Phish Wrote a Song About Darius Washington Jr.

By 05.29.14

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All it takes is about 10 minutes of hanging out with me to realize that I’m really, really into Phish. If they’re playing in the Northeast, I’m probably there, crushin’ grilled cheeses and’ Sammy Smith oatie stouts, rockin’ a weather-worn logo shirt that’s a treasured possession (acquired at Hershey Park, 9/15/200). Some people college baseball cards, I go to Phish shows.

The Phish from Vermont isn’t easy to understand. Like an unappreciated cult movie, it’s is big, long inside musical joke.  The songs are long and mostly instrument. The lyrics have been described as “stoner nursery rhymes.” They jump on trampolines in the middle of songs. Fans get way too excited about “stepping into a freezer.” Very few people go to only one show a summer, planning entire vacations around whatever amphitheaters Phish is playing any given summer. It’s a bizarre culture and I love it.

The other day we were listening to a Runaway Jim jam in the office on our Sonos. Kyle chimed up and said, “so, is the point of a Phish song to forget that you’re listening to a Phish song?”

If you view live music as a form of escapism, I guess it kinda sorta is.

Anyway, Phish has an album — Fuego — set to drop on June 24. One of the songs, “The Line,” is about Darius Washington, Jr. In the 2005 Conference USA tournament final, the then-Memphis point guard was fouled by a Louisville player while attempting a three-pointer. He went to the line with no time on the clock and a 75-73 score. He made the first, but then missed the next two, forcing a heart-breaking loss that would have put Memphis in the Big Dance. Via

The song is written from the standpoint of Darius, standing there on the parquet floor of the FedEx Forum in Memphis in front of his home crowd, just before the shots were taken. We have all been told how to handle times of stress where you are put on stage: You have done this before, stand tall, control your breathing. Take your time, nail these shots, and your whole future is in front of you…

But that doesn’t always hold true. Sometimes, no matter the amount of preparation or skill that you may have, it just does not work out. The shots don’t fall. For whatever reason, the rim just continues to get smaller in front of you.

They debuted the song on Halloween 2013 in Atlantic City. Washington, meanwhile, currently plays in the Turkish Basketball League.

Listen to “The Line” below.

Here’s what it looked like when they debuted the song on Halloween.

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