Phish’s Trey Anastasio On What Jimi Hendrix & Leo Kottke Have In Common
Listen to Trey talk about his “guitar-tuning heroes.”
On February 24, 2001, the historic Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, hosted the Trey Anastasio Band. During a hiatus from touring with Phish, Trey took to the stage with his solo band, featuring Tony Markellis on bass and Russ Lawton on drums, for just the 17th time. This show also marked only the fourth time a horn section was present, which included Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet, Dave Grippo on saxophone, and Andy Moroz on trombone.
After delivering two action-packed, full-band electric sets that included a 24-minute-plus “Gotta Jibboo” and a debut cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” Trey decided to perform solo acoustic for a few songs at the beginning of the encore. However, as he started playing, he realized his guitars were not tuned exactly as he wanted, despite his guitar tech having asked about the tunings for his acoustic guitars.
As he re-tuned his guitar to play “Driver,” Trey mentioned his two all-time “tuning heroes”: Leo Kottke and Jimi Hendrix. He described Kottke as a “tuning expert” who could skillfully manage “one guitar and 150 different tunings.” Trey then expressed his admiration for Hendrix, whom he considered the greatest tuner ever. He recalled how Hendrix would “actually tune in the middle of ‘Machine Gun’ and stuff” and declared, “Never again will there be a guitar player like that that will walk on this planet.”
During his tribute to Kottke, Trey expressed uncertainty on whether the audience would know the talented guitarist. Unbeknownst to him, this moment foreshadowed a remarkable collaboration between Kottke and Phish bassist Mike Gordon, who released their first album, Clone, on October 8, 2002.
While not available directly for listening on The Live Music Archive, audience recordings of many Trey Anastasio performances have recently been added to the playback options on relisten.net. Visit the site to listen to an overall scorching early TAB show and stream the “Driver” with classic banter below:
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Setlist (Via Phish.net)
Set One: Small Axe , Nothing But an ‘E’ Thing, It Makes No Difference, Burlap Sack and Pumps, Acting the Devil, At the Gazebo, Andre the Giant , Tops Off, Mozambique, Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours
Set Two: Push On ‘Til the Day > Tube Top Flop, Windora Bug > Gotta Jibboo, Mellow Mood, Ether Sunday, Sand
Encore: Ray Dawn Balloon , Driver, Strange Design, Drifting
-  TAB debut.
-  Debut of the new arrangement.
-  Trey solo acoustic.
This show featured the debut of the new arrangement of Andre the Giant and the TAB debuts of Small Axe and Signed Sealed Delivered, I’m Yours. Nothing But an ‘E’ Thing was dedicated to Trey’s dad. Trey performed Ray Dawn Balloon through Strange Design solo acoustic. While tuning before Driver, Trey noted his two “tuning heroes:” Leo Kottke, and “the greatest tuner ever,” Jimi Hendrix.