October 2nd, 2008
by Stuart Heritage
Are you a fan of tedious, formless, mostly improvised songs that go
on for three hours longer than the point of normal human endurance?
You are? Well have we got some good news for you! Phish - the defunct
jam-band predominantly famous for a) having some ice cream named
after it and b) totally soundtracking that epic hacky sack marathon
you and your buddies had in your parent's backyard one afternoon back
when you were 28 - are reuniting.
Phish have announced three special comeback dates in Virginia for
next March, their first since disbanding in 2004. We'll definitely be
attending the Phish reunion shows - it's been too long since we last
caught beard nits off a hippy after stumbling into the middle of a
drearily self-satisfied drum circle in the carpark of an old WWF arena.
Rolling Stone once called Phish 'one of the most important bands of
the Nineties' - recognition that puts them right up there with Kula
Shaker, Sugar Ray and the band that did the theme tune to Friends.
But it's easy to see why Phish received a title like that - more than
most bands, Phish flourished because of the community behind them.
Their meandering, overlong, improvised jazz fusion jam workouts were
simply a soundtrack to huge open-air festivals where friends could
meet, play frisbee, get ripped to the tits on stolen cough medicine
and twirl around like cocks in a spirit of universal brotherhood.
So it was a bittersweet day when Phish announced that they were
splitting up in 2004. True, it meant that you'd never get to see a
group of millionaires in their forties play 20 songs in a row that
all seem to sound exactly like the one that directly preceded it in a
disused airbase any more, but at least the spirit of Phish would live
on in that delicious Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavour and the crappy
rave scene from The Matrix Reloaded.
Until now. Because now, you see, Phish are back. According to The LA Times:
The Vermont-based jam band, will reunite for shows March 6-8 in
Hampton, Va., and is expected to announce additional performances for
2009. Rumors of a reunion have been heating up since… three of the
four Phish members played together in July at the Rothbury Festival
in Michigan. All four showed up last month and played at the wedding
of their road manager Brad Sands.
Phish played at a wedding? We're not sure how we feel about that. On
one hand it'd probably be quite fun to see all your elderly relatives
get so overwhelmed by the band's elaborate jazz-rock grooves that
they end up buying a bunch of laughing gas balloons from a hippy in
the corner. But on the other hand The Squirming Coil isn't exactly
Agadoo, is it?
But still, we're genuinely pleased that Phish are getting back
together - and more pleased that their first shows aren't until
March. Because that'll give you plenty of time to ditch your job at
the law firm and dedicate your life to getting your beard long enough
to put elastic bands in again. It'll be fun.