Phish Fan Who Won On Price Is Right Writes About Experience

Yesterday we posted about a Phish fan named John who not only won big on The Price Is Right, but also gave a shoutout to Phish fans and had host Drew Carey shoutout the fanbase as well. We did a little digging and found the fan, John Kozak, and asked him to detail his experience for our readers. Thankfully he was up for the task. Take it away John...

Best Show Ever! The response from this community over my Price Is Right experience has been amazing. The best part has been sharing it with the community that has been such a big part of my life.

Here’s the backstory leading up to the show:

It had been an epic summer tour, the band was (and is) on fire and I jumped on tour in Chicago. I continued to The Gorge, Tahoe, Hollywood and then Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado. I planned my tour around a family reunion in Big Bear, and part of my planning included getting Price Is Right and Conan tickets for the day of the Hollywood Bowl show. It had been a special run for me and a lot of fans, including getting to see my first "Harpua" in Chicago, the majesty of The Gorge, the Tahoe "Tweezer" (at my 100th show, no less) getting to see old friends, making new ones and all the happenstance and synchronicities being on tour provides.

After dropping off my Dad and Aunt very early at the airport my brother and (now) Wife went down to CBS studios and got in line, where at 6 a.m. we were numbers 11, 12 and 13. We found free parking, found ourselves large coffees and waited until the gates opened. We went through the process of getting our name tags and taking a pre-show photo and waited for the interview. As we were waiting in line, we got the other audience members to start the wave and kept our spirits high.

Seven hours later we were interviewed by the Head Producer. He would say hello, comment on what you’re wearing and ask what you do and move on. He made a comment on my Back To The Future hat and asked what I did. I said, “I’m a creative problem solver.” This turned a few heads on the production team. He asked me to elaborate and I explained that "I’m a musician, I work in production for events, branding and event planning and I own a business - a sound therapy chair with a new sound technology that could be used for deaf people to experience live concerts." My brother said he’s a beard and mustache enthusiast as he’s done competitions and my wife told him she’s an orchestra teacher by day and ferocious fiddler by night. He reacted well to our responses and moved on, we thought we had a pretty good chance of one of us being called down.

Phish fans and music fans in general, know the excitement of going into a show - the awareness, heightened senses and most importantly the energy that’s created between the band and the audience. It’s that energy that I brought to The Price is Right. The “Best Show Ever” t-shirt design I made the previous MSG New Year's Run when I hung out with the School of Phish crew and had the shirts made for Summer Tour. The idea being that every Phish show is the Best Show Ever because it’s the one that’s happening. The Back To The Future hat I had worn at shows all summer had been lost after the second night of The Gorge and my amazing wife ordered one and had it sent to my hotel in time for Tahoe. I was lucky to meet The Original Meters after their Meter Men show in Tahoe and (drummer) Zigaboo (Modeliste) wore it for pictures and talked with me about music, a very special night, and for me, a special hat.

Head to Page Two for the rest of John's story

We went into the audience and the energy in the room was through the roof. It’s a surreal experience. Several of the crew were wearing Phish shirts including the hype guy who got the audience excited, who was wearing a "Mike’s Song" shirt. The announcer and Drew (Carey) came out to huge applause and the show began. As they were setting up the sets in between contestants Drew came out to the audience and pretended to do a Vegas lounge act, including pretending to smoke a cigarette while he asked people where they’re from and joking with the announcer. It was great.

After the first three contestants spun the wheel, my name was called to come on down. I won the last chance to be a contestant with my bid of $1, and rushed up to the stage, it was like being brought on stage at a Phish show to do the "Meatstick" dance, incredible. As they introduced my name Drew said, “This is really easy, you’ve got a great chance to win.” He was right! I had a 50/50 chance of winning my game. I was definitely caught up in the moment and turned to the audience. Everyone in the audience was shouting the same thing at once “5549!” so I blew on my hands and moved the block…and won!

This whole time I was trying really just to open myself up to be creative, funny, entertaining and follow the signs as to what to do. I had done some research on prices, but let myself get swept away with excitement and enthusiasm and did what felt right in the moment.

Next was the Wheel spin. The woman in front of me spun $.85, so I thought "well, this has been fun, I won my game and have a great story, good for her." I had nothing to lose, so I put everything into my spin. I wanted to thank my Grandma who I grew up watching the show with, and my wife and brother. I wanted to thank Phish fans because they make it possible for Phish to do what they do and have been a huge inspiration to me for over 16 years of Phish concerts. This fan base is filled with highly creative people who create and make stuff such as posters, pins, stickers, live streams, phan art and more. They inspired me to be someone who makes and does stuff and be creative as well. As I turned back to the Wheel, it started to slowly stop on $1 and I was amazed. It’s like catching lightning in a bottle, what are the odds it would be me? I’m always one to appreciate the moment, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and thanks, I think it shows in the clip.

Next up was the final Showcase. A producer told us to be careful not to overbid and we got ready for the main event. As the big winner I got to choose which one to bid on. I chose the first showcase because it spoke to me. They referenced “The Long and Winding Road” as they introduced the scooters and the chance to travel and play music with my wife as our duo group, plus a train ride through Canada like Festival Express?!?! This was the showcase for me, it didn’t matter what was in the other one.

I knew from my research that prices on the show were about 30% higher than average, so I figured about $10,000 for the two scooters and $12,000 for the trips together. My wife’s birthday is 2/22 and Phish always taught me to tie in meaning and references whenever possible, so I made my final bid $22,222…and won!

Having my brother and wife rush on stage to celebrate was the icing on the cake. We jumped on the scooters and were warned by a stage manager the bikes weren’t totally secured on the platform so don’t fall, you can see my reaction in the clip. I called my Grandma right after whose tears of joy were very moving. Total winnings on the Price is Right? $30, 658.34. Making Grandma happy? Priceless.

We went back to our hotel room to celebrate and get ready for Phish at the Hollywood Bowl. They later played a Beatles tune that night, tying the whole day together for me. Thanks guys! I felt like I had this big secret and experience that made me so happy and excited. When we got to the show it seemed like everyone was feeling the same way I did. We all had a secret and shared experience that made us feel like we just won The Price is Right — seeing Phish! Best Show Ever!

Here’s links to check out if interested, I’ll be on tour with The BodySound Chair at music festivals and playing music all over the Midwest as part of The Twin Cities (with my wife), The Regulars (funk rock) and The Minnesota Bluegrass Band.

Thanks to John for sharing his memorable experience with us.


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