Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Phish & Olives

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2007 at 3:21 PM

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No, it’s not the latest diet fad. When the Scene spoke with Jon Fishman about his upcoming appearance at the Del McCoury Band New Year’s Eve show at the Ryman, the Phish drummer shared this particularly poignant memory from his early days in a frat-house band. It's a story you won't want to miss, though you'll never look at an olive the same way again.

Jon Fishman's olive story, after the jump...

Mike and I were in a band called the Dangerous Grapes. We thought it was just about the stupidest name you can think of. It was during a brief period where Trey was kicked out of UVM and we were waiting for him to come back. Me and Mike got with these two Sigma Nu fraternity guys—just a couple of guitar players who wanted a rhythm section to play with them for frat parties.

It was hilarious because we were just these two hippie, you know, college idiots, hanging out with these frat guys, and witnessed all sorts of outrageousness from behind our instruments. We weren’t part of the hazings. We were just the entertainment in the corner.

There was some incredible shit. You’d see it and you’d go, "Well now I know why these fraternities are always getting shut down." From behind the drum seat it was hilarious….

There was this one [gig] that was amazing. We were playing "Sympathy for the Devil" in this big, old wooden ballroom in this frat house, and there was a row of plastic cups, and these guys all had their drawers down, and they had to pick up olives off the floor with their asses, walk them across the room, drop them in the plastic cups, switch cups, and eat the olives. And by the time they got to the olive-eating part, the song was getting to the end and I could barely play. You’re watching the thing unfold, like, “What’s going to happen here?... I never needed to be reminded after that why I never actually pledged to a fraternity—"Oh yeah, this is why."

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