Ha Ha Ha
Albums: Hampton Comes Alive
Historian: Jeremy D. Goodwin
Last Update: 2013-03-01
This is undoubtedly one of the strangest Phish songs to come out of the 1990s. One of the few Fishman-penned contributions to the catalog, “Ha Ha Ha” is one of those songs whose effect far exceeds the sum of its parts. It’s a two minute crunch rocker, held together loosely by a riff and the refrain “Ha ha ha ha.” The lyrics (such as they are) are delivered in a flat, eerie tone that feigns ambivalence while achieving the ominous.
The tune remains strangely endearing, in part because of its limited duty. It showed up a handful of times in 1995 after its debut in Lowell, and then crept back deep within the recesses of the rotation. Since ‘96 the boys have picked their spots carefully, and unleashed this quirky favorite quite rarely. It initially seemed to hover on the edge of extinction before being occasionally exhumed, but the band seems to have eased into a steady, once or twice a year rotation for this song. Phish uses this number to greatest effect whenever they pull it out; its appearance is inconceivable in a mere run of the mill show. It’s opened shows (10/25/96, 6/30/00), participated in bizarre transitions (11/21/98 “Free” > “Ha Ha Ha” > “Free” and 7/15/03 as part of a triple decker "BBFCFM" sandwich), and served as an exclamation point to great jamming (7/3/95 “Tweezer” -> “Ha Ha Ha”). Fans wanting to experience a more recent version should seek out 8/15/09 where it preceded the debut of another Fishman lyrical masterpiece, "Party Time” or 10/30/10 with a “Whole Lotta Love” tease, one of many Zeppelin-infused songs from that evening.