The Tapes Archive Shares Previously Unreleased Trey Anastasio Interview From 1993
New Osiris podcast The Tapes Archive unveiled an episode featuring a previously unreleased interview with Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio taped in August 1993. Anastasio discusses the 10-year-old at the time band’s past, present and future with journalist Marc Allan, whose cache of celebrity interviews from the 1980s and 1990s are finally coming out via The Tapes Archive.
Allan’s work might be best known to Phish fans for a review he wrote of the band’s August 10, 1997 performance in which he stated, “Phish could urinate in its fans ears and tell them it’s music, the fans in turn would be there with tape recorders to capture the moment.” Anastasio famously read the “bad review” in a scene featured in the 2000 documentary Bittersweet Motel. Allan may have been harsh but he still remains a fan of the band and was particularly high on the group’s music at the time of this 1993 interview.
Trey and Marc chatted ahead of Phish’s appearance at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Peacock Pavilion on August 6, 1993. August 1993 has long been in the debate for the best months of Phish history, which makes it all the more interesting to hear Anastasio’s thoughts from the time. The interview began with some small talk before the pair dove into all things Phish. Anastasio explained the group’s ethos of making decisions “based on what we really enjoy doing, as opposed to what would be, something that would make the big bucks.” The theme of Phish focusing on their live show and being happy with where they were at was one that would come up repeatedly. The guitarist made it clear the goal wasn’t to score a hit and he mentioned the band’s reluctance to make a video, though they would give in within a year and create one for “Down With Disease.”
A particularly interesting part of the interview comes when Trey detailed the band’s listening exercises that help them improvise. Anastasio described the “Hey Hole” exercise to Allan. The journalist went on to ask Trey about whether the band knows what will happen when they take the stage. “Every night’s completely different, but I usually have some idea what’s gonna, I personally more than anyone else in the band have formed some kind of song list type thing,” Anastasio responded. “And the idea though is that you don’t have to stick to it. So figuring out cool song lists is something that I just like doing. So I’m always thinking in that way. It’s like writing a big piece of music, you know. And they’re definitely different every night and there’s definitely an anything goes attitude.”
Allan brought up the Grateful Dead comparisons and unlike many journalists noted more of the differences between the two acts than the similarities. Marc asked “with tongue firmly in cheek” whether Anastasio expected to be “a fat guy with a grey beard, just coming out of a coma” in 25 years in reference to Jerry Garcia’s health issues. “I’d better not be coming out a coma,” Trey retorted. He went on to discuss an experience he had the previous night catching a band named Snowblind in concert and his love for songwriting. “I wish I could write for an orchestra,” Anastasio said, a wish that would be fulfilled within 10 years from the time the interview was recorded.
The conversation ended with Allan asking Trey where he thought music would be in the year 2000. Anastasio felt there would be a backlash against the conservative of radio and mass media. The guitarist described Phish’s working relationship with their label at the time, Elektra and talked about the huge success The Spin Doctors achieved at the time. Listen to the previously unreleased Trey Anastasio interview from 1993 below:
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