Roly-Poly Phish Heads

I agree with every single word of this article and could add about 10,000 more.

The only moderately good thing to have spawned from this whole fucking decades long Phish nightmare was the emergence of Oysterhead, and that was only good because Les Claypool probably threatened to beat Trey Anastasio to death with an upright bass while choking him out with a whammy bar (in reality, they are friends, but a lot of my life is self created fiction these days).

I feel very strongly about this. Phish is a musical abomination, and when people come to my house and ask me if I have any Phish or want to listen to Phish, I look at them like they had just asked me to have a conjugal relationship with one of my pets and all I can think is “Get out of my house and do no come back.”

And don’t even start in on the Dead, haters. We had Jerry and Pigpen and the Godchaux’s and Bobby Weir and Robert Hunter writing songs and well, just don’t even fucking start. If you say there is no difference between the Dead and Phish, you might as well tell me there is no difference between Bush and Gore. And you are an idiot.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit






144 replies
  1. 1
    Joel says:

    Phish is one of the many bands that I could never be bothered to care about.

    Then again, I feel the same way about the Stones, so I don’t know if that’s a real negative for them.

  2. 2
    Liquid says:

    I suggest Wounded & Bleeding as a band name; also my present status.

  3. 3
    Ruckus says:

    Don’t know if I’ve ever heard Phish. Got the impression they seemed like something you listened to to piss off someone. Appears to have worked.

  4. 4
    Alison says:

    :( I used to love going Phishing.

    (This is what we called it before Internet spammers stole that word. Yes it was stupid but what do you expect from silly hippies.)

    Even when I turned uber-gawth I still would put on Bouncin’ Around the Room and, indeed, bounce around.

    Can I still comment here? I LIKE LOTS AND LOTS OF MUSIC PLEASE DON’T HOLD IT AGAINST ME.

  5. 5
    Ruckus says:

    @Joel:
    I think it helps to like the Stones if you have been around long enough. Like when they started. I have and still not a fan of everything but some of their stuff is among my favorites. To each their own.

  6. 6
    NotMax says:

    To properly appreciate them, the band must be listened to inside a late model Outback.

    :)

    (In actuality, have never heard Phish, and wouldn’t recognize anything done by them.)

    Although it is striving mightily to become gentrified and chi-chi, the little village here long populated primarily by Deadheads remains an experience better skipped.

    Roly poly fish heads are never seen drinking cappuccino
    In Italian restaurants with oriental women yeah

  7. 7
    J.Ty says:

    Phish had some surprisingly complicated musicianship going on, like in Golgi Appartus. I’ve also got nothing against them as people. They were good at playing instruments.

    As were the Dead, but their act was at least original. Phish got stuck somewhere between the 80s and The Flaming Lips as far as I can tell.

  8. 8
    Goblue72 says:

    Not a fan of the Dead – noodling jam bands bore me. But Phish is like a bad fax copy of a jam band. Just nasty.

    Props for the Doctor Demento inspired thread title though.

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    Phishbro!

  10. 10
    comrade nimrod humperdink says:

    I think a lot of folks that are passionate about music have a couple bands that just set them off like this. For me that band is Limp Bizkit and associated Fred Durst related shenanigans. There’s a ton of bad dirge metal/rap rock stuff out there, but this group was the one that found a way to just make me angry for all the wrong reasons, and the last straw was that year when “Break Stuff” was all over rock radio. I just couldn’t handle it. Other folks shake their fist at Nickelback or Creed (both of which are basically just forgettable–though somehow very profitable–bad knockoffs from the grunge goldrush; STP would probably be their spiritual father-band but I was never able to hate on them as much) but for me Bizkit is that group. I think when people get attached to certain groups in their youth, and then the knock-off bands come around to cash in (or just a related act that feels like a knockoff to fans of the “original”) the reaction is visceral because of the emotional investment. I like the Beatles, but I don’t hate the Monkees, because I’m not a Beatlemaniac. You hate Phish partly for their fans and it seems, because you love the Dead, and one feels like a knockoff of the other. I started from a base of Dre, Snoop, Cypress Hill, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, The Beastie Boys, and Rage Against the Machine, and suddenly I’m hearing some moronic dudebro (long before that was the term) telling me about how he was like a chainsaw that was gonna skin my ass raw, because he woke up cranky. “What the fuck is this shit?” was, and still is, my gut-level reaction to that.

  11. 11
    DougJ says:

    Jewish Steel sent me a brilliant take down of phish the other day.

  12. 12
    J.Ty says:

    @comrade nimrod humperdink: Durst and everything that touched him objectively sucks though. Creed and Nickleback kind of also objectively suck. I was never into STP… but I’d have to say that Creed was at least musically pleasing to listen to, kinda, as long as you didn’t pay attention to the lyrics.

    I used to hate Vampire Weekend because they were obviously just Cape Cod Paul Simon posers, but of course Paul Simon is just some afrobeat poser too, so whatever. Shrug.

  13. 13
    comrade nimrod humperdink says:

    @J.Ty: Funny, I’ve got most of the old Simon and Garfunkel stuff, and enjoy it but I never chased down any of Simon’s solo work and I’m not really that familiar with it.

  14. 14
    Ian says:

    you might as well tell me there is no difference between Bush and Gore.

    There was a huge F*ing difference. Whom did you vote for again?

  15. 15
    mattH says:

    As long as you are pontificating on jam bands, opinions on Leftover Salmon, Widespread Panic, String Cheese Incident, Zac Brown Band?

  16. 16
    Amir Khalid says:

    I just had a listen to some Phish, and they seem to be rather more about the craft of music than the art. Their music is exquisitely played but it’s kind of dull.

  17. 17
    NotMax says:

    @DougJ

    How do you recognize Jewish steel?

    It’s covered with gilt.

    /oy vey

  18. 18
    Felonius Monk says:

    Roly-Poly Phish Heads

    More aptly, Roly-Poly Phish Pharts.

  19. 19
    p.a. says:

    I love Fish (yes, with an Eff) Head Music: the recently retired New Orleans Radiators

  20. 20
    comrade nimrod humperdink says:

    @Ian: Interestingly, I remember watching those two debating education policy when I was 21, and throwing double birds at the screen because all I heard from both of them was “testing” “accountability” “scores” blarg. I preferred Gore because of his environmental positions, but I had no idea Bush was such a raging neo-imperialist. (I’m still uncertain that he is really, the Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal put ideas in his empty head and he thought he’d get a nice Falklands-style boost from it, which makes him an asshole war-criminal but without the ideological enthusiasm.) He didn’t seem to run that way to somebody that didn’t start paying close attention until the run-up to the Iraq War. That was when I became really focused on it, because it seemed like such transparent BS from the get-go, yet it had like 70% approval going in. That spring, and election night of ’04, were dark times. 2000 was too really, but I honestly didn’t appreciate what was coming.

  21. 21
    Cap'n Phealy says:

    Jesus, it’s not like they’re Bieber.

  22. 22
    NotMax says:

    @comrade nimrod humperdink

    2000 was too really, but I honestly didn’t appreciate what was coming.

    Clearly recall being berated by the parents on or around Inauguration Day 2001 for my unshakeable insistence that we’d be at war and dropping bombs inside of a year. Blogged about it at the time, too (that blog host has long since evaporated, otherwise would back that assertion up with links).

  23. 23
    🍀 Martin says:

    Phish never stuck with me. IIRC, my response was ‘Oh, more of that kind of stuff, that stuff isn’t interesting’

    Tonight my daughter’s window project became associated with Them Crooked Vultures. Could do a whole lot worse than that.

  24. 24
    J.Ty says:

    @comrade nimrod humperdink: There’s this Paul Simon album called Graceland that’s most of what you need to know…

    @Amir Khalid: In complete agreement. Even down to using the vaccuum as an instrument: artfully done, but …is the music artful?

  25. 25
    comrade nimrod humperdink says:

    @🍀 Martin: Agreed, that’s not a bad choice. I’ll give anything with Grohl on drums a solid chance.

  26. 26
    J.Ty says:

    @🍀 Martin: @comrade nimrod humperdink: I’ll give anything with Grohl involved a solid chance.

  27. 27
    annagranfors says:

    @Goblue72:

    Dude! Your screenname implies that you must’ve spent some time in Ann Arbor (or that you’re just a big U of M fan). I grew up there, lo, many years ago. (Pioneer High ’73; stayed until 1980.)

    And although the Grateful Dead could indeed be seen by some as “a noodling jam band”…and at their worst, they were…I’d advise listening to any of their latter WB studio albums, ie., “Workingman’s Dead” or “American Beauty”–no “noodling”, simply well-crafted Americana every bit the equal of the Band. And the latter WB live albums “Grateful Dead” (aka “Skull & Roses” aka “Skullfuck”) or “Europe ’72” for that matter. On those albums, it’s hardly noodling…it’s improvisation on an almost-jazz level–or straight-up rock’n’roll solos. Didja know Branford Marsalis (who can tell improvisation from noodling) played a few gigs with them, albeit much later?

    That having been said, you’ll probably want to stay away from any tracks called “Space” or “Drums”. Unless you’ve dosed yourself in a proper amount, anyway, at which point, it might not sound so noodly.

    Lastly, got no use for Phish. Good technical musicians from what I can tell, but boring as fuck.

  28. 28
    🍀 Martin says:

    @comrade nimrod humperdink:

    but I honestly didn’t appreciate what was coming.

    Neither did I. I recall assuring Ms Martin that it wouldn’t be so bad. She reminded my quite loudly of that one night in 2002 when I was yelling at the TV after CNN cut from Hans Blix telling the UN there were no WMDs to Condi or one of the other flunkies going on about Saddam needing to come clean, or some shit. There was no question we were going to war, no matter what.

    Honestly, I’m a bit amazed in retrospect that nobody got nuked after 9/11. I bet my pension it was discussed in not so hushed tones.

  29. 29
    comrade nimrod humperdink says:

    @J.Ty: Hey Foo Fighters is a good band, but Grohl pounding away on those drums was a big part of what made Nirvana so cathartic. They went from Melvins knock-offs to thunderous force of nature partly from Cobain’s improved songwriting (not that the Melvins are all bad if you like sludge, they just take it to the extreme) but also because of Grohl.

  30. 30
    comrade nimrod humperdink says:

    @🍀 Martin: My guess is there were some Curtis LeMay wanna-bes that wanted to “turn Afghanistan into a parking lot” or some other “desert into glass” scenario. I’m glad they didn’t win, but they probably did get a serious hearing. Yikes.

  31. 31
    srv says:

    Crap, having to be contrarian means I have to like Phish now.

  32. 32
    J.Ty says:

    @comrade nimrod humperdink: @comrade nimrod humperdink: I was including Queens of the Stone Age on the list. It’s not always because of him, but bands he’s in tend to be pretty good.

  33. 33
    🍀 Martin says:

    @J.Ty: Yep. I’ll listen to anything involving Grohl. And I really like Homme and QOTSA. Not everyone’s style, but it’s a really suitable combo of loud/offbeat for my ear. Not bad for a band out of a dirt town. So yeah, then throw JPJ in there, and what’s not to like? I already had a mountain of Zep and Nirvana/Foo and QOTSA (plus boots) when they put that combo together. That’s like free money.

  34. 34
    comrade nimrod humperdink says:

    @srv: Sometimes the price for contrarianism can be too high. Though if Phish is your limit then you have no future at Slate

  35. 35
    NotMax says:

    @GoBlue72

    Never big on Grateful Dead (but neither avoided them).

    Liked the first New Riders of the Purple Sage album (when the group mostly included musicians from the Dead) more than contemporaneous Grateful Dead discs other than Workingman’s Dead.

    NRPS: Dirty Business.

  36. 36
    Goblue72 says:

    @annagranfors: 3 years in Ann Arbor. Michigan Law grad.

  37. 37
    Sophist says:

    I didn’t know whether I’d ever actually heard any Phish before, so I went and listed to some.

    I still don’t know. It’s like trying to determine if you’ve ever been in a room with this exact shade of beige wallpaper.

  38. 38
    annagranfors says:

    @Goblue72: …sigh…it’s a different city these days. The Parthenon (best gyros/Greek in town) and Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger, both closed. (Fingers crossed for Blimpy, though…they’re trying to crowdsource a new location. The ever-voracious U of M decided it HAD to have that property for post-grad housing. Bastards.)

    And I can remember stumbling back home in the dead of winter after a Law Quad party, where I was introduced to the joys of Hawaiian herb. I was literally blind…not kidding…but somehow made it to the warmth of the Union, nearby, where I sat slackjawed until (most of) the effects wore off.

  39. 39
    reef says:

    FSM JC, drawing me out of lurking a second time on the first night! Probably get myself banned if that even happens around here.

    I’d have no problem with a point by point take down of why Phish’s music is not good, but that article is mostly just personal insults towards the fans and the band. Sure Trey got busted in a car with heroin, but so did Jerry. At least Trey learned from it and seems to have evolved into a decent human being. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jerry at his best better than Trey at his best.

    There are hundreds of bands that suck more than Phish. You’ve never gone to a Phish show and nobody is going to make you go, so chill. After Jerry checked out people who liked creative noodly stuff had to either just sit inside and listen to old shows or find something new. Sorry phish is intruding on your bubble at all. Most of the time your grumpiness is adorable but its so easy to rag on Phish and almost cliche so why waste your energy?

    Now if you want to talk about a jamband that truly sucks, you should check out String Cheese Incident. Worse name, worse music, more annoying fans(they are into hula hoops).

    BTW whoever referred to Zac Brown Band as a jam band?

  40. 40
    Thlayli says:

    @annagranfors:

    I’d advise listening to any of their latter WB studio albums, ie., “Workingman’s Dead” or “American Beauty”–no “noodling”, simply well-crafted Americana every bit the equal of the Band.

    Dead apologists always bring up those two albums. They’re the exception. There’s nothing else in the catalog like them.

    ——

    BTW whoever referred to Zac Brown Band as a jam band?

    Zac Brown Band, one of the great mysteries of popular music. Is “fat guys with beards” the hot new thing in country?

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    As long as you don’t hate on the Fab Four, feel free to go after whatever hipster crap bands you care to go after.

    Also, too, the Stones, or The Band, or Randy Newman.

  42. 42
    kindness says:

    How are Les Claypool and Phish even mentioned on the same page? I’ve never seen Oysterhead but have seen Les’ Frog Brigade & Primus many times. Seen Phish only a couple times which is an oddity as all my deadhead friends have seen them scores. OK, so they both jam but other than that they are almost nothing alike.

    I think the only thing they really share is a drugged audience. Which they also share with the Dead and how many other rock bands?

  43. 43
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Is somebody on your lawn again?

  44. 44
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    That article was the worst written piece of clap trap I’ve ever read about music. I don’t appreciate the mocking of people for the things they like. Phish is not evil, they’re just not your cup of tea.

  45. 45
    navarro says:

    the only positive thing i can think to say of pfish is their cover of the album “remain in light” as a live event.

  46. 46
    TomG says:

    I’ve become a pretty big fan of the Grateful Dead over the last 5 years, now that I’ve really listened to most of their albums more than once. I don’t have anything against Phish, but then I have only heard their 3 or 4 best known songs.

  47. 47
    Ash Can says:

    Eat them up — yum!

  48. 48
    Jacks mom says:

    Really Mr. Cole? I’m sure glad you don’t just generally dump on a bunch of people you don’t know regarding a band you don’t like.

    But then didn’t you used to be a republican?

  49. 49
    debbie says:

    Phish is to the Grateful Dead as Yes was to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Pale pathetic wannabes.

  50. 50
    vtr says:

    The American music industry is packed with unsolvable mysteries. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Billy Joel.

  51. 51
    WereBear says:

    TCM once showed a movie compilation of early 60’s British pop song clips. It was very similar to the stuff coming out at the same time in the United States. Think when Pat Boone was a hit-maker.

    Sitting there listening to it for an hour and a half gave one a visceral grasp of just how wildly different the Beatles were, even in their “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” phase. They completely transformed the face of popular music.

    If you don’t get that, it’s because the avalanche that followed so utterly changed the landscape. Whatever you like, you got because the Beatles (and some credit to Elvis) blew the doors off.

    I was once in an online forum when someone criticized Led Zep for being “just another stadium rock band.” I suppose it can look that way… when you don’t realize they invented it.

  52. 52
    Olivia says:

    Do people really come to your house and ask to listen to Phish? No one has ever come to my house and asked to listen to anything, with one exception.The grandkids used to request Barney now and then. Now they just request that I NOT play MY music in their presence.

  53. 53
    Xboxershorts says:

    I got on the Dead Bus in ’79. Smitten, not only by the musicianship I saw, but the complexity of the music they wrote. The crowds became like family I got to know many of the travelers out in parking lots. But by 85, real life was taking over and by 95, real life had beaten the crap outta me and I lost my feel for the music.

    But when I moved here to very rural PA, I managed to find like minded souls and the spark was lit again by 2005.

    I just returned from Pittsburgh and a benefit concert for the foodbanks that was one of the best live shows I may have ever seen. A Pittsburgh Jam band called theCAUSE and they were hooked up with guitarist extraordinaire Steve Kimock (Ratdog, Furthur,plus gobs of his own stuff) at the Rex Theater on the southside. It was a sold out show with about 600 people in attendance…and it rocked!

    I tried to invite you to this most righteous show Comrade General Cole but my emails were ignored.

    None the less, I managed to get my good video camera up on the balcony, staked out a small work area and I’m building a Youtube Playlist of the entire show in full 1080P HiDef (It’s taking forever!)

    Any jam band fans in this thread you will enjoy this immensely!

    It’s still in progress, 8 songs and an hour and a half so far…

    http://www.youtube.com/playlis.....AIvp3IKUcA

  54. 54
    Butch says:

    Did I just agree with an article by Ben Shapiro? That Ben Shapiro?

  55. 55
    Rob in CT says:

    Oh well, there’s no accounting for taste. Phish shows are often fun. I like a bunch of their songs. YMMV. One thing I will say, though: if you’re looking for “meaning” in a Phish tune, you’re looking in the wrong place. And yeah, Trey’s voice kinda sucks.

  56. 56
    djork says:

    Confirmed Dead fan here. (Close to 40 shows attended.)

    I’ve recently started enjoying Phish for what they are. They are all excellent musicians who, sadly, can’t seem to write a decent song. My wife, who is about 5 years younger than me, just missed being of the age to see the Dead. So, for her circle of friends, Phish was the closest thing going. She’s taken me to see them a few times in recent years and I have enjoyed the shows, though I was a confirmed Dead snob before. There is a little of a Dead show vibe to the lot, a fantastic light show, good musicianship and Phish can be trusted to play some really cool covers from time to time. All in all, if you go into it without making the kneejerk Phish/ Dead comparisons, you can actually have fun and appreciate it for what it is, which is most assuredly NOT a Dead show. (Nor should it be compared to one.)

  57. 57
    BretH says:

    @debbie: Someone’s been listening to too much “Relayer” and after and not enough “Close to the Edge” and “The Yes Album”.

  58. 58
    BretH says:

    @debbie: Someone’s been listening to too much “Relayer” and after and not enough “Close to the Edge” and “The Yes Album”.

  59. 59
    Bob says:

    @Butch: Yeah, that’s my question. Hope some of the folks here know the answer.

  60. 60
    libarbarian says:

    You fucking people are fucking stupid. Phish is a fine band and none of the people hating on them could even play a fraction of their songs. Go back to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga you fucking haters.

  61. 61
    libarbarian says:

    Even that article nails the main point: ” These guys absolutely fucking shred. ”

    Thats fucking it. Thats all that fucking matters. They are more talented than any of you fucking dickweeds who sit here hating on them. Fuck all you.

  62. 62
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    I think Dead Phish sums ’em both up pretty well.

  63. 63
    Bighorn Ordovician Dolomite says:

    The important thing for everybody here to remember is that The Greatful Dead are fucking horrible. Why was the wheezy asthmatic with a 1/2 octave vocal range the primary vocalist anyway?

    Oysterhead was unlistenable shit–but how could it not be–Les Claypool hasn’t EVER produced a non-disjointed melody, and is a shitty vocalist on Par with Jerry.

    I will admit to enjoyng Phish the first couple of times I saw them–Aragon Ballroom 92, because they tore it up and actually showed energy and enthusiasm, when I caught them three or four years later (around the Billy Breathes album/tour I think) they had really got into this whole “we don’t need to show off, we are too mature for that, we are just gonna let the vibe do the talking and follow the music where it takes us.” In other words BORING.

  64. 64
    Emily68 says:

    All you young whippersnappers who think that the Phish is a band…. Back in my day we had a real fish band, and they didn’t spell it funny either.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....d_the_Fish

  65. 65
    Paul in KY says:

    I saw Phish close 2012 Bonnaroo. Played in misty rain for about 4 hours, of which I was there for 2. After awhile, all the songs (which are generally long) begin to sound the same. Trey Anastasio was only band member they showed on close-ups (on video screens on either side of What Stage).

    Will say they had a great light show.

  66. 66
    Paul in KY says:

    @Alison: You’re cool, Alison :-)

  67. 67
    Paul in KY says:

    @comrade nimrod humperdink: Simon & Garfunkel is much better than Simon only (IMO).

    Simon only is quite good, but Simon & Garfunkel is transcendent.

  68. 68
    HelloRochester says:

    I saw Phish open for Carlos Santana in the early ’90s. I thought the set sucked balls and I thought their fans were idiots because the majority of them left after Phish and before Santana.

  69. 69
    Citizen_X says:

    Phish isn’t the same as the Dead. The Dead are to Phish as George H. W. Bush is to George W. Bush.

    And Jesus Christ, people, Fish Heads.

  70. 70
    Paul in KY says:

    @mattH: I saw Widespread Panic close 2011 Bonnaroo. Played for 3 hours straight. Had actually never heard of them before I hit Bonnaroo (thought they were a hip hop act).

    I was very impressed with their set. Enjoyed their music much more than Phish. To me, Panic is much more mainstream rock than Phish (which is more folky).

  71. 71
    Xboxershorts says:

    @libarbarian:

    Tell us how you *really* feel….

  72. 72
    Paul in KY says:

    @debbie: I’m guessing ELP is the pale, pathetic wannabee?

  73. 73
    libarbarian says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    I was never even a super-phan and haven’t listened to them in years, but Phish bashing is so lame that it should be treated with the hostility it deserves.

    The fact is that Phish have more raw talent in their little fingers than a lot of musicians have in their whole bodies. A lot of popular Grammy winning artists couldn’t play a Phish set if their life depended on it and they had a year to practice. They sure as hell could NEVER improvise one on the fly like Phish does every fucking show.

  74. 74
    Xboxershorts says:

    @libarbarian:

    Phish bashing is just that, people proclaiming that it ain’t their “cup o tea”.

    I don’t think it’s something that should be taken personally though.

    And insulting Jerry doesn’t help your case…he was really only wheezy in the 90’s anyways….

  75. 75
    Fred says:

    @🍀 Martin: Now how could Haliburton make money out of nuking somebody? The whole scam was about war profiteering and there’s just not much bucks to extract from a smoking pile of contaminated ruble. Those guys are crazy but they ain’t stoopid. Well maybe Dubaya is on the slow side but he was just following orders.

  76. 76
    DCLaw1 says:

    ADAMANTLY STATED OPINION ABOUT MUSICAL TASTES

  77. 77
    BretH says:

    In any case my favorite Fish Head.

  78. 78
    libarbarian says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    1) Maybe not, but I’m old and ornery so …. get the fuck off my lawn! :)

    2) I never insulted Jerry. I think you confused another poster with me.

  79. 79
    Xboxershorts says:

    @libarbarian:

    get the fuck off my lawn! :)

    Right after this old fart’s nap is finished

  80. 80
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    Phuque ewe. I like Phish.

  81. 81
    djork says:

    @Thlayli:

    They may be the only two heralded as Americana songwriting classics, but there is a lot of love for Aoxomoxoa and Anthem of the Sun among fans of psych and experimental music. Of course, this is also in addition to the adulation heaped upon their live shows by many facets the improvisational music community, from jazz artists to Sonic Youth.

  82. 82
    Bighorn Ordovician Dolomite says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    I’m the one who insulted Jerry. ;)

  83. 83
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Bighorn Ordovician Dolomite:

    I’m the one who insulted Jerry. ;)

    I actually lost my bi-focals at that show I linked to above…and linking to again because this show in Pittsburgh this past weekend with Steve Kimock was that effing good!

    http://www.youtube.com/playlis.....AIvp3IKUcA

    PS..the video quality is great, I had my Canon Vixia HFS21 right at the front of the balcony but sadly, it’s an aud recording so there’s crowd noise to cope with. But this is a wonderful video camera!

  84. 84
    Bighorn Ordovician Dolomite says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    I’ll check that out (when I’m not at work!)

  85. 85
    lichnor says:

    I thought democrats were against punching hippies?

    OH!…..”THOSE” hippies? It’s OK, go right ahead.

    Simply brilliant.

  86. 86
    Mike E says:

    @comrade nimrod humperdink: I’m a Beatlemaniac and I love The Stones, Monkees, and assorted other groups that fly in the face of Zero Sum musical theory.

    Discuss.

  87. 87
    kindness says:

    This is why BJ is fun.

    Here we have a collection of age groups and points of view and they don’t always mesh. A little bravado, a little flaming. There is no best out there.

    I don’t mind it when John is cranky, it’s one of his facets that is actually enjoyable. But picking who is a rock classic and who isn’t is an unwinable enterprise. It’s a Beatles or Stones condrum and can not be nailed down.

    What I find most curious is the haters. wtf is up with that? You have extra energy you can spend on that? You need a better outlet.

    All the jam bands are linked by their audience likes to get high and listen and dance. All of them. It is the only thread between them all that is common. And that getting high part is crucial for their bases.

  88. 88
    kuvasz says:

    The summer of ’75 I attended my first of over 65 Dead shows, in ’74 I had my first experience of Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With A Thousand Faces.” A few years ago I read this from Campbell, and it rang in words as true as it had in my heart that hot, humid night long ago in Philly.

    “I had had my first rock and roll experience at a performance of The Grateful Dead in Oakland (in 1986, he was 82 years old)…. Rock music had always seemed a bore to me, but I can tell you, at that concert, I found eight thousand people standing in mild rapture for five hours while these boys let loose everything on the stage. The place was just a mansion of dance. And I thought, “Holy God! Everyone has just lost themselves in everybody else here!” The principal theme of my talk was the wonderful innocence and the marvel of life when it recognizes itself in harmony with all the others. Everyone is somehow or other at one with everybody else. And my final theme was that this is the world’s only of answer to the atom bomb. The atom bomb is based on differentiation: I-and-not-that-guy-over-there. Divisiveness is socially based. It has nothing to do with nature at all. It is a contrivance and here, suddenly, it fell apart.”

    J. Campbell, “the Mythic Dimension” Harper Collins, p. 152, 1993.

    “I was carried away in rapture. And so I am a Deadhead now.”

    “The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on his Life and Work” edited by Phil Cousineau, Element books, p.221, 1999.

    The music was simply a vehicle to catch the rhythm of the universe, which is why so many Heads considered shows their church.

  89. 89
    Marcelo says:

    “Waste” is just a wonderful song. The album version, anyway. Other than that, sure.

  90. 90
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    The Story of the Ghost is a fine album.

  91. 91
    brendancalling says:

    Phish used to be quite good back in the early 1990s.
    Then fucking Jerry had to go die, and all the fucking awful Dead Heads invaded our scene and ruined everything.

    But for the record, I would rather listen to Phish on their worst day than the Dead on their best day. And anyone who thinks Phish’s music has anything remotely to do with the Dead is a moron.

  92. 92
    chopper says:

    If you say there is no difference between the Dead and Phish

    there’s totally a difference. the dead had one song that wasn’t absolutely horrible, whereas phish had two.

  93. 93
    burnspbesq says:

    If you can’t see that the Dead and Phish are two sides of the same coin, that’s not an aberration in your musical tastes, that’s a fundamental failure of cognitive processes.

  94. 94
    MCA1 says:

    Yeah, I don’t get all the hating on here, either. I never really liked the Dead all that much, despite being extremely exposed to them. I prefer alt-country’s digging into Americana in a more proficient, deep way than the old Dead albums did, so Working Man’s and whatever have never impressed me much. Their singing was consistently pretty crappy, and their voices didn’t blend well at all. That’s very important to my musical tastes, so was and is a turnoff. Uncle John’s Band is unlistenable to me. The vibe of the live shows was great, of course, and there’s something about a 20 minute long Eyes of the World on a bootleg on a warm Spring day that’s pretty irresistable. But generally speaking, they were average songwriters, only somewhat technically proficient instrumentalists, and charisma was their strong suit, along with a totally different view of live music than their predecessors.

    Phish isn’t the Dead, and doesn’t try to be the Dead. They have in common that they’re average or worse songwriters and not good singers, and that they’re nominally led by a guitarist whose greatest asset is endless melodic inventiveness. But just because they stepped into the live music genre and fanbase that the Dead created doesn’t mean they’re poseurs or wannabe’s. Their music has a technical level way beyond anything the Dead put together. As many have said upthread, Phish is a collection of amazing musicians without good songs to play. But they’re not playing Jerry Garcia’s music. Even when they noodle around and have a 20 minute tune, they’re much more anthemic, building toward some kind of crescendo and release where Anastasio’s guitar is let loose. The Dead kept the low key, loose dynamic at all times.

  95. 95
    Xboxershorts says:

    @MCA1:

    Well put. But that’s not to say that subsequent Jam Band covers of Dead music haven’t taken the Dead’s compositions to new and far different levels and interesting places (see the link I shared above with Steve Kimock and a Jam Band from Pittsburgh!)

    I will take exception to the notion that the Dead weren’t accomplished musicians, Phil is a PhD in music therapy and Tom Constanten plays Orchestras. Some of the Dead’s best and most cherished work, however, turned out to be old cover tunes, like Bonnie Dobson’s Morning Dew or Cold Rain and Snow or the haunting and centuries old Peggy-O

    I never got into Phish, but never got into hating on them either. That’s just me though. Your methods may vary.

  96. 96
    brendancalling says:

    @burnspbesq: maybe, but only if that coin is “hippy music”.

    Phish, no matter what you think of their music, is much more influenced by Zappa than they are by the Grateful Dead.

    I’d also add that Phish did write a few good songs. I still love “Esther”, “Sweet One”, “Poor Heart”, and most of the songs on “Rift”.

    But then from “Hoist” on, it’s straight-up garbage.

  97. 97
    skjellyfetti says:

    Thanks for this. After Jerry died, I really wanted to like Phish ’cause they were the only ones doing tour even remotely similar to Dead Tour. And I fucking loved Dead Tour; it’s what gave my life a sense of direction for so many years. Shows could be fucking magic–especially at a time when the world needed magic & more magic. And now? The magic’s gone… there’s none to be found. Anywhere. It’s just life in the Matrix. After one Phish show–only one, to this day–I never looked back. I hated ’em. Fucking hated ’em with a fucking passion. Even I was surprised at what hacks I thought they were. I felt like I was at Jonestown and I had gotten a different Dixie cup of Kool-Aid than the rest of the folks. Oh, I thought they were fine musicians, but lyrically they couldn’t carry Hunter’s or Barlow’s jock strap. Hunter’s always been such a damned genius (Dark Star, anyone?) and he’s an American treasure. I always found such meaning & inspiration in the Dead’s lyrics, yet Phish’s lyrics were just inane and utterly lacking in depth and imagination. And then the fucking torment I received from my other Deadhead friends who constantly pressured me to go to Phish shows and the contempt they showed me for being such a “hater”. Fuck ’em.

  98. 98
    kindness says:

    @Xboxershorts: If you really want to trot out Kimock you have to mention the band he made it in, Zero.

  99. 99
    fidelio says:

    Cole, forget your Phish-laothing, and look into Fishbone.

    You’re welcome.

  100. 100
    mazareth says:

    @Thlayli: Re the Dead.I would add Wake of the Flood and Mars Hotel to that list, also Garcia and Weir’s first solo albums. As far as live albums go, another vote for Skull and Roses and Europe ’72.

    I have a pretty open mind about music, but I never got Phish.

  101. 101
    Xboxershorts says:

    @kindness:

    If you really want to trot out Kimock you have to mention the band he made it in, Zero.

    I’m trotting out Kimock because I recorded him and theCAUSE for 4 hours this past Saturday and it was magical.
    Covered some Dead tunes, some Johnny Cash, Railroad Earth, Stevie Wonder, and Steve was on fire havin all kinds of fun…

    And Cole’s Law
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyR19gkBJ5w

    this comment from Steve Kimock at the end of the night – “It was a great show man. You know that feeling you get when you let the air out of a cop’s tire…like you’re getting away with something? It felt like that all night, like we were getting away with something all night long, and that’s how it supposed to feel when everything is going right.”

  102. 102
    StringOnAStick says:

    @kuvasz: Thanks for the quote from Joseph Campbell; truly wonderful. It seems to me that music is about finding a piece of transcendence, and for that reason I never hate on anybody’s music. Some I like, some I don’t, but I see no need to add to the already too high level of human tribalism. Everyone likes what they like; isn’t that enough? Why add more unhappiness to your life over what other people are doing?

  103. 103
    markzz says:

    Go see Umphreys Mcgee, that is all!

  104. 104
    Bugboy says:

    Whatever you think of Phish, the hit piece was by Benjamin Shapiro. Ben. Fucking. Shapiro.

    What the hell does he know about music?

    EDIT: Oops, looks like it’s not THAT Benjamin Shapiro!

  105. 105
    kindness says:

    @Xboxershorts: I read your earlier posts so I know. What I was suggesting is that you bone up on what brought Kimock to the picture.

  106. 106
    Xboxershorts says:

    @kindness: Oh, I have 2 of his Zero albums, like them quite a bit and surely worth a serious mention.

    But also wanted to make the point that there is a large and vibrant Dead Covers/Jam Band scene ongoing and showing no signs of slowing down

  107. 107
    Paul in KY says:

    @fidelio: Fishbone was a great band. Wish I could have seen them back in the day.

  108. 108
    Paul in KY says:

    @markzz: I saw them at The Hangout last year. Really liked them. Once again, like Widespread Panic, a more rock than folk centered band.

  109. 109
    Jewish Steel says:

    I’ve had some further thoughts on Phish. You know, I think one essential element in rock music is that it has to be fun. That’s why lots of metal and goth music leaves me cold. Too self-serious. Politically “right-on” bands like like Gang Of Four and Rage Against The Machine* are wearying for much the same reason. There must be fun, but fun in the correct proportion. I think where Phish fails is that ladles in too much fun. A kind of forced jollity that I associate with, like, oompah bands.

    *ETA: Fugazi too! Stop lecturing me, dude!

  110. 110
    felonious says:

    I don’t think there is any point comparing Phish to the Grateful Dead and any attempt to do so is bound to look pretty lame. The Dead could jam with the best of them but there hallmark was the songwriting of Garcia and Hunter who together created some of the more memorable rock songs during their era. Call it noodling, jamming improvising whatever, the practice of riffing off a song structure was characteristic of many acts emerging out of the San Francisco bay area during the Monterrey Pop to Altamont period and whether the headliner was Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish or Its a Beautiful Day the audience would witness a unique show every night, not the packaged set lists currently in vogue. As for Phish they are a band looking for a sound but their calling card back in Burlington, Vermont was the unexpected set such as the time they performed the entire Beatles white album. Their cover of Z Z Top’s “LaGrange” is exceptional and while there is a considerable amount of “B” material in their song catalog they were able to pen a few memorable songs not the least of which is the estimable “Torture of Chalk Dust:”. No one would expect John to embrace the Phish phenomenon nor should he but Mr. Cole should acknowledge that the Grateful Dead ceased being a real performing band the instant Ron McKernan died and the soul of the band was lost forever.

  111. 111
    Xboxershorts says:

    @felonious: I don’t know if I’d use the word lost, definitely altered though.

  112. 112
    Davo says:

    @Butch: This revelation had me very concerned too. Did I just agree with AND link to that Ben Shapiro?!?!? (audible gasp)

    But it appears to be NOT him…. So we’re cool. No need for a sulfuric-acid-bath yet today…

    BENJAMIN SHAPIRO
    Editor-In-Chief, Noisey.com
    email: ben@noisey.com twitter: @b_shap

    Ben is from Providence, RI, but he’s currently living across the hall from a cat hoarder in Brooklyn, NY. He’s played drums in Pop. 1280, Asobi Seksu, Scary Mansion, and a shit ton of other bands. Now he’s a regular contributor at the New Yorker Magazine, a film programmer at Spectacle Theater, and the Editor-In-Chief of Noisey. His columns, profiles, essays, and stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Film Comment, VICE, Slant, and a bunch of ‘zines….

  113. 113
    fidelio says:

    @Paul in KY: They’re still playing. There’s a documentary out, too.

  114. 114
    fordpowers says:

    I feel very strongly about this. Phish is a musical abomination, and when people come to my house and ask me if I have any Phish or want to listen to Phish, I look at them like they had just asked me to have a conjugal relationship with one of my pets and all I can think is “Get out of my house and do no come back.

    Annnnnnd… this is why i read this blog.
    My sentiments exactly!

  115. 115
    AndoChronic says:

    Kinda late to be having this argument don’t ‘ya think? This argument is as old as the band. Judging by their career I think Phish and their fans won this argument though.

    Sat next to Mike Gordon (bassist for Phish) in a coffee shop in Mpls. just a couple of weeks ago. I’ve met a lot of famous musicians in my time but I typically don’t rub elbows with folks who have played Madison Square Garden 23 times… 23 times. That’s gett’in up there!

  116. 116
    MCA1 says:

    @skjellyfetti: Wow. I mean, I guess I feel sorry for you. While I appreciate how much you loved following the Dead and whatever happiness it brought to your life for whatever period of time, “The magic’s gone…there’s none to be found. Anywhere?” C’mon. Music moves on. That sentiment makes you sound like the kind of washed up hippie people were making fun of in ’92, crossed with Grandpa Simpson. There’s plenty of “magic” left in the world of music – it’s just not happening with the musicians you grew up with or the genre you most love. I think you just need to get yourself to a Chris Thile concert or something.

  117. 117
    tbone says:

    Sorry, but that article sucked. Some dude bro saw them once and feels entitled to call them nazis?

    Oh no, one if them was busted for drugs! Their followers smoke pot! Evidently the first time any of that has happened!

  118. 118
    tbone says:

    Sorry, but that article sucked. Some dude bro saw them once and feels entitled to call them notsees?

    Oh no, one if them was busted for drugs! Their followers smoke pot! Evidently the first time any of that has happened!

  119. 119
    AndoChronic says:

    Correction:

    34 total shows at Madison Square Garden. It’s Phish’s historically “most played” venue.

    It would certainly be amazing to be in a band that considers MSG to be their default club.

  120. 120
    Joey Giraud says:

    Phish is DULL, DULL, DULL, DULL, tedious and boring and ever so DULL!

    I’ve played both Dead ( for a long, long time, ) and Phish ( for what seemed like an eternity ) Grateful Dead songs have misery, love, pain, hope and beauty. Phish songs have complicated licks, and other complicated things. I can do complicated, but does it matter?

    “Woah Fee, try to live a life that’s completely free.
    Racing with the wind and flirting with death
    So have a cup of coffee and catch your breath..”

    Now them’s lyrics, eh? You can almost feel the… nothing. Nothing at all. But at least they’re being sung in a soulful voice? No, more like a narration with notes attached.

    Phish has a disease that virtually all post-Dead Dead-like bands have; a deficit of gravitas, a kind of sincere wan-ness, a bland and homogeneous pleasantness that feels like being hugged by a ball of lukewarm dough.

    The Grateful Dead can be viewed as a worn-out, smelly and beat up bus in Day Glow colors chugging and careening down a Mexican mountain road, with pieces of bizarre flotsam flying out the windows.

    Phish is a beige Audi pulling into a suburban shopping mall to buy a pair of Nikes and an Orange Julius.

  121. 121
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    I chose the wrong word; wan doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.

    I was looking for a word that means a cloying sincerity, a simple, mildly pathetic innocent helplessness. Friendly and yet a hint of creepy for being so soft and pitiful.

    Like Dickens’ Tiny Tim, Little Orphan Annie and Buckwheat all rolled into one.

    The younger heads call it “kind.” Didja get any onya?

  122. 122
    Jamie says:

    My favorite Phish song
    My Mexican Cousin

    Oh Tequila, I turn to you like a long lost friend
    I want to kiss my Mexican Cousin once again
    We’ll cover every emotion from happiness to sorrow,
    And the conversations I forget, you’ll tell me about tomorrow
    When the phone calls start, am I in bed or in a hearse?
    And Tequila’s where that starts and where it end
    The things you tell me about myself can’t make me feel any worse
    And Tequila’s where that starts and where it end

    Well I’m awful sorry you got pissed
    Just have to cross you off the list
    Of my true friends…

    http://www.sing365.com/music/l.....CC000E45A1

  123. 123
    Gus says:

    Not a fan of Phish, but don’t know their music well enough to hate them. In fact it’s hard to hate a band that did a show where they covered the entire White Album. I do have to share this though.

  124. 124
    Jamie says:

    Have any of you guys ever been to a dead show or a phish show? there bi\oth better live than they are in their albums.

  125. 125
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Jamie:

    Jose Cuervo, you are a friend of mine,
    I like to drink you with a little shot of wine.

    or

    White port and lemon juice, ooh what they do to you…

    Some kinds of songs just write themselves.

  126. 126
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Gus:

    Covering an entire album is the last refuge of the uninspired.

  127. 127
    Jamie says:

    Joey Giraud

    what kind of music do you like?

  128. 128
    Ned Ludd says:

    @J.Ty: Everything you need to know about Paul Simon? Not quite. You should also read this:

    http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/.....on-no.html

    It gets worse too, although some of these claims are a little murkier:

    http://www.paul-simon.info/PHP.....hread=4380

    He sure smells like a scumbag to me.

  129. 129
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Jamie:

    I used to love Dead, kind of tired of them now, only due to overexposure. Never been a Deadhead though; one show only.

    Zappa, Cash, Haggard, Nelson, Nat King Cole, Jerry Lieber, Daft Punk, Wax Taylor, JayZ.

    Pretty standard stuff, really.

    oh yeah, and a lot of ragtime lately. I’ve decided to be as good a ragtime player as I can before dying.

    God, how could I forget Jethro Burns?

  130. 130
    Joey Giraud says:

    And my aunt died and left me a load of Mario Lanzo 45’s. What an amazing singer! More pure emotive power in each syllable then contained in the entire history of Phish.

  131. 131
    Jamie says:

    Any thoughts on the local symphony covering Mozart? Not horribly original, but it’s still entertaining to listen to.

    I’m an old dead head myself, but i’m kind of fond of Phish too.

  132. 132
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Jamie:

    Odd, most Phish Phans I know are younger, perhaps saw the Dead first in the late 80’s and almost prefer Phish. ( more fun, you see. )

    I’m blowing off steam here, opinions I really can’t express in the “scene” as too many fine folk would be hurt.

    er, excuse me, “kind” folk.

    And my aggravation is fueled not just by Phish, but by the plethora of post-Dead bands ( string cheese, widespread, etc ) who, to me, feel more “kind” then real. It’s frustrating because just when I thought this old country-western boy had found a home where free-jazz could meet the shit-kickers, it transformed into shopping mall amusements and fuzzy headed kind folk.

    Go ahead and enjoy Phish. I did once have fun dancing to a live “Fee” with a hot girlfriend, so it’s probably safe :)

    Just don’t expect to see me at a concert ever again, unless I’m homeless and looking for a place to catch a good nights sleep.

  133. 133
    Jamie says:

    well one thing is sure the light shows today are way better than they were back in the day. I was too young for the Dead. but still a lot of shows, but I was too old for Phish.. the vibe of the show is similar.

  134. 134
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Jamie:

    Also; Mozart’s music is top shelf. It will be covered forever.

    But an orchestra isn’t typically improvisational, and orchestras don’t typically compose their own pieces. Famous rock acts are expected to compose their own stuff. Covering one of the most popular double albums of all time? Hardly worth commenting on.

    I’ve probably covered the entire thing ( excepting Revolution #9 ) two or three times if you count all the one-offs in this band or that.

    “Hey Bungalow Bill, what did you kill?” – a truly Phish-esque lyric.

  135. 135
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Jamie:

    You’re right, modern light shows are much more sophisticated and intricate.

    But there’s the novelty factor. The old oil gel with overhead projector stuff was truly radical and new and the experience was freeeeaaky! A simple tape delay was like a trip to the moon.

    Now we’re all quite used to high-def CGI in 3D with Surround Sound and frankly, it’s rather ordinary.

    I’m not quite old enough to have lived the 60’s, but I remember how truly new and wild even simple effects were in the mid-late 70’s.

    Oh well, march of progress and all that.

  136. 136
  137. 137
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Jamie:

    He had a first rate voice, otherwise, not especially.

    Elvis isn’t to be loved or hated. Elvis simply *is*.

  138. 138
    Tbone says:

    I’m sorry, but that article just sucked. It wasn’t a legitimate criticism of music as much as a whiny entitled screed.

    So some hipster douche saw Phish once, so that entitles him to compare them to nazis. Cool story bro.

    Oh no! One of their members does drugs! Their fans do drugs! Evidently this is the first time any of that has ever happened.

    I mean, really? They suck because you don’t like their logo? Just pathetic.

    People have different taste. Get over it already. 50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong.

  139. 139
    MCA1 says:

    @Joey Giraud: I sense some possible generational difference at play here. You want sincerity, depth, and the occasional fluorish of transcendence in your lyrics. Younger audieces, especially Gen X’ers, hear songs about a box of rain easing your pain and go “JFC on a popsicle stick, stop it with that earnest ’60’s bullshit.” A lot of bands in the ’80’s and ’90’s said “No matter what we do, we’ll never measure up to Dylan and Lennon and Simon in the minds of those pompous Boomers, so fuck it. We’re going to be ironic.” Phish’s lyrics are intentionally dumb, is what I think I’m trying to say. I mean, they went out of their way to be nonsensical, from what I remember (I haven’t actually listened to a song by either band in probably 15 years, so faulty memory disclaimers). And they are dumb, don’t get me wrong, and that does impact the ability of their songs to have any lasting resonance emotionally or register critically. Whereas the Dead did have kind of a knack for writing lyrics that evoked some sort of carefree, easygoing world of idealism that you wanted to live in. But I think what you see as some sort of toxic, sinister, corporate blandness, a lot of us see/saw as an in-joke and a generational shift. Sort of like a lot of things Boomer/X’er, our preference for ironic or shallow was based on knowledge that anything sincere would be shredded as not measuring up to some genius or other from the ’60’s. It’s tough to tell with a lot of artists whether they go that way out of laziness/fear of failure, or because they’re making a conscious statement about something. I get that. But, I’d rather have Phish’s inanity than the pretension that loomed so large over most of Dave Matthews’ music, personally.

    I like ragtime, as do you, but it’s emotionally very shallow, which I get the impression is your biggest problem with Phish. Thoughts?

    In any event, I come not to praise Phish. Like I said, I haven’t listened to them in forever, and while I enjoyed them in my college years, that was about it. I just think there are a lot better targets for our venom; I’m personally the sort who reserves a lot of my haterdom for musicians who neither play their own instruments nor write their own songs. Or, rather, a musical/commercial world in which they’re the biggest stars instead of those who can blend technique with artistry on their own.

  140. 140
    My Truth Hurts says:

    Phish is Rush

  141. 141
    Joey Giraud says:

    @MCA1:

    I’m from a generation of professional music performers. IMO, the vast, vast bulk of “originals bands only” musicians are hiding their gross incompetence behind a snobbish pretense of authenticity. It’s hard to be good, much easier to be yourself.

    Always wanted to say that in public, but I’m not going to defend that slam. It’s just an opinion. And the economic value of skills in professional entertainment music, well it’s dropping rapidly.

    I disagree that the younger bunch decided to be ironic because they felt inadequate or cared about Boomers opinions. I think they were reacting to the American zeitgeist, so post-post-post as to be almost impervious to irony even.

    I regularly hear new music as good as any classic. Cake’s “when we were younger, we had the answers, I gotta say..” song
    ( if that’s the right band, ) is as good a pop song as any ever written.

    In fact, the really younger kids, … uh, millenials? They’re doing great. Songs with ideas, points of view, things to say. I think they’re not so enamored with irony, and that’s a good thing.

    You want sincerity, depth, and the occasional flourish of transcendence in your lyrics.

    I want words to come out of my mouth that mean *something*, that convey things. Love singing great lyrics, can be happy singing decent ones, but there’s a line.

    Phish’s lyrics are intentionally dumb, is what I think I’m trying to say.

    Yeah, I think I’ve always got that. And it’s fun for a bit ( I did enjoy dancing to them back in the early 90’s ) but ultimately the intentionally dumb lyrics are insulting.

    I can write silly lyrics like Phish does. I have dozens of humble attempts with unusual rhymes and decent word play and even some clever phrases. But except for the two or three best, they’re nothing I would ever put in front of people, because they’re merely clever at best, not really very good. They won’t communicate or evoke a feeling of any kind, perhaps a little guffaw here or there. Meh.

    writing lyrics that evoked some sort of carefree, easygoing world of idealism

    Some of them were; “Box of Rain” is rather painfully Panglossian, “Franklin’s Tower” nonsensically rolls away some dew ( wacka do ), and I never could make myself like the words to “China Cat,” but those hippy-dippy songs are a minority. Phish has nothing to compare to “Black Peter,” “Brown Eyed Women,” or “The Wheel.”
    The first two are rather dark and brooding, and the Wheel is simple and pure philosophy of an incontrovertible nature.

    Of course there are a few simply dumb Dead songs. “Might as Well” go away, I say. To their credit they seldom played them live :)

    I don’t Hate Phish and I wouldn’t go so far as to damn them by comparing them to DMB. There’s silly/dull and then there’s putrid awful pop dreck.

    Besides, I can call someone DULL, DULL, DULL and never lose a drop of venom. Won’t waste energy hating on a dull.

    I love Ragtime because it’s a hell of a workout to play, the patterns and techniques infuse so many other later styles, and because I’ve always wanted to be able to do stride rhythm and by learning Ragtime I’m getting it down. That’s about all.

    Oh, and Scott Joplin composed some really beautiful melodies, like “Solace” of course. You don’t dare call that one “shallow.”

  142. 142
    Jonathan says:

    Phish is fun… I’m not a huge fan, but having them on in the background, or being at show, is fun, unless you’re too cool for fun? I think Cole’s old inner-republican hippie-punching instinct is kicking in today. Smoke a joint and relax, man. (I like Oysterhead, went to a few of their shows, but I liked Phish more.)

    Also, if you like Les Claypool, and hate hippies, you should watch “Electric Apricot”. Look it up

  143. 143

    Well, bud I hate rap but you don’t see me writing big ass articles going off on rappers do you? Its called “Live and let Live”. If ya don’t like Phish, Don’t listen to them. If ya do, Listen all you want and good luck getting tickets to all the sold out shows. The writer of this article is either a 12 year old on his dads computer or the worlds biggest douche!

  144. 144
    Paul in KY says:

    @fidelio: Glad to hear that fidelio! Hope they get to somewhere in/around KY.

Comments are closed.