Hooking Up With Fishman
With Phish out on the road, we revisit this irreverent interview with drummer Jon Fishman from October 2002
A man who tongues a vacuum in a dress and is actually applauded for it must have a few interesting things to say about his life. Jon Fishman, the backbeat for Phish and Pork Tornado, has been keeping himself busy: a relatively new father, he’s been touring in support of Tornado’s debut album, put together a compilation of his favorite Frank Zappa tracks and has begun getting ready to start the next chapter of Phish history.
If you could play with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
Zappa. If I could, I wouldn’t pass the audition, but I would want to play with him. God, there’s probably like a ton of those, I’m just drawing a blank. Well, I wouldn’t have minded doing a gig or two with Sun Ra even though I couldn’t have been in his band for very long, but I would have enjoyed playing with him. I don’t know, I kind of like the people who I’ve been playing with. I don’t have any complaints.
What album do you have that you hope no one ever finds out that you own?
Um… Well, if I told you, they would know, wouldn’t they? [laughter] If I have an album to hide, why would I tell a magazine? My god.
How about a guilty pleasure then?
I have no guilty pleasures because I don’t feel guilty about any of my pleasures. I really, truly don’t. Not that I’m not a guilty person… [laughter], that I haven’t done things to be guilty for, but I’ve just decided that… nah… I don’t have any guilty pleasures, I don’t think so. But again, if I felt guilty about them I probably wouldn’t tell a magazine. [laughter] Not to be disagreeable or a hard interview [more laughter]
Will you be debuting a new dress for the return of Phish?
Nope. Well, yeah… well, maybe. I haven’t made up my mind about that. I really haven’t. I’m actually not trying to be evasive, I just haven’t decided. Actually, I am being evasive, I know exactly what I’m going to do, but again I can’t tell you. [laughter]. The answer is yes and no.
What have you learned most from fatherhood?
Oh, well that’s a good question. The answer to that could go on for a small millennium. What I’ve learned most from fatherhood is that everything my parents said was true, in lots of ways, it really is what it’s all about. I really do think that. I didn’t think that before and I now do think that.
One of the things I’ve learned from fatherhood is that, until this time in my life, I had spoken of the concept of unconditional love, but really never knew what it meant at all until now. It truly is the most unconditional thing ever. She [his baby Ella] could fucking hang me by my balls and pull out my toenails and I’d still love her. Which I couldn’t say for a girlfriend or anything like that. I mean if that were my wife, I’d have to divorce her as soon as possible. But, I’ve learned that the concept of loving unconditional is much more.
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