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.
Last edited by Skinsman38; 04-08-2012 at 10:47 AM.
Reason: wanted to