Clear Your Mind

Originally Performed ByPhish
Appears On
VocalsAll (lead)
Phish Debut2021-10-31
Last Played2023-07-22
Current Gap37
Last Update2023-12-08


Clear Your Mind” debuted as the fifth song in the 12-song Sci-Fi Soldier set of the 10/31/21 show at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. It is among the four songs from the set that have been played multiple times since.

Phish “Clear Your Mind” - East Troy, WI. Video by shinepigeon.

The song is a series of short verses interspersed with the entire band singing the simple chorus “Clear Your Mind” along with an alternate chorus “Suck on the juice, spit out the rind, clear your mind.” The verses seem to be some free association that do not necessarily have to do with each other. But, we can easily imagine the band cracking each other up with these seemingly improvised lyrics.

Note that this approach to numbering the verses is somewhat arbitrary. The first verse is two lines, sung by Trey: “Handstands in grand fashion” which has an internal rhyme, and “Holy Blankenstein!." The legend of Holy Blankenstein (HB) is revealed. Trey introduced the concept of HB during the Harpua the night before. During the long narration, Trey mentions that Jimmy is sitting at his house getting messages from beyond, and then he says:

“He doesn’t know what this all means, but he really feels like the Great Spirit, whether it’s Icculus or the spirit of his second name, Icculus’ other name which is Holy Blankenstein, because he believes in a blank. Icculus has two names.” 

So, Icculus and HB are one and the same (“it’s many spirits melded into one”), thus introducing an alter-ego to the Gamehendge universe. HB is guiding Jimmy to some kind of understanding of the numerology that was introduced on night 1 of the run, the “Numbers Show,” in which someone could add up all the numbers to get the number 4680, which is the year that the fictional band Sci-Fi Soldier comes from.

Verse 2 is “Envelope my head, Arrow with a square.” Perhaps these are words intended to inspire the listener to clear their mind. Arrow with a square could be an allusion to the squares and circles mentioned in the previous night’s Harpua narration (“And suddenly, the lines of the four start to move and become a quadrangle, a four-sided figure, which is a square.”). 

Verse 3: “Sure could use this treatment, asshole to the core, burn burn burn." Possibly the mind-clearing could be intended to make one less of an asshole.” This verse adds another in the short list of Phish songs including profanity.

Verse 4: “Donuts touching turtles.” The donut theme also came up in the “Harpua” narration the night before (“Those vertical circles sweep out from the circle, and it becomes a donut, it’s a torus, a donut, oh my god”) not to mention at the Festival 8 in 2009 where figure-8-shaped donuts were served on the last day during a special daytime acoustic set and the 13 shows of the Baker’s Dozen run at MSG in 2017 that was entirely donut-themed, particularly in the 7/30/17 Jimmies Night “Harpua” narration which also alluded to the theory that the universe is postulated to have a donut shape. And finally, the circular pattern on Fishman’s dresses, commonly referred to as Fishman donuts. Donuts are clearly a big deal to this band! 

The next line in the verse references a turtle. “Turtle in the Clouds” is a song debuted at the Kasvot Växt Halloween show from 2018. And there’s another connection here, which is that there is an expression, “turtles all the way down” that also refers to a myth in which the universe consists of a turtle holding the earth on its back, and that turtle rests on another turtle and so on. So, “donuts touching turtles” is likely merging both of these concepts about the structure of our Universe. 

The next line in this verse is simply “Pat Malone." Pat Malone could be a random name, but it’s also the name of a major league pitcher for the Cubs and the Yankees in the late ‘20s to mid 1930’s. According to his Wikipedia page, “Malone quickly gained a reputation as a prankster upon reaching the major leagues. He enjoyed doling out “hot feet” and towel-whipping unsuspecting teammates while they showered. During his rookie season, he caught some pigeons on a hotel ledge and put them in a roommate’s bed while he slept.” 

I would imagine that this aspect of his personality would have appealed to the members of Phish, but I don’t have any way of confirming that this line refers to this obscure pitcher. According to the Sci-Fi Soldier comic book, each of the band members has an alter ego, and one of them is Pat Malone, probably Trey. The others are Clueless Wallob (I think this is Page, the name comes from Kasvot Växt), Paulie Roots (clearly Fishman), and Half-Nelson (likely Mike). 

Verse 5: “Now it’s starting to feel good, who owns who, scratch my head.” This is the protagonist perhaps losing his asshole tendencies and enjoying the mind clearing process.

Verse 6 starts with the name dropping, following the chorus “clear your mind” they sing “Like Ralph Macchio, Ralph Snart, Ralph Malph, Ralph Lauren." These people are as follows:

Ralph Macchio: One might think that this is referring to the actor who played “The Karate Kid” but it may in fact refer to the comic book editor and writer with the same name. Even though he is not as well known as the Kid, the fact that this Halloween performance was accompanied by an actual comic book makes this latter reference just as likely. Or maybe both!
Ralph Snart: The Ralph Snart Adventures was a comic book series written by Marc Hansen, known as an example of absurdity in modern comics. This provides some additional confirmation of the specific Ralph Macchio referenced previously.
Ralph Malph: This Ralph is a character played by Don Most in the sitcom Happy Days.
Ralph Lauren: The iconic fashion designer.  

Verse 7: After the “suck on the juice” version of the chorus, we get: “Ferment me, press me, Half Nelson, whoa!” This is perhaps relevant to the idea of one’s head (not hands and feet) as a type of fruit. Clearing your mind involves getting rid of all your thoughts (“sucking out the juice”). Then, this juice can be fermented and pressed (but not in that order), which brings to mind wine making and the transformation of the juice into something “higher.” Maybe your head is a grape? Since grapes don’t have rinds, perhaps it’s more of a citrus? 

Verse 8: Additional name dropping, this time Oscars: Oscar Hammerstein, Oscar the Grouch, Oscar Peterson, Oscar Meyer.” These people are as follows:

Oscar Hammerstein was a lyricist for musicals such as Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music.
Oscar the Grouch is one of Jim Henson’s Muppet characters from Sesame Street.
Oscar Peterson was an influential jazz piano player.
Oscar Meyer is the namesake of a food company known for its hot dogs and bologna. 

Verse 9: “Arrow with a square, I can wear it anywhere, Holy Blankenstein” See above regarding the square motif.

Verse 10: “Talking inward, a recent surgery, I have a middle area now." This implies the removal of the brain, or at least the contents of the brain.

Verse 11: Some puns on “middle area”: “A little malaria? A lot of malaria.”

Verse 12 repeats the Ralph lyrics of verse 6 

Verse 13: “When the moss piglets start howling across the field, Holy Blankenstein." Moss piglet is the colloquial term for an actual microscopic animal known as the tardigrade. The Sci-Fi Soldier comic book shows the soldiers attacking a giant “moss piglet” that is “subsumed with dark energy!” They destroy it, but this results in the creation of thousands of tiny (but much larger than real-life) moss piglets. The howling refers to another song in the Sci-Fi Soldier set, called “The Howling.”

In October 2022, one year after the live debut, the band released a studio version of all of the Sci-Fi Soldier songs. The album is called Get More Down, and the band is of course, not Phish, but Sci-Fi Soldier. 

Sci-Fi Soldier “Clear Your Mind”

Last significant update: 12/8/23


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