -

I think I hear a whisper around nearly every turn
But what the voice is saying, I barely can discern
The echoes that are following the contours of the ground
Ebb and flow and ease into a tidal wave of sound

  • Dog-Faced Boy -

Whenever I think of you it only makes me feel sad
Whenever I think of you....the best friend I ever had
Before I give it up all for nothing:
Well, I lied and I cheated, and it made me feel bad
It made me feel guilty for not being true
For the months I spend trying for a way to explain
In the end all I could do was turn my head in shame

  • Down With Disease -

Waiting for the time when I can finally say
That this has all been wonderful, but now I'm on my way
But when I think it's time to leave it all behind
I try to find a way to, but there's nothing I can say to make it stop

  • Driver -

I'll tell you about the driver who lives inside my head
He starts me up and stops me, then puts me into bed
He opens up my mouth when it's time for me to talk
He fires up my legs when he wants me to walk
He keeps my eyes open for most of the day
Adds to my memories the things that people say
And when he makes decisions, I don't have to wait
But sometimes it seems that he's got too much on his plate
Like this morning when I woke up and he dressed me in this shirt
That looks a little ragged where he dragged me through the dirt
I'm moving through this life and I'm thinking about the next
And hoping when I get there, I'll be better dressed

  • Farmhouse

Each betrayal begins with trust, every man returns to dust

  • Fast Enough for You -

If time were only part of the equation and you could draw the boundaries of our cage
You wouldn't pile another stone upon me, and I'd be happy just to watch you age
But everything is in its own dominion, and waiting in the shadows as I do
Appeases me as water slowly trickles out, which isn't nearly fast enough for you

  • Frankie Says -

Relax
The world will spin beside itself and suck you in
With threats and hopes beyond compare
I change the landscape as I pass, meandering from sand to glass
I suction there for one whole day, until the feeling goes away

  • Free -

I feel no curiosity, I see the path ahead of me
In a minute I'll be free, and you'll be splashing in the sea
We hear a tiny cry as the ship goes sliding by

  • Mountains in the Mist

Rain falls on my shoulders, sun rises in the east
I'm worn and bruised, but I am here at least

  • Friday -

I crashed, I burned
But then I learned to keep my eye on you
You always say you'll lead the way
But then you never do

  • Heavy Things -

Things are falling down on me, heavy things I could not see
When I finally came around, something small would pin me down
But I tried to step aside and move to where they'd hoped I'd be

  • The Horse -

It's time I sling the baskets off this overburdened horse
Sink my toes into the ground and set a different course
Because if I were here and you were there, I'd meet you in between
And not until my dying day confess what I have seen

  • If I Could -

Stay with me till time turns over
I wanna feel my feet leave the ground
Take me where the whispering breezes
Can lift me up and spin me around
If I could I would, but I don't know how

  • It's Ice -

Slipping on the friction slide, my skin peels to the bone
The flesh I leave behind is something that is not my own
I beg my mirror image for a moment with my soul
He's leaning back, it's time to attack
It's me who's in control
With every move I make, he's got a hand up just in time
He's throwing several punches and he's blocking most of mine
Defeated now, I sulk and squirm in mud with froen mice
Waiting, calculating 'til next he ventures onto the ice

  • Julius -

You gave it to me but I really don't want it
I came out on top by the luck of the draw

  • Jennifer Dances -

You ought to know from long ago to listen to the winds that blow
Cause when the past creeps up at last, you'll see the landscape open fast
And you'll be standing on a landing, crumbling despite your demanding

  • Lifeboy -

When the line is breaking and when I'm near the end
When all the time spent leading, I've been following instead
When all my thoughts and memories are left hanging by a thread
God never listens to what I say

  • Limb by Limb -

I never want my hand cut off, I never want a hacking cough
I never need a cliffside push, I never turn my brain to mush
Always give me what I lack, always take the best parts back
Always recognize your fate, always just a moment late
Left is where I always turn, left is how I'm forced to learn
Left the route my walking takes, left alone with my mistakes
Up against the person who up 'til now I never knew
Up from hell the answer blew, up or down...it's up to you

  • The Mango Song -

Your hands and feet are mangos, but you're gonna be a genius anyway

  • Maze -

The torrent of helplessness swept me away to the cavern of shame and the hall of dismay
Inside me a voice was repeating the phrase, "You've lost it, you'll never get out of this maze"

  • Meat -

I need a different life, I think
Perhaps I'll be the missing link
I treasure moments as I drink away the memories
Let them sink

  • The Meatstick -

Long before this scene concludes, the end I'm seeking still eludes
My every effort to apply, my will to moments passing by
But everytime we say goodbye, there's a pain I can't identify
That reveals to me the hidden door that leads to several moments more

  • Mike's Song -

Trapped in time and I don't know what to do
These friends of mine, I can see right through 'em
You don't gotta tell me, cause I don't gotta move
I'm sittin' back here just sharin' in the groove

  • The Moma Dance -

All throughout I gaze and glimpse you
Loving never did convince you
I see you when you're all alone
It's like a person I've not known
The moment ends though I feel winds
Blowing differently than ever before, and then pushing me further from shore

  • Mound -

Ice is all he was made of
The bitter blue had frozen through
He went over to the mound
Reclining down his final thoughts
Reflecting on the time this life had shined

  • Never -

Never is that point in time that doesn't have dimension
Always is the measure of how long time's been around

  • Nothing -

I stand on a featureless sheet of blue stone
And then for one instant I'm not quite alone
Your hand is extended but then you rescind
And you, like my thoughts, are borne off by the wind

  • Pebbles and Marbles -

She started a blaze from one tiny spark I didn't even detect
She loved the light, was dismayed by the dark, the stars, though, she seemed to respect
The faint light that flutters at night to the earth would land in her eyes and collect
Luminous creatures she'd find in the surf I never thought to inspect
Pebbles and marbles, like things on my mind, seem to get lost and harder to find
When I am alone, I am inclined, if I find a pebble in the sand, to think that it fell from my hand
She gave me ideas and planted the seed, but she never stopped to reflect
The course that she's on, wherever it leads, I never would redirect
Pebbles and marbles, like words from a friend, make us hold tight but are lost in the end
When we're alone, we all seem to tend, if we find a marble in dust, to wish someone left it for us

  • Prep School Hippie -

Prep school hippie, or hip school preppie
I can't decide
Should I spend my adolescent days wearing tie dyes or Vuarnets
I can't decide
A big ten kegger at the frat, or watching Jerry shake his fat
Prep school hippie, or hip school preppie
I can't decide

  • Rift -

Silence contagious in moments like these
Consumed me and strengthened my will to appease
The passion that sparked me one terrible night
Had shocked and persuaded my soul to ignite

  • Roggae -

If life were easy and not so fast, I wouldn't think about the past
I can't forget to turn the earth so both sides get their share of darkness and of light

  • Round Room -

If I pass out, take me to the round church
Where echoes resound and my spirit is found
And when I float high, take my arm and I'll fly you by
To the outskirts of town to a garden that's round

  • Run Like an Antelope -

Set the gearshift to the high gear of your soul
You've got to run like an antelope out of control

  • Sample in a Jar -

You tricked me like the others and now I don't belong
The simple smiles and good times seem all wrong

  • Sand -

I will choose my own religion and worship my own spirit
And if you ever preached to me, I wouldn't want to hear it

  • Scents and Subtle Sounds -

If you would only start to live one moment at a time
You would, I think, be startled by the things that you would find
Like scents you never noticed, and many subtle sounds
Like colors in the landscape and textures of the town
Then the winds would lift you up into the sky above
And you'd be treated to a view of everything you love
And if the moment passes, you should try it once again
For if you do it right, you'll find the moment never ends

  • Shafty -

The terrible thing about Hell is that when you're there, you can't even tell
As you move through this life you love so, you could be there and not even know
But you say, "So what, I'm doing just fine"
The irony is that it's all in your mind
That's why Hell is so vicious and cruel, but you'll just go on an oblivious fool

  • Silent in the Morning -

You're silent in the morning, suspended in the trees
Lunch time comes, you've found your voice, it brings me to my knees
The volume just increases and the resounding echoes grow
Until once again, I bask in morning stillness I love so
The target that I shoot for seems to move with every breath
I tighten all my arteries and make one last request
Divine creation hears me, and he squashes me with fear
I think that this exact thing happened to me just last year

  • Sleep -

I can't describe the feeling when I'm in my bed asleep, and then
I wake up with a vision blurred and all my efforts are deterred
To reconstruct this image lost
There're certain things my mind won't do, and even though they're very few
The image glistens like a gem, repairing is not one of them
So I'm awake, though in my mind, the image that so unrefined
Is calling to me from the deep, tempting me to fall asleep

  • Spices -

A single cloud within a storm descends and leaves behind a form
Someone that you knew appears in front of you: a woman's figure, rain-cloud-born
She blinks but doesn't see you yet, she shivers and is soaking wet
You cross the sand and take her hand, a lifetime passed since last you met
Centuries now fall away, seems so long since yesterday
When you were young and in the sun, you let your woman slip away
You take the hands that you have missed and kiss the lips you haven't kissed
For many years, taste the tears
Spices that you can't resist

  • Split Open and Melt -

I wake up on my stomach with my face between my hands
And crawl along the floor toward the doorway
Jumping to my feet, I try to put myself together
But I feel it in my knees and the room begins to spin
I slip and bump my head and raise a welt, split open and melt

  • Spread it Round -

Together we are all alone, united on a spinning stone
So if your love is running down, don't concentrate it....spread it round

  • Steep -

Much ado is all I see, in fact, it is surrounding me
The seething crowd intrudes all day until I'm finally swept away
Although I thought my roots were deep, I sank them into hillsides steep
And riverbanks that soon erode and canyons that have overflowed

  • Strange Design -

Tripping in this strange design, none is yours and far less mine
Hold the wheel, read the sign, keep the tires off the line
Just relax, you're doing fine
Swimming in this real thing I call life
Can I bring a few companions on this ride

  • Taste -

I'm down, and I will drag you along and around
Until you burst into song and unwind, and leave your new life behind for a while
Cause I can see through the lines

  • Tela -

As I look into her eyes, my frozen heart begins to thaw
And burn, 'til layer after layer melts away into a pool
The sky blue mirror of her eyes
And my soul is made of marble, but in her gaze I crumble into dust
And drift away on the wind: the wind from beyond the mountain

  • Theme From the Bottom -

Pantomime mixtures of heaven and earth
Jumbled events that have less than no worth
Time in the forest to dig under rocks
Or float in the ocean asleep in a box
Or sink just below all the churning and froth
And swim to the light source or fly like a moth
So toss away stuff you don't need in the end
But keep what's important and know who's your friend

  • Thunderhead -

I need a new way to express myself
So you don't need to guess what otherwise I'd say aloud
And watch it float just like a cloud, high up above you like a thunderhead
But you would just look down instead and wait 'til foggy skies appear
And vapor clouds all disappear
And with them, all my words for you have softly sublimated too
And you'll just hope that I've moved on, so you'll look up and find me gone

  • Train Song -

The glass on the lantern casts back the sight of a drive-in movie, we drove by below
We saw where we'd been in the pictures within, projecting all the places we would go
So we followed the scene and flowed up your steps to a smooth wooden floor in a trance
The train whistle melody woved through the trees and in through the door to signal the turns of a dance

  • Two Versions of Me -

Ten mountains stand tall, nine seasons since fall
Eight eons of sand, seven oceans began
Now there is none, no more light from the sun
Now waters run free, no more phish in the sea
One more name on the slate, one less minute to wait
Too busy to see two versions of me
One more bottle is dry, one less reason to try
Six feet underneath, five fingers don't reach
Four seconds it seems for all of our dreams
Three oceans away, two children at play
Too bust to see two versions of me

  • Vultures -

Blind me with ambition like a razor to the throat
Cast aside your foolish pride, I'll cast the final vote
The feelings you've been waiting for are clawing thru your skin
And if you look above, you'll see the vultures moving in

  • Wading in the Velvet Sea -

I took a moment from my day and wrapped it up in things you say
Mailed it off to your address, you'll get it pretty soon...unless
The packaging begins to break and all the points I tried to make
Are tossed with thoughts into a bin, time leaks out my life leaks in
You won't find moments in a box, nd someone else will set your clocks
I took a moment from my day and wrapped it up in things you say
And mailed it off to you.....

  • Walls of the Cave -

I'm leaving you a message, I'm leaving you a trace
I'm leaving thoughts for you I hope that time will not erase
And when the moment comes to read the words that I engrave
You'll find them on the walls of the cave
I know you heard the question but you didn't make a sound
And when it fell you caught my heart before it hit the ground
But if you ever need the names of those you couldn't save
You'll find them on the walls of the cave

  • Waste -

Don't want to be a farmer working in the sun
Don't want to be an outlaw always on the run
Don't want to be a climber reaching for the top
Don't want to be anything where I don't know when to stop
A dream, it's true
But I'd see it through if I could be wasting my time with you
So if I'm inside your head, don't believe what you might have read
You'll see what I might have said
To hear it, come waste your time with me

  • Water in the Sky -

Listen as she speaks to you
Hear the voices flutter through the barriers arranged by you
Close the shutters, draw the shades
Filter out the everglades, glistening with evening dew
Thunder calls through waterfalls, rising tides, and ocean walls
I can hear you when you sigh
Listen as she speaks to you, hear the voices flutter through
Watch them fall and let them lie

  • Waves -

How is it I never see the waves that bring her words to me
For though unseen, they drift around, they catch my breath and knock me down
I feel them quickly swirling by as they withdraw with my reply
And slip into the dark of night as I attempt to stay upright
Instead I'm stranded on my knees as words depart upon the breeze
Which quickly drifts away from here and possibly won't reach her ear
If we could see the many waves that flow through clouds and sunken caves
She'd sense at least the words that sought her on the wind and underwater

  • The Wedge -

It's the ocean flowing in our veins and it's the salt that's in our tears
We could have come so very far in at least as many years

  • Wolfman's Brother -

I might be on a side street or a stairway to the stars
I hear the high pitched cavitation of propellers from afar
So with meaningless excitement and a smooth atonal sound
It's like a cross between a hurricane and a ship that's run aground


Simple English

Phish is an American rock band. They formed in Vermont in 1983, broke up in 2004, and reformed in 2009. Their lead singer is Trey Anastatio. Phish was often compared to a modern day Grateful Dead, and had a similar following with "Phish Heads" traveling across the country with the band on tour. In 2009, Phish played their first show in almost five years on March 6, 7 and 8 at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA. The band surprised many in the audience with longer sets than they usually played.

Their music has a lot of improvisation, causing their songs to often be very long when played live. It has elements of a variety of genres, including rock, jazz, funk, progressive rock, bluegrass, country, reggae, blues, Latin, and psychedelic rock.








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