Baseball, barbecues and Phish on the road. Few things are more reliable each summer. Until this year. For the first time in fifteen years, Phish are taking the summer off. Will they ever get back together?
“Phish had a natural life span for that period, and it ended,” says guitarist Trey Anastasio, who’s touring solo this summer. “That’s not to say that it won’t start up again, but I think everyone is happy to get a break.
“Phish got to the point last year where if we didn’t get out and have a life outside of Phish, there would be no Phish,” he continues. “It was threatening to be the monster that ate himself. There was no room for anything else in anyone’s life.”
The new room in their lives is being occupied with lots of side projects. Anastasio just completed an Oysterhead record with Primus bassist Les Claypool and Police drummer Stewart Copeland, and he’ll head out on a solo tour in July (he’ll also hit the road with Oysterhead this fall). Phish bassist Mike Gordon is filming a documentary on former Gov’t Mule bassist Allen Woody, who died last year. Drummer Jon Fishman is finishing up an album with his second band, Pork Tornado, and keyboardist Page McConnell is mastering recordings of six Phish shows, which will be released starting this fall.
“Doing side projects is only going to help if we do get back together,” says Anastasio, “because there will be a new fire instead of a rehashing of what we did for the last fifteen years.” Still, Anastasio says the band has no plans to reunite anytime soon: “We’re getting along really great; the good feelings that are occurring between the four of us give me hope for the future of Phish. We talk probably every two or three days. [But] we haven’t had any discussions about when or if Phish might come back. That’s what I mean when I say that everyone knows the break was the right thing. There are no plans at all. We’re not talking about it, yet we’re talking a lot.”