Even for those who consider themselves through-and-through rock experts, Phish are something of an enigma. The band has always existed in music’s twilight zone, along with such acts as the Grateful Dead and Primus. With a genre that’s near impossible to pin down, a dedicated cult fan base, and their ridiculously long jams, there are few acts that are comparable to Phish. Whether you love or loathe their music, here are a few interesting facts about the band…
They Got a Second Break After Jerry Garcia Died
Phish, a lot like the Grateful Dead, has always had a dedicated and niched fan base. However, when the Grateful Dead’s frontman Jerry Garcia died in 1995, a lot of former “Deadheads” began following Phish, and breathed new life into the fan base. On another note, Jerry Garcia’s solo project and Phish shared a manager – founder of Red Light Management Coran Capshaw.
They Never Play the Same Set Twice
While most bands will have a single set per tour, and throw in the odd drum solo or cover here and there, Phish have never, ever played the same set twice. Sure, there have been similar ones played close together, but due to the band’s well-known affinity for long live jams, no two concerts have ever been the same!
Their Sets Aren’t Exactly Conventional
For the bulk of their career, Phish have been known for their utterly bizarre stage antics. If you were weirded out by Rush having active washing machines as part of their stage set, then I urge you to check out some of Phish’s! Some of their on-stage props have included trampolines, vacuum cleaners, and slip-n-slides.
Their Fans Don’t Kid Around
If you’ve ever called yourself an artist’s “biggest fan”, then the story of one of Phish’s last big performances may make you reconsider this! The band’s last ever festival was called Coventry, named after the location in Vermont. The whole area was blanketed by torrential rain and powerful winds the day before. The nearest airport was shut down and many of the roads were closed, but the gig still got an incredible turnout! Some people walked miles just to see their cult heroes.
They Were Serious About Tributes
One of the most little-known facts about Phish is that they covered various rock albums in their entirety for special Halloween shows on several occasions. These included the Beatles’ White Album in 1994, the Who’s Quadrophenia in 1995, and the Velvet Underground’s Loaded in 1998.
Trey Was a Late Bloomer
Trey Anastasio, the guitarist of Phish and one of the band’s most famous members, only picked up a guitar in his sophomore year of high school. Compared to other guitarists of his renown, that’s pretty late. However, he had sung and played drums for a long time beforehand. He’s known to have taken percussion lessons from a teacher who made him practice on a pillow for an entire year before he was even allowed to move onto a practice pad. Now that’s what I call patience!