Phish is an American jam band noted for its musical improvisation, extended jams, exploration of music across genres and devoted fan base. Formed at the University of Vermont in 1983 (with the current line up solidifying in 1985), the band's four members, guitarist Trey Anastasio, bassist Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman, and keyboardist Page McConnell, performed together for over 20 years before breaking up in August 2004. They reunited March 2009 at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia, and have since resumed performing regularly.
Phish's music blends elements of a wide variety of genres, including rock, jazz, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock, funk, folk, bluegrass, reggae, country, blues, avant garde, and classical. Each of their concerts is original in terms of the songs performed, the order they appear in, and in the way they are performed.
Although the band has received little radio play or mainstream exposure, it has developed a large and dedicated following by word of mouth, the exchange of live recordings by trading tapes with other fans and selling over 8 million albums and DVDs in the United States.
“The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” was the senior thesis of Anastasio written while he attended Goddard College in 1987. The work tells the tale of a fictional land known as Gamehendge and features such songs as “The Lizards,” “Tela” and “Wilson.”
“Junta” was Phish's first studio venture, recorded and released in 1988 but not officially hitting stores until May 1989. Included on the album is one of the bands best known songs, “You Enjoy Myself,” which is a concert staple that features a segment with Anastasio and Gordon jumping on mini-trampolines while performing. The album was later released in October 1992 by Elektra Records. The album was certified platinum in 2004.
“Lawn Boy” was Phish's second album, released originally in September 1990 on the Absolute A Go Go Records and Rough Trade labels. It was later re-released by Elektra Records in June 1992. The album was certified gold by the RIAA and featured popular songs, “Bouncing Around the Room” and “Reba.”
“A Picture of Nectar” their first major studio album was released through Elektra Records in February 1992. The album was certified gold by the RIAA and the tracks, “Tweezer” and “Cavern” appear on the album.
1993’s “Rift” was a concept album produced by Barry Beckett. Songs like “It’s Ice,” “Lengthwise” and the title track tell the story of a narrator who is dreaming about the rift in his relationship with his girlfriend.
“Hoist” followed in 1994 and at the time of its release, was Phish's best-selling album and was certified gold. “Hoist” included guest appearances from Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck and Tower of Power Horn Section. A video, directed by Gordon was made for “Down With Disease.” The album’s final song, “Demand,” contained an extended instrumental section from a 1993 live performance of the song “Split Open and Melt,” followed by the first verse and refrain of the Hebrew song “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold).”
Released in 1996, “Billy Breathes” was the bands highest charting album, peaking at #7 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The record featured “Free,” the band's most successful chart single, hitting #11 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and #24 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks Chart.
“The Story of the Ghost” has been labeled as Phish's “funky” album featuring such groove oriented songs as “Meat” and “The Moma Dance.” It was released by Elektra Records in October 1998. Many of the songs from this album formed the majority of their 1997 “funk” sound explored during their famed Fall tour - the title track in particular - with Gordon taking a much more pronounced role.
“Farnhouse” was the last Phish studio album before their indefinite hiatus in October 2000. The single, “Heavy Things,” became Phish's biggest single to date, becoming a hit on Adult Top 40 radio.
Before returning from a hiatus from both touring and recording from October 2000 to their reunion concert on New Year's Eve 2002 at Madison Square Garden the band released “Round Room” in December 2002. It featured “46 Days” and “Walls of the Cave.”
One month before the release of 2004’s “Undermind” Anastasio and, separately, McConnell announced on the Phish website that the band would take an indefinitely long hiatus.
They returned from their second hiatus with “Joy” in 2009, their first release on their newly formed JEMP label. “Joy” was produced by Steve Lillywhite, their first such collaboration since “Billy Breathes.” “Backwards Down the Number Line” was released as the album’s single.