Today, in accordance with the name of Phish‘s upcoming 11th multi-day festival, Curveball, the Vermont quartet has made a surprising announcement about the event, set to take place August 17th-19th at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY. According to a press release, the band will forgo their customary Saturday daytime set in favor of a very special new spectacle from Phish vacuumist Jon Fishman. As Fishman explains in the release:
Obviously, Phish has some great songs. But I don’t think there’s any debate about which one is the best Phish song. It’s “Ass-Handed”. Like, by a mile. No, by two miles. Anyway, I got the idea during one of the festival planning meetings, when we were discussing the festival name and stuff (I still think we should’ve gone with Cockn’Ball, but management said they couldn’t market “profanity,” whatever that means). Trey [Anastasio] mentioned something about that Broadway show he wrote the music for, and I remember thinking how it really didn’t look all that hard when he did it, so it just dawned on me–of course, Ass-Handed: The Musical!
According to the announcement, Fishman went home that night and fleshed out the specifics of the production, returning to band practice the next day with a fully-realized stage musical starring himself as “Man,” a man who continuously gets his ass handed to him by an all-powerful, all-knowing entity known as “Life.”
An inside source notes that Fishman reached out to senior Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders about playing the role of “Life” in Ass Handed: The Musical. Bernie responded by promptly blocking Fishman’s phone number. The entire show will be accompanied by the acclaimed New York Philharmonic, who reportedly “can’t believe they got roped into this.”
However, the press release promises that despite its high-concept premise, Ass Handed: The Musical won’t get too serious and, in reality, will basically just be 70-85% fart jokes. Notes Fishman, “You thought the stuff we were doing with Touchpants was graphic? Yea, Touchpants was fuckin’ Teletubbies compared to this beautiful monstrosity. And I don’t say that lightly.”
Adds Anastasio, “Yea…uh…Fish really ran with this one. It’s gonna be…well, it’s gonna be…something. Think [Pink Floyd‘s] The Wall, but more elaborate…and with more 14-story ass-shaped stage sets that spit fire.”
Asked his thoughts about the Curveball debut of Ass Handed: The Musical, keyboardist Page McConnell responded, “You know when you’re mostly just kind of joking around about doing something and it’s funny, and then someone gets really serious about it and actually follows through and you have to kinda pretend to be behind it because you were when it was just a joke but it’s not so funny anymore? … Wait, what was the question?”
When asked if he was excited about Ass Handed: The Musical, bassist Mike Gordon said, “No.”
Phish – “Ass Handed” – 12/31/16
[Video: kembra allen]
For more information on the world premiere of Ass Handed: The Musical at Phish’s upcoming Curveball, head here.