Historian: Elayne Best (jugglerswithfire)
Last Update: 2012-10-27
This song was originally written by Mike in October of 2007. As Mike revealed in an interview, he had full intentions of putting it on his next solo album, but had the enjoyable experience of watching his song go through an evolutionary process morphing into musically what is one of the funkier tracks on Joy. The opening lyrics of "Sugar Shack" are a bit dark, "Standing on the edge of a cliff / I start to slip / Don't mind if I slide off." This is contrasted by the light-hearted Caribbean-calypso chorus and melody (strongly reminiscent of "Ya Mar") that provide an easy-going groove that fans love. Is it possible that Mike envisioned the shack to look something like this?
As Mike himself noted, the debut of this song was not well executed, but thankfully the potential of this song was realized during track selection for Joy. Since the debut, "Sugar Shack" Trey has had some issues technically executing “Sugar Shack”. The band struggled through the song making small improvements over the course of 2010, trying to hone the ending technical section. “Sugar Shack” was not played at all in 2011, leaving many fans wondering Phish may have shelved it for good.
On the night of 8/18/12 , there were many rumors pre-show of “extra practice” and potential special guests at night two of the Bill Graham run. It turned out there were no extra guests onstage that night, but the band did rehearse “Sugar Shack” during soundcheck. The results produced one of Phish’s finer performances of the song live.
”Sugar Shack” - 8/18/12 San Francisco, CA
Mike Gordon, "Sugar Shack" – 3/25/11, Falls Church, VA
Another must hear is the “Sugar Shack” themed show 12/9/11 at the Met in Pawtucket, RI. Listen to the whole show truly amazing.