A Call to Arms: Carrie Brownstein Wants to Like Phish

Many of the readers of this blog better be reading the fantastic Monitor Mix blog written by Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney fame. She’s been writing the blog for a while and been making a larger name for herself through her work with NPR’s All Songs Considered and their SXSW coverage and whatnot. And lately she’s been writing some really solid stuff, like calling for comments on bands that people feel the need to “justify” their love for.

I thought immediately of Phish and Rush, two bands that I’ve always loved since my taste in music came around. I wasn’t the only one thinking this way, as the latest post talks about how Carrie was inspired by one submission and came up with a bit of a challenge for herself and her readers.

It starts with her recount of the “winning” comment by Cameron Norbert:

“I love Phish. Phish embodies what I love about all music: excitement, energy, unpredictability & fun. They play because they love it, and it shows. They do jam, but as a group, feeding each other — like Jazz instead of Jam. It’s not the solo heavy crap that occupies most “jam” music.

They have shared the stage with Neil young, Jay-z, BB King, Alison Krauss, and even Bruce Springsteen – so obviously fellow artists take them seriously. But amongst the public, they still carry such a stigma.

Phish turned me onto My bloody Valentine, Pavement, Django Reinhardt, The Talking heads plus many more. I could recommend any of those bands to you with no trouble, but mention the band that lead me to them, and I’m laughed out of the room.”

Not anymore, Cameron. This week, your Monitor Mix host will journey down the path to conversion. But I need your help: if you are a Phish lover–and I know you’re out there–please steer me towards the right albums, concert footage, and songs. Keep me sheltered from the bands’ musical missteps and anything that might impede this affection, one that has been buried deep for far too long, just waiting to be awakened.

She goes on to justify and recount exactly why they are important and yet totally laughable to a ton of people that don’t really understand what they’re listening to.

Some people haven’t even heard the music but have this whole notion of what the fans are like and how they couldn’t like the same thing as a bunch of dreaded wookies. Or maybe they just sat through three songs and that may not have been enough.

Whatever it is, it’s fine to have personal taste and allow those to change over time. And it’s fine to stand up and say that every once in a while and say “hey, I want to like Phish but I have no clue where to start.”

That’s really what’s great about having a music blog.

So I say we help her out.

So, this week the theme is: The Conversion a.k.a How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Phish. All week I’ll be updating my blog with photos, video, and writing about my progress. I don’t know if it’s actually possible to convert to a band in one week, but I’m going to try!

First stop: off to buy Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream. Then, to the record store!

Non-Phish lovers, please join in on the challenge! Phish fans? Help us get there! Leave your advice in the comments section.

Head over to Monitor Mix and drop some comments to get her going. I’m pretty sure I was first to comment on the post. FIRST!


  1. I saw Phish at Bonnaroo and definitely see the appeal. I think I’m finally swaying toward the side of liking them but it’s taken me for-ever. On the other hand, I can easily recommend My Bloody Valentine, Pavement, The Talking Heads, and Sleater-Kinney much more easily. Try to like Phish by all mean, they are awesome awesome awesome, just difficult to swallow for some people (like their flavor of ice cream).

  2. for the narrow minded people who judge this band it is their own loss. their worlds are probably depressing anyway. every scene has good and bad. but for phish there is way more good than everything else. and the most bad in the scene is ironically phish’s lawyer’s children in limo’s rather then wookies and dread heads.

  3. Phish rips harder than most rock bands around today or before them, simple as that. I have LOVED them for many, many years and seen them many, many times. I’ve never had a dread on my head and have always carried a job, so you can’t use the dreaded wookie stereotype on me, or for that matter most Phish fans. I also have had the same remarks from other’s when talking about Phish with people who haven’t been exposed to them, or are just too closed minded to see/hear a good thing when it’s right in their face. All I can say to those people is you’ve missed out and thanks for staying away, more tickets for me and the good people out there who appreciate one of the best musical acts of all time! Soooo psyched for Red Rocks!!

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