This isn’t a post I wanted to write, and not just because it’s about Phish. As a fan of The Dead and other assorted jam acts, I don’t have an aversion to the band like some do. Phish’s output as a recording entity is fine, just fine: inoffensive, technically accomplished, whitebread like nobody’s business. And I can see the appeal of their live shows and the community that’s grown up around them. But listen, they’re … they’re just not for me. And like little else in life, I can state this fact with integrity knowing I’ve put in the time thanks to Scott Aukerman and Harris Wittels’ hilarious and now-departed “Analyze Phish” podcast. Wittels, as you may be aware, passed away two weeks ago at just 30 years old, leaving behind not only his popular podcast and a respected career as a writer and comedian, but perhaps the thing he loved most of all — Phish itself. Wittels aficionados know he was a devoted “phan” who followed the band on tour when he could. He also made no secret — on the podcast, in interviews — of his heavy recreational drug use, how it went hand-in-hand with the concert experience, how it inevitably crept into his daily life. The problem is clear now, of course, in the light of day. All the anecdotes that used to amuse listeners have betrayed darker meaning in the wake of his passing. But life marches on — Harris’ memory, and his work, and the music he loved are still with us. Here’s to you, Harris … I didn’t know you personally, but you mattered just the same. Thanks for sharing your time with us.
Did you want me to write about the song too? Well listen, it’s a fine song, just fine … a kind of weird, knowing (I think) mash-up of “No Woman No Cry” and “Let It Be.” About as safe as 21st century songwriting gets, I suppose — and in a world like ours, there’s nothing wrong with that.