Rock A William

Originally Performed ByPhish
Lyrics ByFishman
VocalsFish (lead), Mike, Page, Trey (backing)
Phish Debut1997-02-13
Last Played1997-08-10
Current Gap932
Recommended Versions1997-02-26
HistorianCharles Franz
Last Update2020-06-21


"Rock A William" features the inimitable Jon Fishman on guitar and lead vocals, Mike on piano, Trey on drums, and Page on bass. Sadly, it has made just five appearances, all in 1997.

“Rock A William” is a dark but comic song, purportedly based on a true story of a “very strange man” the band met in Colorado in 1987 while spending the night in a purple house and partaking of Bloody Marys and turkey ham.“ A loner just like Malachi from Children of the Corn,” William lives in a cabin in the hills and has purportedly hit a bear on the nose with a hammer. He appears at the purple house with the hammer in hand, where his sister is upstairs with Timber Ho. William grabs Timber Ho by the hair while his sister screams, but the others present – remembering the bear – fear to intervene. “We didn’t want to die!” The song ends inconclusively, with the hammer “held high,” before it dissolves into Fishman’s inspired guitar renderings and Mike’s piano outro. Check the 2/26/97 Stuttgart outing for a particularly good version.

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