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The Sloth

The Sloth has not been seen in 4 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2017-08-05.
It was played at 9.59% of live shows.
It has been performed live 170 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: Anastasio/Marshall

Vocals: Trey

Debut: 1987-08-09

Historian: Chris Bertolet (bertoletdown)

The penultimate song in Trey’s senior study The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday (a.k.a. the Gamehendge saga), “The Sloth” introduces a narrative section that relates the downfall of the evil King Wilson.



The titular anti-hero of "The Sloth" might be considered Phish's "Mean Mr. Mustard." Revolutionary leader Errand Woolf hired The Sloth to execute Wilson, quite simply because he was the only bad-ass motherfucker up to the task. This song is a sort of vanity piece sung by The Sloth himself, and a hubristic ode to his own most revolting qualities: sleeping all day, spending nights in bars, singing falsetto, and slicing nipples. Oh, and trading in contract assassination. It's a dirty business.



Watch The Sloth on YouTube ”The Sloth” – 4/5/91, Portland, OR



Early versions of “The Sloth” (including the one found on the studio tape of The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday) are more concise than later ones, as Trey beefed up the instrumental bridge after completing his senior study. 



Since 1989, “The Sloth” hasn’t varied much from version to version, other than the expected fluctuations in tightness and precision that occur in most of the densely-composed tunes in the band’s repertoire. Some particularly strong versions include 5/24/88, 5/1/92, 2/20/93, 3/22/93, 8/7/93 (ripping – segues out of “Avenu Malkenu”), 12/28/93 (short fuse, loud boom), 5/22/94 (surprise segue out of “Demand”), and 12/31/95 (a raging thrill). Although it was a pretty common song up through summer ‘94, “The Sloth” has hibernated more indulgently since, chalking up only a few appearances each year, including 2/22/03 (opening the show for the first time since 11/24/91), 9/2/11 Dick’s (the “S” show), the underrated 8/28/12 St. Louis gig, and after a 92-show absence, 8/9/15 Alpine Valley.



Watch The Sloth on YouTube "The Sloth" – 6/15/12, Atlantic City, NJ


Albums: At the Roxy, New Year's Eve 1995 - Live at Madison Square Garden, Colorado '88, The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday, Star Lake 98, Alpine Valley

Lyrics:

(Anastasio/Marshall)
© Who Is She? Music, BMI

They call me the sloth
(Way down in the ghetto)
Italian Spaghetti
(Singing falsetto)
Sleeping all day
(Rip Van Winklin')
Spend my nights in bars
(Glasses tinklin')

I'm so bad
(He's so nasty
Ain't got no friends
(Real out-casty)
Stay out of my way
(Or you'll end up a cripple)
I'll take this piece of paper
(And slice your nipple)

They call me the sloth
(Way down in the ghetto)
Italian Spaghetti
(Singing falsetto)
Sleeping all day
(Rip Van Winklin')
Spend my nights in bars
(Glasses tinklin')

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