Country Joe and the Fish: Electric Music for the Mind and Body

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for a band that will get your body moving and your mind grooving? Look no further than Country Joe and the Fish! With their unique blend of electric music, they’re sure to get you up and dancing in no time.


In 1967, a band called Country Joe and the Fish released their first album, “Electric Music for the Mind and Body.” It was an instant hit with its mix of country, folk, and rock music. The band became known for their live performances, which were often political and humorous. They were also one of the first bands to use psychedelic drugs in their music.

The band’s second album, “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die,” was released in 1968. It includes the song “Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag,” which became an anti-war anthem. The band continued to perform and release albums through the 1970s. They broke up in 1971 but reunited in 1983 and continue to perform today.

The Band

Country Joe and the Fish was an American rock band formed in Berkeley, California, in 1965. The band was one of the leading psychedelic rock groups of the late 1960s. They performed at the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock. The band’s music was a blend of folk, rock, and country music with lyrics that were sometimes political, sometimes erotic, and sometimes just nonsense. The band released four albums before breaking up in 1969.

Country Joe McDonald

Country Joe McDonald (born Joseph Aloysius McDonald, Jr., on January 1, 1942) is an American musician who was the lead singer of the 1960s psychedelic rock group Country Joe and the Fish. His father, Worden McDonald, joined the United States Navy as a teenager and served in China during World War II. After the war, he became a career military man stationed in Japan, where he met and married Margie Dann. The couple had five children, of which McDonald was the oldest. The family later moved to El Monte, California where McDonald attended high school.

As a teenager McDonald began playing guitar and singing folk songs at parties and gatherings. At 16 he joined a local band called The Western Band. The band’s repertoire included country music as well as rockabilly and early rock & roll tunes. In 1962 he was drafted into military service during the Vietnam War and spent two years stationed in Japan where he played guitar in various U.S. Armed Forces bands.

Upon his return to the United States, McDonald enrolled at Contra Costa College in Richmond, California intending to study music. Instead he became interested in art and poetry which led him to changing his major to art history

Barry “The Fish” Melton

Barry “The Fish” Melton (born August 13, 1947) is an American musician, best known as the lead guitarist of the psychedelic rock band Country Joe and the Fish. He has also played with James Cotton, Jerry Garcia, and New Riders of the Purple Sage. Melton was born in Dallas, Texas, and grew up in Burlingame, California. His father was an attorney and his mother a schoolteacher. Melton attended San Mateo High School, where he met fellow students Country Joe McDonald and David Cohen (later known as “David Free”). The three formed a band called theentric folk group The Chad Mitchell Trio in 1964.

David Cohen

David Cohen (born August 28, 1942), also known as “Country Joe”, is an American musician who was the lead singer of the 1960s psychedelic rock group Country Joe and the Fish. His parents, Alfred Cohen and Lillian (née Wise), were Jewish immigrants from Poland. Alfred was a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in World War II, while Lillian was a nurse. Cohen grew up in El Monte, California, and attended El Monte High School, where he was classmates with Larry Estridge, who would later play keyboards with Country Joe and the Fish.

Bruce Barthol

Bruce Barthol (born May 27, 1942) is an American bassist, singer, composer, and country music producer. He was one of the founders of the country rock band Country Joe and the Fish.

Barthol was born in Berkeley, California, and grew up in El Cerrito. He started playing guitar at age nine and piano at age twelve. In high school he played in a band called The Musicals. He studied classical guitar for a year at UC Berkeley before dropping out to play music full-time.

In 1965, Barthol met Country Joe McDonald when they were both playing in a folk duo called The Instant Action Jug Band. They soon formed a new band called Country Joe and the Fish, which became one of the first psychedelic bands of the 1960s San Francisco music scene. Barthol played bass and sang harmony vocals in the band. He wrote or co-wrote several of their songs, including “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine”, “Bass Strings”, and ” masked Marauder”.

After the break-up of Country Joe and the Fish in 1970, Barthol toured Europe with an experimental rock group called Animal Planet. He then returned to the Bay Area and joined the Grateful Dead for their European tour in 1972. After touring with the Dead, he formed a new band called The Flying Other Brothers with Bob Weir, Mike Hinton, Brent Mydland, and Jeff Chimenti. The band toured extensively in the US and Europe from 2002 to 2006.

Barthol has also played with many other artists including Al Di Meola, Jerry Garcia Band, David Lindley, Blues Traveler, John Entwistle Band, Nina Simone, Bonnie Raitt ,Leon Russell ,Toots & The Maytals ,Percy Sledge Warren Zevon And Albert Collins among others .

The Music

Country Joe and the Fish’s music was based in the San Francisco Bay Area’s psychedelic music scene of the late 1960s. They were an early example of the counterculture’s use of rock music to protest against the Vietnam War. The band’s first album, Electric Music for the Mind and Body, was released in 1967. It became an underground hit and was influential on the emerging psychedelic music scene.

The Sound

By the fall of 1966, Country Joe and the Fish had settled on their signature sound. It was a mix of folk, rock, and psychedelic influences, with a healthy dose of wry humor thrown in for good measure. This sound was on full display on the band’s debut album, “Electric Music for the Mind and Body.”

The album starts with the raucous “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine,” a ode to Marin County hippie life that sets the tone for the rest of the record. From there, the album takes the listener on a wild ride through a variety of sounds and styles. There’s the dark and eerie “Section 43,” the rabble-rousing “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag,” and the haunting ballad “Maria.”

“Electric Music for the Mind and Body” is an album that truly lives up to its name. It’s an electrifying ride from start to finish, and it’s one of those records that just seems to get better with each listen. If you’re a fan of 60s psychedelia, or if you’re just looking for something different, this is an album you need to check out.

The Lyrics

if you’re lookin’ for some freak-out lyrics, you’ve come to the right place. “The Music” is one of the Freak Out’s most famous tracks, and with good reason – it’s an incredible lyrical feat, packed with mind-bending images and references. Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights:

”I am the world that hides the universal secret” – this opening line immediately plunges us into a world of mystery and intrigue. Joe is telling us that he knows something that we don’t, and that this knowledge is hidden in plain sight.

”I am the beginning and the end, the source and the result” – here, Joe is playing with religious imagery, presenting himself as a god-like figure who contains all of existence within him. This idea of music as a cosmic force is a recurring theme throughout the song.

”I am everything you see and everything you don’t” – another Play on words here, as Joe Both asserts his omniscience and invisibility simultaneously. He knows everything about us, even the things we ourselves are not aware of.

These are just a few of the many wild and wonderful things that Joe has to say in “The Music.” It’s truly one of his most mind-bending performances, and a perfect example of why Country Joe and The Fish were one of the most innovative bands of their era.

The Legacy

Country Joe and the Fish was an American rock band formed in Berkeley, California, in 1965. The band was a pioneer of the psychedelic sound that was prevalent in the San Francisco music scene in the late 1960s. The band’s music was a blend of folk, rock, and country, with lyrics that were often political in nature. The band was best known for their live performances, which were often improvisational and featured extended instrumental jamming.

The Influence

The music of Country Joe and the Fish was very influential in the late 1960s counterculture movement. The band’s songs often contained political and social commentary, and their stage shows were known for being lively and visually interesting. The group was also one of the first rock bands to incorporate elements of Eastern music into their sound.

The Impact

The album Electric Music for the Mind and Body by Country Joe and the Fish was released in 1967, during the height of the counterculture movement. The album was a huge success, reaching #2 on the Billboard charts and selling over a million copies. It was also one of the first psychedelic rock albums to be released, and it had a significant impact on the music scene at the time. The album’s popularity helped to spread the counterculture movement to a wider audience, and it inspired other artists to experiment with psychedelic rock.

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