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Performances Song History Lyrics


Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Marshall

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

Albums: Joy, Lullaby Versions of Phish V2

Debut: 2009-05-31

Historian: lumpblockclod

Last Update: 2014-10-04

An Ocelot is a wild cat native to Central and South America that looks like a cross between a house cat and a jaguar (and, according to wikipedia, has especially pungent urine… you know, in case you were wondering). Though not usually kept as pets, Salvador Dalí famously owned an Ocelot and, in the world of rock music, so did Gram Parsons. Well, Tom Marshall has an Ocelot, too. Figuratively, anyway.

If there’s uncertainty as to whether the walrus was Paul or John, it’s clear the Ocelot is Trey (minus the pungent urine, one assumes, though only Trey knows what goes on when he’s “pissing in Jah cup”). According to a interview, the song “Ocelot” is essentially a letter to Trey, with Trey playing the role of the Ocelot. At the time Tom wrote the lyrics, Trey was just completing his drug court program and was largely shut off from even his oldest friends. “Ocelot” was an invitation for Trey to return to making music with his Lennon's Prudence, to “come out to play.”

Phish, "Ocelot" – 6/17/10, Hartford, CT

Musically, the bouncy, playful melody is reminiscent of its namesake and, along with the shiny, happy guitar solo, just oozes the sunshine of first sets on summer tour (ironic, given the Ocelot is a nocturnal animal whose “stripes could all fade in the poisonous day”). Thus far “Ocelot” has not ventured beyond the song and five-minute guitar solo formula, and rarely has it ventured beyond first set... with Phish anyway (7/3/13 being the lone exception).  "Ocelot" (complete with horns!) was a regular number on Trey's 2011 acoustic/electric tour, ironically appearing almost exclusively in the second set. Check out 2/19/11 or 2/22/11 for examples of TAB's rendition of the song. Enjoyable Phish versions can be found on 6/4/09, 6/16/0912/29/09, 6/24/10, 12/31/10 (with an "Auld Lang Syne" tease), 6/16/12 and 7/27/13. Of course, Phish's treatment of "Ocelot" could change at any time. As with most Phish songs, the potential for unbounded improvisation is always there, and, besides, this song is still only a kitten!

TAB, "Ocelot" – 2/22/11, New York, NY

Lastly, it's worth mentioning that while Phish debuts new songs fairly often, on 8/5/10, Trey debuted a new guitar, built from "magic piece of wood to build one last really special guitar." Fans with a keen eye may have noticed that on the headstock of the new Languedoc was not Marley, but an Ocelot. 


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johnnyd Staff Reply
johnnyd Can we offer Trey asparagus to make him even more the Ocelot?

Sorry, thats just me being a jokester, I sincerely love everything about this song, including the fact that we have a cat named Quincy who is a hunter and a prowler and tough to round up at night. "Qunic-elot Quinc-elot where have you gone?"
Score: 2
NateDogg Reply
I am all new to going to these shows but had a blast this summer at both Alpine Valley shows. Took my 50-yr. old buddy to the Sunday show. He plays in a band and was blown away by the show. He never listened b/f.

Never heard Ocelot b/f but have been listening to the Saturday 6/30/12 edition. I think all four played it so tight and right. Anybody have any thoughts about how this measures up?

The Sunday night "No Quarter" could not have been better, could it?? Too real!

What a treat this all is. Introduced to Phish in 1990 at Skidmore College. Wish I had started doing the shows long ago. Oh, what I have missed all these years.
Score: 1
walkman808 Reply
walkman808 My favorite Phish song.

I don't know why, I can's explain how, and I don't remember when.

I just know that from the first time I heard the song it struck something fantastic in me. It's very comforting. It's very familiar. It's very calming and soothing.

It reminds me of tubing down the river back home as a young man. I smile whenever I see it pop up on a set list.

I love the direction it has been taking lately.

"When I start dancing they kind of turn their head, cause you know, I've got the good beat."
-John Elway
Score: 0
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