Country Joe & The Fish


Berkeley, California, United States
Psychedelic rock acid rock folk rock
Years active 1965–70, sporadically thereafter
Vanguard Fantasy
Past members Country Joe McDonald
Barry “The Fish” Melton
Gary “Chicken” Hirsh
David Bennett Cohen
Bruce Barthol
David Getz
Peter Albin
John Francis Gunning
Paul Armstrong
Mark Ryan
Gregory Leroy Dewey
Mark Kapner
Doug Metzler
Country Joe and the Fish was an American psychedelic rock band formed in Berkeley, California, in 1965. The band was among the influential groups centered in the San Francisco music scene during the mid to late-1960s. Much of the band’s music was penned by founding members Country Joe McDonald and Barry “The Fish” Melton, and consisted of issues of importance to the counterculture such as anti-war protests, free love, and recreational drug use, with lyrical content daringly to the point. Through a combination of psychedelia and electronic music, Country Joe and the Fish’s sound was marked by innovative guitar melodies, and distorted organ-driven instrumentals which were significant to the development of acid rock.

The band self-produced two EPs that drew attention on the underground circuit before signing to Vanguard Records in 1966. Their debut album, Electric Music for the Mind and Body, followed in 1967, and contained their only nationally charting single “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine”, and their most experimental arrangements. When their second album, I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die, was released in the latter part of the year, its title track, with its dark humor and satire, became their signature tune, and is among the era’s most recognizable protest songs. Further success followed, including McDonald’s appearance at Woodstock, but the group’s lineup underwent changes until their disbandment in 1970. Members of the band continue in the music industry as solo recording artists and sporadically reconvene.

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