Trey Anastasio Talks New Phish Album, Robin Thicke, Children and More
Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2013 via Phish’s Facebook page.
Rolling Stone has published an expanded version of Assistant Editor Patrick Doyle’s recent interview with Trey Anastasio. In the Q & A, which was conducted before Phish kicked off their summer tour, the guitarist discusses the Vermont Quartet’s upcoming album.
“There’s no one there except the four of us,” Anastasio says of the brief recording sessions, which took place in Vermont a few weeks before Phish kicked off their current run on July 3. “We have one guy who helps, who’s amazing at being quiet, who sits at the board and records stuff for us. But it’s like we’ve created an atmosphere where it’s just the four of us again, and that was really the problem from the late Nineties on. And we’re the ones who did it. But we just turned everything into such a big scene and a huge party. It was fun, too. But there were so many people around that we invited. It’s our fault, but we didn’t do anything except socialize. But I want to socialize with them. With Mike [Gordon] and Page [McConnell] and Fish [Jon Fishman].”
He goes on to say, “Another thing that’s really cool about it is we kind of walked in there and said, ‘Let’s just write stuff together,” which hasn’t historically happened a lot. But it’s such a good area right now in terms of communication. You know, writing together. Sitting up in the cupola in my barn with four pads of paper and looking out at the Vermont landscape and writing. So we’ll see where it goes. We don’t really know right now. But I think that’s more important to everybody than anything. It’s not really about the results, it’s the fact that we’re writing together. We like what we’ve got. We got stuff on tape, but it’s not done yet. We’re probably going to do a lot in the fall. As soon as this tour is over we’re going to go right in the barn, but right now we’re just going to enjoy playing.’”
He also reveals some possible new material that may pop up later this summer. “Page [McConnell] put out his solo album recently, and we’re all listening to it and talking about it and calling each other up and talking about putting some of the songs in the Phish set,” he says. “I [also] want to do Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines.’ We’re not gonna do it, but that’s what I would want to play. My daughter and her friends are in the car a lot, so we’ll drive, and that’s like the soundtrack to my life right now. A lot of girls screaming and singing along to all the words. We could do ‘Blurred Lines”‘or that new Fall Out Boy song. I really like that song: ‘I’m on firreeee!’ [‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up).’] It’s crazy!”
While talking about his family, Anastasio mentions, “My daughter’s going to college next year and my second daughter will be in college in a couple years, so I’m kind of fascinated by the idea that a certain amount of time is going to open up in the near future for me to tour more and do more stuff. When we came back in 2009, that was probably the prime directive: spend time together, the four of us. You know, for better or for worse, tons of stuff happened that led us to separate in 2004, but at the core of it was probably losing the most important thing, which is that Phish is the four of us, together. And that we have to make time for that.”
“I’m happy to have just carved out a time to sit in the room with those guys, and the fact that 30 years later it feels exactly like it felt in 1988,” he ends the conversation by saying. “I’m still with my best friends and everybody’s healthy and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. That’s why I said two of my favorite eras were in the car and in the band practice room. I just like being with those guys. It doesn’t last forever, so I’m taking it while I got it.”