Gary "Chicken" Hirsh -- usually referred to as "Chicken" Hirsh -- became well-known in San Francisco music circles as the second drummer in Country Joe & the Fish. He replaced John Francis Gunning in 1966, and can be heard on Electric Music for the Mind and Body, I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die, and Together. His beat on the first album, in particular, is one of the most articulate and aggressive heard in a San Francisco band of the era; from the opening bars of "Flying High," Hirsh's percussion permeates the group's killer debut album -- the almost lyrical percussion on "Not So Sweetly Martha Lorraine," the prominent hi-hat and snare on "Death Sound," and the spaced-out, languid percussion on "Section 43" all combine to make this some of the best drumming on a psychedelic record this side of the late Spencer Dryden.
In addition to playing drums and composing ("Waltzing in the Moonlight," "Marijuana" etc.), he was responsible for "raising the ante" in the opening of the "Fish Cheer" -- it always had the "gimme an F, gimme an I, gimme an S, gimme an H" introduction, but it was Hirsh, at a New York show, who suggested changing the spelling into a very definitive expletive. The resulting furor -- a mix of outrage by the censors and delight by an ever more radicalized listenership -- got the original song on the air, and even the normally reticent and apolitical AM radio stations in the major cities gave Country Joe & the Fish a level of exposure they'd seldom had outside of San Francisco.
Hirsh left the group in 1968, following the Together album, and later played with Country Joe McDonald on the latter's solo albums. He also joined the short-lived group Touchstone, playing on that group's Tarot album. Hirsh later moved to Ashland, OR, where he embarked on a second career as a painter. At various times from the mid-'90s into the mid-2000s, he has also reunited with McDonald and other members of the classic '60s band to perform live. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi