Thursday 10/26/1995 by Lemuria

MUSIC CAN'T LIE

Music can’t lie — it really is the universal language. People can hear your intent. If you intent is to sell records and make money, people will hear that, and it blackens the music. That’s why the live thing has been so exciting, and so spiritual for us. Once the fans are in the room, there’s nothing we can do on-stage that will bring us any more monetary gain. So we’re then free to explore and celebrate the spiritual aspect of the music.

Trey Anastasio, The Detroit News, 10/26/95
Thursday 06/01/1995 by Lemuria

BAND CONTINUITY

We get along so well, we work so hard at communication, playing together is really like an incredible journey or something. By keeping the same members in the band, you can get deeper and deeper without having to change the personality balance.

Trey Anastasio, to Addicted to Noise

Trey Anastasio, to Addicted to Noise
Tuesday 05/16/1995 by Lemuria

WHAT PHISH OFFERS

Phish offers something rare in pop: a long, complex, and completely different show every night. Musically competent without fetishizing technique, Phish embraces a broad spectrum of rock, jazz, bluegrass, twentieth century compositional techniques, blissful extended jams, African groove experiments, psychedelic game playing, and absolutely Dionysian moments of free-form guitar ecstasy.

Richard Gehr, Village Voice, 5/16/95
Saturday 12/10/1994 by phishnet

SPLIT OPEN & RAMBLE

We just discovered how to play Split Open and Melt, because it's got this really weird time change that was throwing us off. But that one on Hoist at the end, that was the first time it clicked. Split Open and Melt went from being a big pain in our butt to like, this was it, this was how you play Split Open and Melt. For the next year, it was incredible. We played one at Red Rocks.... It was just screaming. That had gotten to that point from the one on Hoist, from Columbus, Ohio. That was the night that it broke through. I actually think this is what happened: The one at Red Rocks was the end of the cycle. It peaked, and it never got as good as that again. It hasn't yet. And this tour, it didn't have it anymore. It didn't have the magic. It's weird. We figured it out, and then it went through this big cycle starting in Columbus and ending in Red Rocks, and this tour, it's back on the back burner again. We're not playing it that much.

Trey Anastasio, 12/10/94 interview with Steve Silberman
Saturday 12/10/1994 by Lemuria

MIKE STAYS RESTED

...by the end of a tour, everybody starts to get a little bit beat. Except for maybe Mike, who's been real careful about making sure he gets eight hours of sleep and runs every morning.

Trey Anastasio, 12/10/94 interview with Steve Silberman
Sunday 05/22/1994 by phishnet

INTERVIEW: TREY ANASTASIO, 5/22/94

 

An interview with Michael Snyder, originally posted to rec.music.phish:

Phish, the wry, progressive rock quartet out of Burlington, Vt., fell together in the late '80s.  Since then Phish...wooed and won a rabid following by relentlessly touring.  Five albums -- including the recently released "Hoist" on Elektra -- have ranged in stule from complex jazz-rock fugues to good-time latter-day country-rock to concept-laden flights of fancy.  But it is Phish's unpredictable, improvisational nature in concert that has made it one of the most successful live attractions in pop music. 

[and this when they were still playing 3000 seat theatres!] 

Furthermore, the band's good-natured humor, cyber-hippie spirituality [so that's what that is!] and instrumental expertise brought the Grateful Dead's [gotta be at least one] fiercely loyal, tie-dyed crowd into the Phish fold.  Phish plays [locally this week]....  Last week, Anastasio discussed Phish in a phone call from a Tempe, Ariz. hotel room. 

Q:  Do you believe that Phish is, as many contend, the Grateful Dead of the '90s? 

A:  Not really.  But there is absolutely a connection.  We do share fans.  I think its an energy thing and a sense of adventure.  There's a similarity with the Dead shows because of the risk in improvisation.  They do it.  We do it.  And you never know what's going to happen. 

Q:  Was the Dead a primary influence? 

A:  I've seen the Dead once in the past seven years, but I saw them a lot when I was in high school.  Personally, I've always listened to a lot of different kinds of music.  I was just watching an old Zappa video on the bus last night.  I always loved Zappa's compositional sense and his bands.  We draw on bluegrass and the harmonies of traditional American music.  And there's jazz.  I just did a short, three-night tour with Michael Ray, who was a trumpet player with Sun Ra and did horn arrangements for Kool and the Gang.  [Interesting!]  He also came out and jammed with us on a couple of occasions.  As far as the Dead, I like the sort of spirituality and transcendance thing they get into when they write and improvise. 

Q:  Is the erratic nature of improvisation daunting for you and your band mates? 

A:  It's not as much of an on-off thing as it is with the Dead.  [Meaning that the Dead could be really "on" one night and "off" another?]  But it ensures that each night is different.  We try to let the spontaneity take over.  We just played Dallas [the Bomb Factory] the other night, and the last 65 minutes of the show were completely improvised.  It wasn't planned, but it happened, and we just took off.  [I remember back then reading this and thinking, "ooh, i'd like to hear that some day!"  sure enough....]   If it wasn't for nights like that, I wouldn't be doing this.  I'm not traveling eight months out of the year just to sit in hotel rooms. 

Q:  "Hoist" is definitely more song-oriented than your earlier albums.  Why is that? 

A:  It's probably a reaction to the last record "Rift."  It's a polar opposite.  "Rift" had few songs.  It was a darker concept album with all kinds of heavily composed stuff.  Which was a reaction to the album before "Rift," " A Picture of Nectar," which had a lighthearted fantasy vibe.  There's another difference from earlier recordings.  We arranged the new album for the studio.  We decided to record it without taking the new songs out on the road first. 

Q:  How was it working with "Hoist" guest artists such as Oakland's Tower of Power horn section, banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck and vocalists Alison Krauss and Sly Stone's wife, Rose? 

A:  We worked with Bela and his band before.  You get to be friends when you see them on the road all the time.  They're amazing musicians.  The most exciting thing for us was having Alison on the record.  We listen to her albums all the time.  We wanted hornig, so (producer) Paul Fox said, "You might as well get the best." 

Q:  Your albums don't give you much room to stretch out as you do in concert.  Is that problematic? 

A:  Well, we've only sold a total of a half-million copies, and this is already our fifth album.  We know we built our audience with the live thing, but we love it. 

Q:  How did this all get started? 

A:  We met in Vermont.  Three of us graduated from Goddard College, an alternative school from the '60s, where you design your own wourse of study.  For example, I worked with a composer, Ernie Stires, who taught me arranging for three years.  [Thanks Ernie!]  I wrote a couple of musicals, big-band arrangements, atonal pieces.  Meanwhile, Fish was locked in a room with a drum set for three years.   [Supposedly virtually true!]  So we got together and played in Burlington, then New Hampshire.  It just spread acroos the country.  We built the whole thing up through word-of-mouth and a network of people trading tapes.  Like, we went to Telluride, Colo., and played seven nights at a bar for the door.  We met everybody in town and made friends. They told their friends.  Next time back in Colorado, twice as many people came to the shows.  The time after that, twice as many again.  We're still doing that.  [And they're *still* doing it!] 

Q:  What accounts for your fans' devotion? 

A:  It's the experience at the concerts.  [Amen!]  There's a real feeling between us.  I don't feel like I'm performing *at* the audience.  It's like a party.  Or it's like some night in high school, where you blew off some plans and, instead, you and your friends stayed out all night.  You went to the lake and watched the sun rise. It was a spontaneous bonding experience that you remember all your life.  Tha's how I feel at a show when everything goes right.  It's much more powerful than a planned-out show.  When people have that experience, they're hooked. 

Read more...

Saturday 04/16/1994 by Lemuria

BILLBOARD ON HOIST

Vermont's finest band delivers an astoundingly good album that promises a feast for modern rock, album rock, college, album alternative, and pop outlets, provided they're willing to bend...

Billboard Magazine, 4/16/94
Sunday 03/27/1994 by Lemuria

PAGE ON HOIST

We were definately out to make this one more accessible. Our previous albums had their good and bad sides, but none of us spent much time listening to them. We wanted to make one we might really like to listen to. ... We wanted an album that didn't have as many silly lyrics or as many fantasy-oriented lyrics.

Page, quoted in the 3/27/94 Boston Globe
Sunday 03/27/1994 by Lemuria

PAGE LIKES VERMONT

I just really like it up here. It's out of the way and has a small-town feeling to it. It definitely feels like a community. And where else would we go? I can't imagine us moving to Boston or Los Angeles. We're on the road a lot - eight or nine months last year - so why not spend the rest of our time in a beautiful place like Vermont?

Page, in the 3/27/94 Boston Globe
Tuesday 03/22/1994 by Lemuria

TREY 'SPLAINS

[Unlike] other rock audience members, they tend to come to lots of different shows. We kind of mix it up from night to night. It becomes this sort of long extended thing where people follow the band around, and we're aware of that, and get to know people, and it becomes a real kind of family atmosphere. ... There's a lot of networking that goes on among them. There's the Phish.net [for example]....

Trey Anastasio, Rockline, 3/22/94
Tuesday 03/22/1994 by Lemuria

NETWORKS REQUIRE FRESHNESS

What really makes the whole thing exciting and interesting, we get a lot of this, uh a lot  of networking. We have a mailing list that goes out to about 50,000 people and people write in and call in, and ... for instance, the last tour we did, we knew about 125 people who did the entire tour, that's a three-month tour... and what happens is you get to a point where you have to, where everything has to be fresh. You have to be living in the moment. You can't go out on stage and say the same joke that you said the night before or play the same songs.

Trey Anastasio, Rockline, 3/22/94
Tuesday 03/22/1994 by Lemuria

TREY SAID CARLOS SAID MARVIN SAID LET GO

[Carlos Santana] said, if you think you're making the music, you're wrong. He said that Marvin Gaye told him that, in improvisational music especially, or in any music, it exists and you're basically a vehicle that it passes through and some people are maybe more suited to that than others, but the best thing that you can do is just let it go and not try to control the music.

Trey Anastasio, Rockline, 3/22/94
Tuesday 03/22/1994 by Lemuria

EARLY GATHERINGS

...we might come to town and the people on the Phish.net will communicate through electronic email and the night of the show, they'll all meet down at a local microbrewery or something...

Trey Anastasio, Rockline, 3/22/94
Wednesday 04/22/1992 by Lemuria

HARNESSING LIGHT

I think the ultimate engineering project is to learn how to use light as power.

Jon Fishman, 4/22/92 interview with Shelly Culbertson
Wednesday 04/22/1992 by Lemuria

FISHMAN PRAISES EINSTEIN

Einstein -- he's one of my heroes. ... He brought all sorts of creative ideas to this planet, and he had a lot of mediocre minds working against him --- but if you're going to accomplish that much, you've got to be challenged. I'm sure he was challenged in a lot of ways, but he managed to steer clear of it. No one ever hated him. You'd think in a position like that you could become bitter, you could become a jerk, and you'd have every right to be that way. But even still to be able to stay a nice guy, and end up having a reverberation like that ... that's incredible.

Jon Fishman, 4/22/92 interview with Shelly Culbertson

Page 90 of 94



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