Last Sunday night, Phish delivered a truly memorable performance at the historic Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, WI. With a first set comprised of 100% tour debuts, including several songs that hadn’t been played in 50+ shows, one particular song selection stood out in our minds: “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird”.

The version was noteworthy for its narration from guitarist Trey Anastasio, who spoke about roaming the remarkable venue grounds until he had an unfortunate incident with a local bird.

“It was there that I was standing when suddenly I felt a drop of rain dripping off the top of my head, and I looked up and I saw no clouds, and I realized that it was bird shit. And then I thought, maybe tonight’s the night to do ‘Famous Mockingbird’. It’s a sign from the heavens! And I’d like to thank that bird.” (The narration begins around the 7:00 mark).

Lo and behold, the L4LM Ornithological Team was able to analyze the, uhh… sample, and determine not only which species of bird it was, but the actual individual bird that shat on Anastasio! Naturally, we had to give him the ol’ Q&A after contributing to such a pivotal Phish moment.

L4LM: Thanks for taking the time to chat with Live for Live Music, we know you have a busy schedule. Do you have a name, or should we just call you the bird?

Bird: I do, but it’s spoken in a complicated bird dialect that’s very difficult to master. By the time I could teach you how to pronounce my name, I would definitely miss catching the worm.

L4LM: Ahh, of course. You must be the early bird! Was your rendezvous with Trey Anastasio early in the morning?

Bird: It’s hard to say when it was, really. I got into some grilled cheese from a Shakedown trash bag late last night, and that shit was way too heady. Didn’t sit well in the ol’ gizzard.

L4LM: So Trey wasn’t your only target?

Bird: No, I must have circled the local campsites like three… maybe four times. You have no idea how many hippies I marked on my morning commute.

L4LM: But do you remember your encounter with Trey?

Bird: That goofy looking guy with the red hair? Oh yeah, he was definitely asking for it. Standing there on a hill, all by himself… I mean, I’m a good shot, not to brag or anything, but it was a can’t miss. And I hit him, right square in the middle of the head.

L4LM: Did you realize who he was at the time?

Bird: Not until afterwards, no. I just really had to go, because of the grilled cheese and all, and his head was a prime target. Once my friend told me who he was, I was shocked. I said to myself, ‘I just shat on Trey Anastasio from Phish. That is legendary.’ I told just about everybody I know, even the wombats and ocelots.

L4LM: How did you feel when Trey spoke about you to thousands of people?

Bird: I was proud, mostly. I’m known around these parts as an excellent sharpshooter, when it comes down to business. For him to tell everyone about my work, well, it felt good. I should shit on Gordo and see what he has to say about it in Philly.

L4LM: Did you know the infamous poop would inspire Trey to play “Forbins > Mockingbird”?

Bird: Yeah, I knew shitting on Trey would inspire him. He was in such a thoughtful mood, he would have taken just about anything as a sign. And that band has so many songs about nature… you should all be thankful that a possum didn’t shit on him in that moment, or things would’ve played out much differently.

L4LM: He even went so far as to call it ‘a sign from the heavens’.

Bird: It’s not like I brought him an olive branch! C’mon guys.

L4LM: So are you going to catch any other Phish shows this tour?

Bird: Nah, just the two nights in Alpine. I fly South in the winter, so hopefully they’ll play down there. It’s okay though, I get to shit on a lot of great concerts at the venue though. I’m going to shit on Jimmy Buffett in a couple of weeks!

L4LM: Well that’s something we can all be excited about. Thanks so much for your time, and good luck with everything!

Bird: Squaaaawkkk!