Jon Fishman

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Jon Fishman
Fishman 120309 MSG.JPG
Jon Fishman performs with Phish at Madison Square Garden on December 3, 2009.
Background information
Also known asFish, Princess Henrietta, Russell Crowe, Bob Weaver, Morton Charlton Heston, Tubbs, Sarah, Moses Brown, Showboat Gertrude, Tommy Dorsey, Greasy Fizeek, the Wolfman's brother, The Noble Steed, Friar Tuck, Little Beast boy, Moses, Don Hellmann, The Man Mulcahey[1], Jon Sullen Melancholy[2], Henrietta Maximus[3]
Born (1965-02-19) February 19, 1965 (age 54)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresPop, rock jam band, neo-psychedelia
Occupation(s)Musician, selectmen
InstrumentsDrums, guitar, trombone, vacuum, Marimba Lumina[4]
Years active1983–present
Associated actsPhish, Pork Tornado, Surrender to the Air, Jazz Mandolin Project, Everyone Orchestra, J. Willis Pratt and We're Bionic, Bad Hat, Yonder Mountain String Band, Touchpants, Ghosts of the Forest, The Mallett Brothers Band

Jon Fishman (born February 19, 1965) is an American drummer known for his work with the band Phish, which he co-founded in 1983, and in part, was named after him. He is credited with co-writing nineteen Phish songs, eight with a solo credit.[5]

Early life[edit]

Fishman was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Syracuse, New York.[6] Fishman had a passion for the drums from an early age and emulated John Bonham, the drummer for Led Zeppelin, Bill Bruford of Yes, and Keith Moon of The Who. He went to Jamesville-Dewitt High School in a suburb of Syracuse. After graduation in 1983, he attended the University of Vermont to study engineering. Shortly after his arrival, he met Mike Gordon and Trey Anastasio and founded the band Phish. Deciding against engineering, he and Anastasio transferred to Goddard College.[7]

Musical Career[edit]


The band Phish was named after him (he is commonly referred to as "Fish" among many other nicknames) though other explanations for the name have been given.[8] In addition to drumming, he also sings back-up vocals and occasionally lead-vocals (usually on cover songs, most of them humorous – the best examples are Prince's "Purple Rain", Neil Diamond's "Cracklin' Rosie", Will Smith's song "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It", and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd's "Bike"). Worthy of note are his more serious vocal efforts, including lead vocals on Phish's cover of the Talking Heads song "Crosseyed and Painless," and his vocal duties on the Phish originals, "The Moma Dance," "Taste," and "Ghost." He is well known on tour for his Electrolux vacuum cleaner solos and playing while wearing a donut-printed muumuu dress.

Playing his Electrolux vacuum with Phish at American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL 12-28-2009 Photo: Dan Shinneman


Jon uses a variety of drums and cymbals on his kit; brands such as Noble & Cooley, Gretsch, Ludwig, Yamaha, Ayotte, Eames, Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, and Wuhan. He also uses Remo drum heads, Vic Firth drum sticks, and LP percussion accessories. His setup consists of:

  • 22x14 Gretsch round badge bass drum (1958–63) re-wrapped by Precision Drum Company.
  • 6x6 Noble & Cooley tom (in Black Finish)
  • 8x7 Noble & Cooley tom
  • 10x7 Noble & Cooley tom
  • 12x8 Noble & Cooley tom
  • 14x12 Noble & Cooley Floor Tom
  • 16x14 Noble & Cooley Floor Tom
  • 14x6.5 Ayotte 18-Ply Maple Snare (or 14x6.5 Precision 21-Ply Maple Snare w/ custom 3D phish logo).

Cymbals include:

  • 14" hi-hats (Zildjian A New Beat top, Paiste Formula 602 bottom)
  • 13" Paiste Mega Cup Chime
  • 15" Istanbul Agop Medium Thin Crash
  • 18" Sabian HHX Evolution Crash
  • 6" Rancan Ice Bell
  • 8" Zildjian A Custom Splash
  • 16" Sabian HHX Evolution Crash
  • 21" Sabian AA Dry Ride
  • 20" Zildjian A Custom Flat Ride w/ rivets
  • 18" Wuhan China
  • 22" Zildjian Pang

He uses an LP Black Beauty cowbell, an LP Rock Ridge Rider cowbell, and a set of 4 LP temple blocks.

He uses Vic Firth drum sticks. His preferred "perfect pair" is the Peter Erskine Ride Stick and the American Classic 55A. He uses TG12 Sticks for practice, Vic Firth and Regal Tip Brushes, and Vic Firth T1 Mallets.

He uses Remo drum heads. His preferred setup:

  • Snare: Coated Ambassador; Bottom: Clear Diplomat
  • Toms: Clear Emperors; Bottoms: Clear Emperors
  • Kick: Coated Powerstroke 3; Bottoms: Ebony Ambassador

Fish's Vacuum-A baby blue Electrolux vacuum cleaner (a.k.a. the vac or 'lux) has been in the repertoire (played as an instrument by Fishman) since circa 1989. An earlier, 1967 model was donated to the Hard Rock Cafe 1/29/93. The currently in-use model is from circa 1965.

On rare occasions, Fish will play the theremin.[9]

Other musical projects[edit]

Fishman is a current member and regular touring drummer of the Burlington, VT comedy troupe Touchpants with Colby Dix, Chris Friday and Aram Bedrosian. Their foul mouthed comedy shows often occur directly after Phish performances and show a very amusing side of Fishman's personality.[citation needed] He also plays drums in the rock band Pork Tornado, and performed with the Jazz Mandolin Project for several years. He has been a member of two large musical collectives, The Everyone Orchestra and The Village. In 2007, he emerged from semi-retirement to perform a series of shows with the Yonder Mountain String Band, including a large portion of their set at the Rothbury Music Festival which happened the summer of 2008. The Mimi Fishman Foundation is a nonprofit organization started by Jon to raise money for various charities, especially for charities that benefit the visually impaired. The charity was named for Jon's mother, Mimi, who was diagnosed with glaucoma. Fishman was also announced as a member of fellow Phish member Trey Anastasio's new side-project Ghosts of the Forest.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Fishman, his wife Briar and their five children live in Lincolnville, Maine.[11] The family appeared on an episode of the DIY Network home restoration series Maine Cabin Masters in March 2018.[12]


He has hosted a radio show on WBFY-LP, a community radio station in Belfast, Maine, since 2017.[13] The show was originally called the Johnny B. Fishman Radio Show, but has since changed its name to The Errant Path.[14][15] Fishman hosts the show weekly on Thursday evenings when Phish is not on tour.[16]


Fishman was inspired by former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic to take action in his local elections. In 2017, he was voted a selectman of Lincolnville, Maine.[17]


  1. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2011-10-15.
  2. ^ "BLOSSOM MUSIC CENTER CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH". Retrieved 2019-06-20.
  3. ^ "Phish, I Didn't Know, 4/5/91".
  4. ^ "Phish "Scent Of A Mule" at Merriweather with Fishman on Marimba Lumina". Relix. 13 July 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Book". 2011-09-10. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
  6. ^ "Jon Fishman". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  7. ^ "Phish's New Harmony: How America's Greatest Jam Band Learned to Get Along". Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  8. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2011-10-15.
  9. ^ Jarnow, Jesse; Jarnow, Jesse (2017-08-07). "Phish's 'Baker's Dozen' Residency: Breaking Down All 13 Blissful Nights". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  10. ^ "Ghosts of the Forest". Trey Anastasio. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  11. ^ Curtis, Abigail. "Toddler's lead poison scare turns Phish family into accidental activists". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  12. ^ "'Maine Cabin Masters' Fix Up Jon Fishman's Cabin In Upcoming Episode". JamBase. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Jon Fishman Launches New Radio Show on WBFY - Jambands". Jambands. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Archive – The Errant Path | Belfast Community Radio".
  16. ^ "Belfast Community Radio Offers 24/7 Programming". Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  17. ^ McCrea, Nick (June 14, 2017). "Phish drummer, filmmaker elected as Lincolnville selectmen". Bangor Daily News. Bangor, Maine. Retrieved June 14, 2017.