With a varied musical menu - alternative rock, jazz fusion, neopsychedelia and progressive rock, to name a few genres they play - the band from Burlington, Vermont, went across the pond and gradually conquered the whole world.

The group can rely on a comprehensive and dedicated fan base and that does not go unnoticed. It's because of these fans that so many explanations circulate for the name Phish.

The most reliable one yet is that of band member Trey Anastasio, who in 1995, in an interview that Pamela Polston of Vox magazine had with him, talked about one of the band's first clumsy performances:

Why Phish band name - Fishman by Ken Christiansen'We knew about two songs. Jeff (Holdsworth, former Phish guitarist, ed.) knew someone who wanted us to play at this [..] Christmas [..] dance. We decided to do it, but we didn't have enough songs for a whole evening. We didn't have mike stands, just hockey sticks with mikes duct-taped to a table. No name, nothing. Phish just kind of got thrown in there because of Fish's name.'

According to Anastasio Phish is called Phish because drummer John Fishman's nickname was Fish.

There are many alternatives according to the Phish fan site. One is that the same drummer said that Phish is an onomatopoeia: it is the sound of a jet taking off (as in Back In The USSR by The Beatles). Another one is that Phish is a contraction of parts of the first and last names of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. And of course there is the inevitable 'acronym theory' proposing that Phish is an abbreviation of Prepschool Hippies In Seventh Heaven.

Active: 1983-2000; 2002-2004; 2009-present, USA

See also: Beatles, Grateful Dead

Do you know a different explanation? Were you there when it happened? Questions or suggestions? Post a comment!



Anonymous said...

I assumed it was a contraction of Phil Lesh.

Anonymous said...

I believe it was at least subconsciously named after Phil Lesh.

Anonymous said...

I heard they wanted to name the band after the sound of air escaping from a ballon. Fsssssh.

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