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gentlemonkey

retardo-phish rumour

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This might have seemed almost possible, until the quotes.. have a laugh.. so silly.

Speculation continues to escalate around Vermont Jam-band Phish as to

whether or not they will ever again claim he title of rock's road warriors

together again or not. In the latest news, sources close to the band say

that a long running dispute over something as simple as one song may be to

blame for the current 'hiatus'. The source, which spoke on a condition of

amenity, indicated that the song at the center of the dispute is an obscure

song called "Destiny Unbound".

The song occupies an obscure but unique spot in the Burlington-based band's

repertoire. Penned by bass player Mike Gordon in the early 1990's, it was

played in concert a handful of times and then it seemed to be forgotten

about by the band. It has yet to appear on any official release by the

band. The lore of the song, however, goes far beyond that of a 'forgotten

song'. It is not just a song that the band didn't like and decided to stop

playing for one reason or another. One rumor that circulates among fans of

the band is that the band retired Destiny because it sounds too much like a

Grateful Dead song (Phish has long fought to separate themselves from the

legacy left to them n the wake of Jerry Garcia death).

Apparently, the real reason behind the song's "retirement" is because Trey

Anastasio (the bands guitar player and de facto leader) cannot stand the

song and has even gone so far as to threaten to quit the group over playing

it. Anastasio routinely lambastes the song as the worst song that Gordon

has ever written and if there was one song he wishes he could have taken

back in all their years, it is Destiny Unbound. Privately, Anastasio is

quoted as saying that he cannot believe that he lead the segue from Landlady

(an Anastasio-penned ditty) into it (Destiny). He believes Landlady to be

far superior musically and felt that when the band performed the songs

back-to-back, it severely limited the potential "The Landlady" could have

had, forcing Anastasio and the band to return Landlady to where it started,

as part of another Phish number, "Punch You In The Eye." It was then that

Anastasio began his strong stance AGAINST recording or playing the song live

at anytime. "If I have to put Landlay back into Punch, I will never play

that worthless excuse for a Dead song EVER", Anastasio is known to say.

Recent fighting over the song occurred while the band rehearsed its last

tour. Again Gordon brought up the subject of the song. One that he is very

proud of and very much has wanted to play on a number of occasions in the

past. Anastasio became enraged at the idea and stormed out of the

practice. Screaming something uniteligible, something to the effect of:

"I'm gonna send all of the Multibeasts in Wilson's Kingdom to eat you where

you sleep!" Later, when he had calmed down, the band met and decided that a

break is maybe what was necessary. One last tour and then a long, maybe

permanent, break.

That not the first time that Anastasio and Gordon have disagreed with the

song and it's place in the bands song list. On at least three other

occasions in the past Gordon and Anastasio have clashed over the song while

rehearing. One of these heated exchanges occurred backstage at the bands

then-annual summer ending festival/concert in Limestone, Maine at the end of

the summer of 1998. The band had started a new concert tradition that

summer of playing odd cover songs in concert, opening or closing nearly

every night with some strange cover they learned hastily before the show.

Artist such as Jane's Addiction and Van Halen were immortalized. Something

else Phish began to do was bring many of their older songs back into limited

rotation. One song that had yet to return however was "Destiny Unbound".

While back stage at the concert, dubbed, "The Lemonwheel", as the band

rehearsed another obscure member of the Phish playbook, "Sanity", Gordon

again expressed interest in possible reviving "Destiny". Again he was met

by hostility by Anastasio. Anastasio, reportedly threaten to beat Gordon

"with Fish's electro-lux" (a vacuum that Jon Fishman, the bands drummer,

occasional attempts to play like a trumpet, to mixed results at best).

On another occasion, in the fall of 1997, as the band commenced on a

two-night run at Hampton Coliseum (concerts that would later be released by

Elektra as a box set), Anastasio and Gordon nearly came to blows over the

subject of the song again. As the band traveled overnight on their tour

bus, Gordon pointed out that Hampton coliseum was the venue that the Dead

often choose to bring back classic, if forgotten about songs. In 1989, the

Grateful Dead played a show at the same arena, billed under their original

name of The Warlocks. At that show they choose to revive a longtime concert

favorite, "Dark Star", a staple that had not been played in over 5 years by

the band. Later in that same show, they choose to break out an even more

obscure song that had not been played in over twenty years, a song called

"Attics Of My Life." Gordon suggests to the band that they play Destiny

Unbound in a sort of quiet nod to the Dead and their fallen leader. (Phish

has slowly grown to embrace their legacy and it's attachment to the Dead).

Anastasio reacted as he had in the past. He ordered the bus driver to pull

over, and got off of the bus. The last thing he was heard as saying was

that there was no way that he would play that "horrible death march cannibal

music, if you want to play it, do it without me!" Eventually Anastasio

cooled off in time from the show and made it to the Coliseum in time for the

band's soundcheck, but the damage was done, and the events that transpired

on that bus in rural Virginia very well might have been the seed that grew

the weeds that are threatened to choke the life out of a band that drew the

largest crowd to a concert on the Millennia's Eve.

The Final straw came in late February when Gordon sat in for a set with his

band mate Anastasio's side project. After the show, Gordon joked that it

would have been the perfect time to "fuck with the fans and bring back

"Destiny." Anastasio reportedly grunted and walked out of the room and is

still refusing to return calls to Gordon about a possible return to the road

this summer. Anastasio has since planned his own tour of the country, using

the member of his side project.

It is not clear that this is in fact the reason behind the possible breakup,

but what is know is that Gordon has decided that he play on, with or without

Anastasio. Gordon chose the concert of a friend to reintroduce "Destiny"

live. At a recent concert by Col. Bruce Hampton (no relation to the arena)

and movie screening of Gordon's first independent movie, the bass player

joined the Hampton and his band in a rousing rendition of the song, much to

the delight of the fans in attendace who have long hoped the song would

return. Undeterred by Anastasio, Gordon was quoted backstage as saying "I

don't care what he (Anastasio) and (John) Paluska say, I think it is a great

fucking song and I am going to play it!"

None of the band member or their management was available for official

comment, but band manager John Paluska was heard screaming from his office

at Dionysian Production, "I don't give a shit if Gordon has to spend his

summer lighting Trey's crack pipe and mowing his lawn, he better fucking

apologize and make amends for this Destiny shit"

While Phish Phans wait for official word from the band on this hiatus, the

speculation and rumors will continue. If this disagreement is any

indication, it could be a long time before anyone sees the original four

members on stage together again.

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