Groove Analysis: Jon Fishman's Phunky Potpourri

Jon Fishman is Phish’s tasty and very funky drummer who always comes up with creative and interesting parts that offer something clever for us to decipher. The band’s newest release Fuego will not disappoint Phish-heads and should add to their legion of Phans.


Jon Fishman's Fuego groove

In the title track from the disk, Fishman creates a groove that can serve as a mini-clinic in linear drumming. He uses lots of grace notes and accents in his syncopated stream of ideas. In the second and fourth bar, the offbeat cowbell accents may surprise you. He uses space effectively in the 2/4 measure to dramatically set up the reentrance of his groove. Here he uses his toms in a fashion similar to the cowbell part, to throw interesting and unexpected funky accents into his groove.

Jon Fishman's other grooves

“Devotion To A Dream”

This song is somewhat reminiscent of The Grateful Dead, in both its overall vibe as well as Fishman’s bouncy country rock feel. His snare displacement in the seventh bar to the & of 4 is simple yet very effectively sets up the crashes on 1 and 3.


This drowsy track has a slightly swung feel. Fishman makes good use of his ride cymbal and throws light ruffs at the end of most of the measures.


This drum part has surprisingly few notes considering how funky it is. Fishman plays upbeats on his hi-hat and places his snare, kick, and open hi-hat barks wherever they’re least expected. The groove has an improvisational quality since he doesn’t repeat his patterns and plays moment to moment.