Jump to content

phish article from adam foley.com


Recommended Posts

There is no precedent in rock and roll for the decision made last fall by

> the four members of Phish. After 17 years and 1300 concerts together, they

> announced they were stopping. Not exactly breaking up, but also not

> promising that they would ever be back. There were no fights, meltdowns,

> or Yokos. They didn't burn out, and they didn't fade away. They just

> quietly decided to pack it in while they were still on top. As their final

> show ended, at the Shoreline Ampitheater near San Francisco last October,

> the band sang the last notes of "You Enjoy Myself," "which was always, we

> felt, the song," says Trey Anastasio, the band's guitarist and principal

> songwriter. "It was so emotional. I felt such a huge wave, just to think

> that for 17 years we were focused on this thing." Then they walked off the

> stage, found an empty room and sat there for hours; just Trey Anastasio,

> Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, and Page McConnell. Beyond that, there were no

> plans. The only thing they knew bout their future was that they didn't

> want to turn into the Grateful Dead. "They were obviously these big role

> models for us," says Anastasio, " and I felt like a tour was happening

> because I needed money to support all these people". Eight months later,

> Anastasio is deep into a new musical life. The day after Phish ended, he

> says, he went home to Vermont and began the months-long process of turning

> the Phish song, "Guyute" into an orchestral work that the Vermont Youth

> Orchestra performed in February. That same night, he played and

> excruciatingly difficult guitar piece written for him by Vermont-based

> composer Ernie Stires, an infuential figure in Anastasio's life whom he

> has referred to as his guru. This spring, he spent a month recording an

> album with Oysterhead, a power trio in which he's joined by Primus' Les

> Claypool and Police drummer, Stewart Copeland. For the past few weeks, he

> has been working with his own band, an eight-piece horn-driven ensemble

> whose sound recalls the Nigerian juju music of King Sunny Ade. He has

> written and rehearsed 14 songs with them and will take the band on a

> 19-date tour this summer, in which they will play almost all new material.

> "When I think about the amount of music I've made in the last 6 months,"

> Anastasio says, "it kind of shows why Phish stopped". "The guy is

> insane," says Phish drummer Jon Fishman. "He's a crazed musical output

> machine". On a Thursday afternoon in late May, I meet Anastasio at the

> Barn, his recording studio not far from his home. For much of the

> afternoon, he has been holding a "horn boot camp." The musicians have

> left, and Pete Carini, a longtime member of the Phish crew, is playing

> back some music they've just recorded. Thought the music occupies the

> bright grooves familiar to Phish fans, it has a very different feel.

> Raucously orchestrated horns - tubas, flutes, saxaphones, trumpets - march

> through a teeming beehive beat, Anastasio's sleek guitar darting in and

> out. Anastasio listens to the music with his whole body - kicking, shaking

> his fist, bobbing his head, laughing, grooving. At thirty-six, Anastasio

> presents an appearance of constant laid-back motion and a relaxed,

> attentive bearing. He's dressed in a flannel shirt, jeans, scuffed work

> boots and a black wool-knit cap. A filigree of wrinkles around his eyes

> suggests an inner core of wear. "I think it would be great if I just had a

> day and sat around," he says. "But that doesn't seem to happen. I can't

> seem to do it. I'm always a few steps behind. Or ahead. Or something" On

> a coffee table, a well-thumbed copy of one of Henry James' difficult later

> novels lays open. "My wife's a big Henry James fan and an avid reader," he

> says. "We go through 12 books a week." Baseball highlights flash on a big

> screen tv. A motley array of CDs is sprawled on a table: the new Tool and

> REM records, King Sunny Ade, Buckethead, and a Tower of Power Anthology.

> The Barn is situated deep in the woods just north of Burlington. It's

> about a 25 minute walk from the Barn to the house Anastasio shares with

> his wife and two young daughters, "just far enough away," he says "that

> it's clear Dad's gone to work". The Barn combines a logistical and

> aesthetic complexity with a simpleness of intent and purpose. From the

> outside, what you see is a fairly unprepossessing 100-year-old barn set

> into a steep, rocky chunk of Vermont hillside. It's not prettied up - no

> fancy landscaping, none of moneyed touches of a leisure-class hideaway.

> With a degree of Yankee pride, Anastasio mentions that the building cost

> him only $1,000, but that's quickly followed by a faraway glance and a

> throaty, rest-of-the-story giggle. "But it wasn't so cheap after that," he

> says. The Barn's most striking feature is an elegant, arching catwalk

> that stretches over its vaulting interior and leads to a small elevator

> platform, which is powered by the motor from an electric garage-door

> opener. You stand there, flip the switch and slowly rise up into a cupola

> with a dramatic view of Mount Mansfield, Vermont's tallest peak. It's up

> here that Anastasio starts to open up about how his band went into its

> remarkably cordial abeyance. "I was starting to feel in the last couple of

> years that I was spending more time dealing with the personnel crises of

> the enormous organization we had made than writing music," he says. "There

> are 40 people working in the office, and people want their salary, or

> someone asks 'How come I'm not involved in this decision-making process

> like I was when you were a smaller band?' I always feel, because of my

> role in this thing, a kind of responsibility. I want everyone to be

> happy." The band had been on a downward creative spiral for a couple of

> years, Anastasio says evenly. Phish were not developing enough new

> material. Anastasio mentions that on their last album, Farmhouse, a number

> of the songs had been lying around, and others were ones that Anastasio

> had written for his own band. He says, "Everyone was too damn busy to even

> come. I didn't want to do another album like that, because at that point

> it's not even Phish anymore." "Whatever it was, in some ways it was

> over," says Fishman. "That single-minded vision set out by four guys in

> college. Really simply, we grew up." Fishman says he knew the end was in

> sight when Phish played before 80,000 people on New Year's Eve 2000 at Big

> Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida. "For the first time, we

> had something we knew we couldn't out-do," he says. "Our whole career, we

> had been pushing this big, cool ball steadily uphill; after Big Cypress,

> it started to feel like it was starting to roll downhill." Fishman says he

> also started to become spooked by the size of the enterprise. "This is

> when the planes start to crash and the buses start rolling over." In the

> ridiculously well-adjusted world that Anastasio seems to inhabit - Fishman

> refers to the band as a "sickingly functional family" - the current

> separation seems like just another step in Phish's evolution. Anastasio

> mentions some "sticky areas", but he insists that the decision to call

> things off was mutual. "I mean, nobody got mad or anything," he says. His

> mother talks about "tensions happening in a variety of ways." Stires says

> that after 17 years, Trey had become comfortably worn out with Phish. It

> was time to move on." The quality that made Phish survive for so long -

> and that has driven Anastasio in the months since - is his astonishing

> capacity for work and his ability to exhort his band mates to keep up with

> him. "At his best", Fishman says, "Trey was writing music beyond the level

> of what we could play, and we all became better players trying to learn

> it" After a while, though, Anastasio got frustrated because the other

> members could not keep up with his output. "I started feeling awkward

> about having all this material," he says. "So I started holding it back,

> and it got a little...well, let's put it this way: I feel really good

> about it now." "Band practice was, like, the greatest legacy of Phish in

> my mind." Anastasio says. He begins to speak more slowly, as if explaining

> a strange custom to a foreigner. "We would get in the practice room and

> play one song, and then just start talking and talking and talking. It was

> a safe haven, being around people who completely understood you, of guys

> going from washing dishes and driving cabs - I was working in a pet food

> warehouse - and the next thing you know, being basically rich". He

> pauses, thinks a little more and says, "I don't think we even had band

> practice in the last year and a half at all." The barn is a culmination

> of Anastasio's musical journey, a comfortable hideaway where band practice

> never has to end. "Trey is much more than an entertainment guitarist,"

> says Stires, who believes that Anastasio has the talent and drive to

> become an important composer. "He is going to do better than other rock

> stars who have tried to write serious music." The future of Phish hangs

> before Anastasio, at once a question mark and a security blanket. Speaking

> for himself, Fishman suggests that if the band does get back together,

> he'd like it be on a much smaller scale - sporadic tours, occasional

> albums. What's clear is that Phish will never be the hungry beast that

> they once were. In a paradoxical way, Trey Anastasio is too driven for

> that, too consumed with pursuing all his different musical visions. "It's

> not enough to be floating around out there just because we can," he says.

> "This why I can't say for sure that Phish will come back. I won't come

> back unless it's as good as it was."

yipes!! it said it was from Rollingstone.com...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everybody always reads these things and freaks out nd goes off the deep end immediately saying "There's no more PHISH,There's no more PHISH". I really wish that people would take a break from it themselves and look at the facts. Yesw I understand that Big Cypress would be hard to top. Well so would any good millenium celebration. I don't know if you noticed, but the millenium is long past. In september Trey said they were going to take a year or two off. Well it hasn't even been a year yet and everyone is saying that it's done. Well I don't think it is. The music and the empotion and the comunity is to powerful for there to never be another Phish show. Paige has as new baby,Fishman is rumored to be having a baby, Trey is at work on his solo projects, Mike is making a film. I say lets support these guys in whatever it is that they want to do for the next year or so and then see what happens. Rememver, this is a writer here whose motives and own personal opinions about Phish are unknown. Has he even been to a show before??? Oersonally I don't think the boys will be able to not play together for an extended amount of time. It's just that what happens when they are together is much more powerful than any one of them alone. So waht if Trey is the only one doing a solo tour. Big deal. Let Mike finish his movie and Paige finih all of the live album compiations he is working on. Bottom line... Let's give them some time to sort it all out. And not go jumping to conclusions everytime we read an article written by some half with who may have never even been to a show before. the music will live forever and NOBODY has said that it is over..

Just keep sharing in the groove til it comes back.

Hope it wasn't too much of a rant.

Hunter grin.gif" border="0

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never been too concerned. For one thing, my motivation to go to shows wasn't so strong that I thought about it all year long, and couldn't wait for the summer, so I could hit Summer Tour. I can't wait for summer, and the only reason is that it's summer, and summer is great.

As phish continue on their break, which I can only assume is an amazing breath of fresh air for them, I will be seeing things that I would not have seen otherwise.

Of course, when Phish return to putting on the shows, it will be an insane rush for tickets, that I can only guess will be a huge pain in the ass to try and get.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I have a number of questions regarding the validity of that so called 'article'...I dont think it is real....if Oysterhead is mentioned in the article...why are there no questions regarding their tour plans for the fall?

Hood and I were laughing at that thing last night......hey Shane, where do I find the original off of Foleys?

Its a hoax......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey saw this posted today on my Phish Digest i receive.. it will be in the new edition of rollingstone.com... they claim its legit .. but even if it is... think of all the new music that we'll be hearing when they come back... i mean Trey and Tom just finished 14 new songs for teh Trey tour... it'll just take a bit longer than we hoped... They know we love them and in the end is what will draw us all back.. no matter how hard the ticket!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think all the phans are waiting until they hear the "break up" word. they won't believe until they do.

unfortunate. it's ova

check out charlie hunter, or particle or robert walters or the 1000's of other bands there are. you can always listen to your bootlegs and remember the good times.........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really doesn't matter too much. Either way, life goes on. It would be nice for everyone to go and have fun at phish shows together, but there are other things that everyone can do together.

Ex-canadian, are you going to see any of the phil lesh/sci thingies this summer?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I admit it, it matters a fucking bunch to me. I'm not phished out yet. You know what? I go see Trey, Robert Walters, Les, Soulive, and a million other shows all the time, and I get the CDs, dats, etc of their shows, but guess what, they don't do it for me the way phish does. Sorry. In my mind Trey solo is a weak substitute for the real deal.

Sure, Phish owes me nothing, and has every right to call it quits if they feel like it, but I'm not going to pretend I can just say, 'Ok, well, there'S a bunch of other bands to take their place'. 'Tain't so (at least for me).

Also, I caught the band 9 times in 2000 and I'm sorry, but many of those shows were FAR superior to many that I saw in the '90s. This wasn't like the Dead '93-'95 hot shows were few and far between. Listen to the Japan tour and tell me that phish sucked up in 2000. Every show was HOT (with the possible exception of 6.11) and they did not sound like a band on the verge of rolling over.

My buddy, who has seen the band twice as much as me is the type that feels content enough about his Phish 'intake' that he could skip a tour or two and go see other bands instead. Fine. But I'm not there yet. Maybe I never will be.

Ok, enough whining and bawling on my part. All this to say that I sure as hell hope they'll be back and that this break is doing them some good.

As for people 'inside' who say it's officially over. I'm not sure about that. To the best of my knowledge, based on conversations I've had, they're just as in the dark as the rest of us about how long this is going to last and any speculation on their part is just that, speculation.

That said, hope to see some of y'all in Montreal at the MMW show!


Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...