Martian Monster

Originally Performed ByPhish
Lyrics ByJimmy Johnson
VocalsLaura Olsher (Narration Samples)
Phish Debut2014-10-31
Last Played2018-11-02
Current Gap1
HistorianGrant Calof (That_Guy)
Last Update2017-01-11


Known by myriad names to ancient cultures across the globe for thousands of years, the Mars we know today takes its name from the Roman god of war.  Astronomy and astrology notwithstanding, our long-held fascination with the red planet and the little green men who allegedly populate it can be traced back to the late nineteenth century.

Originally published in 1898 by Herbert George ‘H.G.’ Wells, War of the Worlds was the first popular fiction to explore the notion of hostile space invaders.  But the palpable terror of a real-life, real-time Martian invasion didn’t sink its teeth into the American psyche until Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of Wells’ War of the Worlds on October 30, 1938.

”Martian Monster” 7/31/15 Atlanta, GA

Seventy-six years and one day after Welles’ historic broadcast, on 10/31/14, Phish debuted “Martian Monster” as the tenth and final instrumental composition inspired by the Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House sound effects album.  Along with Laura Olsher’s timeless narration, the sample-heavy funk jam takes you, intrepid explorer, on a journey to the 4th planet from the Sun. Thanks to the ‘incredible speed of your rocket’, your trip is mercifully short-- but so is your time off-world, courtesy of a “hungry welcoming committee”.

While many songs from 10/31/14 went on to earn a spot in the rotation, “Martian Monster” has found its way onto more setlists than any other tune from that Chilling, Thrilling night  It can be quick and to the point (6/24/16), exploratory (10/31/14), atmospheric (12/31/14), full throttle (7/25/15), soaring (7/23/16) -- as well as wedged into other tunes (8/11/15, part of a “Skin it Back” mash-up, the next night as part of the 8/12/15Free,” and 12/28/16 with a “Tweezer Reprise” jam). 

”Martian Monster” > “Axilla”, “Skin it Back” -> “Martian Monster” - 8/11/15 Philadelphia, PA

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