Jon Fishman

368 – Jon Fishman (Phish) Part 1: The art of constant evolution

What can be said about Jon Fishman that hasn’t already been said? Fishman and his band Phish have been going strong for 35 years with a legion of fans that follows them around the country. Whether they’re playing at one of their multiple-day festivals that attract upwards of 75K people or selling out Madison Square Garden 13 nights in a row like their recent “Bakers Dozen” stand, Jon and Phish are constantly reinventing themselves. Phish is notorious for their improvisational jams that can last up to 20 minutes and for having a different set list very night, which keeps Fishman on his toes night-after-night. That uncertainty allows him the room to grow, experiment and evolve as a player.

Jon Fishman talks about:

  • Reopening the Lincolnville General Store
  • Finding his long lost relative
  • Lessons learned as a younger drummer
  • Dealing with fame and coming to grips with it
  • Whether great drummers are born or made
  • Developing your own sound and why it takes a long time to get there
  • An all important lesson he learned in New Orleans early in his career
  • Maturing behind the kit
  • Why a simple groove is good enough
  • Advice for playing in odd time
  • Interchanging implied feels
  • The good and bad about self evaluation
  • Actively listening vs passively listening
  • Much more

Resources / Links / People Mentioned:


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4 replies
  1. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    This is so great! I haven’t listened to Phish much since the late 90s/early aughts, but Fishman is one of the most inventive drummers I’ve ever heard. He really helped me to expand my vocabulary and genre awareness when I was younger. He also seems like such a great guy with a great sense of humor! This was a real treat. Thanks, Nick!

  2. Mike Nagy
    Mike Nagy says:

    Got into Phish about 10 years ago, which was way too late. I’m 29 now. I dismissed them earlier because I heard a character on Family Guy say he listens to the band Garbage and Phish which I assumed they were a generic alternative band. Had no idea bout improv. Upon hearing them my life has changed drastically for the better. What an experience every song is just like life in the moment. This interview is so freakin awesome Fish seems like such a cool guy. My mom pointed him out to me as well being on this cabin remodel show lol. I play guitar bass and drums, learned so much from this. I’d really like to read his thesis as well. Still can’t comprehend what the hell ur doing in sugar shack lol, great song. I just confess tho I like spacey no foundation jams where it’s so bizarre, like playing in the band goes on sometimes

    • Nick
      Nick says:

      Mike, just seeing this comment now. Haha…at least you got into the band at all! 29 isn’t too late. Thanks for checking out the episode…glad you dug it. If I can get my hands on the thesis I’ll be posting it for sure.

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