"Walfredo" 


Click for video: A very early Phish performance of “Walfredo” in Paris, 2/18/97


Recently I had another Phish fan ask me, "What is the meaning of the lyrics to the song, ‘Walfredo?’" Well, I’m glad you asked! I will try to explain, as most people have no idea.

Basically this song is (young) Phish’s version of “Where’s Wally/Waldo!”

Let me rewind... Back in the 80s, when I played the Northeast (particularly Vermont) with David Lindley & El Rayo-­‐X, I could always count on seeing four young lads, full of energy and enthusiasm, smiling in the audience.

After their third album when they became really popular as a band, they opened for a few shows in 1990 when I was drumming for Santana ('89 -­‐ '93). They jammed with us, and I had the referenced “paint splattered drum kit.” Jon “Fish” Fishman sat in and “played his vacuum” cleaner, which I thought was brilliant and unique! Also, weird weather changes (“... snow fell in Vail, Colorado”) were already happening in spring/summer time by then.

The next time they came to see Santana I was gone and “Rodney” Holmes was playing drums. I went on to tour with Traffic and Steve Winwood from ’94 -­‐ ’04, so when they sing the chorus -­‐ "Where did you go? How much did you get paid?" -­‐ that’s what it references.

I was, and still am, a touring/studio musician and not a permanent member of any of the bands I have worked with -­‐ not necessarily by choice. At the time, I think they could not understand this concept. Later on they did and they sure do now as they have matured in this music biz of ours.

What is not in this song is that later on (1997) Trey Anastasio jammed with Steve Winwood, and I recorded with Mike Gordon in the studio. Phish grew into an amazing band and became, individually, amazing musicians, husbands and fathers. I am so proud of these young lads, with their high energy, passion and enthusiasm, who came to see me play with David Lindley back in the '80s. I am honored that my playing and personality influenced them and their composition bears my name.

In 2000, coming back from France after touring with Johnny Hallyday, I played The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with The Winans (gospel singers); Phish were also there as guests. Afterwards they took me inside their tour bus and said, “Wally, check this out; we wrote a tune we hope you will like.” With Trey on acoustic guitar and the rest of the band on vocals I heard the song for the first time. I remembered feeling the song had humor, nostalgia and memories of those times from different points of view. I was honored that they took the time to capture moments in time of my life and theirs.

The band swaps and plays different instruments than their usual when they perform this fun song in concert. It is also one of the few Phish songs the entire band wrote together.

I hope this sheds some light on better understanding the lyrics of “Walfredo.”
 

“Walfredo” by Phish
(Anastasio/Fishman/Gordon/McConnell)
© Who Is She? Music, BMI

It must be ten years since I saw you
Grooving at Hunt's with El-­‐Rayo X
Lindley's hair was so greasy
Who knew then what would happen next

We were eating crab at Merriweather Post
We went up to that mountain in Stowe
We played in a field in New Mexico

Walfredo, where did you go?

What did you do?
Who put you up to it?
Where did you go?
How much did you get paid?
How do you do?
How did you know where I lived?

Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo

Next time we saw Karl and Raul
Rodney had taken your place
He played like the wind and the water
But we still missed your smiling face

And when we finally made it to Trento
Ooh Rocko William had taken the throne
Stood on the field next to Davey
Ooh just to keep him from feeling alone

What did you do?
Who put you up to it?
Where did you go?

How much did you get paid?
How do you do?
How did you know where I lived?

Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo

No one has had more chances than you
Life isn't fair, what can you do?
Alex had more chances than...

Now when I think back on you, Walfredo
Those were times I'll never forget
The snow fell in Vail, Colorado
When Fish played the vacuum and ruined your set

...back to Walfredo
Leaning back on your stool
Looking cool behind that paint splatter kit
But not as cool as Raul

What did you do?
Who put you up to it?
Where did you go?
How much did you get paid?
How do you do?
How did you know where I lived?

Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo Walfredo

2 Comments

  • Tyger

    Tyger San Antonio

    How can we get a recording of "Walfredo", like on what label?
    How can we get a recording of "Walfredo", like on what label?
  • Psilo

    Psilo Amsterdam

    Tyger, it's a song that has only been performed live a handful of times. However, there's a 2010 recording of them playing it during their Summer tour. You can find that easily online.
    Tyger, it's a song that has only been performed live a handful of times. However, there's a 2010 recording of them playing it during their Summer tour. You can find that easily online.