PHISH

  • Dates: August 11, 2018
  • Time: 5:30 PM

984: Trey takes the second semester off and records "Bivouac Jaun" in his basement; many cuts of this 4-track project mixed with Mike's 4-track tapes and a few 4-track-in-the-bedroom tracks by the band end up on Phish's first studio project known as "The White Phish Tape". The first official gig as Phish is played in the basement of Slade Hall at UVM in October 1984 (many later gigs were also played there); their friend Anne Labruciano mixes 6 tracks of stereo sound, playing sound effects through 6 hidden speakers along with the music. Phish's first bar gig is upstairs at Nectar's in December. The Dude of Life appears; also Daubs (Marc Daubert) is the band's full-time percussion player -- he co-wrote "The Curtain" (which used to have more words) with Trey. 

1985: Mike's hall-mate Brian Long hooks Mike up with Goddard College people to play Goddard Springfest. Page, at Goddard, is the organizer. Brian becomes the first fan of the band, dancing alone while Phish plays Thursday nights at Doolins (a frat bar) for happy hour. Amy Skelton joins Brian at Doolins. Page and Phish like each others' playing at Springfest (Page has an R&B band). Page comes for a gig with Phish at the Wilks/Davis/Wing dorm barbecue on May 3rd, and he also joins the band in Burlington's North End for practices crammed into Fish's bedroom; the room is so small that the bed must be taken out during practice. Trey, Fish and two friends of Trey's from home go to Europe and play in the streets with a mini guitar made by Paul Languedoc (then at Time Guitars) and percussion during the summer. While in Europe, Trey writes You Enjoy Myself, Dog Log, the music to Harry Hood, and other songs. Page moves to Burlington from Goddard; he and Mike share an apartment. Trey and Fish call Mike from Europe to encourage Mike to come, and to emphasize that Page should not join the band ("We don't want keyboards, Phish is a two-guitar band"). Mike stays in Burlington and teaches Page early songs: McGrupp, Fluffhead, Slave, etc. Page feels confident that he will be in the band.In the fall, Page joins the band. Mike, Page, Fish, and Brian Long live in a red house next to the Harry Hood milk factory. Brian writes the words to "Harry Hood" (Mr. A. Minor, a previous tenant, receives letters saying, "Thank you, Mr. Minor). In November the band plays in the Goddard cafeteria and Mike has a peak religious experience. 

1986: With Zenzile, a South African revolutionary, the band plays at Hunt's (a local club). Zenzile yells rhetorical poetry. Jeff quits the band. He graduates soon after, travels for two years and eventually becomes a born-again Christian following Jimmy Swaggart. The band continues to do more gigs at Nectar's and other bars. Mike changes his major from Electrical Engineering to Filmmaking & Communications. Trey and Fish transfer to Goddard College (Page makes $50 for recruiting each of them). On October 15th, Paul does the band's sound for the first time, at Hunt's; 169 people attend. 1987: Mike graduates. Trey and Marley live in a cabin with no electricity and no running water for the summer, and Trey writes "Fee" as well as a second section to "The Curtain" (called "The Curtain With") which eventually becomes Rift. Trey continues to work with his mentor/composing teacher Ernie Stires, getting academic credit through Goddard, writing fugues and big band arrangements ("Flat Fee") which end up in Phish songs. 

1988: The first Oh Kee Pah Ceremony takes place in the spring. In August, Phish is promised a two-week tour booked by club owner Warren Stickney. Though Warren never calls back, the band drives from Vermont to Telluride, Colorado, to play in Warren's bar. Junta is recorded in Boston and sold at shows as a tape. 

1989: Chris Kuroda begins working for the band in March of this year. In April, Phish participated in the Rock & Roll Rumble at the Front. Fish lowered himself, naked, from the rafters, to begin his vacuum solo, but it wasn't plugged in. In August, the second Oh Kee Pah Ceremony occurs (source of Union Federal). For their first show at the Paradise in Boston, the venue is rented by the band since the club didn't feel they'd do well enough to book them for a show. Many friends come from Burlington by bus. 650 people sell out the club, with 200 more outside. Also this year, the band embarks on their first mini-tour into the southeast. Lawn Boy is recorded at Dan Archer's studio in Winooski, Vermont (with some free recording time from winning that Rock & Roll Rumble) and released on Absolute A-Go-Go (an independent label distributed by Rough Trade). At the end of December, New Year's Eve is observed at the World Trade Center in Boston. 

1990: In February, the band embarks on their first tour to the south. Later in the spring, Phish tours Colorado, returning to play the Strand Theatre in Boston at the end of April, and continuing with three more weeks of shows in the northeast and a trip through the south before taking some time off to practice and write songs. (Before the fall, soundboard audio-taping patches are discontinued due to essential equipment having been unplugged by tapers attempting to tap in.) Lawn Boy is released in September, and the band tours some more through the Fall. Late in the year, the Phish.Net, an Internet-based alliance of Phish fans, begins to coalesce. 

PHISH