I’ve love Phish and have personally been to well over 50 shows since 2000, but I’m not so blinded as a fan to acknowledge that The Phish from Vermont is a band with a reputation. Like, not exactly a great one, either. In a guest essay at Vice’s Noisey this summer, I broke down e two lenses in which the world views Phish:
-A drug band from Vermont who plays 25-minute songs with nonsensical lyrics to a stoned audience of Birkenstock-wearing trustafarians who played ultimate frisbee in college.
-OR: A group of four talented musicians/college best friends who have helmed the ship of a lovable and enigmatic rock band by doing things their own way.
Phish, who just started a West Coast tour a couple days ago, is an easy pop-culture target thanks to that first stereotype, which is known more to the masses as a whole than the latter. That in mind, the Howard Stern Show swung by Phish’s July performance at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia (one of the few shows in the Northeast I wasn’t at… thanks, steady, gainful employment!) for a segment on Phish fans getting “loaded” in the parking lot by sucking down nitrous oxide balloons and other ridiculous concert parking lot behavior. The Stern Show clearly only targeted scummy, dirty tour wooks who probably haven’t worked a solid day in a normal job in their life. Tour rats are gross. That said, here are some of the quotes that I laughed at:
- Stern: “They’re like the Grateful Dead …but without the hits.”
- Stern: “Wolfie says the parking lot is so funny because it’s a bunch of burned out dudes. A lot of them are running around with big helium tanks. The cops are chasing them with gigantic tanks filled with nitrous oxide… It’s a funny kind of drug dealer.”
- Wolfie to dirty wook: “What do you love about Phish?” Obviously baked out of his skull wook: “Their whole vibe. Their fans. The people. Everybody’s all here about the same thing.”
- Wolfie: “How would you describe the vibe of the parking lot?” Obviously baked wook: “I would describe it as… extremely… let me think of the word…. I’m searching through my vocabulary…. Fine!”
- Wolfie to guy who just took a nitrous hit: “What does that do to your brain?” Fan: “It fries it.”
- Wolfie to fan: “What’s your approach to finding good drugs at a Phish show?” Fan: “Get it from someone who looks like they know what they’re talking about.”
- Guy doing whippets: “It’s like my brain is walking on air.”
- Wook who admits to liking shrooms: “I just feel like the music is part of me…. Everything just feels like it should be. Free love.”
- “You do what you love and the money will follow!”
- “Can a jam ever go on too long?”
I can’t believe #NotAllPhishFans isn’t a thing yet. While some waaaaaayyyyy too serious Phish fans are going to be salty about the stereotypes, I think it’s freakin’ hilarious. Listen below.
On the wrap-up show afterwards, they talked about Phish’s music. It’s actually quite interesting. Stern is a big fan of “Simple.” Starts around the 24:00 mark: