‘Cluster Flies’: Neal Francis Covers ‘Dogs Stole Things’

By Team JamBase Apr 21, 2021 10:00 am PDT

JamBase presents Cluster Flies, a covers compilation reimagining Phish’s album Farmhouse, complete with bonus songs and revamped tracklist. The limited-edition 3LP release was mastered by engineer Joe Lambert and includes custom artwork and a poster created by longtime Phish collaborator Jim Pollock. A pre-order is underway now through May 3 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. Visit www.clusterflies.com for purchasing information as well as full album credits and tracklist details.

Each of the songs on Cluster Flies will be featured via daily episodes of The JamBase Podcast with interviews with the musician that recorded the cover. Today’s episode features Neal Francis’ cover of “Dogs Stole Things.” Explore additional Cluster Flies podcast episodes here.

Phish’s song, “Dog Stole Things,” has yet to be released on an official studio album. The song written by guitarist Trey Anastasio and lyricist Tom Marshall has been played live less than 40 times, yet appears on several official live releases.

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While not an official studio album, the 2000 collection of Anastasio/Marshall demos Trampled By Lambs & Peck By The Dove ends with “Dog Stole Things.” Left off both 1998’s The Story Of The Ghost and 2000’s Farmhouse, “Dogs Stole Things” originated in early 1997 during a prolific period when Trey and Tom wrote several new songs including fellow Cluster Flies tracks “Piper,” “Dirt,” “Twist” and “Vultures.”

The bulk of the songs that came from those sessions made their public debuts on Phish’s Summer 1997 European Tour that took place in June and July. Many of those same songs made their semi-public debuts at a pre-tour warmup concert held at Phish’s at-the-time tour manager Brad Sands and drum tech Pete Carini’s house in Charlotte, Vermont. The June 6, 1997 rehearsal called “Bradstock.” or alternatively the “Fourth Ball,” featured Phish playing two sets, though the second set repeated many of the songs that were played for the first time in the first set, “Dogs Stole Things” among them.

“Dogs Stole Things” was the first new song Phish introduced when they opened the aforementioned European tour in Dublin, Ireland on June 13, 1997. After its debut, “Dogs Stole Things” was played by Phish at their next three shows, and a total of 10 times by the end of the European Tour.

By year’s end, “Dog Stole Things” racked up 20 live performances, more than half of its appearances to date. Considered a rarity now, Phish has played “DTS” only five times since 2009, most recently on July 10, 2019, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

For Cluster Flies, “Dogs Stole Things” was covered by Chicago-based keyboardist Neal Francis, who put his signature pseudo-retro-funk stamp on the song.

Listen to Neal Francis’ cover of “Dogs Stole Things” for Cluster Flies here:

JamBase’s Andy Kahn recently spoke to Neal about all things Phish, his recording of “Dogs Stole Things” and more.

Stream the “Dogs Stole Things” Cluster Flies episode of The JamBase Podcast below or via all major podcast services including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Google Podcast:

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