Phish have recorded demo versions of 20 new songs for its next record, according to an interview published in the New York Times. No longer signed to a major label, the band is mulling an independent release for the to-be-recorded album.
Phish is only likely to perform one of the tunes, "Backwards Down the Number Line," at its first reunion concerts this weekend in at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia.
The band plans to make high quality recordings of all three of this weekend's shows available as free MP3 downloads from its livephish.com website.
While Phish is taking a pragmatic approach to online distribution of the concert recordings, its taking a much harder line against real world bootleggers: yesterday, the band asked a U.S. District Judge to order police to seize unlicensed t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise being sold at or near shows on the upcoming tour. A ruling is expected this afternoon.
In the Times interview, the band acknowledged for the first time that its 2004 farewell concerts at The Coventry were subpar, with drummer Jon Fishman calling them "one of the great train wrecks in live concert history." The band promises a rehearsed, precise sound for its return.
But the most important question for Phish heads is still up in the air: what songs will the band select for the Hampton shows? "It's like Tetris," Phish's Trey Anastasio told the Times of set list creation process. Band members consulted a list of every song they ever played live, went around in a cirlce name personal favorites, and even did some trading amongst themselves before arriving at a list of 80 possibilities.