Phish Resurface

Rolling Stone: Phish Resurface

We had these jam sessions, Anastasio says one night after practice, where we drank hot chocolate with mushrooms and just played, trying to get in tune with each other, for eight hours. One of those jams, he points out, is on a record: “Union Federal,” a bonus track on the CD reissue of Phish’s 1989 independent cassette release, Junta. We used to rehearse like demons, Anastasio, 38, says excitedly, a big smile busting through his ginger forest of beard. A lot of it was mind games, challenging each other. We’d change roles: I’m always the natural leader. Page, you be that person now. We’d make Fish set up his drums left-handed instead of right: Use your mind to play, not your hands. Or we’d just play one note for an hour – weird stuff.
The weirdness bloomed in concert: in clubs such as Nectar’s on Main Street in Burlington, where Phish first played in December 1984 and honed their writing and jamming chops through 1989; then in theaters and, finally, arenas. Fishman, who turns thirty-eight on February 19th, played most gigs during Phish’s first two years flying on LSD. I still play with the feeling I got from those experiences, trying to generate wind and water, he claims quite earnestly.

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