Category Archives: Phish news

Announcing the Lineups for PhanArt’s 6 Summer Shows

Summer tour is here and over the next 7 weeks, PhanArt brings 6 shows to Dead and Company at Wrigley Field, Phish in Chicago and NYC and to Twiddle’s Tumbledown. Each show is packed with more than 60 artists and their music inspired art for fans to find their favorite memorabilia, artwork, clothing, collectibles and much more!

The summer kicks off with PhanArt returning to Chicago, IL for a show on June 30th at The Cubby Bear, located directly across from Wrigley Field. Dead and Company kick off night 1 of their two night home stand at Wrigley and PhanArt will provide an opportunity for fans to track down their favorite Grateful Dead inspired art as close to the concert as possible!

PhanArt will be back in Chicago on July 16 on the third day of Phish’s three night run at Northerly Island. Congress Plaza Hotel, which has hosted 4 previous PhanArt shows, including the immensely successful ‘In All Good Company‘ held during Fare Thee Well in July 2015, will be the spot to find all the art and goods you would normally find on Shakedown.

Heading back east, PhanArt will return to The Hotel Pennsylvania, located directly across from Madison Square Garden for the first of 3 shows during The Baker’s Dozen.

Heading up north to Burlington for Twiddle’s Tumbledown? Then stop by Club Metronome above Nectar’s for an early PhanArt show focusing on Twiddle inspired artwork from a variety of up and coming vendors and artists, plus a very special comedy/musical performance from Ryan Dempsey of Twiddle!

Back in NYC, PhanArt will hold an intimate art show with a few first time artists at American Beauty NYC, sponsored by L4LM. The event will feature Space Carnival performing 2 sets on the first floor while PhanArt takes over the top floor of the venue from 3-7pm.

Finally, PhanArt will hold the final show of Summer 2017 with another show at The Hotel Pennsylvania. Pick up tickets that night to the Formula 5 show at BB King’s and get your last chance to snag Baker’s Dozen themed art!

Announcing the Lineups for PhanArt shows on December 29 & 30 in NYC

PhanArt returns to New York City this holiday season with TWO shows during Phish’s New Year’s run at Madison Square Garden.

On December 29th, PhanArt brings more than 20 artists together at The Hotel Pennsylvania for Skyscraper is Grander. The following day, PhanArt will feature 10 artists along with Formula 5 at American Beauty for a pre-show event from 3-7pm, hosted by Live for Live Music. Both shows are free to attend. Hotel Penn is located across 7th Avenue from MSG while American Beauty 251 W. 30th Street.

Held in The Gold Room at The Hotel Pennsylvania, located across the street from Madison Square Garden, PhanArt will bring together a variety of vendors and artists exhibiting exclusive Phish-inspired posters, pins, shirts and unique wares. Admission to this event day long event (12pm-6pm) is FREE.

The lineup for Skyscraper is Grander includes a wide array of artists from across the country and always expanding Phish art community. Longtime Phish artists The Art of Ryan Kerrigan,  Isadora Bullock, Brian Bojo, Stupindous Creations, The Overhead View, Setlist Tees, Jerry4theKids, Original Bootleg, Ariane Davis, Phunk Your Face, Blazin Donuts, His End was the Road, Fred Sutter and Pop Pop’s Terrapin Station all return for another installment of PhanArt, featuring limited edition goods, clothing, posters, pins, stickers and much more.

First time artists include Funky B Boutique, Paul Dilena Designs, East Coasters, Lady with a Phan, 415HolyguyArt, Baba Cool and BagiTagit, each bringing something new to the show, including clothing, posters, pins, patches, fans, apparel and much more.

The Mockingbird Foundation, which has awarded grants for music education totaling more than $900,000 over the past 15 years, will feature prints from The Phish Companion 3rd Edition, where Phish’s 33-year career is interpreted by top artists including David Welker, Justin Helton, DKNG and AJ Masthay.

JEMP Radio will be broadcasting live from the show on the 29th, featuring a selection of funk that sets the tone for the day.

For the first time, shipping from the PhanArt show will be available, along with tubes to purchase. A station will be setup for fans to purchase postage and tubes, and ship items purchased at the show home.

The December 30th show features 10 artists while Upstate New York jam band Formula 5 performs two sets of music. The art show begins at 3pm, with Formula 5 hitting the stage from 4-7pm. The band recently celebrated a successful Kickstarter campaign for their third studio album and put on an energetic, rock improv show to get you warmed up for Phish at MSG later that night.

Artists for the show on the 30th include The Art of Ryan Kerrigan, MYFE. Designs, Funky B Boutique, The Overhead View, Phunk Your Face, Original Bootleg, Pop Pop’s Terrapin Station, 415HolyguyArt and more!

The eclectic artists featured at this event show the broad scope of Phish related art and capture the inspiration of the band in their art. Phish’s creative fan base makes amazing art inspired by the band, their music and the locales they play.

In keeping with the great tradition and success of past art shows, Skyscraper is Grander will offer free entry to all patrons with poster tubes available for purchase. Special edition works only available at the show can be viewed on PhanArt.net and acquired exclusively at the PhanArt show.

PhanArt exhibitions have been held in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Chicago, Las Vegas and Miami since 2013 and represent a continued effort to promote and exhibit original and unique concert art from a wide variety of artists. The biggest year of PhanArt began in New York City on January 2nd and culminates with the 6th and 7th PhanArt shows of the 2016.

The Next PhanArt Show Will be Held in…

On January 2, PhanArt comes to New York with ‘Skyscraper is Grand’, featuring more than two dozen artists and bringing the fan favorite event to New York City for the first time. Held at The Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Avenue, directly across from Madison Square Garden, ‘Skyscraper is Grand’ will run from 12pm-7pm on the final day of Phish’s four-night NYE run.

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Artist lineup, details on available limited edition art and musical accompaniment will be announced in early December. For now, save the date and prepare for the first ever PhanArt show in New York City!

Produced by Pete Mason, founder of PhanArt and author of PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish, PhanArt exhibitions have been held in Atlantic City, Chicago, Las Vegas and Miami since 2013 and represent a continued effort to promote and exhibit original and unique concert art from a wide variety of artists. Unique posters, pins, apparel, stickers and much more are made for Phish shows, making the A World Café Live One a must-attend event during Phish tour.

The eclectic artists featured at this event show the broad scope of Phish related art and capture the inspiration of the band in their art. Phish’s creative fan base makes amazing art inspired by the band, their music and the locales they play.

In keeping with the great tradition and success of past art shows, A World Café Live One will offer free entry to all patrons and tubes available for purchase. Special edition works only available at the show can be viewed on PhanArt.net and acquired exclusively at the PhanArt show.

An Interview with Senator Bernie Sanders

The following interview was conducted in 2007 with then-recently elected Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for inclusion in the book PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish.

Pete Mason: Phish is the pre-eminent band from the Burlington area in the past 30+ years. What influence do you see Burlington, and Vermont in general, as contributing factors to the development of a strong fan base and a close knit Phish community?

Senator Bernie Sanders: It should come as no surprise that a band like Phish came from Vermont. Its success was developed largely outside of the musical mainstream, without the aid of corporate radio stations or MTV. Like so much in Vermont, the success of Phish depended almost entirely on its appeal to what we call the grassroots, and what music people call the fan base. Phish exemplifies the remarkable power of a word-of-mouth, grassroots movement to transform the musical landscape.

Pete Mason: Over the course of your many years in Vermont public office, did you ever expect Phish to have such a profound impact on American music, and for the band to rise to such heights over the course of their existence?

Senator Bernie Sanders: I was first elected mayor of Burlington in 1981, two years before Phish played its first show at the University of Vermont. Burlington’s young people were the first members of the supportive community that would propel the band to national prominence. By the time I was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1990, Phish was already touring nationally and building a loyal following. I watched the meteoric rise of Phish with interest, and have been proud to see Phish succeed beyond all expectations.

Pete Mason:  When did you first hear about Phish as being a Burlington based band, to the extent that it piqued your interest as a product of Vermont?

Senator Bernie Sanders: Burlington is not an especially large city. Nectar’s, w here they began performing, is only a block from City Hall. I don’t go to music much, but some of the young people I talk with were very, very interested in Phish. As the band’s popularity grew and it began to receive wide attention, I saw Phish as an ambassador of the state of Vermont, highlighting our independence and open-mindedness and our deep involvement with grassroots politics and culture.

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Pete Mason: While many are aware of the strong fan base Phish had throughout its existence, how did such a community of people come about around just four guys playing music?

Senator Bernie Sanders: What I find unique and remarkable about Phish is the open relationship between the band and its following. This is not a band that just plays for an audience and no more. The interaction that young people kept telling me defined the Phish concert experience helped create an energetic and devoted community across Vermont and across the nation.HonkyTonkBernie

Pete Mason: Were you ever able to make it to any Phish concerts? If so, which ones, and what did you think of the experience?

Senator Bernie Sanders: During my (2006) Senate campaign, I listened to three-quarters of Phish play together at something called “Honky Tonk the Vote,” a fundraising event for my Senate campaign. I’d talked with Mike Gordon a number of times in recent years, and he agreed to play at this event. He did a long set, and both Page and Jon came up on stage and played with him. From what I understand, it was the first time the three of them had played together since their final show in Coventry. But for me it wasn’t about their ongoing history, but about good music, and the great feeling everyone in the audience had when they played together.

Bernie Sanders was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. Elected Mayor of Burlington by 12 votes in 1981, he served four terms. The Almanac of American Politics has called Sanders a “practical’ and “successful legislator.” He has focused on the shrinking middle class and widening income gap in America that is greater than at any time since the Great Depression. Other priorities include reversing global warming, universal health care, fair trade policies, supporting veterans, and preserving family farms. 
Source: Senator Sanders Senate Website

Update: Phish Trademark for ‘Fishman Donuts’ Design Rejected

The US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected Phish’s attempt to Trademark the ‘Fishman Donuts’ design. For more info and legalese galore, please check out the case and the overall initial decision .

This is not final and Phish does have the ability to appeal.

A notable quote from the decision:
“The examiner refers to the attached Internet evidence obtained via the Google search engine in which a similar pattern is used by various parties on various goods. For example, see the use of the pattern on various fabrics available from different providers on the Spoonflower website. Also note the various goods using a similar pattern that are available from various artists via the Etsy website.  Assuming arguendo that these uses may have been inspired by the applicant’s use of the mark, the current use of such a design pattern is widespread and may not be capable of acting as an indicator of a single source for the goods or services. As further evidence that the design is non-distinctive, see the website excerpt showing various patterns incorporating single-color circles set against a single background color.

What does this mean for Phish fans and artists using the ‘Fishman Donuts’? Same as it did before – you are free to use the design until a Trademark is approved. Filing for one is the start of a long process and not the end of the line. So for now….
put some fishman donuts on it

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Initial Article:

As reported by L4LM, Phish has filed paperwork to trademark Jon Fishman’s iconic dress pattern.

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While the dress Fishman wears has been a staple of quite nearly every performance in the past 30 years, the filing of the trademark is interesting. This is being done either to protect current interests in use of the red circles on a blue background, or to prevent the pattern from being used by anyone other than Phish for commercial use, comparable to the Phish logo and words Gamehendge, among others.

The description of the pattern in the filing states, “The mark consists of a series of red circles with holes in the center, placed in pattern against a blue background, where each circle is equidistant from the other.” What that means is up to interpretation, should the Trademark be approved, a process that can take many months.

Stay tuned for updates…

Holly Bowling to Record “Distillation of a Dream”, an Album of Phish Jam Transcriptions

Pianist Holly Bowling, known for her transcription and performance of Phish’s “Tahoe Tweezer” announced today the recording of an album of Phish originals, “Distillation of a Dream.”

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Melding her classical piano chops with a dedicated love of the music of Phish, “Distillation of a Dream” originates from Bowling’s obsession with Phish’s rendition of “Tweezer” from their 7/31/13 Lake Tahoe show. Bowling transcribed this 37-minute improvisational masterpiece note-for-note and arranged it for solo piano. The process, both painstaking and fulfilling, inspired Bowling to transform other Phish songs and well-known live jams into solo piano interpretations as well.

The dual experiences of studying classical piano since age five and attending close to 300 Phish shows have allowed Holly to unite elements from two divergent musical worlds and synthesize them into a creation all its own. Having transformed several notable Phish jams into solo piano works, Bowling has been fastidious in her commitment to note-for-note renderings of unique live performances of Phish’s music.

Bowling explains the evolution of these transcriptions, saying “I started doing these arrangements and transcriptions for myself, sort of as a hobby, because I really enjoyed it.  When I performed them live though, I realized other people really loved hearing their favorite Phish songs and jams transformed into solo piano works.  I was getting a lot of requests from people wanting to download a recording, but I didn’t have any good quality audio to offer up.  So I decided to record this album.”

When asked the goal of her recorded album, Bowling stated, “I think it would be really amazing if ‘Distillation of a Dream’ influenced people who listen to Phish to expand their musical tastes into some of the solo piano music out there…and on the other side, for people who listen to classical music and would never dream of going to a Phish show to hear the band’s music in a different setting and maybe fall in love with the incredible music and compositions that this band has created.”

“Distillation of a Dream” includes two discs, the first highlighting Phish’s intricate songwriting, and the second a tribute to the spontaneous improvisation Phish creates during their live performances.  The second disc, consisting entirely of “jam transcriptions”, contains three piano reinterpretations of standout live performances, including the “Tahoe Tweezer.”  All tracks will be released as a double album on CD and the “Tahoe Tweezer” will also be released on 180 gram vinyl. A portion of the proceeds from sales of “Distillation of a Dream” will benefit The Mockingbird Foundation.

The album is available for pre-order exclusively through PledgeMusic.com.  Every order includes an Access Pass, which provides videos of the transcription and arranging process, footage from the studio, updates on the album’s progress and a sneak peek at Bowling’s latest jam transcription. Pre-order for the album is available at www.pledgemusic.com/projects/distillationofadream

Disc One (55 minutes)
Wingsuit
The Squirming Coil
Fly Famous Mockingbird
The Inlaw Josie Wales
My Friend My Friend
Talk
Sleep
The Horse
Silent in the Morning
Waste
Harry Hood
A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing

Disc Two (67 minutes)
Tahoe Tweezer
Mystery track – jam transcription TBA
Chicago Wedge

Announcing the Lineup for the PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition: Miami

Miami PhanArt flyer
The PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition: Miami, featuring a wide variety of artists who draw inspiration from the music of Phish, will be held on Friday, January 2, 2015 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132. This one of a kind art show, created and produced by Pete Mason, will be held on the third day of Phish’s four night stand at Miami’s American Airlines Arena, only a 5 block walk from the Arsht Center.
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The lineup announced for the PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition: Miami represents a wide array of artists from among the Phish art community. Longtime Phish artists Ryan Kerrigan, TRiPP, Isadora Bullock, Michael Boyer, StuPINdous Creations, Pompeii Prints, Bruce Horan and Fred Sutter are regular exhibitors at PhanArt shows and fans can expect to find a large portfolio from each artist of current and past art.

Pin makers and designers MYFE. Designs, Party Time Pins, Noah Phence, Pin me Down, Dr. Wookles, Cactusbomb, Pinsanity Designs, and Ant Pharms Pins will feature their ever-popular pin series and designs, as well as other items made specifically for the Miami shows.

First time exhibitors to the PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition include Sweet Melis, Otto Art, Brian Bojo’s Phifty-Two Weeks, Golden Road Gallery, Jampanties, Ebbleberry Designs, Super Rad Cape Co, Highly Concerned Enterprises, Brendan Nicolan and The Shakedown Shop. Each of these exhibitors brings something new to the show, be it posters, clothing, underwear, a year-long art project, children’s clothing and much more.

A musical performance from San Francisco-based pianist Holly Bowling will take place throughout the art show, with performances on the hour from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. The sets will feature Phish songs arranged for solo piano and several “jam transcriptions”, including a complete rendition of the ‘Tahoe Tweezer’ during the final hour, beginning at 4 pm. Check out Holly’s previous performances with Marco Benevento and at her own solo gig in San Francisco during this past year’s Bill Graham Run. For updates on the performance and more information please visit Holly’s Facebook page.

Non-profits benefitting from the PhanArt show include The Mockingbird Foundation, which has awarded grants for music education totaling more than $800,000 over the past 15 years. PhanArt has raised, through a book and website created to showcase the art made by Phish fans, over $18,000 for The Mockingbird Foundation since 2009.

Phish Art shows have been held since 2003 with great success. Unique posters, pins, shirts, stickers and much more are made for Phish shows, making the PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition: Miami, a must-attend event during Phish tour. Produced by Pete Mason, founder of PhanArt and author of PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish, these PhanArt exhibitions have been held in Atlantic City, Chicago and Las Vegas over the past 14 months and represent a continued effort to promote and exhibit original and unique concert art from a wide variety of artists. The eclectic artists featured at this event show the broad scope of Phish related art and capture the inspiration of the band in their art. Phish’s creative fan base makes amazing art inspired by the band, their music and the locales they play.

In keeping with the great tradition and success of past art shows, the PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition: Miami, will offer free entry to all patrons and tubes available for purchase. Special edition works only available at the show can be viewed on PhanArt.net and acquired exclusively at the PhanArt show.

The PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition: Miami is sponsored by We’ve Got it Simple, AURA Presents and Band Shirt Archive.

we've got it simple

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BSA logo

Relix Presents The PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition: Las Vegas at Brooklyn Bowl

On November 1st at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, Relix Presents: “Brunch You In The Eye” and The PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition. Brooklyn Bowl’s brunch menu has been reimagined with a Phish theme to celebrate the band’s return to Las Vegas, while the PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition will be held from 12pm-4pm. Admission is free.

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Poster Art by TRiPP

The PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition: Las Vegas will be held on the concert floor at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas. Curated by Pete Mason, this one of a kind art show will be held during Phish’s three-night run at MGM Grand Garden Arena and showcase a wide array of inspired art.

The final lineup for the PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition: Las Vegas includes familiar names and new faces to the semi-annual event. TRiPPRyan KerriganIsadora BullockMichael BoyerPompeii PrintsStuPINdous CreationsAndrew Bryant, Jon Rose, Fred Sutter, Pin me Down, Terry Werner, Brian Bojo & Trey Erikson, MYFE. Designs, Andrew Abis, Ellis Hartsell, Dr. Wookles, Jay Rizzi, and Pinsanity Designs will have a variety of posters, pins, apparel and other inspired creations for sale inside Brooklyn Bowl. Artists will have portfolios of current and earlier art on exhibit, and as a new feature to the PhanArt shows, each artist will have exclusive art available for sale only at the show.

In addition to the PhanArt show, Garcia’s will be throwing their signature “Jerry Party” from 1PM-6PM, playing a curated set of choice Jerry Garcia cuts to get you grooving before the phestivities begin. At Garcia’s, the music never stops, so come shake your bones and join us for a pre-Halloween party at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas! We’re ready for a real good time! This “Jerry Party” is presented by Garcia’s and Red Bull.

Here is the menu for Brunch You in the Eye:
menu

Summer Tour 2014 Dates

Once again, our patience, or lack thereof, has paid off with another great Summer Tour that covers the East Coast and returns us back to Dick’s once again. In case you missed it, here’s the tour announcement video.

Translation: ” Here is what you must do. You must go to the edge of the city. There, you will find him. He will not be like you hope. In fact, he might even be someone you wouldn’t look at. He might look like [UNCLEAR] for the local real estate company. But it is him. Ask him something. He will say, “What is it?” You will say “You know… like we discussed.” It’s very important that you use these words. [UNCLEAR SETENCE] He will temporarily disappear. Although he is leaving, you will examine your phone. Perhaps you exclaim something about the weather. Then he will return your target. Exchanging the target, you will give him the novel “Hawaii” by James Michener. [UNCLEAR] from a child pretending he is James Michener. Once you have your target, [UNCLEAR] this page in order to understand how to rescue our species from extinction. Thanks! You really helped us [UNCLEAR].”

What does it mean? I think they are just screwing with us, but who really knows?

You can find PhanArt from Great Woods through Northerly Island, at Dick’s and maybe a few other shows along the way. Expect another PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition, this time in Chicago. More details to come over the next two months.

PHISH SUMMER TOUR 2014:
7/1 Xfinity Center, Mansfield, MA
7/3 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
7/4 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
7/5 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
7/8 Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA
7/9 Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA
7/11 Randall’s Island, New York, NY
7/12 Randall’s Island, New York, NY
7/13 Randall’s Island, New York, NY
7/15 Constellation Brands – Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center, Canandaigua, NY
7/16 DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI
7/18 FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago, IL
7/19 FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago, IL
7/20 FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago, IL
7/25 PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, NC
7/26 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
7/27 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
7/29 nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA
7/30 nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA
8/1 Wharf Amphitheater, Orange Beach, AL
8/2 Oak Mountain Amphitheater Birmingham, GA
8/3 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, Alpharetta, GA
8/29-8/31 Dick’s, Commerce City, CO

On Phish and Humor

This article was originally published in the NYE 2013 edition of Surrender to the Flow Magazine. All rights reserved. Used with permission. 

“Stop me if you heard this one before. Trey, Wilson and a ginger walk into a bar…”

A defining characteristic of Phish that has stood out as unique and helped to broaden their appeal to many fans is the interplay between the four band members on stage and the humor and comedy that is exhibited in music, lyrics and banter. Fans can overwhelmingly appreciate the band exhibiting humor and making them laugh, but when it comes to other sources of Phish-related humor, it’s another story.

Musicians, like comedians, take risks on stage, and can succeed triumphantly or fall flat and have to try again the next night with new material. Phish has tried plenty of stunts that have been risky and have tested their resolve in pressing forward with their craft. The Wingsuit costume this past Halloween, all the various exploratory jamming over the years, Secret Language, the Fuck Your Face show, riding a flying hotdog not once but thrice – the list is extensive where the band attempted an addition to their musical performance, with uncertainty looming until after the crowd and band saw it through together. Sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they didn’t and it was back to the drawing board. In the development of their live act, whether planned out or an impromptu ad lib on stage, Phish takes on a role similar to that of comedians who act precariously for the sake of art.

The comedic nature of Phish is an important part of the band, and something that separates them from other acts of similar followings – Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band and The Grateful Dead. While these acts may take risks of varying nature musically, they do not take humor to a new level and incorporate it into their performance to the extent that Phish does. Being able to make fun of themselves on stage (the ‘House’ and ‘Tuck’ running jokes come to mind) and on camera (Bittersweet Motel, the Halloween Don Gordleone video) help to break down that wall between fans and band, providing a more human aspect to the group, one that is bridged with recognizing the ability to cross one art form (humor) with another (music).

This is the band that sings a song about a Meatstick, wrote “Ha Ha Ha”, brought out Abe Vigoda on Halloween, includes Easter eggs of humor in the programs to festivals and laugh out loud ads in Halloween Playbills (Gordon’s House of Scarves and Drills, anyone?), hit foam golf balls into/at the crowd from stage level before midnight last New Years Eve, and have the most sought after song, “Icculus”, a play on words that is only revealed to be Ridiculous, that is, after dragging the song out. The fans laugh with the band, the band laughs with the fans, and everyone has a good laugh.

Then there’s the media, specifically, any website that looks to write about Phish. Take for example the recent Cracked.com list of ‘Great Songs by the Worst Bands of All Time’. (Stash came in at #9) At least we made the list, I guess? Naturally, the write-up only gives a cursory glance because it is “14 minutes long, selected randomly from the Internet” and mocks fans for having “LSD-induced absurdity in liking this music” after finally waking up “sometime around 3 o’clock this afternoon and sees their favorite jam band on this list.” But at least Cracked Magazine is a humor magazine, and they tried. (Still, they’re no MAD Magazine)

There’s Christwire.org, a parody site with a religious tilt, writing a long article, “When it Comes to Phish, Music Censorship is not Enough”, full of stereotypes and religious commentary, and funny in a way. And LA Weekly, the website that loves to hate on Phish, either because that’s trendy out west, or because they know they get tons of page views from us in our moment of ire. Phish has been included in blog posts “Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time” (Phish is #17) and “Can an Intelligent Person Like Phish?”, both spiteful and not exactly journalism, and merely a way to keep stereotypes up for those who haven’t tuned in since Fall 1998. Analyze Phish, a podcast with Harris Wittels (a fan) and Scott Auckerman (not a fan), has Wittels trying to convince Scott, and later, Tom Scharpling (also not a fan), that Phish is worth listening to. Neither of them bite and come up with excuses and vitriol, because that’s the easy way out. Where’s The Onion when you need a proper parody written?

Pop culture doesn’t know how to treat Phish or their fans, simply because that would take too much effort. Plus, there is no simple way to explain Phish in a concise and neatly packaged manner. So when websites outside the Phish universe mock the band or try to find humor in the fans, they will look for the least common denominator and roll with it, because it’s all they know.

Not everyone can take a joke, and when it’s coming from outsiders, totally understandable. I took more than my fair share of jokes about my early infatuation with Phish from non-Phish fans while in college. Eventually, those jokes stopped because they were no longer funny as the well dried up. Phish sites, at least they let us laugh at ourselves, properly. Among Phish fans, there are jokes to be told and humor to be shared. Tweezburger, The Phunion, So Yeah Brah… and TheFirstSet.net all make the effort to laugh at ourselves a little bit more, something that has loosened up the crowd at the right time – just as Phish is loosening up. Humor is helpful and cleansing and gives you a clearer perspective on things. Taking things too seriously won’t help your passion, but rather leads to a closed and narrow mindset. Phish doesn’t take the whole ‘We’re famous’ thing too seriously. Yet the fans do, and jokes about the band, and humor in general, are truncated. It shouldn’t be.

We are all dancing and laughing at the same band who are joking around on stage while they’re playing – a twofer in terms of art: both comedy AND music! But it is the collective communal feeling of laughing and smiling as a whole that adds the extra spice to the Phish experience, and one that we can bring with us outside the show, to feel that feeling once again. Some things are sacrosanct, but four musicians who don’t take themselves too seriously shouldn’t be.