About Country Joe & The Fish
Much of Country Joe and the Fish's fame can be traced back to the 1970 documentary Woodstock. In theaters around the planet, heads and squares alike witnessed the band lead a sprawling pit of mud-caked rebels, rowdies and freaks through one of the most profane and satirical anti-war protest songs of all time: And it's 1-2-3 what are we fighting for?/ Don't ask me -- I don't give a damn/ Next stop is Vietnam. If you can peel back all the Summer of Love cliches, it's one of the classic moments in the history of American youth culture. At the same time, that all-too-brief moment forever tagged Country Joe (who once served in the Navy) as nothing more than a hippie novelty, something to be parodied and mocked. That's a shame, really. Not only was Country Joe McDonald an inventive songwriter, but the Fish were one of the psychedelic era's more complex outfits, exploring everything from dreamy folk-pop to Zappa-like freakery to jug-band shenanigans a la Jim Kweskin. The Fish could also jam (although no one would mistake them for the Grateful Dead or Quicksilver Messenger Service). Unfortunately, the group failed to maintain a stable lineup and fell apart not long after Woodstock.