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Episode 1 — Analyze Phish

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I'm a big fan of both Phish and Harris, and the show was hilarious- but Harris needs to choose better songs. No more covers! I like when they cover a song at a show, but, quite honestly Lovin Cup is always a bathroom break for me. Showcase some of the truly brilliant compositional work from early Phish records- that's where it's at. Use more songs like YEM. I've been listening to Phish and going to shows since 93- but I'm not as big a fan of their later work. I still think it's good, but I'd stick to the more interesting compositional stuff when trying to make a convert....especially with someone like Scott!
Also- NO Shirt, No Shoes, No Cell Phone Service! I need this shirt.

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Like alot of the guys and gals who have posted, I love Phish and also Comedy Bang Bang, and one of the things I like about Phish is that they have such an eclectic background, they have some recording somewhere that i think every music fan can appreciate. In Scott's case (with a liking for some more straight up rock and blues I think) I implore Harris to play Jesus Left Chicago (on Slip stitch and Pass) and Chalkdust Torture (from A Live One) These are profesional live recordings and better than the taped stuff, and it shows how the band can straight play their axes. Thanks guys for this podcast - it's been alot of fun

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Another must listen. Listening to you two banter is all kinds of goodness.

I had no idea Scott was a big Prince head. Nobody can touch him in my book. How frikkiin awesome for you guys in LA to have been able to see him mutliple times. I like what someone posted earlier about Scott schooling Harris on Prince, but I think he already likes him, judging from his reaction to Scott saying he digs him. So, they'd hafta get someone else for "Analyze Prince". But as far as THIS podcast is concerned...um, more Prince talk please!

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I'm surprised, unless I managed to miss it in all the Phish Phoo above, that no one noted that in King Crimson, Adrian Belew was a guitarist (in the best version of the band, afaic), but not The guitarist...all versions of King Crimson were built around Robert Fripp, or it's just worked out that way...the first recording version of the band, back in '68//69, cursed with some of the worst lyrics ever, while Belew's lyrics for the early '80s KC were pretty damned good (meanwhile, perhaps Belew's biggest solo/soloish hit had a Very unfortunate video featuring his daughter, still a child and dolled up as if for TODDLERS AND TIARAS, surrounded by animated penis-guitars..."Oh, Daddy" indeed).

Fripp also produced/accompanied the Roches, and other very and somewhat interesting things. But he's invariably good.

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Well done, Scott and Harris.

My suggestions for Analyze Phish Part II:
Harris, I think next time you should go with some studio songs: First Tube, Chalkdust Torture (silly lyrics, but it rips), Birds of a Feather, Character Zero (and let it play a bit), Down With Disease, Rift, Wolfman's Brother.

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Love this show and Phish. I'm surprised Harris didn't play a YEM vocal jam for Scott...that surely would've flipped Mr Aukerman's lid.

List of Songs for the future:

Ghost
Tube
First Tube
Run like an Antelope
Colonel Forbin's Ascent> Fly Famous Mockingbird
It's Ice
Ya Mar(Although it is a cover)
Mike's Song
Character Zero
maybe Possum?

im pretty sure thats all

oh, Piper, gotta play Piper.

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Great first show. I am not a fan of Phish. I associate their music and scene with The Greatful Dead which I don't like; although I do respect their approach to the music business. I do enjoy covers in general, and "Gin N Juice" particularly, so I'm not closed to the idea of liking more than one song by Phish. I've tried to listen to their other covers, but never discovered anything appealing.
Harris did a great job with the music selections, it was what I would expect from a Phish fan --- "Cities" was unlistenable, they ruined the hook and the Stones song was unremarkable.
In the end, like Lady Gaga, I think you need to be born that way to enjoy Phish. Environment or genetics? The eternal question may be answered again, since Trading Places kinda already covered this.
If one day Harris succeeds in convincing Scott, I'd like them to do a podcast from a Phish show for the final episode.
Keep up the funny, looking forward to many, many episodes.

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Andrew - Gin n Juice is not Phish. That's a track that got mislabeled sometime in the Napster era. I believe that Gin nJuice cover is by a band called The Gourds...

I am a Phish fan, and my concern is these short 15-30 second windows of tunes is not enough to accurately capture what Phish does. I think Harris made some bad choices. Phish plays 3-hour shows for its fans and tours relentlessly. They mix up setlists and have a huge catalog of tunes to pull from. In this setting, certain songs are in there to change the mood, some are there to dance to, some are there to have a laugh, some are to listen to an intricate classically-themed composition, some are there to space out to and some are there to rock out to. Cities is rather unremarkable, however, it's there as kind of a fun song, even a bonding song with fans that go city to city with the band. I would never have chosen it to play for Scott. However, their cover of Lovin' Cup is consistently perfect. They've been doing it for years and it's spot on.

As to why they play covers. They play them because they're fun tunes and it helps to mix up a setlist. To say you've never enjoyed a cover at a concert is absurd. All bands do covers except the unimaginative. I once saw David Byrne cover "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" in a rather straightforward fashion. If he had put it on a studio album the way he played it at the show, it would be pointless because he didn't bring anything new to the table. However, at the show, it was an interesting choice and an entertaining surprise.

How to convert Scott. Here's my thoughts:

First off, Harris, I would stick to studio-recordings only, no live stuff, as Scott seems to be the kind of person who wants to hear a track in its most perfect form, a clean and tight performance. So stick with studio albums, I would say specifically Nectar, Rift and Hoist, with possibly a few tracks from Hoist or a later album. This is the period where their vocals in the studio sound the best. As Harris said, vocals are Phish's major weakness, they totally lack a lead-singer with charisma. But what they lack there, they make up for in composition, musicianship and ingenuity.

Here's my suggestion:

Sample, Julius and DwD from Hoist or Chalkdust Torture from Nectar as pretty straight ahead rock tunes without tongue in cheek lyrics.

Then I would transition into a couple songs that show their versatility and energy: Stash, Poor Heart and The Mango Song.

I believe Rift is the album where they really bring together all their various influences to create a concise sound and album. I would offer up Rift, My Friend and The Horse -> Silent in the Morning.

Lastly, I would play him Split Open and Melt, because that's a sound I've never heard from any other band.

Stay away from Junta, he won't like anything there except YEM, but he would have to sit quietly and listen to the whole thing to judge it, and that's not going to happen in this format. Perhaps you could start the tune, fade out in the middle, listen to the entire thing and then start recording again around the end so Scott hears the whole song. Judging it in these snippets I think is impossible.

So Harris, go studio-recordings only so he can hear every note, use middle of the road lyrics - not silly, absurd or trite ones, and pick songs that are in the 4-7 minute range and are more accessible in general. Don't get into their personality just yet, let him get a hold of what they bring to the table musically.

Scott - Don't judge them based on their singing or lyrics. My view is in most songs, they use the vocals as another instrument, words are chosen for their sound not their meaning in most cases...

My $.02.

Ken

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Hmm too bad about the Gin N Juice cover not being by Phish. I thought it was the only song I liked by them.

I listened to Farmhouse as recommended by a few peeps. It's okay, way better than I expected. But here's something I don't understand, why does Phish even have lyrics? From what I heard from them, there is a lot of solos and long instrumentals and Harris admits they aren't great singers. Why aren't they just instrumental since pretty much every song seems to build to some kind of long jam session. I guess there some kind of appeal with the covers and some people like those whacky lyrics. But this podcast definitely didn't convince me to like Phish.

Gotta say I'm with Scott saying something to the effect of "I don't know if I can ever like a band that makes me feel relieved when they finally stop singing."

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Phish has lyrics to use them as an instrument. A lot of Phish songs have lyrics that are just plain silly, but the point of them isnt(just) to be funny, but to add another musical element to the song. If you take the "Tipsy fuddled boozy groggy elevated prime did edit her" part out of Fluffhead/Fluff's Travels it would just be boring. IMO, Harris was right to play covers, a lot of phish's mysticism comes from not knowing if they are going to bust out a cover or a really weird tease. Like them busting out "Killing in The Name Of" by RATM last year. Or even when they played "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" at the Hollywood Bowl just a scant few days ago. Or even a YEM vocal jam that sounds very reminiscent of an Aerosmith song, or a vocal jam that straight up turns into "Proud Mary". In addition to my song list from my last post, I say you plunge Scott head-long into weirdness. Vacuum solos, bluegrass songs, A-Capella(for a band who constantly gets ripped for their singing, they do a mean barbershop quartet =P) , and crazy yem freakouts. Play Meatstick for Scott, show him the new years video. Show him Fishman being 'shot out of the cannon' and "Sara from Pittsburgh" coming to fill in for him at NYE 09. Show him them riding the original hot dog. You cant go into the show 'trying to make scott like phish', you just have to show him what makes Phish unique.

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I think you should give him a crash course of their "greatest hits". Include songs like Chalkdust torture, Farmhouse, Birds of a Feather, and Bouncing Around the Room. I'd stay away from anything Gamehenge because he won't understand, or even be willing to understand at this point. Stash would be a good choice,as well as Taste and Golgi. Songs with a faster beat and lyrics that are explainable. I read an interview with Tom Marshall at Superball, and he explained the meaning of Fluffhead. The character Fluffhead was his brother, who was dying at the time of a very rare cancer. Other songs like Sleep, in which the meaning of the lyrics have been revealed, would be great to play. Scott might like the lyrics more if he realizes that they were written on a different level.

I am excited for the 2nd episode. Hope that I helped

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Love the episode. It'd be great if every week there was a different band to argue about.

I'd love to hear a Juggalo defend ICP for an hour and a half.

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I experienced the same thing as Harris is here, but with The Mars Volta. I kind of outgrew their music, but sometimes I will still listen when I'm in the right mood. But I could NOT convince my friends or family to like them.

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Enjoyed the episode! Based on what I heard, Scott's not gonna like the singing, or lyrics, in any of their songs (until he "gets it", at which point he'll like all of it), so don't even bother except for maybe the studio version of "Billy Breathes". Personally I'd go straight to the 7/10/99 Chalkdust jam, from 8:20ish to 12:00ish.

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Thanks, Scott and Harris!

Now I will know what people are talking about when they make references to Phish. And instead of guessing that I probably don't like them...knowing for sure that I don't!

A lifetime of ignorance washed away by one installment of Earwolf Presents!

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Harris and Scott
I too am a college educated non-Hippy Phish fan. Scott wants to hear Free on Billy Breaths. It is pallateable and digestable for the non-Phish fan. It is just a rock song done well. Also, Scott dosen't seem to like Phish's brand of funk. Stick to songs like Free and Chalkdust torture and Phish will win the day.
Big Fan,
Andrew

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More Analyze Phish please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

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Phantastic podcast. Harris and Scott play off each other in such a hilarious way. I went in a bit skeptical since I was sure I would not be into Phish, but I really enjoyed the very first song Harris played and have been listening to some others since listening.

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Great show. As a Phish fan it was a lot of fun (and sometimes frustrating) to listen to. Harris, I admire what you're trying to do, but I think it may be impossible considering your format. Scott is probably not going to like Phish based on short snippets of songs. And he's definitely not going to like them based on "advanced" songs you played for him. By that, I mean songs like Fluffhead and even YEM with their seemingly silly lyrics and atonal shit musically. That is, unti you "get it." . Whenever I try to convert someone (and I've only done it successfully twice) I start out with the songs that most "Phans" (hate that gay term but it works here) couldn't care less about. Like studio versions of Sample in a Jar, Billy Breathes, Free, Waste (good for lyric lovers), Backwards Down The Number Line etc... These are what those who have not awakened to the splendor of Phish will recognize as "songs." Once you get them grooving on these tunes, you can move to some accessible covers like While My Guitar Gently Weep, 5:15, Jesus Just Left Chicago (must use 11/17/97 version though) and Oh Sweet Nuthin'. These feel like genuine rock (and blues) songs to the unenlightened. At that point, I do a compare and contrast. I start with a studio version like Twist or Back on the Train and once I get tacit approval from their retarded ear, I blow their minds by putting on a live version of said song that includes a tight - and this is key at this point in the game- jam. For example, I might use Back on the Train from this recent Chicago (8/15/11) show. At this point, the listener is usually more than intrigued. If not, I give up altogether and understand they will never, ever get to experience the jizzyness of the 8/17/97 Gin. Speaking of which, that might be my next step. Getting the listener into a rawk peak type jam. There are plenty of those. The Went Gin being a brilliant example of that. I also usually completely annoy my captive listener by exclaiming during this jam that "this is true improvisation! Can you fucking believe this shit is just spontaneously created by these guys on stage? " (at this point even I hate Phish and myself for what they've made me become). It is around this time - and only this time- that you can truly let your listener in on things like YEM, Harry Hood, Slave, etc... But still no Fluffhead. Everyone needs to discover that on their own. You can have that tune forced on you.

I have thousands of SBDs and recordings (you probably do as well, but I thought I'd offer) and would happily provide you with any resources you need via sendspace or some other file sharing service.

Oh, and, I've got to give it to Scott for being so incredibly open-minded. It's refreshing. He obviously loves music and has a lot of knowledge so it seems like he's a good candidate for this. He just needs to hear it all in the right order and with a proper amount of time.

Keep up the good work, guys.

PS> I have a 5 inch taint.

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As a first time poster, I'd like to question Harris's PHFandom for not knowing Phish's version of the Also Sprach is a cover of Deodato's version. And not recognizing "Washa Uffize, Drive Me to Firenze" as the official YEM lyric.

I'd like to FURTHER question both Harris's and Scott's COMEDYffffAndom for not recognizing that they later listened to the Deodato version and not the Space Hog version, as it's best known as the music from the pivotal scene in Being There, which is probably one of Peter Sellers' greatest performances.

Step it up, Hot/Wittels. Step it up.

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I'd suggest "Sample in a Jar". A good friend of mine who always despised Phish actually loves this song. It's a good, no-nonsense (well, minimal nonsense) rock song. It shows that Phish aren't always so "goofy" and "weird". I don't quite have my finger on what kind of music Scott likes, but maybe this will work. I'd suggest playing the studio version. Studio versions, in general, are probably better than the live versions for the purpose of converting a newbie. Good luck!

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Wow, this was great.
I've had a love/hate relationship with Phish for a long time. I've only seen them four times (first time in a residence hall basement at University of Vermont in 1988, last time at the Somerville Theater in 1991, when the swirling hippies in the audience totally turned me off to them), but listened to tapes before I was old enough to go to shows. Though the slapping bass/stupid lyrics/white funk get on my nerves after a while, I still have a soft spot for these guys...mainly because they did a lot for the musicians in Burlington Vermont after they'd hit it big, including bringing local horn players on Letterman, "mentoring" younger musicians, spitting in money in the music scene. A good friend of mine plays in one of their side projects, and I've played a jazz set with Trey at a café. Cool story, bro.....
Point is, I agree with both Harris and Hot. Looking forward to the next installment!

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