[UPDATED] Trey Anastasio Says Phish Will Slow Down & Try Different Things Over Next Two Years

By Scott Bernstein Oct 6, 2016 1:45 pm PDT


  • Oct 6, 2016 • 1:45 pm PDT

    The Wall Street Journal has published a full Q&A with Trey Anastasio. The guitarist discusses Phish’s touring plans and what Bob Ezrin brings to the table, confirms the band will play an album on Halloween and additional topics. Head here for a summary.

Tomorrow Phish will release their 13th official studio album Big Boat. The band’s guitarist Trey Anastasio and keyboardist Page McConnell chatted about the 13-song, Bob Ezrin-produced effort with the Wall Street Journal. Anastasio also discussed the band’s future.

Trey told the WSJ his experience performing with members of the Grateful Dead at the Fare Thee Well shows in 2015 made a huge impact on him and had him reflecting on his own bands future. “I stood on stage looking at 80,000 people vibrating, and old friends hugging, and I was just overcome,” Anastasio said. “It’s so much bigger than the band, and we respect that. I think you will see us slow down and do some different things over the next two years.”

Anastasio also discussed Phish’s approach to making Big Boat. “Democracy is lovely, but it can backfire,” the guitarist started. “We’re a band that communicates really well, but people are so scared of hurting each other’s feelings that things can slide by. Bob [Ezrin] was the antidote to that. He expressed his strong opinions about song selection and everything else. Because of his track record, we all accepted his wisdom.”

One of the more interesting revelations in the piece is that the new album features McConnell’s demo for “Things People Do.” The article’s author Alan Paul reports, “Phish made multiple versions of the song before agreeing that nothing topped the original low-fi version, recorded on Mr. McConnell’s iPhone, sitting atop a Wurlitzer piano in his living room.” As for Page, he was happy with Ezrin’s work. “He pushed us to go as personal, with as much emotional depth, as possible,” said McConnell. “Collectively, that has not been our strong suit, and it was a good change.”

Trey also discussed the song “Miss You,” which is about his late sister. “I was literally looking at my sister’s picture, and those words just came tumbling out. Some of the lines were an attempt to speak for my parents and their experience. But as direct as it was, I hope that people think about their own lives when they hear the song. I believe that the more specifically a songwriter writes, the more universal the sentiment becomes, and I hope that happens here.”

Anastasio is at peace with the current state of Phish. “Phish Phase One started when we were 18 and just wanted to make music. Then we went great guns like we were never going to stop, and the race car smashed into the wall. Phase Two started in 2009 as a new cycle, with different management and structure, and we feel very lucky to have arrived at this very comfortable, very professional place.”

Head to the Wall Street Journal for the complete article.

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