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What Does "Hose" Mean In Phish Speak?

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The "Hose" refers to Phish's free-flowing improvisational jamming.

Trey and Mike explained the Hose in an NPR radio interview in the Spring of 1994, just after Hoist was released, and referencing remarks by Santana, who reportedly told them "When you guys were playing, I was picturing the audience as this sea of flowers, the music was the water, and you guys were the hose.":

Trey: "We actually have exercises that we do, where we work on improving our improvising as a group. It gets rid of the ego. It's an exercise to get rid of the ego. And the more that we do it the more we find that our improvisations are less concerned with showing off flashy solos or whatever, and more concerned with making a group sound. There's a feeling that we always talk about. When we went out with Santana, he had brought up this thing about the Hose. ... where the music is like water rushing through you and as a musician your function is really like that of a hose. And, and well his thing is that the audience is like a sea of flowers, you know, and you're watering the audience. But the concept of music going through you, that you're not actually creating it, that what you're doing is -- the best thing that you can do is get out of the way. So, when you are in a room full of people, there's this kind of group vibe that seems to get rolling sometimes."

Mike: "It gets -- It really starts to seem like It's not the audience or the band. This Thing that gets rolling is It's OWN Thing. When things are going really well, and a jam has taken off, there's this feeling of motion that is created by the rhythm. And at that point my bass that I'm playing feels like this sortof vehicle, or like a hitch for me to hold on to, like someone would hold on to a um ... Like if you were on a -- I was thinking if you were on a ski lift, maybe. A chair lift. Or just something that would hook you on to the motion that's going, and pull you along with IT."

Though Trey and Mike speak of something that sounds frequent and ongoing, some reserve "Hose" for particular moments of musical majesty. For example, Charlie Dirksen posted (9/4/97) (full post):

I consider 'IT' or 'Hose' a concept of transcendent, mystical proportions, even though I realize that some people use the term loosely. IT is the fruit of the communication of musical genius and being with an Other; with Love, with Life, with Being Itself. The apotheosis of humanity through music, IT penetrates the fiber of our existence and gloriously uplifts, strengthens and fulfills us. Many of us, anyway -- although I believe that everyone can experience IT.

The Hose is also obviously not just a part of the experience of Phish's music for many people. IT is an aspect of the Experience of improvisational music in general, and a feeling that I first experienced through The Grateful Dead, and then through Phish and other improvisational bands (like Zero, MMW, Allmans, Santana, LoS, moe., etc.). I think it is fair to suggest that gloriously composed and passionately performed classical music has this Power, too. And it should go without saying that some bands convey IT more often than others... :)

I reserve the use of "Hose" to describe improvisation when I get the impression that the band, audience and music have gelled into a triune Being of world-transcending blessedness. Jams that jettison the soul skyward in a manner that is mystically astray from the expected and typical course, but which *WORK* and weave tapestries of enchanting, bissful melodies around our souls. The improvisation of the 2/15/73 Eyes of the World, early 70s Dark Stars & Elevens & New Potatoes, the 5/8/77 ScarletFire, etc.

For example, if, suddenly, in 'Bathtub Gin' (see 8/13/93 -- my first experience of Phish Hose), the jam segues from being a typical Gin-sortof jam into a weekapaugian groove, this is Hose. In 'Antelope,' it wouldn't be an 'Antelope' if the jam didn't kick your ass and follow a fast-paced, tear-it-up style. THIS jamming isn't "Hose," since it would be akin to a normal kickass Antelope; that is, what you'd _reasonably_ expect to hear within the confines of The Song (see also numerous versions of 'Deal' or 'SMAG' or 'Bucket' or 'Cassidy' etc.). Hose in 'Antelope' would be something completely unusual for 'Antelope': where the 'Antelope' takes on a different form completely, and Becomes An Other Endeavor ENTIRELY (or *ALMOST* entirely, in some cases... see 10/24/95 Madison or a few Antelopes from Aug 93..).

...The 12/29/94 set 2 'Bowie' is a compelling Work of Art that explores territory never before explored in the song (although also see the 11/26/94 'Bowie'). Much of the improvisation of this version mellifluously CLICKED and carried everyone giddily along (and CONTINUES to so carry... we should use the present tense when talking about the power of these jams and the experience of music as Hose... it doesn't take that much imagination with a good pair of headphones!). The Dead experienced "Hose" like this in practically every version of 'Dark Star' (which was called "IT" by numerous fans, by the way), not to mention an awe-inspiring number of other songs, at different times throughout their career.

...Some people argue that all segues are "hose," but I would suggest that only Powerful Segues are Hose. Segues in which both songs are being played at the same time, and one truly MORPHS into the other (such as 'Gin' -> 'Yamar' of 8/13/93, or 12/29/94 'Runaway'->'Foam,' or 'Gin' -> 'Real Me' -> 'Gin' of 12/29/95, or practically all Scarlet->Fire's and Help->Slip's etc.). The Grateful Dead were (and ARE.. IT LIVES) the Masters of the Profound Segue. The recent 'Simple' of 12/6/96 Vegas is Hose, in my opinion; there's an excellent, thrilling Jam in that version (the final ten minutes of it or so), which begins after a dramatic key change and out of the remnants of a typically inspiring 'Simple' jam. The second set of Amsterdam 1997 clearly bears witness to Hose: The segue into 'Lucy with a Lumpy Head?' Magnificent, even if you don't like this odd new song.

The extremely straightforward segue from 'Houses' into 'Seen' of the 10/31/95 Remain in Light set -- that's Hose, in my opinion, although I doubt the band members were all water-skiing at the time! That segue just sounds so delicious on tape that I can close my eyes and imagine being carried along by It, easily. See also the JAM out of 'Suzy' (of all things) of 11/13/96, the 'DWD' of 11/27/96 Seattle which sure as Icculus ain't typical.

Hose to me is a word that should be reserved for INTENSELY thrilling & passionate improvisational events, and not for the Same Old Kickass Jam Segments. If someone tells me they were "hosed" by a given 'Antelope' or 'Chalk Dust' or 'Possum,' I'll raise my eyebrows and smile. But check out the version. "Hose" to me isn't merely ass-kicking. IT is Earth-shaking and Revelatory. IT is of Profound Significance in Phishtory; an event not merely "special" but worthy of the highest esteem.

...Tunes/Songs, in order to be "tunes" or "songs," follow a Plan: a structure that controls and holds the melody and rhythm, the measures and the lyrics. This structure is objectively based (we can intersubjectively communicate about it as "fact" and "truth" and symbolize it), but our appreciation of its merits is obviously subjective. Hose to me, though, necessarily loses the structure of the tune -- at **LEAST** in the sense that the jam or composition has created repercussions more significant than it ever had before, within the confines of the Typical DWD Jam Segment Structure, or Typical FOTM Jam Segment Structure, or what have you. ...

And the hose could work both ways. Rich Schadle posted (7/27/98) on inspirations from The Celestine Prophecy:

Recenetly I read James Redfield's "The Celestine Prophecy." I found a number of his Insights rather thought provoking. While nothing he wrote was entirely new or defined a comprehensive philisophical approach to religion, I found myself pondering his explanation of the universal energy and how humans can transfer this energy to each other.

For those of you who have not read "The Celestine Prophecy," I'll attempt a quick description on the book. First, the story is a work of fiction, centering around the advention of the namless hero. The hero travels to Peru to search for an ancient manuscript. The manuscript allegedly contains 9 Insight into the spirtiual evolution of the human race. The government and catholic church of Peru are actively trying to surpress the manuscript but the hero fights against this. As far as the prose, the work is very basic. Which demonstrates that Redfield is clearly using the story to vocalize his views. The 9 Insights form a spiritual growth which focuses on Universal Energy. The Insights "teach" the hero how to first see the energy, then recieve it, and finally how to transfer the energy to others.

I can't say that I agree with Redfield or that the book "changed my life." But the book did start me thinking about how I feel at a Phish concert. At a Phish show, when the boys are jamming away and I'm tightly into the groove, I can feel the energy flowing out of me. In turn, the Engery flows back into me filling me with more and more energy. It seems the more energy that flows out, the more that flows back. People have often spoke of a "hose" moment. This is loosely defined as when the boys are showering the audiance (the flowers) with musical energy flowing out of a "hose." I feel that this "hose" only captures half of the energy flow. This description fails to decsribe how the individuals in the audence transfers energy to the boys. When each audence member transfers energy to the boys, they recieve the energy and then transfer it back to the audence. The result is a heightened amount of energy. At the sme time, the audience is transfering the heightened energy back and the boys recieve and send as well. This constant exchange drives the energy level higher and higher. This process until an "orgasmic" level is reached sometimes called the Id sometimes called a "hose". But it is a higher state of concious enduced by the levels of energy.

Unrelated, there's a band called Fifty Foot Hose. Loretta Knight posted to rmp on 1/18/99:

Fifty Foot Hose was an insane Psychedelic band from the 60's. Their jams were very strange, they built many of their weird instruments. Today they are at it again, with a new CD, a Holographic Movie Machine called the Hologlyphic Funkalizer, instruments that look like art sculptures + sound even more bizzare. They have the standard guitar, drums, bass, a great female vocalist plus a large selection of one of a kind instruments built by some well known experimental instrument craftsmen. The website is at: www.Fiftyfoothose.com.

"Every night, Carlos would tell us: 'The music is the water, the audience is the flowers, and you are the hose.' His point was that we, the musicians, are just the vehicle. If we want the music to truly express what's in our souls, we have to clear our minds, listen to each other, and get our own egos out of the way.""
-- Trey Anastasio, The Detroit News, 10/26/95"


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