The Phish Book – Coffee Table Book


Having played more than a thousand shows and recorded nine albums during their fifteen years together, Phish now brings us a different kind of performance–a written one. The first and only authorized book about the band, The Phish Book is an extraordinary verbal and visual chronicle of a year in the life of Phish, featuring extensive interviews with the four band members–Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, and Page McConnell–conducted by writer Richard Gehr, who also serves as guide to the history, mythology, musical context, and unique audience-band relationship in which the Vermont quartet flourishes.

While it contains many of the trappings of other lavish rock monuments–including more than two hundred pieces of previously unpublished art and photography from the band’s private archive–The Phish Book raises the form to a higher level by means of an innovative roundtable-style discussion format. Richard Gehr and Phish use the events of 1997 as a jumping-off point from which the band members free-associate about themselves, their music, and the dedicated and colourful community that springs up wherever they perform.

Beginning with the backstage scene at Boston’s Fleet Center on New Year’s Eve, 1996, The Phish Book explores the band’s earliest days in Burlington, Vermont; their musical influences, which include James Brown, Frank Zappa, and the Grateful Dead; their legendary Halloween shows; the two European and two American tours the group undertook in 1997; the stories behind their 1996 studio album Billy Breathes and the following year’s live Slip Stitch and Pass; life onstage and off; the sixty-thousand-fan Maine campout and art project known as the Great Went; and the experimental recording and performing techniques that informed the band’s most recent studio album, The Story of the Ghost.

More than a journal of the group’s evolution over the course of a single year, The Phish Book is a glorious snapshot of a band much bigger than its parts and at the height of its collective power.