Also Known As: Dog Gone Dog
Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
Last Update: 2016-03-09
In the history of rock and roll, there have been dozens of great songs about dogs: “Old King” by Neil Young; “Hey Bulldog” by Lennon/McCartney; “Fluffy” by Ween; “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by Iggy Pop; “Walkin’ the Dog” by Rufus Thomas; “Seamus” by Pink Floyd. Assuming their rightful place alongside these famous tributes to the canine are Phish’s “Runaway Jim” and “Dog Log.” “Dog Log” is in part a tribute to Trey’s dog, Marley, a.k.a. “Mar Mar,” who passed away in October 2000, within days of the final shows before the band's first hiatus. But at its core, the song is, well... about stepping in dog shit.
Originally listed on the band’s White Tape as “Dog Gone Dog,” the song title shifted to “Dog Log” via both fan tape labeling and Trey’s stage side comments, eventually reflected in official Phish offerings. First performed at Hunt’s on 10/30/85, “Dog Log” is an infrequently played but much loved Phish tune. “Dog Log” is another one of those tunes that always seems to appear in exceptional Phish shows: 4/29/87 Nectar’s; 8/21/87 Ian McLean’s Farm (note Marley barking in the background periodically throughout the show); 10/21/89 The Front; 8/2/93 Tampa, FL; 2/26/97 Stuttgart, Germany; 11/27/98 Worcester (Live Phish 06); and 12/18/99 Hampton. Interestingly, “The Mango Song” has followed the last two performances of “Dog Log” before Phish’s 2004 breakup: at MPP on 9/17/00, and as the encore of the first night of IT on 8/2/03.
"Chalk Dust Torture" -> "Dog Log" – 11/27/98, Worcester, MA
By far the most famous appearance of “Dog Log” was on 12/11/95 at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine. Trey clued in the audience to the band’s (supposed) intent to record an album composed entirely of fifteen different versions of “Dog Log.” Trey asked the audience to be very quiet, to make it sound as if it were a sound check; then, on his mark, for everyone to “boo” loudly. Phish fans – never missing an opportunity for audience participation – obliged with gusto, serenading the band right with a voracious chorus of “boos!” An especially cheesy repeat performance later in the show left some of the crowd wondering if we were indeed going to get fifteen versions of the song. Snippets of this performance were included on the retrospective video played at Phish’s 20th anniversary gig in Boston on 12/2/03, during which clued-in portions of the FleetCenter crowd chimed in right on cue with a loud “boo!”
While “Dog Log” is a relative rarity in Phish show setlists, it is perhaps best known as a staple of the soundcheck. One notable soundcheck version of “Dog Log” is in wide circulation and should be sought by the song’s fans: 8/14/98, the sound check for Lemonwheel that was broadcast over the official radio station, “The Badger.” “Dog Log” is often played with widely contrasting styles during the soundcheck: sometimes in a reggae style, sometimes as a blues number, sometimes a jazzy rendition.
Trey has made several references on stage that “Dog Log” is the favorite song of Phish’s longtime soundman, Paul Languedoc. In an August 1999 interview with Jeff Waful on jambands.com, Paul let us in on the real story behind his supposed love for “Dog Log.” Apparently, early on in their career during soundcheck Paul would ask the band to play a tune with vocals, to test the soundboard mix. One time when Trey asked which song he wanted to hear, Paul randomly picked “Dog Log.” Rarely missing an opportunity for a running joke, Phish began consistently performing the tune during soundcheck, perpetuating the myth that it’s Paul’s “favorite tune.”
As Paul moved on and was no longer running sound since Phish returned to the stage in 2009, the future of "Dog Log" was uncertain. It remained a soundcheck staple (see 6/11/09, 11/29/09, 7/1/10, 8/14/10, 8/15/10, 8/17/10, 6/17/11, 8/31/12, 7/30/13, and 10/24/14) but eluded the live stage until 6/20/12 in Portsmouth, Virginia, 172 shows after IT. Before the break-out, Trey noted “There’s enough of those damn signs out there!”
"Dog Log" – 6/20/12, Portsmouth, VA