Happy 51st Birthday: Trey Anastasio September 30, 2015 15:50
Wednesday, September 30th marks the 51st birthday of one of our all-time favorite singers, songwriters, and guitarists: Mr. Ernest Joseph "Trey" Anastasio III. Born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1964, Trey and his family relocated to Princeton, New Jersey when he was three years old. Here he attended Princeton Day School, before ultimately graduating from the Taft School, where he would meet future Phish contributor Steve Pollack, aka "The Dude of Life." Pollack would play a major role in the compositions for songs such as "Run Like an Antelope," "Suzy Greenburg," "Fluffhead," "Dinner and a Movie," and "Slave to the Traffic Light" amongst others.
Anastasio then enrolled at the University of Vermont, where he would meet future bandmates Mike Gordon, Jon Fishman, and Jeff Holdsworth. These four played their first official gig at UVM’s Harris-Millis Cafeteria on December 2nd, 1983. The gig, rumored to be an ROTC dance, was in fact a Christmas formal for Gordon's dorm, which happened to house many ROTC students. Hockey sticks were used in place of mic stands and the setlist featured covers such as "Proud Mary" and "Long Cool Woman." While Holdsworth left the band in 1986, his songs "Possum" and "Camel Walk" continued on with the band to become Phish favorites.
While studying at home for a semester, Trey reconnected with two long time friends in Tom Marshall and Marc Daubert. Marshall would ultimately become Phish's primary lyricist and Trey's long time writing partner, with Marc Daubert serving as the band's original percussionist for a total of five months. During this same year, Page McConnell saw the band perform and joined full time on keys quickly thereafter. Trey would then finish his college career at nearby Goddard College, where his senior study was the now famous composition The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday.
Since this time period, Anastasio has led Phish where very few bands have gone before. Touring nationally on a consistent basis by the early 90's, Phish built the strongest grassroots following of devoted fans since the Grateful Dead. In 1998, Trey introduced his solo band, Eight Foot Fluorescent Tubes, now known as the Trey Anastasio Band. The band played for the first time at the grand opening of his brother-in-law's Vermont music club, Higher Ground. Phish’s first hiatus came in late 2000. During this hiatus, Trey was most notably remembered for teaming up with Les Claypool (Primus) and Stewart Copeland (The Police) in the band known as Oysterhead. Phish would ultimately reunite for New Year’s Eve at Madison Square Garden in 2002.
A handful of sporadic tours, as well as the IT Festival, which drew over 60,000 fans, would follow in the era now referred to as 2.0. In 2004, the band shared the stage with rapper Jay-Z and also performed on the marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City. Trey eventually announced that the band would be breaking up for good after the 2004 Summer Tour, culminating at the Coventry Festival. During this break-up, Trey and Mike Gordon teamed up with Marco Benevento and Joe Russo for a stretch of shows as a four-piece during the summer of 2006. He also toured extensively with the Trey Anastasio Band.
Phish would receive a lifetime achievement award at the 2008 Jammy Awards. After performing three songs at their former tour manager's wedding that year, the band announced a reunion at Hampton Colliseum in March of 2009; marking the beginning of the 3.0 era. The band would go on to release their 14th studio album, Joy, later that year. Since this time, we've seen a healthy, rejuvenated, and inspired musician in Anastasio. He has gone on to compose a Broadway musical (Hands on a Hard Body) and with Phish released the band's 15th studio album, Fuego. Most recently and most notably, Anastasio filled in for the late Jerry Garcia for the Grateful Dead's "Fare Thee Well" run this summer. The perseverance and dedication that we have seen from Trey has been nothing short of inspirational. We can't thank him enough for the countless memories of past as well as those yet to come.
Join us in wishing Trey Anastasio a Happy 51st Birthday!