Trey Anastasio, to SonicNet, c.1994
Once there was a guy called ‘The Timer.’ He stood in the front row at every show. He had a clipboard and a stopwatch. He was a brilliant math researcher, getting his Ph.D. at someplace like MIT. Whenever we started to play, he would start his stopwatch. His idea of quality was length. Whenever the jam wasn’t long enough, he would shake his head disapprovingly. So we had to ask him to not stand in the front row anymore. I have since heard that he is still timing everything, but just from the back of the hall
For a limited time, you can access our blog archive at phishnet.tumblr.com.
By way of compiling content remnants from the previous version of this site and related projects, we've backdated a number of stories here as blog posts.
But the blog launched with this photo, posted 12/5/09 at noon by Adam.
Trey Anastasio, December 5, 2009
You gotta run like a naked guy, out of control!
aul Caine, “Phish at Madison Square Garden” (A.V. Club NY review, 12/4/09), http://tinyurl.com/y96hx6r
One of the most impressive elements of a Phish concert, aside from the crackerjack light show, is the degree to which fans personally invest themselves in the music. When a song is performed sloppily or a solo doesn’t last as long as it could have, there is an odd sort of familial disappointment, like a son’s embarrassment at his father’s shortcomings. But when the music is strong, it’s like a feedback loop that drives the band higher and higher. You can see it on stage and you can see it in the crowd.
Portland, ME, newspaper, 12/2/99
Simplicity is the new mantra for Phish.
Trey Anastasio, New York Post, 1/1/99
I'm the overbearing leader type, although I sometimes shy away from that. If Page is the father, I guess I'm the mother.
The following was posted to the Mockingbird Foundation website on October 9, 2008:
Stat Analysis Suggests Bust-Outs at Spaceship Hampton
Hardcore Methodology has Hardcore Phans Excited
Phish’s return to the stage next March is destined to involve screams of joy, lots of press, and several new songs. The band will perform three shows atHampton Coliseum in Virginia, after more than 4.5 years since its then-permanent breakup. A statistical analysis of information about it’s previous 12 shows at that venue, 34 shows in that state, and 1440 shows in history demonstrates that Hampton performances stand out. Specifically, it suggests that the band will perform Sample in a Jar, Harry Hood, Mike’s Song, Weekapaug Groove, Bathtub Gin, and Cars Trucks Buses (in order of the strength of expectation), as well as at least three new songs.
- Big Steps - At shows stretching from 5/23/90 at The Library in Richmond, to 8/9/04 at Hampton, Virginia has watched Phish take big steps. Their first contract with hotel provisions was reportedly for 2/21/91 at Trax (signed with Coran Capshaw, now MusicToday founder etc.) [some other big firsts there] Sole summer shows between Santana and HORDE. They’ve performed in Virginia every day of the week, every month but September, and at least once every year from 1990 to 1999, often as they “followed the line going south” (per lyrics from their original tune “Curtain”, the last song of Coventry).
- Song Diversity - Phish’s 34 Virginia shows have had an average of just over 20 songs per show. With two sets and an encore per show totaling around 150 minutes, that comes to about 7.5 minutes per song on average - and many Hampton shows are, of course, longer. The band has played nearly a third (214, or 31%) of its 690 or so songs in the state, leaving some 476 that haven’t yet vibrated Virginian air. Of songs the band has played, but not in Virginia,
Starting around 1996, Phish's print advertisements for their shows began to get strange. But 1998 was a banner year for it.
Spring 1998 ads featured a Kung Fu character and proclaimed "Phish Destroys America".
Summer 1998 ads announced that "in addition to their other amazing expoits, the band will perform in a temple of fire", possibly referring to the "ambient fourth set" of the Lemonwheel. (Concerts LA by Casenet actually listed Temple of Fire as the opening act for Ventura!)
Fall 1998 ads (e.g. for the Greek Theatre) read "ROAD SHOW '98 ... They drive FASTER & play HARDER ! ACTION... PHISH.... Their GUTS are as hard as the STEEL in their ENGINES." The ads showed a demolition-derby-type car with a number 72 on the side.
Written by Dan Hantman 6/16/04; posted with his permission 11/5/12...
So, I've obviously been thinking a lot about The End of Phish. I realized today that the last show will be almost exactly 10 years after I first heard Phish -- a moment that itself will end up marking roughly the midpoint of the Phish timeline. In that vein, I've been thinking about the portion of Phish's career I've watched unfold in real-time...and all the "big thoughts about music and bands" that Phish has put into my head. I always tell people that Phish taught me how to listen to music. And they certainly taught me what music could mean.
I knew from the moment I heard it that the Announcement was okay, even good. It just felt right in my gut. As I said on this list before, I don't mean to say at *all* that I knew this decision was *coming*, but I definitely was wondering where the band was *going*... and in that context, it all made sense.
So intuitively, on the "heart" level, I was with Trey as soon as I got the news. But I've been trying to put it together on a "head" level. And I think I just got it:
If "Phish" (the idea, the phenomenon) was about one thing... it wasn't about intricate fugues or key changes. It wasn't about sick jamming. It wasn't about drugs or dreadlocks. It wasn't about wacky covers or about cultivating a new Grateful Dead for the suburban-scape. It certainly wasn't about "songwriting." All those things helped shape the band's personality, but they weren't at the core of it.
Rather, Phish was about hard work.
Phish proved, more than any other band, that rock and roll greatness can be archived through sheer, unflinching effort. Phish won because they practiced. Because Trey spend weeks on end writing up the score for crazy wacked-out sonic gymnastics. Because they brought *teachers* out on tour with them to school them in new genres. Because they were constantly forcing themselves to invent: 'Hey' exercises, Oh Kee Pa ceremonies, Big Ball Jams, secret language, hot dogs, musical costumes, macaroni maracas, playing through the night... They never stopped.
Aside perhaps from Fish (who I suspect was born pounding out a rhythm on his round little tummy), I don't think any of the boys is a raw, natural musical genius. There was no Dylan, Hendrix, or Garcia here. They just wanted this so bad, they saw the possibilities, and they went out and fucking did it. That's why when you see Phish at their best on stage, you can see each band member looking around going "holy shit, this is actually fucking happening to me"... no sense of entitlement or expectation, just the joy of somebody who hauls ass and watches it pay off.
And that's why, with the hiatus, and the waning of the desire to bust ass, Phish just had to end.
All bands "stray" from their original genius (use the word "decline" if you want). The Stones are still rocking, but it's just not possible for them to convey the blues-soaked sex romps that defined their glory days. In that way, to the extent that all rock and roll bands are about youth, decline is inevitable. But that's not the point with Phish. Phish *could* have gone on forever, if the impulse to work were still there. If Trey were still calling the other 3 to hop out of bed on a Friday morning and hustle down at 10:15am to work through a set of needlessly difficult exercises -- Phish could go on like that forever. But once they stepped back, took the hiatus, dramatically scaled back the number of shows... it was a foregone conclusion. Phish can't exist at 20, 50 or 75%.
Phish was a 110% operation. The minute it went to 99%, it might as well have been 0%. And I can only say one thing to Trey for having the foresight to see that: Thanks, man.