Tom Marshall Details Phish Lyrics On ‘Under The Scales’

By Andy Kahn Sep 30, 2019 10:40 am PDT

Phish lyricist Tom Marshall details the meanings behind three more songs on the latest episode of the Osiris network podcast Under The Scales. Marshall and co-host RJ Bee discuss the words to the classic “The Wedge,” the mid-era “Crowd Control” and the fairly recent addition “No Men In No Man’s Land.”

The three songs were selected based on suggestions sent in from listeners. Marshall previously dissected the lyrics of Phish songs on two prior Under The Scales episodes (here and here).

First up for analysis was “The Wedge,” which was recorded for the 1993 Phish album Rift. Marshall revealed the meaning behind the song’s title and how it relates to his wife. He went on to explain the influence that the aquatic ape theory had on the lyrics. Marshall talked about an extra verse his band Amfibian added when they played “The Wedge” and his interest in the geology of the Earth’s Great Divide.

The chat then moved on to “Crowd Control,” which was born during a writing session Marshall and Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio held in October 2003 in Nantucket near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The lyrics initially came to Marshall in a dream about attending a Phish show. Marshall went line-by-line through the song that made its live debut in November 2003 and was included on the band’s 2004 album Undermind.

“No Men In No Man’s Land,” which was first played live by Phish in 2015 and recorded for their 2016 album Big Boat, rounded out the episode. Marshall explained that “NMINML” was written at the same time as “Blaze On” and “Shade” in February 2015. Bee read from a tweet that suggested the lyrics are a reference to Anastasio’s sobriety and Marshall responded with an in-depth discussion of the lyrical influences of the song. Marshall also talks about a “lost lyric” that band dropped after the first few live performances. Listen to the Under The Scales episode below:

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