Tails of the Weasel

Fee the Weasel

Fee the Weasel

Debuted in August of 1987, “Fee” is one of the oldest songs in Phish’s catalog. Played routinely since its inception, the murderous pop-saga of Fee, the Buddhist weasel, and Floyd, the chimpanzee, who vie for the affection a gospel singer, Millie Grace, fit right in with the zany vibe of early Phish. Hence, it led off the band’s first official album, Junta.  Since its beginning, “Fee” has been a fan favorite and one one of those more accessible songs – like Sample or Bouncin’ – that always drew fresh ears, ushering more than few fans into the Phish scene.

Throughout its 22 year history, the song has traditionally been played in the first set as a straight composition. But more than a couple times in their career, Phish tacked a musical tail on the end of the tale. The band seems to drop these “Fee” jams in shows that are quite memorable when the dust finally settles, with the seldom-used launchpad likening a confirmation from Phish that they feel adventurous. Often highlights as well as harbingers of bigger things ahead; below are some of these instances.

***

11.19.97 Assembly Hall, Champaign, IL I

Hampton - Fall '97 (Unk)

Hampton - Fall '97 (Unk)

During their inter-galactic excursions of Fall ’97, Phish extended any song at any time, but most often they dug into their trusty toolbox of funk to do so. When this “Fee” came out, the band had already played a sublime “Bathtub Gin > Llama” and a dynamic “Limb” -both without the ’97 funk -in what was shaping up to be a solid opening frame. The band whispered out of the end of  “Fee” with a delicate pattern on which Trey repeated the faster, pre-official-song era melody of “Meatstick” on guitar. All the while, the band painted an ethereal sonic backdrop. Finally adding faint “Meatstick” lyrics in the background, the band creatively built the jam into the intro to “Antelope,” closing out a smoking set. And the second set is history.

Fee > Meatstick > Antelope

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ph97-11-19d2t01.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ph97-11-19d2t02.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ph97-11-19d2t03.mp3]

***

7.5.98 Lucerna Theatre, Prague, CZ I

Prague Poster '98

Prague Poster '98

In the band’s first set in Prague during the summer of ’98, they dropped a incredibly engaging “Fee” that followed a rhythmic course rather than its more typical ambient path. Extending the song into a bass-led groove, Fish got on board, complementing Mike with a sparse and percussive beat. Trey soloed over the top of this canvas as Page added effects to round out the sound. Segueing into some quintessential wah-funk, Trey also remained anchored to his established melody.  Page hopped onto piano and into the spotlight, as the band hit a collective groove far from any semblance of “Fee.” This one is a gem and is oft overlooked since the second night in Prague annihilated the first.

Fee > Water In the Sky

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/1-05-Fee-_.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/1-06-Water-In-The-Sky.mp3]

***

7.8.99 Virginia Beach Amp, Va. Beach, VA I

1999-07-08moFollowing a show-opening “Julius,” Phish innocently began their old-school single. But when the time came for the ending to fade out, the band had a completely different idea. Latching onto Page’s piano patterns, they slid into a mellow outro that Trey entered with utmost care. Soon the band engaged in a gorgeous musical conversation that spawned gentle phrasing from all. But this piece wouldn’t stay in the mellow realms where it began. Instead Mike and Fish kicked up a groove and the band was off and running on a high-speed piece of transcendent improv – all while the sun still shone above.

Fee

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/1-02-Fee.mp3]

***

6.7.2009 “E Centre” Camden, NJ I

6.7.09 - Camden (D.Vann)

6.7.09 - Camden (D.Vann)

In this second-song “Fee,” Phish didn’t miss a beat as they moved from its ending into a locked jam that oozed enchantment.  Getting into a spiritually ambient place with lightning quickness, the band seemed to have something in them we hadn’t seen during this summer’s first shows. As it turned out, this dreamy excursion was an early signpost pointing down the road of one of June’s hottest shows.

Fee

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/090607_S1_02_Fee.mp3]

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Runaway Jim” 8.11.98 II

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ph98-08-11d2t3.mp3]

This multi-themed, exploratory “Jim” opened the second set of Star Lake ’98. It doesn’t get a lot of hype, though it sure has quite a bit to offer.

=====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.5.2000 Irvine Meadows, Irvine, CA < Torrent

10.5.2000 Irvine Meadows, Irvine, CA < Megaupload

2000-10-05moNine years ago today, this Irvine show represented the last before Shoreline’s two-night finale. This is also was one of two Phish shows to which I’ve been late, this time due to a friend being detained at the Tijuana border on the way back from a senseless mission. Though missing the first set, we saw the heavily-improvised second frame highlighted by “Drowned,” “Bowie,” and “Piper.” After this show we didn’t look back as we drove the last drive of the Phish tour as we knew it.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Guyute, Wolfman’s Brother > Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, Limb By Limb, Come On Baby, Let’s Go Downtown, Beauty of My Dreams, Axilla, Horn, Possum

II: Drowned > NICU > David Bowie, Halley’s Comet > Walk Away, Piper > Character Zero

E: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Source: Scheops CMC6/mk41>SX-M2>AD1000  (Taper – Dave Flaschner)

Tags: ,

159 Responses to “Tails of the Weasel”

  1. bearito Says:

    Really? It’s been years since I’ve listened to Junta.

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Bearito, the Sanity from 7-25-88 is the one on Junta. It does have a nipple reference. But unlike the others, Sanity doesn’t usually have that line in it.

  3. Ocelot42 Says:

    When first discovering Phish, I was mainly listening to They Might Be Giants. So, my bag was strange (but quality) music with stranger lyrics. Fee along with most of Junta’s first disc was a perfect gateway to Phish for me. (That and all of Rift.)

  4. bearito Says:

    Right on. I guess I’m due a re-listen.

  5. henrietta Says:

    Good trivia!!!

  6. SOAM Says:

    Mike G was born with a nipple on his nose and it had to be surgically removed-fyi

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    My friend has nipples tattoed on both ass cheeks so it looks like tits. Anywho, loved that Camden Fee, it was the moment for me listening when I thought maybe, just maybe my band can pull a Rocky IV and start whippin some Russian ass.
    Jeez Miner. Late to 2 shows? Wheres your dedication?
    And FWIW there are no pointless missions to Tijuana. Would love to hear the rest of the story.

  8. axillalot Says:

    And technically – fee doesn’t reference nipple slicing
    “Floyd fell back over the edge of the ship
    Till he hung from the rail by his fingertip
    Milly said, “Floyd I’ll make you lose your grip
    With this tiny piece of paper I can make you slip”

    So Milly took that paper and did the deed”

    the 3 songs that are actual reference to nipple slicing are pyite, sloth and oh kee pa (it’s an african rite of passage into manhood)

  9. henrietta Says:

    “Oh, Fee, you’re trying to live a life
    That’s completely free
    Floyd is dead; he’s nothing but a ripple
    Cause Milly took that paper
    And sliced him on the nipple”

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    Sorry bro. “Milly took that paper and sliced him on the nipple.”

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    Nice job Tubbs.

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    sorry, axillalot:

    Oh, Fee, you’re trying to live a life
    That’s completely free
    Floyd is dead; he’s nothing but a ripple
    Cause Milly took that paper
    And sliced him on the nipple

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    too slow!! damn blockquoting…

  14. axillalot Says:

    yeah it’s monday what can you do

  15. BingosBrother Says:

    You and your fancy blockquoting Type III. Bwahaahaahaa. Tubbs beat me to it also.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yeah, that’s what I get for trying to be all fancy-like…

  17. axillalot Says:

    i was never here – these are not the droids you are looking for . . .

  18. HarryHood Says:

    Give me some fall tourdates already!!!!!!!

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    I’m going to give 7/5/98 Fee a listen with an open mind, but my memory of the actual show is that it was super-weak.

    ^^ it was. The Fee is great.

  20. Stupendous Says:

    Good Morning to all!
    Fee always puts a smile on my face.
    Thanks Miner!

  21. henrietta Says:

    I’m hearing Fall Tour Dates announment Oct. 16th.

  22. whole tour! Says:

    fee most certainly mentions nip slicing: took that piece of paper sliced him on the nipple. fee, sloth, pyite

  23. Neemor Says:

    Yome, reading your blog is a real treat!
    It must be tough to be a Euro Phish fan as they don’t get to your side of the pond often, but it must make it that much more special to see them.
    I think there were Euro Tour rumors for this Fall?
    I hope for your sake it’s sooner than later.
    Keep holding it down in France!
    From Yome’s blog (apparently after receiving a studio album with a bonus DVD?):non, pas le “fournisseur” d’e-mails qui ne marchent pas.

    Mais YAHOOOOOO !!! Je viens de recevoir le dernier album de Phish !! Avec un DVD bonus sur l’enregistrement de l’album !!!!

    Donc, bref, je reste pas plus longtemps devant le pc….

    Ne marchent pas, indeed.
    Ne marchent pas, indeed my friend!
    Morning all.

  24. henrietta Says:

    Europe Spring Tour rumors have been floting…..

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    this isn’t meant as a burn or anything but when I was first listening to phish in around ’89, all the dudes liked YEM and Divided Sky and all the girls liked Fee and Esther

    so I heard it way more than I really wanted to, if you know what I mean, with ulterior motives…worked tho…got my gf at the time to go to cats cradle where she got faced…I remember the aftershow festivities more than the show itself

    so I burned out on the song itself a long time ago but these bonus jams sound cool, I will check out the ones I don’t already know

Leave a Reply