In a new interview for Relix‘s new “The Power of Live” issue, Phish frontman Trey Anastasio checks in from his New York City apartment and explains his ongoing creative streak in self-isolation.
“I can’t think about all the stuff that’s gone because it’s too much to even think about. So the way I’m trying to respond to the moment is by writing songs until they let me play again,” he says.
However, the guitarist also notes that it’s difficult for him to imagine performing a Zoom concert or a crowdless show, given the importance of a live audience to the Phish experience: “I think the Phish experience is very much about the “group think.” It’s the same with TAB or the trio… I don’t know if I want to play without our community with me. It’s a bridge I haven’t been able to cross. I have been asked by many people: ‘Let’s do this Zoom concert’ or ‘Let’s do it Brady Bunch style.’ Maybe it’s my spiritual belief system, but I feel like this is where we are today and this is where I am— “I’m home. The concert isn’t happening right now.” I almost don’t want to go halfway. If it’s possible, I want to celebrate that resurgence of live music with our family, which is our audience. And it doesn’t even feel like an audience—it feels to me, like a community.”
Anastasio also recalls the profound effect of watching Phish’s 12/30/19 “Tweezer” jam on YouTube.
“I don’t watch a lot of live Phish, but I watched this,” he explains. “There was a very long jam and, somewhere around 13 or 14 minutes, it went into this quiet segment and, as I was watching this thing, I thought I physically saw the band members vanish. Phish has played in that room so many times. It was the night before New Year’s and it was just so comfortable and unified. The thought that went through my mind, as I was watching it, was that whoever just went to the bathroom had as much of an effect on this jam as any of the musicians… And I mean everybody: Chris [Kuroda] running the lights, Garry [Brown] running the sound, the ushers, the guy at the beer stand, the people who like to stand in the back, the people who like to stand up at the top. In that sense, it’s the physical embodiment of what I consider to be spirituality, which is that we’re all connected. We are absolutely intertwined. I’m not a molecule floating freely around the universe. I’m part of a collective consciousness, like a ray of light from the sun.”
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