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A History of Progressive Music and Youth Culture

Phishing in America

Series:

Dennis Carlson

Edited By Shirley R. Steinberg

The late Dennis Carlson uses the alternative nature of the Burlington, Vermont-bred band, Phish, and the larger impact of rock n’ roll to look at youth and revolutionary music culture. A History of Progressive Music and Youth Culture is designed for those who work with or teach young people to understand the nature and origin of musical commitment and devotion. For academics, the book traces a cultural study of rock which is unlike any other discussion of music or musicology published.

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Introduction Finding Phish: Music and the Education of a Counterculture

Extract

This book is a “history of the present” (1979, p. 31) in the language of the great social historian and genealogist of knowledge Michel Foucault. It is a history of how the present has evolved out of diverse threads and currents, and how the present is characterized by continuities and discontinuities with the past. To write a history of youth culture that links the present to the past, I have adopted a generally chronological format to lay out what I call a pre-history of Phish, by which I mean a history of music and the counterculture in America before Phish came along, and out of which Phish has emerged. In their concerts, festivals, and recorded music, Phish has acknowledged this history and its influence over the band and its loyal fans (or phans, as they are known). So in presenting a pre-history of Phish and the counterculture, I begin each chapter and sections of a chapter with the Phish connection—a song or songs that have become part of the Phish repertoire, or events and places that connect Phish with these earlier movements in music and youth culture. I move from the beats and bebop in the late 1940s through the1950s, the folk revival of the early 1960s, the counterculture and rock music of the late 1960s, the “prog. rock” movement of the ←3 | 4→1970s in the U.K., to the Grateful Dead and Tribe culture of the 1970s through the 1990s, to the jam band Phish and its phans...

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