|Originally Performed By||Phish|
|Music/Lyrics||Anastasio, Abrahams, Marshall, Daubert, Cottone|
|Historian||David Steinberg (zzyzx), Charlie Dirksen (icculus)|
Moroccan-born Guy Forget began playing pro tennis in 1982, making a name for himself that many enthusiasts of the game won’t soon... Oh, skip it.
There has been considerable misinformation about this “song” over the years. First, its “lyrics” (what there is of them, it--"I've never met a man that I could not forget except for Guy Forget") were coined by, well, were coined during Tom's bachelor party on the Rhombus at a time when Dave Abrahams, Marc Daubert, Pete Cottone and Trey were (physically) there as well. Second, Tom wrote a few lyrics that became confused with “Guy Forget,” because Trey spoke them during a jam that sprung out of “Piper” on 10/1/00 (“...Will I dance on grave?”) before Trey and Fish began singing the “Guy Forget” lyrics over the same jam, as discussed below.
The lyric of “Guy Forget” is an amusing “song-pun” in that it references one of the most memorable names in sports history, Guy Forget. The song's creation during Tom's bachelor party at the Rhombus was an especially fruitful songwriting night, as the songs “Pyromaniac” and “Girlfriend Named Bubba” were also composed that evening.
The music of the original "Guy Forget" on the Rhombus appears to have consisted of improvised chords by Trey and Dave Abrahams ("The chords were probably A-7 D9 A-7 E7b5, 4 beats each."). Trey and Dave are a songwriting duo you may be more familiar with than you realize. For example, Mike Gordon’s “Catapult” was actually dreamed up by them.
In Phish history, “Guy Forget” has always either been "performed" over improvisation, or its lyric has been quoted (or repeatedly quoted) over another Phish song's jam (or vocal jam). It dots a few 1993 soundcheck setlists: 2/22/93 (listen here), 2/23/93 and 3/17/93. It also appears quickly in the “You Enjoy Myself” vocal jam on 12/28/92. However, for many years, the only “official” version of “Guy Forget” to have graced the stage occurred in Phoenix on 10/1/00, when it was sung over a post-”Piper” jam, before flowing into “When the Circus Comes.” This version was popular enough that it appeared as bonus footage on the Live in Vegas DVD. But this version also created confusion, because while the “Guy Forget” lyric was easy to make out (and repeated), there were words sung before it overtop the same “Piper” jam that were difficult to make out, and fans assumed they were lyrics that were part of “Guy Forget.” They were not.
In 2003, Tom Marshall was posting to the Phantasy Tour message boards and was asked what the worst lyric he ever wrote was. Apparently Tom wrote a poem (“a dreadful thing that was never meant to see the light of day”) that Trey absolutely loved. They were immediately put into a song much to the ire of Fishman. Jon ranted about how bad the lyrics were to the point where this became a running joke. Trey would constantly pretend to put these lyrics into a song just to annoy Fish. While Tom was willing to admit that the final line of the song (“Or will I dance on grave?”) appeared in “Mock Song,” it took some work to finally have him admit to the entire lyric. The “official” all-time worst lyric penned by Tom Marshall turned out to be:
Basking in the silence
Soaking up the violence
Will the good lord save?
Or will I dance on grave?
These are not “Guy Forget” lyrics, mind you; they are basically those of an unnamed, unwritten “song” (we’re calling “Will I Dance” with Tom’s permission) that appears to have only been put to music by Trey as a joke during the soundcheck of 5/3/93 (to listen to it, click on this sentence). But pull out your copy of Live in Vegas and listen around the 11-minute mark of the “Piper.” The first two lines of “Will I Dance” are transposed, but those are clearly the lyrics. And check out the looks that Trey gives Fishman after every line. Phish might not be as silly as they used to be, but they can still get away with referencing inside jokes in front of thousands of people with none of us being the wiser. And if you just love those “Will I Dance” lyrics, they also can be found in the 4/25/93 “I Didn’t Know,” where Trey says that Jon would ask the “eternal musical question,” of, “a) Will the good lord save? and b) Will I dance on grave?” That’s asking quite a bit out of a washboard solo, but Fishman tries his best.
Now back to “Guy Forget.” He never really was forgotten. He reemerged in the town some call Chuckville on 10/16/10, once again (briefly) in a YEM vocal jam. But it took the magic of Commerce City (9/4/11) for our memories to be completely jogged. As a jam out of “Ghost” raged, Fishman started singing the sacred name. This led to a complete singing of the lyric over full-band improvisation that bore no resemblance to "Ghost." It’s a very energetic arrangement, too, that eventually wound back into “Ghost,” in which a secret was revealed: “And now you all know / who the ghost really is / the ghost is / Guy Forget.”
"Guy Forget" was also quoted overtop a "Drowned" closing-jam on 12/28/19, and it is not noted in the Phishnet setlist proper because it's not performed over pure improvisation (as it was on 10/1/00, 9/4/11, and 8/5/23); rather, its lyric is quoted repeatedly and jokingly over "Drowned" chords from Page and Trey as the song "Drowned" is being concluded. "Guy Forget" was also performed during improvisation out of "Tweezer" on 8/5/23.
Until the 8/5/23 MSG performance of "Guy Forget," it had been the only Phish song played more than once that had been played exclusively in the Mountain Time Zone, as the 10/1/00 and 9/4/11 “full” versions of “Guy Forget” were performed there---at altitude.A Tribute to Guy Forget
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