Tuesday 12/11/2018 by howard_roark

THE THREE DECEMBERS - 1997 (PART I)

© Frans Schellekens
© Frans Schellekens

In the 1.0 era of Phish there is no year more hotly debated, more controversial, more divisive, and more celbrated than 1997. To some, it represents a sublime and ethereal peak moment where the band shed their skin and reinvented themselves as a minimalist, groove-oriented machine that embraced jamming with open arms, and turned their shows into infectious dance parties, where prewritten songs no longer mattered. Others view it with an air of indifference, a sort of boring sidetrack from the pure origins of the band; a moment when, for the first time, the band showed signs of laziness, and, instead of pushing themselves further, relied on simple grooves, and extended jams to get themselves through a tour. Still some see it as the moment when Phish lost track of who they were, allowed drugs, the scene, and the bigness of what they'd become, take precedence over their music, and began the slow downward spiral to the bottoming out of 2004.

Whatever way you look at 1997, one thing is certain: the music Phish created throughout the year represented a distinct shift in styles from everything that had come before, and would alter the course of their craft, and the band, in a multitude of ways over the next twenty years.

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Monday 12/10/2018 by wforwumbo

MYSTERY JAM MONDAY PART 355

Welcome to the 355th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the second of December. The winner will receive an MP3 download code courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of the two mystery clips. Each person gets one guess to start – if no one answers correctly in the first 24 hours, a hint will be posted. After the hint, everyone gets one more guess before Wednesday at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!

Friday 12/07/2018 by FunkyCFunkyDo

TAKE THE BAIT - EPISODE 1: KASVOT VAXT

[Take the Bait is spirited deliberation and/or discourse centered around the hyperbole of Phish’s music and fandom, passionately exuded via the written words of phish.net contributors @FunkyCFunkyDo and @n00b100. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of phish.net, The Mockingbird Foundation, or any fan… still, we're fairly confident that we're right.]

The Bait: Phish’s most recent Halloween costume, Kasvot Vaxt, or KV, was the greatest “gag” of Phish’s career. Better than any NYE “gag” set, any festival secret set, and previous Halloweens.

Funky: Full disclosure, I watched this from the couch. Begrudgingly. So begrudgingly that I was actually wearing pants. Well, for most of it anyway. The emotional journey began as soon as pictures of the Phishbill started to saturate the internet. Obscure European prog rock cover, WTAF!? Is this going to be a rave? Trancey house music or an ABBA rip off?? And where the heck is Finland??? From the get go, energy and rumor were swirling like a tornado in a washing machine around what Phish has planned. And then the internet fights started, unironically, simultaneously to the Phish fan’s uncanny CIA-level sleuthing to figure out who, or what, KV was, or is. Before the music even started, let alone the Halloween set, Phish had already created something no one expected and something no one could explain. Funny, isn’t it? Trying to explain Phish… just as Phish? And now look what they’ve done!

n00b: I suppose I’ll have to disclose that I was there (one of my two shows at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in fabulous Las Vegas, NV for 2018), and am staring at my beat-up but still perfectly legible Phishbill, replete with the ad for Phish’s “Every Goddamn Note” box set, which I wish existed if only for people to start going, “Man, Phish was way better in the 1970s before they were even a band or knew each other, you don’t even know, n00bs!” I kept puzzling over what the whole thing could possibly mean, logging on to social media to see fan theories tossed around and links to the fake Discogs page and AllMusic review (only 4 stars??? Pull your head out of your ass, Steven Thomas Erlewine!!!). And what was really great was that I knew so many other folks in the arena were doing the exact same thing, trying to wrap our heads around this mystery. Some people were pretty clued in that it was gonna be another set of original music, but some were convinced Kasvot Vaxt was a real band, or that they were going to cover already-written songs and the “titles” were just a ruse (a theory also floated for 2014’s costume, IIRC), or that the titles were rewritings of Grateful Dead songs (“Death Don’t Hurt Very Long” - uhhh, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” much?) and we were *finally* getting that Dead set everyone was expecting after "Fare Thee Well" in 2015. Now, let me ask you this - does any of that sound better than what we actually got?

© Rene Huemer - Phish Inc
© Rene Huemer - Phish Inc

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Thursday 12/06/2018 by howard_roark

THE THREE DECEMBERS - 1995 (PART II)

© Tim Mosenfelder
© Tim Mosenfelder

II. The BIG Months of Phish

In the world of Phish, there are certain months held in a higher regard than all others. Months where the band seemed to tap into an intangible energy bigger than themselves, reach and sustain mediums of connection, and where, simply put, everything clicked.

During these months, Phish wasn't so much playing their music as they were existing within it. Featuring lengthy runs of wildly engaging shows, setlists that read as though they were plucked out of a fan's notebook, and jams where Phish engaged in a lengthy, unending and fully-flowing conversations. These months have come to define the style and sound of the multiple eras of Phish.

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Tuesday 12/04/2018 by howard_roark

THE THREE DECEMBERS - 1995 (PART I)

The following is a series of essays tracking Phish’s improvisational development across three important & symbolic months in their history: December’s 1995, 1997 and 1999. The goal here is to showcase how the band, thirteen years into their career, peaked, and then rediscovered their sound and artistic inspiration over a four year period that saw them grow in greater popularity while fighting off personal demons. It’s this writer’s hope that this series helps to showcase the development of the band, their insatiable pursuit of musical connection, and the ultimate toll this took on the members of Phish.

© Mark Friedman
© Mark Friedman

I. Introduction

Just for a minute step back and consider the multitude of events that had to go right to create a scenario for a month like December 1995 to occur for Phish, or for any band for that matter.

First and foremost, Phish had to form, which means its four members - all from a variety of parts of the overpopulated Northeastern United States - had to meet each other, and see enough potential in their relationships to spend the time playing music together. Then they had to want to continue playing music together. Not want in the way of casually enjoying hanging out with someone, but fully believing that their other three counterparts were talented enough, passionate enough and driven enough to continue working - keyword: working - toward some obscure, intangible, somewhat undefinable goal. No matter what direction they would decide to take their music, they had to keep working at it to move forward. Working at it when all looked hopeless and they had graduated from college - burdened with the added pressures of adulthood and careers, mortgages and marriage, blah blah blah - and were still overjoyed when just 2000 people came out to see them play. One Time.

Working at it when their hard work began to pay off, when they began to make money, and began to develop some sense of a national following, rather than allow the success to get to their heads. Working at it even when they surpassed probably their own wildest imaginations of what they could actually be, in April 1992, in August 1993 and again in June and November 1994.

Working at it day-in-and-day-out in the way an elite basketball team works on defensive schemes long after practice was scheduled to end. Working at a craft in a focused and driven manner all in the name of creating the music that played in their heads in a live, improvisational setting.

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Tuesday 12/04/2018 by ucpete

Phish Studies Conference: Call For Proposals

Phish Studies: An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Band, its Music, and its Fans
 
Oregon State University is pleased to announce the first peer-reviewed academic conference devoted to the music and fan culture of the improvisational rock band Phish. The conference will take place on Oregon State’s campus in Corvallis, Oregon, May 17-19, 2019.
 
For the past thirty-five years, Phish has been consistently building a fervent fan base and impressive live performance history, often working outside traditional avenues of the mainstream recording industry. They staged the world’s largest New Year’s Eve concert in December 1999 with a marathon seven-hour set, redefined the modern American music festival, and performed a record-setting thirteen night run at New York’s Madison Square Garden without repeating a single song during the summer of 2017. Despite these achievements, Phish has received far less scholarly attention than many other acts in popular music.

Bringing scholars together from diverse academic disciplines, we welcome a wide range of methodological and theoretical approaches to the sonic, narrative, performative, visual, and cultural worlds of Phish, including but not limited to:
 
•       Music and Lyrics: Compositional practice; Improvisational strategies; Band mythologies, including Gamehendge; Questions of genre; Historiography;
•       Elements of Live Performance: Cover songs; Concert lighting; Venues; Fan space and place;
•       Fan Culture: Fan communities (virtual, face-to-face); Fan art; Parking lots; Tape trading; Issues of race, gender, religion, sexuality, disability; Activism; Subcultural identities; Fan mythologies;
•       Business: Business practices; Place within music industry; Tape trading; Early adoption of the internet; Media framing of Phish; Influence on American music festival culture; Influence on the jam band genre;
•       Quantitative Analysis: Analyses of setlists, fan show ratings, tour itineraries.

Please submit abstracts of 250-500 words for either (a) individual 20-minute papers or (b) 90-minute panel proposals (three presenters minimum). Complete panel proposals should include an abstract for each panelist’s contribution as well as a 250-word (max.) justification for the panel. We encourage proposals from scholars at any stage of their career, including graduate students as well as scholars outside of academia. Abstracts should specify the presenter’s methodological and theoretical approach, summarize conclusions, and specify the broader academic implications of the research. Abstracts are due no later than January 15, 2019.

Participants will have the opportunity to submit revised versions of their presentations for an edited volume following the conference. For submission instructions and more information, go to http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/phish2019/
 
Program committee:
Dr. Stephanie Jenkins, Committee Chair (Philosophy)
Dr. Christina Allaback (Theater Studies)
Dr. Jnan Ananda Blau (Communication Studies)
Dr. Jacob A. Cohen (Musicology)
Dr. Natalie Dollar (Speech Communication)
Dr. Paul Jakus (Economics)
Dr. Elizabeth Yeager (American Studies)

Monday 12/03/2018 by wforwumbo

MYSTERY JAM MONDAY PART 354

Welcome to the 354th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the first and easiest of December. The winner will receive an MP3 download code courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of the mystery clip. Each person gets one guess to start – if no one answers correctly in the first 24 hours, a hint will be posted. After the hint, everyone gets one more guess before Wednesday at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!

Reminder: For the first MJM of each month, only folks who have never won an MJM are allowed to answer before the hint. If you have never won an MJM, please answer as a blog comment below. If you have previously won an MJM, but you'd like to submit a guess before the hint, you may do so by PMing me; once the hint has been posted, everyone should answer on the blog. If that's confusing to you, check out the handy decision tree that @ucpete threw together to help guide you. If you're not sure if you've won before, check in the MJM Results spreadsheet linked below.

Answer: A single clipper that seems to have initially stumped both newcomers and veterans alike! But a sharp ear and attendance of this jam allowed our freshest member to join the MJM hunt for 7 wins, @SolarGarlic505, his very first download code. He was able to edge out the only vet to answer over PM, @Mshow96 - who seems to have a knack for solving single-clip Baker's Dozen jams. Both were able to identify one of my personal favorite and heavily underrated jams of the Baker's Dozen: the Coconut Tweezer from 7/21/17. Stay tuned everyone, for next week the puzzles increase in number and difficulty by a count of 1!

Thursday 11/29/2018 by swittersdc

WIPE OUT! HF POD REVISITS 11.27.98

For the past few episodes, we've spent a lot of time talking about 2018, with good reason. But for the 20th anniversary of this legendary show, we're going back to revisit the wild and wonderful 11.27.98 from Worcester. Check it out.

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Monday 11/26/2018 by ucpete

MYSTERY JAM MONDAY PART 353

Gobble Gobble Mystery Jammers, @ucpete back at the controls for a moment to mess with you before sending you off deep into the tr0nZ to get all the discounts ($7 box sets? Done.). Did I forget to mention – forget to mention: Welcome to the 353rd edition of the MJM, home of Phish nerds, and the ancient art of jam recognition? (No, this isn't a "Cities"-themed MJM.) The winner will receive an MP3 download code courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the songs and dates of the three mystery clips. These three clips are connected by a theme, but the theme needn't be part of the correct answer. Each person gets one guess to start – if no one answers correctly in the first 24 hours, a hint will be posted. After the hint, everyone gets one more guess before Wednesday at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck! You'll need it.

Hint: It's three versions of the same song, about three years apart from one another (though the clips are not necessarily in chronological order). I thought for sure someone reading the forum yesterday would've figured this one out by now...

Answer: For the sixth time this year, the Blog has the pleasure of crowning another MJM Emeritus. @lostboy01 burst onto the MJM scene in April 2018 with his first win, and proceeded to go on one of the fastest sprints to seven wins we've ever seen, including winning five MJMs between MJM340 and MJM347 alone. After a five week dry spell – an eternity for @lostboy01 – he solved the most difficult MJM of the year (with a generous hint, to be fair) to finally reach the promised land. This week, he catapulted across the finish line by identifying the 6/29/00 "Catapult," 7/18/03 "Catapult," and 3/2/97 "Catapult." For his efforts, in addition to the standard key card to The Vault from Kevin Shapiro and addition to the massive group text with the band (Mike's emoji game on fleek), @lostboy01 receives a copy of the new Baker's Dozen remastered box set on 56 8 track tapes presented in a carboard box Fishman tucked for all three Gorge shows this summer, a copy of the Curveball soundcheck "Turbidity Jam" (with Mike on plunger), a Kasvot Växt-signed rock that doubles as a one-way ticket to the Subterranean Arctic Neuro Technology Orientation Station, and most importantly, an open invitation to stump the MJM regulars at this beautiful game. Congratulations My Friend, My Friend – you'll always remember where you were when you were elected into the MJM Hall of Fame. Stay tuned for MJM354 on Monday, when wumbo returns for an easy single clipper.

Tuesday 11/20/2018 by dmg924

BEYOND THE POND PODCAST: 50TH EPISODE EXTRAVAGANZA! TOP 10 FAVORITE PHISH SHOWS ATTENDED

Beyond the Pond is a bi-weekly podcast in which Brian Brinkman (@sufferingjuke) and David Goldstein (@daveg924) use the music of Phish as a gateway to introduce the listener to many other bands, the vast majority of which are not jambands. An episode generally begins with a deep dive into a designated portion of Phish improvisation, and then can spin off to any variety of musical themes and other acts, the overarching purpose being introducing the listener to as many new and different bands as possible.

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Monday 11/19/2018 by wforwumbo

MYSTERY JAM TUESDAY PART 352

Welcome to the 352nd edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the third of November. The winner will receive an MP3 download code courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the songs and dates of the two mystery clips. Each person gets one guess to start – if no one answers correctly in the first 24 hours, a hint will be posted. After the hint, everyone gets one more guess before Wednesday at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!

Answer: Congrats to @The_Blob, who gave the blog less than an hour to fantasze about using a funny hint to describe how Horn-y this puzzle is: 5/7/94 "Horn" and 6/20/97 "Horn." In doing so, he continues his meteoric rise onto the MJM scene with his third win, all in 2018. Speaking of 2018, we've only got a handful MJMs left the year, so stop by Monday for MJM tree-fitty-tree when the blog guarantees* the difficult puzzle lasts more than fitty-five minutes. *guarantees not guaranteed

Wednesday 10/31/2018 by Lemuria

Phish Fans Fund Vegas Music

The all-volunteer, fan-run Mockingbird Foundation is once again celebrating Phish tour by making unsolicited Tour Grants supporting a music program near each of the venues at which the band will perform.

In honor of Phish's upcoming shows at MGM Grand Garden Arena, October 31st and November 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, we have sent a check for $2500 to Mater Academy MS in Las Vegas, NV. Mockingbird has now made 385 grants, covering all 50 states, and totalling more than $1.3M.

Watch for news posts here at Phish.net, or the evolving press release at mbird.org, for news on other "miracle" tour grants this fall. And please consider making a contribution, to help us give back to the communities we've touched.

Friday 10/26/2018 by Lemuria

Phish Fans Fund Rosemont School

The all-volunteer, fan-run Mockingbird Foundation is once again celebrating Phish tour by making unsolicited Tour Grants supporting a music program near each of the venues at which the band will perform.

In honor of Phish's upcoming shows at Allstate Arena on October 26th, 27th, and 28th, we have sent a check for $2500 to Rosemont SD78 in Rosemont, IL. Mockingbird has now made 384 grants, covering all 50 states, and totalling more than $1.3M.

Watch for news posts here at Phish.net, or the evolving press release at mbird.org, for news on other "miracle" tour grants this fall. And please consider making a contribution, to help us give back to the communities we've touched.

Tuesday 10/23/2018 by Lemuria

Phish Fans Fund Nashville Music

The all-volunteer, fan-run Mockingbird Foundation is once again celebrating Phish tour by making unsolicited Tour Grants supporting a music program near each of the venues at which the band will perform.

In honor of Phish's upcoming shows at Ascend Amphitheater on October 23rd and 24th, we have sent a check for $2500 to Music Makes Us in Nashville, TN.

Watch for news posts here at Phish.net, or the evolving press release at mbird.org, for news on other "miracle" tour grants this fall. And please consider making a contribution, to help us give back to the communities we've touched.

Friday 10/19/2018 by Lemuria

Phish Fans Fund Hampton School

The all-volunteer, fan-run Mockingbird Foundation is once again celebrating Phish tour by making unsolicited Tour Grants supporting a music program near each of the venues at which the band will perform.

In honor of Phish's shows at Hampton Coliseum, on October 19th, 20th, and 21st in Hampton, VA, we've sent a check for $2,500 to the band and chorus at Lindsay Middle School, part of Hampton City Schools.

Watch for news posts here at Phish.net, or the evolving press release at mbird.org, for news on other "miracle" tour grants this fall. And please consider making a contribution, to help us give back to the communities we've touched.

Tuesday 10/16/2018 by Lemuria

Phish Fans Fund Albany School

The all-volunteer, fan-run Mockingbird Foundation is once again celebrating Phish tour by making unsolicited Tour Grants supporting a music program near each of the venues at which the band will perform.

In honor of Phish's shows at Times Union Center, tonight and tomorrow in Albany, NY, we've sent a check for $2,500 to The Free Schoolthe longest-running inner city independent alternative school in the country.

Watch for news posts here at Phish.net, or the evolving press release at mbird.org, for news on other "miracle" tour grants this fall. And please consider making a contribution, to help us give back to the communities we've touched.

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Trey and Mike (Las Vegas, Oct. 31, 2018)
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