Chalk Dust Torture

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"Chalk Dust Torture"
Phish - Chalk Dust Torture.jpg
Cover of promo single
Single by Phish
from the album A Picture of Nectar
Released 1992 (1992)
Format CD single
Recorded June–August 1991, White Crow Studios, Burlington, Vermont
Genre Rock
Length 4:35
Label Elektra PRCD 8511-2
Songwriter(s) Trey Anastasio, Tom Marshall
Producer(s) Phish, Kevin Halpin
Phish singles chronology
"Chalk Dust Torture"

"Chalk Dust Torture"

"Chalk Dust Torture" is a 1992 song by the American band Phish. It is the thirteenth track from their 1992 album A Picture of Nectar and was also released as their first promotional single by Elektra Records. The song is a riff-based, fast-paced rock song written by Phish guitarist and lead vocalist Trey Anastasio and lyricist Tom Marshall. The studio recording features a lowered pitch effect on Anastasio's lead vocal.


The main guitar riff for the song originated in the fall of 1990 on a track called "Self." Recorded in studio in August 1991 (and later released in 1994 on Crimes of the Mind), it featured a collaboration between Phish and their longtime friend, The Dude of Life (aka, Steve Pollak).[1][2]

The song was re-worked and included in the recording sessions for A Picture of Nectar. In addition to the CD single, the track was also released as an unedited LP to radio stations.[3]

Played at over a quarter of their live shows,[4] band members have taken a particular liking to playing the song in a live setting. Since debuting in February 1991, drummer Jon Fishman claims that the song went from being his among "least favorite" in the Phish catalog, to one that he hopes to play well into his eighties. He sarcastically notes that the lyric "can I live while I'm young?" sounds ever "more desperate" the older the band gets.[5]

In 1994, Phish performed the song on the Late Show with David Letterman, supposedly at the host's request.[6]

As the song's lyricist, Marshall has said that it was among the last he wrote by hand before switching to a computer.[5]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Chalk Dust Torture" (Trey Anastasio, Tom Marshall) - 4:35



Trey Anastasio – guitars, vocals
Page McConnell – keyboards, backing vocals
Mike Gordon – bass guitar, backing vocals
Jon Fishman – drums

Also appears on[edit]


  1. ^ "Self History -". Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  2. ^ Crimes of the Mind (booklet). The Dude of Life and Phish. New York: Elektra Entertainment. p. 7. 61715.
  3. ^ The Phish Companion: A Guide to the Band and Their Music. Hal Leonard Corporation. 2000. p. 15. 
  4. ^ "Chalk Dust Torture Every Time Played -". Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  5. ^ a b Gehr, Richard (1998). The Phish Book. New York: Peripheral Books, Inc. p. 75. ISBN 0-375-75254-4. 
  6. ^ "Chalk Dust Torture History -". Retrieved 2017-04-25.