"Trey wants Phish to come back." and "No one wants Phish back more than Trey."
Now, before we get all excited and start "bouncing around the room," let's take a collective deep breath, exhale, and think about this for a second . . .
OK, I'm excited as hell!!!
Unless PopMatters.com misquoted Tom, used his words out of context or simply made them up National Enquirer-style, we seem to have some legitimate news straight from the Phish's mouth.
Let's consider the facts:
- Tom is more or less a member of Phish as much as Robert Hunter is/was a member of the Grateful Dead, and anything he says about Phish can more or less be construed as truth.
- Tom Marshall and Trey Anastasio have been writing music again “for the past four months,” according to the article, this time at Trey's own Rubber Jungle studios in Saratoga Springs, New York, rather than on some tropical island as they have done in the past (eg. Cayman Review).
- Trey, or anyone else from the Phish tank for that matter, has not come out against this quote to say that there is no truth to it, or that the quote was fabricated in any way.
- Phish.net reports that Phish had its first conference call in four years last Friday.
- Trey recently announced he is putting the original Trey Anastasio Band back together, a group he now refers to as The Dectet, including Russ Lawton and Tony Markellis, which is, by far, the best incarnation of TAB.
- This decision shows Trey is in fact thinking clearly and making choices that put him in a position to create and perform music to the best of his ability. (Not to knock the musicians in 70 Volt Parade, but the TAB with Russ and Tony was the shit, and nothing else Trey has done since can even hold a candle to it).
- All reports point to Trey being 100% clean again.
- A call to Madison Square Garden confirms that the venue is in fact booked for New Year's Eve 2008, but no performer has been announced. (I did call MSG to find out, but the possibility of Phish performing there on NYE is pure innuendo fabricated here at The Wagger. Still, is it possible? Perhaps . . . )
Trey, Mike Gordon and Jon Fishman all have dates booked this summer with plans to perform at various festivals across the U.S., with Mike being the only Phish member so far to announce a full-on summer tour. I'll bet Trey will have a string of dates put together sometime soon here, and I am also willing to bet that we will hear a ton of new music when Trey hits the road again.
Will Phish tour again? Will the band start recording a bunch of new music in the style of Round Room (recorded with almost no rehearsal, giving it that raw, live sound)? Will the band start playing several shows in three or four locations rather than going out on the road for months at a time? Will Trey and Page be able to play together again without getting on each other's nerves so bad? Will Fishman continue to wear the Mu'u Mu'u? Will we ever get to hear Gamehenge in its entirety again? Will they ever perform Fluffhead again?
I have a feeling these questions and more will be answered in the very near future, so stay tuned to The Wagger for all of your Phish updates. We're all holding our breath down here at the bottom, living upon morsels they happen to drop!
On a side note . . .
I remember very distinctly standing on the grass inside the amphitheater at Antioch, Tenn. during Summer Tour 2000. The entire scene, including the band, still had a hangover from Big Cypress, and for the first time there wasn't an expectant buzz permeating the air.
My little group of touring buddies, which included Florida Joe, who I saw 20-some-odd Grateful Dead shows with in the early 1990s, as well as our first Phish show in Miami Beach back in 1992, and my now ex-wife, Rachel, were discussing where Phish could possibly go from here.
They had grown to the point where every show everywhere they went was sold out; they finally figured out how to make studio albums that truly captured the band's sound (Farmhouse), but it would be a couple of years before they figured out how to capture their energy on record (Round Room); they proved that they could play for eight straight hours and keep it interesting -- something we all suspected for several years; they were finally being recognized by the press, including Entertainment magazine (I think that was the name) putting out an edition with four different covers, each one an individual photo of Trey, Mike, Jon and Page; and they had fulfilled the 10-album contractual deal they signed with Elektra Records back in 1991, freeing them to do whatever they wanted with future recordings.
I turned to my group of friends and said, "Well, every time I've ever gone to see Phish they have always had some new music written and introduced that I had never heard before. As long as they keep writing new music, everything will be all right."
Of course, Summer Tour 2000 was distinct for not having any new breakouts. In fact, no new Phish music (well, not much at least) had been written since 1998, and even then those songs that appeared as new material on Farmhouse two years later Trey originally wrote and performed with the first version of TAB -- the three piece consisting of Trey, Russ and Tony.
So, I stand by my assertion that new music means things are going to be all right. And I can't imagine Trey writing music with Tom that is not intended for Phish. Something is going to happen here, my friends, and it's going to happen sooner than later.