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Song History Song History: Roses Are Free

Posted 2015-10-01 8:59 am by Mickey Melchiondo; Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo); Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty) - Link:

In contrast to the persona displayed in Ween’s song “Leave Deaner Alone,” Mickey Melchiondo (a.k.a. Dean Ween) is a really hilarious, down to Earth, friendly and accessible dude, as far as rock guitar gods go. So when it came time to overhaul the “Roses Are Free” song history, we went straight to the source and asked for his take on the Chocolate and Cheese songwriting and recording process that produced this classic cut....

Blog Modulating Jams of Summer 2015 - Part 3

Posted 2015-09-29 8:40 am by phishnet - 33 comments

[Editor's Note: We welcome back contributor and musicologist Mike Hamad, who shares his thoughts on the "Modulating Jams of Summer 2015." Below is the last of three parts. Part 1; Part 2. -PZ]

Compound MODs: My Double Wants to Pull Me Down
Four jams this summer modulated twice before calling it quits. I’ve been referring to these jams as double – or compound – MODs. They function by simply combining two of any of the four MODs (III, IV, V and flat-VII) discussed previously. These also happen to be monster jams; technically, they are the four most harmonically adventurous jams of summer 2015.

Table 7 lists the four Compound MOD jams Phish played this summer:



Song History Song History: No Men In No Man's Land

Posted 2015-09-28 6:32 pm by Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo) - Link:

Back in the proverbial day, the first show of the year coming off a break would often yield at least a few debuts of new Phish original songs. Since Phish returned to the stage in 2009, this tradition of unveiling new songs in bunches at tour openers had fallen by the wayside. After the Joy batch in 2009, over the next few years new song output slowed to a trickle – relative to Phish’s prodigious historical output – with most “new to Phish” songs making the jump to the big leagues from individual band member side projects. Then the new song stream returned to raging river status in a one-two explosion bunched on single days, flipping the tradition of the Halloween cover album with the new originals of Wingsuit-cum-Fuego on 10/31/13, and then their ground-breaking reinterpretation of Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House on 10/31/14....

Blog Modulating Jams of Summer 2015 - Part 2

Posted 2015-09-28 8:15 am by phishnet - 23 comments

[Editor's Note: We welcome back contributor and musicologist Mike Hamad, who shares his thoughts on the "Modulating Jams of Summer 2015." Below is the second of three parts. If you missed it, you may wish to start with part one. Part three will run tomorrow. -PZ]

Modulation Types & Pathways
The 37 modulating jams of summer 2015 fall into five categories. I’ll discuss these in turn, along with common pathways (and exceptions) for getting from point A to point B (and sometimes, to point C). These five categories, and the number of jams they contain, are included in Table 2:



Blog Modulating Jams of Summer 2015 - Part 1

Posted 2015-09-25 8:00 am by phishnet - 39 comments

[Editor's Note: We welcome back contributor and musicologist Mike Hamad, who shares his thoughts on the "Modulating Jams of Summer 2015." Below is the introduction and part one, of three parts. Parts two and three will run here early next week. -PZ]

Not counting the Magnaball Drive-In Jam, Phish played 513 songs – roughly three days of non-stop music – during the summer 2015 tour, spread across 51 sets and 25 shows in 16 different venues. That’s a lot of music.

A minor subset – 37 songs, clocking in at nearly ten hours – stands out not because of how good it was, but because of what happened during those ten hours: in every case, the band, as a unit, changed keys. In musical/analytical circles, this is known as “modulation.”

Each modulation lasted more than two minutes. It’s an arbitrary amount of time that I chose to distinguish between structural modulations, or key changes, that I felt would unmistakably weaken the music if they weren’t there, and last-minute swerves, to enter new keys and set up subsequent segues to other songs. Anyway, two minutes is a good, round number.



Song History Song History: Your Pet Cat

Posted 2015-09-24 10:17 pm by Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty) - Link:

Upon first reading the tracklist for Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House in the Phishbill for the 2014 Halloween show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, I was pretty sure that each of the song titles were just veiled references to songs already in the Phish playbook. “Your Pet Cat” was obviously going to be the first WEST COAST “HARPUA” since 11/2/98. But then the show started. The second song of the first set was “Ghost” which was obviously not going to be played again as “The Haunted House.” Were they really going to play a sound effects album? By the time The Boys™ tore through the completely demented “Big Black Furry Creature From Mars” about halfway through the first frame I was completely at a loss… what else could be “Martian Monster”… ”Life on Mars?” Whatever was coming, it was certain to be both chilling and thrilling. I was half right at least, because we did get a set of Phish songs… they just weren’t what you could call “regular.”...

Song History Song History: Blaze On

Posted 2015-09-24 7:08 pm by Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty) - Link:

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are widely regarded as the explorers responsible for discovery of the Northwest Passage and the opening of the American west to settlement by non-indigenous people. However, it was actually an insatiable thirst for beaver that inspired the brave mountain men to join the Rocky Mountain Fur Company – Ashley’s Hundred – and map out the most comfortable route to the bountiful lands of the best coast. Although the more well endowed trappers – John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company and the Hudson Bay Company – eventually priced Ashley’s Hundred out of the fur trade, these notorious mountain men were widely sought as guides whenever there was a new trail to “Blaze On” through the uncharted wilderness....

Blog The Ashakiran Tape - A Novel

Posted 2015-09-21 8:39 am by phishnet - 21 comments

Jürgen Fauth’s The Ashakiran Tape is a novel set at Jones Beach in 2009, and the following excerpt opens during the second show of the run, 6/4. After he’s had to deal with hapless noobs, sketchy scenesters, and a yacht full of strung-out tech millionaires, hardboiled lot detective Quentin Pfeiffer is finally trying to enjoy his first shows since Coventry – but the dark events of the previous days are threatening to overshadow the music.



News 2015-16 NYE Run Confirmed for MSG

Posted 2015-09-16 2:59 pm by jwelsh8 - 6 comments - Link:

This December, Phish returns to Madison Square Garden in New York for a four-night New Year’s Run to ring in 2016. The first show will be on Wednesday, December 30 and run through Saturday, January 2. The band has played thirty-one shows to date at Madison Square Garden since December 1994. As with the last run at Madison Square Garden, the floor at these four shows will be general admission.

An online ticket request period is currently underway at and will end Monday, September 28th at Noon ET. Tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, October 2nd at Noon EST. Tickets can be purchased online at or charge by phone at 866.858.0008. If tickets are still available, they may be purchased at the venue box office beginning Monday, October 14th (Mon-Sat 9am-6pm). For more details, visit


Blog Phish Hit the Road & Played a Tour This Summer - You Won't Believe What Happened Next!

Posted 2015-09-14 3:00 pm by tmwsiy - 50 comments

Unexpected things are part and parcel of the Phish experience and have always added to the mystique, aura, and wonderment of this band. Tours are usually sprinkled with a few surprise moments but this summer seemed to be chock-full of surprises.

What surprised you the most?

Read on to learn about the ten most surprising things that the band did this summer.


Song History Song History: Crosseyed and Painless

Posted 2015-09-12 3:36 pm by Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo) - Link:

In “Crosseyed and Painless,” the rocket-powered second track on Remain in Light, Talking Heads and Brian Eno pull off stunning arrangements with power, precision and explosive energy. Adrian Belew's guitar solo rumbles like a train passing a station leaving its prospective passengers scratching their heads in the kicked-up dust. The arrangements are surgically precise, cutting, and exact, sucking even the most staid listener into the heart of the thick dance groove. The RiL studio track runs a tidy 4:48, and while live Talking Heads versions were similarly concise, the urgency and vitality of their early performances is as gripping today as when the members of Phish were making their way through high school....

Song History Song History: Esther

Posted 2015-09-12 2:02 pm by Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo), Mark Toscano - Link:

Girl goes to fairground. Girl meets Armenian man. Armenian man gives girl doll. Girl flies around and encounters many angry people. Girl jumps naked into lake. Doll pulls girl beneath surface of water, drowning her. And so the thread of yet another human existence is cut short by the scissors of badness....

Song History Song History: Stash

Posted 2015-09-11 9:47 am by Jeff Goldberg (Jeff_Goldberg) - Link:

In the late 1980's, Phish was but a mere sapling compared to what the band, as a whole, is today. Interestingly, however, this unique era of Phish’s musical development, where the band members, still relatively young, were riding a wave into stardom unfathomable at the time, was in many ways a pinnacle in Phish’s maturity as a band....

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