Minimalist Music got its start in the underground art-rock scenes of New York and San Francisco in the early-to-mid-1960's. Pioneered by such composers as Philip Glass, John Adams, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley, the music was created in effort to communicate the banality of the modern world, specifically, in an urbanized Post-War-West. Characterized by an almost stationary and repetitive melody, Minimalist music shifts between great lengths and ephemeral ideas. It is usually accompanied by a slow modulation, is generally marked by moments of elongated silence, and, is notable for its lack of overall direction.
In an unprecedented collaboration between an academic journal and the live music community, Phish.net, the Philosophy School of Phish, and the Public Philosophy Journal (PPJ) are soliciting abstracts for essays about the improvisational rock band Phish, its music, and fans. Selected papers that successfully complete the PPJ’s Formative Peer Review process will be published in a special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal, co-edited by Dr. Stephanie Jenkins (Oregon State University, assistant professor of Philosophy) and Charlie Dirksen (Mockingbird Foundation, Vice President and Associate Counsel).
Contributors may submit abstracts on any topic of philosophical significance related to the Phish phenomenon. Proposed essays should explore philosophical questions, problems, concepts, themes, or historical figures through connections to the music and fan culture of Phish. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Welcome to the 356th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the third and final 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 songs and dates of the three 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!
Note: Given the holiday weekend next week as well as the New Year's Eve holiday (and Phish shows!) two weeks from now, this will be the final Mystery Jam Monday of 2018. In its stead, I am working to try and churn out some work for my From The Tapers' Section series between bouts of penning my doctoral thesis - obviously time is tight, but I hope to get some tasty tapes into your hands before the year ends. So I recommend that all of you continue to check in during the next two weeks, but in the meantime take a break from the competition and enjoy the time spent with friends, families, and a chance to ring in another new year at MSG! Best of luck on this MJM, and see you in 2019 with some fresh puzzles and clips.
Hint: this photo
Answer: Congrats to @shelfofpregnanthens, the sixth MJMer in the past nine MJMs to take down their third win! If the past two months of this year are any indication, the MJM Hall of Fame will continue to grow in 2019. @shelfofpregnanthens figured out the hint almost immediately, realizing that a picture of a baby seal was a nod to blues legend Frank "Son" Seals, who sat in with Phish on multiple occassions, including the dates of this week's jams: 7/10/97 "Bathtub Gin," 7/17/99 "Timber (Jerry)," and 10/3/99 "David Bowie." Come back on January 7th, 2019 for MJM357: Magnum Edition, and have a blast at MSG for NYE. And remember: don't do anything we wouldn't do!
December 1995 is hallowed ground for Phish fans. We try to do it justice with this two-part episode to round out the HF Pod episodes for the year. We have two special guests who help us rank, evaluate and ultimately recommit to the amazingness that was this month.
[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… but we're pretty sure we’re right. Probably.]
The Bait: 11/22/97 is one of the truly great shows of Phish’s live oeuvre, and has a reasonable argument to be considered the finest show the band has ever played.
Set 1: Mike's Song -> I am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Harry Hood > Train Song, Billy Breathes, Frankenstein > Izabella
Set 2: Halley's Comet > Tweezer -> Black Eyed Katy > Piper > Run Like an Antelope
Encore: Bouncing Around the Room > Tweezer Reprise
n00b: One of the things I’ve tried to work out of my Phish vocabulary is the term “best”, because virtually every discussion regarding Phish other than “it’s good Trey’s not on drugs anymore”, to me, involves subjectivity and the biases and preferences of the person(s) having that discussion. So I tend to go with “favorite” instead, because it properly denotes that I’m talking about something from my own personal viewpoint, with my own personal biases and preferences attached. And now, with this preamble, let me say this: 11/22/97 is my favorite Phish show of all time. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s your favorite, too, so I guess we’re going pretty short this episode!
VIII. The Jams of December 1997
Ask any fan what their two favorite jams from December 1997 are, and their answers should be December 6th's "Tweezer -> Izabella -> Twist -> Piper" sequence, and the "AC/DC Bag" from Madison Square Garden on the night of the 30th. In reality, if you only heard two jams from 1997, these are the two that would best give you an understanding of what the 1997 sound was and why it's so revered 20+ years later.
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.
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 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!
Hint: Two performances of one song, separated by four days, played in a tour with more than one leg.
Answer: And then he had three (codes)! @Patwich scoops up his third MJM win in short order after the hint by picking out the 8/22/12 Tweezer and its slightly-younger-but-still-wonderful brother, the 8/26/12 Tweezer. Will next week continue this December Tweezer Extravaganza, or will we at the blog cook up something out of left field? Return next week to find out!
[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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $1,000,000 to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.