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Often cited as the heir to the Grateful Dead's torch, Phish long ago found a place for themselves in the jam band firmament. It was at the University of Vermont in 1983 that guitarists Trey Anastasio and Jeff Holdsworth teamed up with bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman to form Blackwood Convention. By their second gig, they had become Phish.
As a Grateful Dead cover band, they were joined by percussionist Marc Daubert in 1984, who left less than a year later. Page McConnell then came on board to play keys in 1985. Upon his graduation in 1986, Holdsworth departed, leaving the foursome that would stay in place from there on out.
While still in college, the group released a number of self-produced cassettes. They also met luthier Paul Languedoc who crafted instruments for Anastasio and Gordon, eventually joining the team as their sound man. Languedoc's exclusive designs for the Phish guys helped create their unique sound.
Anastasio's senior project was a nine-song concept album entitled The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday. It was the band's second real studio experiment
In 1988, the band hunkered down and often locked themselves away for extended jam sessions. One of those jams would become the double-album Junta, their first wide release. The following year, Phish rented out the Paradise Rock Club in Boston because the owners wouldn't book a band they'd never heard of. The gig sold out as throngs of fans traveled to the show.
By 1990, those fans were a part of the interactive shows that were Phish's trademark. All of the growing hubbub landed the gang a deal with Elektra Records in 1991 with A Picture of Nectar arriving the following year.
In 1992, the first annual H.O.R.D.E. festival gave Phish their first national tour. A slot with Violent Femmes got them to Europe.
In the subsequent years, albums were released in fai... Read more