a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Jamming Chart

Chalk Dust Torture Reprise

Music/Lyrics: Phish

Vocals: Trey (lead), Fish, Mike, Page (backing)

Debut: 1994-12-10

Historian: Chris Bertolet (bertoletdown)

“Chalk Dust Torture Reprise” debuted during the encore of your humble historian’s very first Phish show, but I’m personally fond of it for other reasons. For one, its foundation is little more than a deliciously simple and irrepressibly catchy 4-chord hook (E, A, F#m, B), interspersed with tension runs on that B chord, over which Trey primes the pump with cries of “torture....torture...TORTURE” before blasting back into the main riff and chorus (simply, “Chalk dust torture!”).

Think Ramones by way of Burlington, Vermont.

The first time “Chalk Dust Torture Reprise” appeared it served as the backdrop for a litany of thanks from Trey to the unsung heroes in the crew and back office who made the fall 1994 tour such a smashing success, and ultimately to Phish’s “First Fan” Amy Skelton (who got her own chorus).

The second time the tune appeared, almost six years later at Deer Creek, it oddly preceded a volcanic first set “Chalk Dust Torture Reprise”, then re-appeared in the second set for a more lengthy workout.

The 4-chord progression from “Chalk Dust Torture Reprise” re-appeared at Coventry as the foundation of the one-off ditty “Dickie Scotland” – itself a tribute to Phish’s tour accountant, Richard Glasgow.

Submit notes/corrections

You must be logged in to leave a comment!



Register | Forgot Password

Doopes Reply
Doopes When they stated playing this at Deer Creek, my friends and I were in disbelief, we've never heard it and it was very spontaneous. We just started dancing and laughing. It was very energetic and super fun to party to. Glad I caught it!
Score: 1
deBebbler Reply
deBebbler The first time I remembered hearing this riff was at the beginning of 3/25/92 II at Trax, before starting Tweezer. This was just the jokey 4 chord progression played once or twice. CDT was known as a difficult song for Phish to get right, and it seemed they harbored a little resentment toward the song, and had created this to "take the piss out of the song" a little bit.

I also had another tape from sometime 91-93 where at the beginning of the set, Page was toying with the progression, and giving a little "Chalkdust Torture" falsetto. I have searched through PhishTracks some, but I cannot seem to find it.

I had never heard the 94 version, but when they busted this out during the Moby Dick set in 2000, my eyes went wide, thinking "HEY! I have heard this before!!!"

No one believed me though, after the show. Could have been because I was speechless.
Score: 0
Jevers Reply
Jevers They need to bring this back
Score: 0
now_im_on_my_weigh Reply
Trey starts these chords either before the first or second night of Alpine 2012
Score: 0
Login Register