David Fishkin

Saxophone

We told him it would never work out with his tie, but that only made him want to prove us wrong.

I was born in Philadelphia. At the age of 7, I was drawn to the saxophone when, one foggy night, I saw a street corner saxophonist playing the theme to the Pink Panther. I heard, “duh duh duh duuuuuh,” and I was hooked. As a teenager, I discovered the joy of improvised music, and as a student at Oberlin College, I intensified my focus on music. In between semesters, I had the privilege of studying with Philly jazz legend Odean Pope. One important lesson I learned from him, which I often repeat to my students, is, “never sacrifice tone for technique.”

After graduating college, I moved back to Philadelphia, and began teaching music and playing in bands. My interest in rock music led me to start experimenting with amplifying my saxophone. Various projects that grew out of my electric sax experiments are: Gun Muffs, a doom-jazz duo with drummer Eli Litwin; a loud, fast and heavy free improvisational duo with drummer Ricardo Lagomasino; and Extreme Fishkin, a 7-piece band in which I also sing, often at the top of my lungs.

Around this time, I fell under the spell of the West Philadelphia Orchestra. I used to attend WPO’s monthly shows at the now-defunct Tritone, and dance like a complete maniac. I remember what it was like when the creaky floorboards would bounce under the weight of the dancers; I was concerned that the floor would crack underneath us (but not concerned enough to stop dancing)! In late 2010, I had the great honor and thrill of joining my favorite band: WPO.

Shortly after joining, I had a conversation with my mother about the special connection that WPO has with people who dance to our music. My mother said, “David, why don’t you start a dance band?” I thought to myself, “Indeed, why not?” But I don’t think my mother could have imagined the band that I was inspired to create: David Fantasy & Adult Content. We are a party band, dedicated to making bodies move in rhythm. As my alter ego, singer David Fantasy, I have been known to implore audiences to “get up and shake their asses.”

As a music educator, I am a member of the faculty of the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, as well as a woodwind teaching artist through the youth program of Symphony In C. I also teach private lessons in saxophone, flute and clarinet.

One more fun fact: you can hear me playing baritone sax on the recording of the song “Red Eye,” by the band the War on Drugs.