Minerese: Vol. I

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

With tour just around the corner, I’ll be writing reviews of Phish shows again before too long, and for that I am grateful. While considering my reviews, I thought a good way to change things up and prepare for tour would be to look more closely at some of my more commonly-used phrases when describing Phish music. In an attempt to make my writing clearer for those reading along this summer, I’ve created some audio excerpts to serve as aural definitions of some terms. Today we’ll start with five basic terms, and I’ll put together a couple more installments of “Minerese” before tour starts.


“Percussive Grooves”

Often growing out of high-speed rock jams, these are the sparser segments where all band members offer rhythmic phrases in unison with each other. When traced back to its origin, this type of jamming grew out of Halloween ’96’s adventure, Remain In Light.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/percussive1.mp3] [audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/percussive2.mp3]


“Ambient Soundscapes”

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

Built from layers of sound, these passages can take different forms. While often drifting into spacey realms, “ambient soundscapes” can also remain anchored to harmonies and/or melodies. I’ve tried to select differing examples to illustrate this difference.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/ambientsoundscape1.mp3] [audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/ambient2.mp3]


“Blissful Psychedelia”

Emerging deep within a jam, these are the sacred places that Phish reaches after the initial segment of improv has settled. Pieces of unique music that reach deep into the soul, segments described as “blissful psychedelia” evoke the emotions and majesty associated with the magic of Phish.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/blissfulpsych1.mp3] [audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/blissfulpsych2.mp3]


“Amoeba Jamming”

An Amoeba

This is a term I coined years ago when trying to describe those musical passages where nobody is truly leading the jam. Each member pushes and pulls the music ever so slightly, creating an “amoeba-like” dynamic of non-linear improv. These jams can also take differing directions, so I, again, tried to choose different examples.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/amoeba1.mp3] [audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/amoeba2.mp3]


“Swank Rhythm Licks”

When Trey is feeling his funk-mojo, he’s one of the best rhythm players around. Taking time away from soaring solos, Big Red slices and dices dance grooves like the Iron Chef does meats and vegetables. Check out these vibrant late ’90s examples of Trey getting down with his bad self.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/swank1.mp3] [audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/swank2.mp3]


(If anyone wants to attempt to identify all the audio samples, the winner can select the Download of the Day and write the blurb for the next three days. Some ’09 is featured.)


Jam of the Day:

Piper” 10.2.99 II

After “Tweezer > On Your Way Down,” Phish was hardly done jamming at Minneapolis’  Target Center in ’99. In a year that saw many an amazing “Piper,” this version is among the upper echelon.




7.1.94 Mann Music Center, Philadelphia, PA < Torrent

7.1.94 Mann Music Center, Philadelphia, PA < Megaupload

Mann Music Center - Philly, PA

A Summer ’94 stop at one of Phish’s classic venues of the mid-90s, amidst Fairmont Park in Philly.

I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Sample in a Jar, NICU, Stash, The Mango Song, It’s Ice,  Tela, Julius, Suzy Greenberg

II: David Bowie, If I Could, Fluffhead, Down with Disease > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday Reprise, Possum, Hold Your Head Up > Terrapin > Hold Your Head Up, Harry Hood, Cavern

E: Rocky Top

Source: AKG 451


550 Responses to “Minerese: Vol. I”

  1. BingosBrother Says:

    Let me get the Bobby shorts on that Newport.

  2. fee4zy Says:

    I love Bobby short shorts with the popped up polo shirt. Add the Miami Vice ponytail and I’m sold. The best part of Crimson White and Indigo was seeing Bobby, Jerry, and Mickey all sporting the ponytail. Too funny.

    You got to love all of the Dead, just like you got to love all of Phish. The good and bad all come together to make one experience. I used to be pissed that the only shows I caught of the Dead in the early ’90s were bad Jerry shows. Now I realize that I should be extremely grateful that I was able to see any Jerry at all.

  3. The Ghost Says:

    Don’t you mean Bobby Jorts?

  4. fee4zy Says:

    I also love it when Shakedown comes on in my car and my daughter tells me to turn it up. Both my girls love that song.

  5. voopa Says:

    Did you all see that Donald Freaking Fagen sang Shakedown with Levon Helm’s band the other night?


  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I am soo psyched .

    I just found a roach from the party I had this past sturday that I didn’t eat.

    LLFA @ Flarr for your already taken nickname.

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    “Shakedown didn’t hit it’s stride until Brent Joined the band”

    Absolutely right.

    Exceptions: 11/20/78 is interesting and cool in a weird set, and 11/24/78 is sick. Great great jam out into drums on that one. Easy show to find and well worth hearing.

    “12/26/79 really comes to mind!”

    Indeed. 10/31/79 is another, complete with crazy-good Brent soloing.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    voopa just blew my fucking mind.

  9. Mitch Says:

    I just ate peppadews with gratefulcub. I fucking love the community we built around miners site. Anyone considering deer creek. Do it! If for nothing else than the peppadews. Awesome.

    I continue to be blown away that I enjoy the company of heads from our site more than people I know from wherever in my city. Appreciate the genuine people we found on here.

  10. Luther Justice Says:

    I’m not happy with the fool playing me in the new A-team movie.

  11. jkzen Says:


    I would love to see a Dark and Scary or a Red/Black Chaos in Minerese Vol 2.

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    Checking in real quick before bed.

    Mitch’s post got me pumped for Deer Creek…Im already feelin’ it for Toyota Park>BTB Fest>Blossom.

    Tomorrow’s my first trip to prison and Im meeting my first client. I am excited to get started and anxious (in a good way, I think) to perform well for him.

    I think this is something I could make my career. I really feel Im doing something worthwhile.

  13. HarryHood Says:

    “I just found a roach from the party I had this past sturday that I didn’t eat”

    ^ PB, you never cease to amaze me dude. llfa

  14. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Good luck tomorrow Silly. I’m sure you’ll do great.

  15. HarryHood Says:

    @ Mitch

    A very close friend passed away at the 7/25/99 Deer Creek show and I’ve always made it a personal goal to make it there for a show at some point. I was hoping for this summer, but due to the kiddo’s due date being so close, I’m not going to be able to make it. It’s on my TO DO list though and I will make it there at some point to pay my respects.

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    Thanks, Mr. Palmer.

    I think I better head to bed.

    just want to say again: Its going to be awesome meeting so many of you. By the end of August, this place will be comparable to our own little network site. We’ll know many of the people behind the handles, and you can only imagine the quality of conversations when we’ll be sharing tour stories and laughs.

    Have a good night!

  17. halcyon Says:

    Finally listening to Minerese, and was wondering did the final dates for these snippets get figured out.

    As much as I listen to the boys, my brain doesn’t remember the finer details as it once had.

  18. voopa Says:


    I was hanging with an old friend the other night who eventually got his law degree, and said that his prison visits really changed his perspective…so beware or something I guess…

  19. halcyon Says:

    Good Luck Silly! You have enthusiasm that will carry you places

  20. (Formally Known As) BrandonKayda Says:

    Hey BB!

    Two weeks until Summer Tour, very excited for the upcoming June. Phish will deliver

  21. BTB Says:

    My heart skipped a beat when he wrote “I’m going to prison tomorrow” -whew.

    Just hope they take it easy on you Silly, I heard those conjucal visits can be kind of rough!


  22. halcyon Says:

    Willowed if you are out here tonight this is for you….and for the other BB Hall and Oates fans


  23. Mitch Says:

    rough like good?? Alright it’s late… I’ll leave with that

  24. Jtran Says:

    Anyone around?

  25. Graham Says:

    yo Miner, I can’t believe you don’t put up the show dates for your “minerisms!” does anybody know what show the second one on “blissful psychadelia” is? The chord progression they end up settling on is awesome shit. Trey leaves a lot of space for Mike, who absolutely destroys it (especially starting at like 4:45). I absolutely must get this show. Sounds like it’s a ’98 or ’99 show… the way Trey is looping is a dead giveaway.

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