Buttigieg Open To Phish Playing At His Inauguration

Phish at the Rock n roll Hall of Fame concert
Michael Loccisano / Getty images

The band Phish is from Vermont, which is the home of senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. However, another candidate for president has expressed interest in making the veteran jam band part of his inaugural festivities, should he win the election.

Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor who has been gaining some momentum of late in the 2020 race, was asked by TMZ this week who he’d like to have play, should he be inaugurated as president in 2021.

TMZ caught up with the candidate as he left 30 Rock in New York on Thursday. Asked who would be his “dream performer,” Buttigieg said, “that’s a fun one to think about.” When the TMZ reporter suggested Phish, Buttigieg said “it’s worth a shot, you should ask them.”

The candidate has played Phish songs prior to rallies, although it’s unclear if he has any say in the playlists at such events.

Switching gears, the TMZ reporter asked Buttigieg what his message is for voters who say they would never vote for a gay candidate.

“You know, folks like that probably aren’t winnable anyway,” the openly gay candidate said. “[But] I think anybody can be won over.”

Phish has not traditionally participated in politics in any major way, although the group’s drummer, Jon Fishman, was elected a selectman in Lincolnville, Maine, in 2017, a move that Fishman has said was inspired by the political career of Bernie Sanders, per The Bangor Daily News. Fishman appeared at rallies with Sanders during the 2016 election.

Sanders, meanwhile, told Rolling Stone during the 2016 race that his fellow Vermonters were “one of the great bands in this country.”

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While the other members of Phish have been less vocal about political matters, the band wrote a cycle of songs in the early part of their career in a fictional setting called Gamehenge, all of which were based on The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, the senior project by Phish frontman Trey Anastasio. The saga’s villain is named Wilson who, per Phish.net, has been interpreted to represent then-president Ronald Reagan, whose middle name was “Wilson.”

When President Trump was inaugurated in January of 2017, he had a difficult time landing A-list talent for the various inaugural balls and other events, with the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration concert headlined by Toby Keith, Lee Greenwood, and Three Doors Down. When Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, Beyonce sang as he danced with his wife Michelle Obama.