“Imagine if a reference book and a coffee table book did the nasty … this is their intelligent, attractive progeny” -phish.net
In July 2016, The Mockingbird Foundation published the Third Edition of The Phish Companion: A Guide to the Band and Their Music, edited by Marco Walsh and Phillip Zerbo and designed by J2. According to the foundation, the book is “more than an essential reference guide. It’s a hard-bound, 898-page, full-color feast for the senses.”
True, the typical Phish fan may be stereotyped as a dreadlocked stoner, but most of the fans have grown up along with Phish, and don’t (quite) fall into that category anymore. The book was meant to show this evolution with a polished and refined style that was still bold and loud. The type font (Tungsten) gives it an edgy, industrial feel, the black cover is debossed in white, gray and bronze foil, and the almost 900 pages are smyth sewn. According to the printer, the Avery Group at ShapeCo Printing, “the pages have been printed with a one inch band of color along the edge of each of the eight chapters, along with the addition of a loose bright pink ribbon which has been sewn into the binding.”
(All photos from The Avery Group at ShapeCo Printing, Trey photo by Marco Walsh)
Design extended to the white corrugated cardboard shipping box, with bold black letters.
“READ THE BOOK…IT’S SHOW TIME.”
The Companion color palette reflects unofficial eras within Phish history and are individually represented by artwork from eight different J2-commissioned artists. Each artist created a print around an assigned a color and era. For instance, the “Coventry Era” from 2002-2004 was brown because those two years were notorious for rainstorms and fields of mud. The iconic photo of shoes stuck in a muddy field (LINK) informed a starkly brown illustration by Jessica Seamans of LandLand. Other contributors included: David Welker, Sei Rey Ho, Dan Black of LandLand, Nathan Goldman of DKNG Studios, Justin Helton of Status Serigraph, Nate Duval and AJ Masthay.
The biggest design hurdle were the list spreads. Type hierarchy included: date, venue, location, set list, show notes, and essays. Additional design breakouts include essays from a variety of Mockingbird contributors and studio albums in chronological order.
For the non-Phish fan, the back-of-the-book song index lists all the songs the band has ever covered. We went down a rabbit hole of JayZ – 99 Problems – and eventually landed on a YouTube video that shows a guest appearance by Jay-Z performing with the band. In addition, the net proceeds benefit music education programs via grants from The Mockingbird Foundation. The organization has raised just over one million dollars.
Read The Book.