Phish's Instruments

 

The FAQ is currently in the process of being updated in the new system. We apologize for any inconvenience, and will be updating this page as soon as possible.

The basics: The band has four members:

  • TREY ANASTASTIO performs with electric and acoustic guitars, drums set during Henrietta solos, megaphone (in most "Fee"s since 11-19-92), percussion stand (from summer 1995 through spring of 1997), and vocals.
  • MIKE GORDON performs with electric bass, standup bass, banjo, acoustic guitar, electric drill (6-15-95 and bass, standup bass, banjo, acoustic guitar, electric drill (6-30-95), foot bell, and vocals.
  • PAGE MCCONNELL performs with keys (inc. a Hammond B-3 organ and grand piano), upright bass, mouth piano thing, acoustic guitar, theremin, and vocals.
  • JON FISHMAN performs with drums, vacuum, bagpipe (aka "Bag-vac"; with vacuum attachment), "Madonna" washboard (shiny thing with pointy breasts, made by a New Orleans artist and acquired circa 3/2/93), banjo, mandolin, trombone, acoustic guitar, cymbals, and vocals.

    Cymbals: During "Cracklin' Rosie", Fishman comes out holding up two cymbals, one with the letter "B" on the other side, the other with the letters "AH". Fish crashes them together on the first "Bah" of the chorus. Although recent appearances of the cymbals (e.g. 12/10/99) seem completely new to some folks, this has happened since the spring tour of 1992, when the song debuted.

Otherwise: Some interesting variations on who plays what...

  • For the song "Acoustic Army" (debuted 6-9-95), all four members come to the front of the stage, sit on stools, and play acoustic guitars. For the session (less of a song than Acoustic Army, though often referred to as though the versions are the same) "Keyboard Cavalry" (debuted 9-27-95), all four play -- you guessed it -- the keys. Note that there is some dispute as to whether or not they are both Armies, but "Keyboard Cavalry" suggests the (as-yet-unrealized) possiblities of "Bass Brigade" and "Drum Corps".
  • And, note 11-25-95 Hampton, VA; 12-15-95 and 12-29-96 Philadelphia, PA; and 8-10-97 Deer Creek(during the Rocka William), at all four of which the band members rotated (aka Rotation Jam or Instrument-Switch Jam), while maintaining the flow of the middle of an improvisational section, so that everyone played the four main instruments. And in February 1997, they reworked two songs to have new placements - Walfredo (Trey- Keyboards, Mike- Guitar, Fish- Bass, and Page- Drums) and Rocko William (Mike- Keyboards, Fish- Guitar, Page- Bass, and Trey- Drums.) And at the Lemonwheel, Trey and Mike switched instruments for Sabatogue according to Sam ).
  • Also, taboot, at some fall 1991 and spring 1992 shows, Trey and Mike were playing off each others' instruments, doing some *crazy* dual thumping back and forth, and, for that matter, their rubbing Air Axes at 12-30-96 during the power outage and Silent Jam.

Recently, Mike's also had a large bell near his pedals. He's used it (at least) during YEM at 11/9/96 (according to Darius Zelkha), during one of the spacey jams at 7-1-97, and right before "Scent of a Mule" 8-16-97 (according to Adam ).

Note that diagrams of Trey's rig and Mike's rig are available here in the FAQ. That information is also on the official site homepage. Jeff Buchholz pointed out on rmp 2/17/97: "I found some secrets at www.phish.com. If you got the page with the band history, and scroll down there are two pictures. One is on the right side is looks like a red curtain or something. Click on it and there is a diagram of Trey's Setup on stage. Scroll a little farther and click on the picture of Mike, and you get Mike's setup."

Thanks also to "Kristen C. Godard" 4/98, Todd Justus 6/21/98, and Doug Meckler 2/20/97.

 

"Phish is a band with no spare parts. That's what makes us unique. We try to create an atmosphere where everyone gets to be themselves to the fullest." -- Trey Anastasio, New York Post 1/1/99



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