Phish has become one of the world's greatest bands and they have done so without the aid of extensive radio play or mainstream press. They have taken the concept of jam band to a whole new level by building on the legacy of the Grateful Dead.
Superb musicians, and experts at improvisation, Phish has dabbled in just about every musical genre imaginable. Although known for their epic concerts, Phish has released over a dozen studio albums several of which have been certified gold. Two of their releases, Billy Breathes and The Story of the Ghost, peaked inside the top ten.
Phish consists of guitarist and vocalist Trey Anastasio, bass player Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman, and keyboardist Page McConnell. The band was formed in 1983. Jeff Holdsmith founded the group with Anastasio but left in 1986 to pursue a career in electrical engineering. Phish perfected their sound and their stage show, as well as attracted a huge following of fans, for years before signing with a major label in 1990.
The band broke up in August of 2004 but reformed in 2009. Since then they've released an album, toured, and hosted their eighth festival.
That eighth festival was called Festival 8 and it was held in 2009. The previous seven festivals were The Clifford Ball (1996), The Great Went (1997), Lemonwheel (1998), Camp Oswego (1999), Big Cypress (1999), It (2003), and Coventry (2004). The festivals usually lasted a couple of days and most only featured Phish. They attracted tens of thousands of fans who turned the venue and the surrounding area into a makeshift city.
The biggest festival, and the one recognized by both fans and the band as the greatest, is Big Cypress. Over 85,000 people attended the event that spanned Dec. 30 through early Jan. 1. Those in attendance saw Phish welcome in the new millennium by performing a seven -and-a-half hour set that began at midnight.
Another Phish tradition is the "musical costume," a concert which usually coincides with Halloween. For this concert Phish performs a classic album in its entirety. In the past, the band has performed The Beatles' White Album, The Who's Quadrophenia, and The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street.
Phish allows fans to record their live shows although official "bootleg" recordings can be purchase on their website. Nonetheless, audio recordings of their shows are highly traded on the internet. While video recordings are frowned up, the band will overlook it if the recordings are not-for-profit.
Fans of the band go by many names including phans, phamily, phiends, phriends, and Phishheads.