Personalities | Trey Anastasio | Star of the Jam Scene | Guitar Heroes

Princeton, New Jersey native Trey Anastasio (b. 1964) became the star of the jam-band resurgence through his prolific work both with his band Phish and a multitude of side projects.

Phish’s initial touring and recording life spanned from 1983 to 2000, experienced a hiatus from 2000 to 2003 and dissolved in 2004, before regrouping in 2009. Inheriting the mantle and rabid following of The Grateful Dead and its departed guitar hero Jerry Garcia while attracting new fans to Phish’s more complex, improvisatory works, Anastasio displayed a deep knowledge of rock, blues, jazz and country guitar styles.

As a boy, Anastasio attended Princeton Day School, where he met future songwriting partner Tom Marshall. As a teenager, he helped his mother Dina write songs for children’s records. At the University of Vermont, he teamed up with bassist Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman and guitarist Jeff Holdsworth (later replaced by keyboardist Page McConnell) to form Phish. Anastasio was suspended for a year after breaking into the school’s science building and stealing body parts for a prank. Transferring to Goddard College, he studied composition while he and the band developed Phish’s early material.

Phish developed its loyal following by combining progressive rock-influenced compositions with a genial, inventive stage show that encouraged trading taped copies of performances and included crowd-pleasing departures such as covers of Beatles and Queen tunes and a much-discussed detour into bluegrass. Constant touring helped the band’s sound develop into highly focused works like Rift (1993) and on to more improvisational works such as The Story Of The Ghost (1997) and The Siket Disc (1998), both developed from hours of recordings of the band jamming.

Anastasio has always played hollow-body electrics built by his friend and former audio technician Paul Languedoc. Since the dissolution of Phish, he has appeared onstage with many artists, including Phil Lesh And Friends, reaffirming Anastasio’s allegiance to the legacy of The Grateful Dead and co-founder and guitarist Jerry Garcia. Anastasio ran afoul of the law as a result of drug use in 2007, and was sidelined for part of 2008. But the ever-expanding community of Phish fans that he helped create thrives online. Phish reunited in 2009 with shows in the US, and the band toured throughout the year, also releasing the new album Joy.

Essential Recordings

Phish: Rift

Phish: The Story Of The Ghost

Phish: The Siket Disc

Solo: Shine

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