No Dogs Allowed
Music: Trey Anastasio
Lyrics: Dina Anastasio
Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)
Albums: Colorado '88
Historian: lumpblockclod, Mark Toscano
Last Update: 2016-03-05
If "No Dogs Allowed” evokes the feeling of a childhood sing-along, possibly one preceding some milk and cookies and a nap, then it has done its job. “No Dogs Allowed” is a children’s song, written by Trey with his mother, Dina, in the ‘80s, at a time when Phish was still making a name for itself. Trey’s mom worked for Sesame Street Magazine, and she and Trey collaborated on some songs for Sesame Street Records. “No Dogs Allowed” is part of a musical for children called Gus the Christmas Dog, a multi-song project that provided ample fodder for Phish’s songwriting as well. Not only did “No Dogs Allowed” make it into Phish’s repertoire intact, but sections from other songs in the musical were transplanted into new Phish compositions, including “The Divided Sky” and “The Lizards.” Many songs in the Phish canon exhibit sing-along, storytelling qualities – “Esther,” “Fee,” “Reba,” the Gamehendge songs, etc. – and much of this approach likely comes from Trey’s songwriting experiences with his mother.
”No Dogs Allowed” – Colorado ‘88
When "No Dogs Allowed" debuted on 7/23/88, it had a long instrumental section at the end that would be instantly recognizable to most Phish fans today as the segment of “The Divided Sky” that comes after the long pause (essentially the final eight or so minutes of the song). In the summer of 1988, though, “Divided Sky” was but a four minute shell of its future self and had not yet featured this segment. However, on 9/24/88 when Phish played “Divided Sky,” they incorporated this instrumental section into the song, as they do to this day, and all subsequent renditions of "No Dogs Allowed" became short radio-friendly affairs without the jam at the end. After 4/21/90, “No Dogs Allowed” disappeared altogether and, at this point, a return to the repertoire seems less likely than the MTA actually allowing dogs on the subway.