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Episode 1 — Analyze Phish

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Harris, are you taking Scott to the show at the Hollywood Bowl? As a Phish fan, I really liked hearing Scott's reaction to the songs, but I think we all know it's pretty tough to make someone a fan without bringing them to an actual show. Otherwise, you tend to approach the music from an intellectual level rather than visceral one, when the whole point is that it's visceral, in person experience.

Also - and I mean this in the nicest possible sense - the song choices for originals were a god damned abomination. YEM I get because it's pretty much the quintessential song, but Fluffhead is insanely inaccessible to the uninitiated and the release is fairly meaningless without being there to experience (or at least hearing) the build up); Theme is just kind of meh, and Wilson is tough to get without being there for the interaction. If you do this again - and I hope you do - go with stuff like Chalk Dust, AC/DC Bag, and other "show opener" kind of songs.

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I really don't care about phish. To me, they are a 'white noise' band. Yeah, they're there and you hear them but you really don't care what they are doing, it's just filling up empty space because there's a niche for that.

Point being, I could listen to Scott and Harris talk/argue/analyze anything for any amount of time and never get sick of it. What needs to happen is a podcast hosted by Harris and Scott where they team up with or against guests to discuss, analyze, or agree on different topics. Somewhat like a debate show, but about things like Phish and other dividing points.

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I absolutely LOVE this idea and thank you thank you thank you for the pleasurable listening experience. I must state at this point that the best way to enter into PHISH is to go to a show! I think skipping through songs to get to little snippets completely misses the entire point and power of Phish. If you are going to try and "win someone over" through sitting down and listening ... you simply have to play songs in their entirety. I would suggest "Wading in the Velvet Sea," or "Dirt," or "Wasting," all of these are great songs musically and lyrically ... so Scott might like them. Other than that you can't re-produce going to college, making new friends who turn you onto Phish, or taking some substance for the first time with wonderful people and locking in that experience.

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I think starting with some Billy Breathes stuff was smart, but you might try something like "Taste" or "Character Zero". Maybe "Dog Faced Boy". Since Scott was having a hard time with the vocals, it might make sense to try some of the recorded stuff where the vocals are as good as they're typically going to get.

I'm not sure if the mythology is something that you'll be able to get Scott into. Gamehendge and Fluff and some of that other stuff was really cool to happen upon when you're a teenager, but it's super-stupid stuff as an adult.

Listening to Harris reminds me of why I liked Phish a decade ago, and listening to Scott reminds me of why I don't listen to them anymore. I empathize with both of you. Also, it's just kind of a fun look at how friends interact over issues of taste. I really enjoyed this.

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As a phan, I've got some recommendations. These are songs that, in my mind, exemplify the Phish live experience: Maze, Run Like an Antelope, Harry Hood, and Slave to the Traffic Light. Anthems like YEM, Bouncing Around the Room, and Fluffhead usually only turn off new (sober) listeners.

Other songs that could help the cause, based on their stand-alone merits, include Down With Disease, Free, Rock and Roll, Suzy Greenburg, Punch You in the Eye, and Piper.

Finally, have Scott listen to Gettin' Jiggy Wit It or Tubthumping from Hampton Comes Alive. That'll give him a glimpse at Phish's tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, and should open up the discussion a bit. Thanks for doing this, guys.

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Ugh, phuck Phish. Scott was right on with his comment about it sounding like a Schoolhouse Rocks song.

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Play the song Farmhouse. I'm not a Phish fan at all but I can generally tolerate that song.

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Aukerman never told us his 10 Favorite bands...

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"you have to see them live"="you have to see them high with other people who are high"; I mean...that trampoline story...how stoned do you have to be to find that entertaining?

Good show. Is the format just "fanatics defending fanaticism"? If so, can you get someone to try and defend Rush (the band)? That never is not funny.

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Harris needs a package of pop-style songs to bridge Scott in. Twist, Sample in a Jar, Character Zero...

Scott seems to be hung up on the lyrics, which could make Harris' job pretty hard moving forward. Phish lyrics are pretty inane and the vocals are by far the band's worst musical quality.

Gotta hear some Antelope, Divided Sky, Slave, Hood, Disease. Everyone has a Phish song that clicks with them, even the haters. Harris just needs to find that song for Scott.

I love the concept of this podcast and hope it takes Scott a while to see the light.

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I'm sure this has been said over and over in the comments so I'll just add another voice to this. I love Scott and Harris but having to actually sit through these phish clips is almost too much to bare.

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Harris, you went to live clips WAY too fast!! Scott is clearly stuck on lyrics and putting Phish into a specific place he can understand them at. I think the comedy angle was the wrong approach. Scott is very literal in his comedy, he likes puns and word games and as we learned on the jukebox segment of Comedy Bang Bang he will only accept comedy that is quick and to the point. Phish isn't a comedy band, they are a fun band. They don't take themselves too seriously and therefore have many playful songs with goofy lyrics but they are not comedy and the goofy lyrics will only alienate Scott further.

To succeed you need to take an entirely musical approach. Your entry point needs to be studio. You jumped into Gamehendge too, it’s too culty and weird for outsiders to start with. Also, the layperson is not ready to sit and handle a 20 minute jam unless you’ve got them at the show and into the scene.

Start with rock…
Step 1: I think Hoist is perfect. Axilla II, Wolfman's Brother and Julius are all great studio rock songs. Then throw in Character Zero and Free. Throw in Chalkdust Torture if you think he can handle it. The lyrics are random but not goofy, and ALL rock lyrics are random and rarely heard. So you sell him on the studio rock aspect, admitting that they are a band that can put out polished rock.
Next, we’ll have to gage his acceptance. If he is taking to the rock, it might be wise to ride those coattails into live music. If he’s not ready yet, work the studio a bit more, get into some funky stuff.

Step 2 (live option):
I think a Clifford Ball Sample in a Jar and a good live Gumbo would be great entries to the live world. Then maybe work in some Weekapaug, which is a great funky piece he’s got to like.

Step 2 (funkier option):
So he still needs some more studio, let’s move on a bit from the rock. I think Stash or Tweezer are good starting point, though the lyrics are admittedly goofy the songs are solid funky. Wedge is another good option. Stash is also rather jazzy, so this would be a good example to get into their jazzy feel since this is what makes their jams coherent and much better than an average “jam band”. Phish live is much like jazz in the sense that to the newcomer it can be overwhelming and sound like random beeps and bloops, but to a fan it’s the best of interpretation and freedom while remaining in a jam. Move onto Step 2 (live option).

Step 3:
It may be time to take this show on the road. Get Scott to agree to smoking a minor amount of weed and get to a venue with a nice lot scene to get the full experience. Have some beers, eat a grilled cheese and get him in a reserved seat (he’s not ready for the full crowd yet).

If still nothing, it’s time to kick him in the nuts and move on…nice attempt!

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I love this format. I know it's gonna keep changing, but I found these guys analyzing musi to be really entertaining.

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Awesome first episode. As a big Earwolf/Phish fan, I loved every minute of it. I agree with most posters that it was too early to get into live stuff. I think Scott needs to hear a studio version of a few songs and then see how they're done up live. "Sample in a Jar," "Free," "Divided Sky," "Wolfman's Brother" and "Harry Hood" could use some play.

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Try not to describe live experiences before he goes to a show. This just alienates people and makes it feel like a cult, when in reality, a lot of the antics that goes on at shows are there just because... From the outside looking in, non-phans will try to justify and reason, but we all know that there's no necessity to do that. If Scott actually experiences a live show, he may or may not like it, but it's ultimately up to the individual to experience it themselves. 'Cause when it comes down to it...can control for smilers ever really be bought?

I don't like being a downer, but this may be difficult to do over an in-home podcast. Take some clip-on mics and go to a show!!!

Interview phans - "In three words, how would you describe Phish?"

Check out Shakedown - Why are people whispering in my ear?!?!

The Show - Beach balls?! Glowsticks?! Silent noooooote.

WILLLSOOOOOOOOOOOOON

The difficulty with Phish is that it pervades based on memetics. It's all an inside joke until you get the joke! Experience the joke, don't explain it.

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The first problem with Phish, and "jam" music in general is the fans' dependence on the live shows. I can totally understand why Scott wouldn't "get it" from listening to live clips of "Fluffhead" or whatever. I mean, good lord, look at the Phish phans on this board alone: "50 shows," "66 shows"; I wouldn't see ANY of my favorite bands that many times for fear of growing sick of them.

I think a good idea for this podcast is to record a podcast (or two) of Harris and Scott attending a Phish concert. However, this then brings up problem #2 with Phish and "jam" bands: dependence on drugs to really get into it. I can see that if a.) I wasn't high, b.) didn't know or particularly like any of the songs c.) everyone else is high as shit around me, that I'd want out of that show. Scott seems like a paranoid type when he's high, so I doubt he'd enjoy the show even on an edible or something like that.

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A few thoughts:

a) Not a Phish fan either and Harris hasn't made his case but I do understand where he's coming from
B) In turn, Scott should try to convince Harris to become a Prince fan in a future episode
c) is this a format that will allow Cyber Thug Radio to return to the Earwolf fold?
d) how do Phish fans feel about Ween? The Ween boys have the same problem (except for I think they have better studio albums)?

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I BEG OF YOU: Harris man...I love your position and your love of Phish (check my handle. Saw my first show on my 15th birthday, 5/22/00), but, to be completely honest, you could have done a much better job of picking these songs and, in particular, the order in which you presented them.

If you know the guy appreciates incredible musicianship but lacks a predilection for jams and other Phish elements, the first thing you should have done was play the composed part of REBA. I have a friend who hated Phish the few times he had heard them. Knowing he was a classical music buff, I played Reba for him. The man was blown the fuck away, and he summed up their compositions in the best possible way: "Classical music for the 21st century."

You should have introduced him to the awesomeness by playing the most complex, purely compositional pieces. If you, the "convincer" if you will, know that the "convincee" is already averse to the band because of a preconceived notion that they're a noodling jam band (and because a Phish head had sex with his girlfriend...ouch), the best route to take is the compositional route. Play the man the composed part of Reba (NOT the initial lyrical section). At the very least, he won't be able to deny the ridiculous musicianship and the seamless incorporation of heavy classical elements and jazz.

And how could you play those two parts of Fluffhead at the end of the show, already knowing from the previous hour of conversation that he doesn't like the silliness and lyrics? Why in the world wouldn't you start at the Fluff's Travels section? Basically, the only piece you played that demonstrates their incredible compositional abilities and tightness was YEM.

So please please please Harris, start off with Reba next time and skip the lyrics. I suggest the one from 10/31/94 if you're also going to play him some of the jam. One of the best fucking Reba jams out there.

P.S. I've seen Phish the exact same number of times: 60.

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This episode increased both my love of Harris and my non-love of Phish. And my respect for Scott's powers.

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