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rd4drumz 05-21-2006 06:49 AM

Jon Fishman
Jon is one the best live drummers of all time.

Bonhamfan 05-21-2006 07:38 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
Phish is a great, great band. Love his drumming and his ability to play with the hi-hat. Good topic.

freddyg 10-25-2006 04:21 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
Thank you guys for starting this well deserved thread!

I'm going to preach the merits of Jon Fishman:
1) The guy is an incredibly well-rounded drummer with a touch seldom heard by new up-and-coming drummers - though he's a lighter touch player, his feel for me is at times reminscent of Bonham, his single greatest drumming influence.
2) Copping Fishman's grooves has done more for my facility and independence than any single book or lesson I've followed throughout my 21 year tenure as a drummer.
3) His goal for the first 10 years of Phish was to never play remotely the same beat for any given song, so he played everything from rock to latin to calypso to reggae to odd times as originally as possible, giving all of Phish's listeners the most diverse rhythms to experience (this point also speaks directly to #2).
4) I've attended Phish shows since 1991 and his drum sound has improved throughout the decades, starting with arguably the best club drum sound ever, on a custom, thick shelled maple kit. His early 90's snare drum is one of my favorite sounding snare drums of all time. Comes through really nicely on Picture of Nectar.
5) I think his incredible talent is overshadowed by the phenomenon that is Phish. Truly a band where the total is greater than the sum of it's parts. All of it's "parts" are supremely gifted musicians, so there aren't alot of drum geeks that comment on the merits of Fishman's playing, because the subject usually turns to "wow, look at what this band has accomplished, taking over for the Grateful Dead, blah, blah, blah". Listen to Fish's drumming on Phish's live performances - he holds up to the greats.
6) To somewhat refute the previous point, he has had two features in Modern Drummer, including a well deserved cover. Proof that some justice exists in the world. Also, I was very happy to read that Mike Portnoy said he would love to sub for Fishman, because he was on to how deep the drumming in this band was. Huge props to Mike for being in the know.
7) He's never endorsed a drum or cymbal company - always a very custom, independent drum consumer (Portland Percussion, Ayotte, and Noble and Cooley, often mixing these custom toms with generic Tama or Yamaha bass drums). I get the impression that he doesn't care about commercialism, he just wants a great sounding kit. I'd be surprised if he hasn't been approached with some lucrative endorsement deals. This makes him even more mysterious and appealing to me.
8) He's really short and stubby, which had me thinking for a while whether this had some inherent advantages to becoming a stellar drummer. I've concluded that I don't think it does, citing Mick Fleetwood as a great drummer who has the polar opposite body type, but I'm leaving this question unresolved.
9) His ability to hear, lock into, and drive the deep improvisation of Phish is magical.
10) For the sake of having 10 points, I conclude that while I feel the best drummers alive today are 1) Vinnie Colauita , 2) Terry Bozzio and 3) Steve Smith (from a technical proficiency AND most musical perspective - I know it's a pointless debate), Fishman has been and always will be my favorite drummer. He's my Bonham.

pow_r_toch 12-25-2006 09:42 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
I LOOOOOOOOOVE PHISH!!!!!!! And also feel that Fish doesn't get the respect he deserves. Plus he's funny looking!!! I love the drumming on "Llama."
His bass drum on it is super fast in my opinion.

williemixem 03-16-2007 05:44 PM

Re: Jon Fishman

Originally Posted by rd4drumz (Post 141381)
Jon is one the best live drummers of all time.

Totally agree!! Ive always loved phish. I have added respect for fishman after hearing his drum 'n bass licks on Jungle Tango by Jazz Mandolin Project. Unbelievable!!!

Guinness 03-16-2007 05:58 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
I'm a Fishman fan myself. I even had the pleasure of seeing him play in Dallas once in the late 90's. Awesome experience. That guy can groove. The whole concert experience...mainly the parking lot before the show was a bit of culture shock, I guess I was a bit niave to what a Phish concert was all about. It was a blast after I got settled in and the musicianship was amazing. Phish rocks. I still listen to them today.

ECVail 03-23-2007 12:51 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
Another huge Fishman fan here. When I was in high school and somebody played Golgi Apparatus for me I was hooked. The breakdown near the end is stellar.

It's unfortunate the band isn't still together. But, from a fan's perspective, the last couple of years I avoided going to shows because of the parking lot crowds. I saw my share of Dead shows and never saw any really bad stuff go on - but during later years Phish shows I had friends have their cars broken into, get robbed (by stinky hippie kids!) and generally get ripped off buying parking lot "merchandise." I still loved the music and devoured the live stuff I downloaded, just wasn't into the "aggro" scene and vibe that seemed to be pervasive towards the end.

Props to the Fishman thread!

stasz 06-03-2007 12:41 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
Another Fishman fan here. He was the first drummer I heard that impressed me in this way that I knew he was something different than other drummers.

Even though there are drummers with more complicated stuff, I like some of his syncopation-driven beats on songs like All Things Reconsidered, Rift, and Limb by Limb.

I wonder how he does the beat from The Wedge... I haven't seen him play it, but do any of you guys know if he uses an auxiliary hat or if he just does the hi-hat part with his left hand or however he plays that groove?

drummernowlin 12-09-2007 07:47 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
Jon Fishman is phantastic! Is skills are well-rounded and highly underrated!! Listen to Limb By Limb, The Wedge, Stash, You Enjoy Myself, Fluffhead, etc...the list goes on and on.

If you don't know Jon Fishman, start learning...you'll never stop!

Skinsman38 05-31-2008 11:53 AM

Jon Fishman- a big influence
I was glad when I found this thread and that there are people who think Jon Fishman is a great drummer. Fishman made a big impact on my playing...probably the biggest of all the drummers I've ever got hooked on. What Fishman's playing did for me, hearing him live and on disc, was open me up to possibilities with drumming, at a time when I didn't have a personal style. After listening to Fishman enough I was sufficiently influenced to focus my drumming on how I was feeling rather than what I thought I needed to do. This opened up alot of avenues of exploration for me and it helped my playing alot. To this day I still have tendencies to play as much syncopation as seems tasteful and appropriate.

There are more skilled drummers but what I think makes him stand out is his passion and creativity and this in no way is meant to slag his skills. The guy is a serious player. I think Fishman is totally committed to playing drums as an art form and he comes from his own, informal, self taught style. Fishman was the first drummer that made me realize that the drums are not just a beat machine, they're also an instrument and you can create dynamic tension, use odd sounds and make sound textures to impact a song. He also taught me that beats don't have to be so conventional. He uses the drum set creatively and when he was 'on' he was fearless exploring his sound while improvising.

I doubt very much that given the drum chair for Phish, any other drummer would have been able to come up with the kinds of original and song defining drum patterns you hear in songs like Stash. There are alot of songs where Fishman is doing something really unexpected or at least unusual: It's Ice, Taste, Limb by Limb, Run Like an Antelope, Reba, Colonel Forbin, Mango Song, Vultures, Lizards, Wedge and so many more where his drumming helps define a song. His playing on the epic songs like You Enjoy Myself, Divided Sky, Harry Hood, Slave to the Traffic Light, etc. is tasteful, dynamic and can really elevate the music.

Some people don't like Phish and so they'll never give Fishman his due. Also, Freddy G has a great post below about Fishman and one of the things I agree with is that the sum of Phish is greater than the individuals. Because of this Fishman doesn't seem to get a level of recognition for his drumming that he deserves. It doesn't seem Jon cares that much about recognition (or does but refuses to do anything but let his playing do all his politicking for him) so he may wind up being somewhat of a cult drum figure in drumming history but I bet he won't be forgotten.

Ian Ballard 05-31-2008 07:29 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
Fantastic musician. He has it all!

Chops, good feel, versatility (Phish is all about that), in(inter)dependence and can sing and play WELL, plus he's a super nice guy and likes to dress in women's clothing!!

Underrated? Eh, who cares about "ratings". The guys gets respect. Millions of neo-hippies can't be wrong, can they?


UberDeepName 07-14-2008 05:19 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
Great drummer. Good technique and feel. You guys ever wish Phish would play louder? Sometimes the music calls for it.

HSTDrums 07-15-2008 01:01 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
THERE IS JUSTICE IN THE WORLD!! I"m so glad to see everyone responding positively, i'm sure people either love him or have never heard him play. He's one of the few drummers who I listen to and can't even begin to figure out what he's doing. Learning the groove fro "Limb by Limb" was my first real study in independence. "NICU" is another classic with a drum part that no one else would've come up with. "David Bowie" has got to be Fishman at his most mid boggling. Everything about him is great, his musicianship and his attitude being the hallmarks. His jamming ability and the crazy things he comes up with on the fly when the whole band is in outerspace are my favorite things about him. All of the Live Phish releases have absolutely incredible sound too, speficially the 1994 Sugarbush Summerstage shows. So glad to see this post!!!!

cantstandyourfunk 10-04-2010 07:55 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
" His ability to hear, lock into, and drive the deep improvisation of Phish is magical... "

thanks for starting this oh-so-well-deserved thread. I have been a Phish fan since the early 90s and even in 2010, post break-up and reunion, the band just continues to surprise, surprise, surprise. While I have never seen him live, I've had my share of stacking up on concert tapes. That said, I do love him in the song format on Phish records, one of my favourites being Rift.
Studying Jon is a veritable lesson in styles and if I may add, dynamics. The way he approaches the instrument in a song-based format and takes it to another level still awes me, every time I listen. Wish I would meet him, just some day. Thanks again for this thread.

cantstandyourfunk 10-04-2010 07:59 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
The Wedge. Need I say more?

aaajn 10-04-2010 08:50 PM

Re: Jon Fishman

Originally Posted by cantstandyourfunk (Post 751328)
The Wedge. Need I say more?

Have a fun copy of JF doing wipeout. The guy must have incredible endurance. I love the band and don't count them as a Grateful Dead replacement any more than SCI.

Swiss Matthias 10-04-2010 09:14 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
Links anyone ???

cantstandyourfunk 10-04-2010 11:15 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
Link 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JD7medqIOU

Link 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czouo...eature=related

cantstandyourfunk 10-04-2010 11:25 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
and, err...

a few surprises...



Bad Tempered Clavier 10-19-2010 12:58 PM

Re: Jon Fishman

Originally Posted by freddyg (Post 227982)
to #2).
He's really short and stubby


Originally Posted by pow_r_toch (Post 254649)
he's funny looking!!!

The first time I saw Phish was in February 1997 at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London. I went with a friend, who was the one who had introduced me to Phish, and at the time I didn't know much about them; I think the only Phish I'd heard at that time was on Rift and Billy Breathes, but that was more than enough to hook me.

Before the show, we were standing at the bar talking to another in a succession of guys who was very surprised to see non-Americans at a Phish show when this little guy comes up and starts chatting to him. This fellow was short with shoulder-length hair and a big bushy beard and they briefly spoke before the little guy disappeared into the crowd. I remember turning to my friend and saying something offhand like "what's with Grizzly Adams Jr.?" or whatever, and he said "Mate, that's the drummer in the band". When I turned to look round I suddenly noticed that everyone in the crowd was looking over at Fish as he stopped to speak to some fans.

Needless to say, Fish and the boys went on to play a fantastic show (those latter-year small club shows were very special) and I've been trying to catch them in the USA and Europe as often as I can ever since - even making it to Tennessee during my honeymoon last year when they came back after their long break. Fish was on fire that night (Knoxville June 10th 2009) and I was so happy to see them live for the first time (for me) in almost a decade.

I second everything that's been said here about his playing - especially when it comes to his feel and dynamics. One of the (many) things that impressed me about him when I first started listening to him was his frequent use of different rides in any single set-up. It looks to me like he usually has a dry ride for general riding, a brilliant bell-like ride for that extra cut on occasions, and one of those sizzle-types with the rivets installed in the cymbal for slower, dreamier passages (typically on the lengthier jams). I've never had much more than a single ride, hats, and a couple of crashes in my regular set-up - but if I had the space and the money I'd love to have that choice of ride sound and texture on hand.

Great drummer, great musician, great band.

mjdwyer23 11-02-2010 03:56 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
Can anybody break down for me what he plays with his left hand when he is ghosting the hell out of it in YEM?

Ecclesrose 03-31-2011 09:03 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
Fanastic drummer, think he's totally under-rated. I love his feel, especially on A Picture of Nectar

TCWill76 07-30-2011 08:13 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
WHAT CYMBALS ARE JON FISHMAN PLAYING NOW???? and why is it so hard to get online?

RRHarding 01-20-2012 06:41 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
Anyone try transcribing what he plays? I got through about 7 minutes of YEM (studio version) when I was in college. I'm gonna go look for that and play around. I'll try to post that here later if possible.

RRHarding 02-24-2012 05:06 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
I found a collection of notebooks from college! If no one's following this right now I'll save it. If/when anyone's interested, let me know and I'll scan/link my transcription of the first minute or two of YEM to this thread. I'd love some comments/questions/feedback.

drumboney 06-28-2012 04:34 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
RRHarding I'd love to see what you got. The ghost notes on YEM are so sweet. I've been trying to get those down. I've also been doing a Phish tribute for a while now called Lawn Boys. If you get a minute and you're interested, check out our videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLawnBoysNYC. Many things that Fishman does I still cannot get down after much practicing (how to count TASTE, please let me know. It's polyrhythm for sure, but what? 4:47-5:23 of Ice studio recording, Reba 2:40-6:45 studio recording. These are killer ORIGINAL ideas that only a few musicians in history get the creativity to write!

Bad Tempered Clavier 01-15-2013 06:10 PM

Re: Jon Fishman
Phish just released videos of the band talking about their current (2012/3) touring set up. Fish's videos are:

Part One

Part Two

Part One is him in the practice room, Part Two is him talking about his rig. Unfortunately he doesn't go into the kind of detail that most people on this forum might have wanted, but it's still quite interesting.

gmiller598 02-06-2013 07:32 PM

Re: Jon Fishman

Originally Posted by TCWill76 (Post 872377)
WHAT CYMBALS ARE JON FISHMAN PLAYING NOW???? and why is it so hard to get online?

The one thing about Jon that makes him different is that he uses whatever he likes and holds no allegiance to any company. if you watch the gear videos posted, you can see some of what he uses. Its is a mix of Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, and Istanbul cymbals.

I "think" he uses an HHX Groove ride currently and I believe I also saw an 18" HHX Evolution crash there as well.

From a drumstick standpoint, I know he uses the Vic Firth Peter Erskine Ride stick. I own a signed one that I won in a Mimi Fishman Foundation charity auction. He signed both sticks in the pair so I gave the other on to my best friend who turned me on to Phish around 15 years ago.

gmiller598 02-07-2013 01:23 AM

Re: Jon Fishman

Originally Posted by stasz (Post 318249)
Another Fishman fan here. He was the first drummer I heard that impressed me in this way that I knew he was something different than other drummers.

Even though there are drummers with more complicated stuff, I like some of his syncopation-driven beats on songs like All Things Reconsidered, Rift, and Limb by Limb.

I wonder how he does the beat from The Wedge... I haven't seen him play it, but do any of you guys know if he uses an auxiliary hat or if he just does the hi-hat part with his left hand or however he plays that groove?

This video should show how he plays it live. There is a closeup at the beginning when he starts playing.


Ragedman 03-12-2013 04:11 AM

Re: Jon Fishman
I was first introduced to Phish in 2010. At first I hated every minute of it. I grew up listening to metal and rock, you know typical radio stuff (Sevendust, Godsmack, Chevelle, ect.) and some oddball stuff (Gwar, etc.). I grew on me and the genius of Jon Fishman shines through his playing. His ability to play the hi hat is insane. The guy is nearly a genius and his antics on stage just inflate his persona so that much more.

To hear Fishman at his best:

http://www.phishows.com/ -> 2011 -> Hollywood Bowl (8-8-11)

Claude Coleman from Ween is another drummer who most have never heard of.

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