Friday, November 09, 2007

Once I Was a Dirty Hippie

I used to like the band Phish. In fact, I would dare to say I was a "Phish Head" at one point in high school. You know don't you, Phish, the scruffy quartet, who hailed from Vermont, with extended jams and nonsensical lyrics. The band that evoked followers, Dead Head in style, selling hash brownies from the back of the Westphalias and braided hemp bracelets from the front. Phish, Phish, Phish, they induced in me some kind of embarrassing, adolescent mania that resulted in veil thin dresses from India being worn with Alpaca sweaters,long Johns, woolly socks and Birkenstocks, in the dead of a Michigan winter. Flowers adorned my hair as I exalted the genius of Trey Anistasio, Jon Fishman and Lawn Boy, the album. Being quite possibly the only fool not on some form of drug, I danced and danced and danced barefoot in the rain, spinning like a whirling Dervish, which Laura's hot brother was known as. It was the mid-90's and I was like Angela Chase, searching to find a place, only my Jordan Catalano was not some hot screw-up,it was Phish. My Jordan Catalano was, well, Jerry and Phish. We Can't forget Jerry.

And so it went, through never ending plays of Junta, Lawn Boy, A Picture of Nectar, Rift and Hoist. In the car, in my room, in my friend's cars, in their rooms. Over and over and over. And with great reluctance, I will admit to you, such asinine lyrics as these did not phase me:

Give the director a serpent deflector
a mud rat detector, a ribbon reflector
a cushion convector, a pitcher of nectar
a virile dissector,a hormone collector

Oh no, I would not turn such nonsense off, I would jam out, because for God's sake, this was Phish we're talking about!

After school, sometimes Katie and I would drive up to Pontiac, venture into scary, scary Pontiac, because they had the best Head shop in Detroit. The best Head shop selling the best bootlegs! Oh yeah, try being ADD and sitting through an hour long bootleg of the Dead at Red Rocks. But dude! It's like, the Dead at Red Rocks! I had to look authentic.

And then it happened. I grew up. I went to college and found Techno, House and Ambient. Nobody wanted to love a dirty hippie anyway. A last hurrah with the Dead in 97' and then Gerry died and the drum circle became lame and I wanted giant skater pants instead.

Phish became passe' and oh so not cool. While Trey,Mike, Jon and Page we're very talented musicians, their lyrics started grating on me in an annoying, annoying way. The kind of annoyed contempt I held for They Might Be Giants and Bare Naked Ladies, I held for Phish. Poor Phish, suddenly and cruelly thrown to the bottom of the barrel. They were like chum and Plastikman, he was Torro.

For a decade my Phish Cd's stayed neatly tucked into an old case, avoiding somehow, trade-ins and surviving frequent moves. They sat in there until today, when in some divinely inspired move, I pulled out "A Picture of Nectar" and inserted it in the CD player of my car, trying to calm Noah down as we headed for school. The onslaught of "I don't want to goes" and crocodile tears suddenly stopped and the heavens opened up as we jammed out to "Llama".

"Leave it on press
Depress, Depress
Llama, Taboot Taboot
Leave it on press
Depress, Depress
Llama, Taboot Taboot
Llama, Taboot Taboot
Llama, Taboot Taboot
Taboot Taboot
Taboot Taboot

Whatever the hell "Llama, Taboot Taboot" means, it worked. And so my dear friends, as I write this to all of you today. I am writing as no ordinary woman, but as a Phish head woman, with a new found love and respect.

The End


Bree said...

I couldn't do it. I tried. I only liked that bouching round the room song and I think it's because Alan liked it, because Katie and you liked it, and oh how I tried. But I couldn't do it. I liked the outfits though, and the gloves at that head shop were so warm.
I did much better at being a drug-free pseudo-raver.

Bree said...

Oh. That should say bouncing. Bouching is funny, tho.

Lauren said...

Oh, but a drug-free-pseudo-raver is something to be! In fact, I am, at this very moment, composing a second post about ...*gasp*...being a drug-free-pseudo-raver after the Phish Head phase!

God, no wonder I love you so, we're always on the same wave length. What a drug-free-psuedo-new-ager I am now.

Sarah said...

Thank you for the Jordan Catalano've got me all nostalgic now.

Jeremy said...


I was a total Phish-head in college. I used to follow them around selling crappy hemp-necklaces and bracelets in the parking lot (though in hindsight, I should have been selling balloons filled with nitrous oxide, I probably would have made more).

Sometime my senior year of college, I snapped out of this "phase" and put away the water bongs and the tie dye and the patchouli oil.

It was fun while it lasted, but much like hippies, I went on to start a family and save the world through other means.

Little known fact - in high school, I was known as "Phishman", not because I was into Phish - but because people thought I looked like Jon Fishman w(ho I probably looked more like at the time and not so much now that I packed on the cafeteria macaroni and cheese pounds from college).

Lauren said...

Whoa! Are you serious Jeremy!? I didn't know all of this about you! So..uh..did you "weave" all those hemp necklaces yourself? Does Aimee know about this phase? Dude, you are So Jon Fishman!;)

Jeremy said...

Yeah, Aimee was there with me for most of it.

She actually got me into doing the hemp necklaces/bracelets.

That was about as close as she got to being a hippy - other than listening to a lot of Blues Traveler.