While Phish's open-ended hiatus continues, band members Trey Anastasio and Page McConnell both intend to tour this year in support of solo projects, Billboard Bulletin reports.

While Phish's open-ended hiatus continues, band members Trey Anastasio and Page McConnell both intend to tour this year in support of solo projects, Billboard Bulletin reports. As first reported here last fall, guitarist Anastasio will release an album featuring his eight-piece 2001 touring band on Elektra in April. He will support it quickly afterward with a five-week tour of varied venues.

"I've been looking at classics like [Stevie Wonder's] 'Songs in the Key of Life' and other classic Motown arrangements, where there was the use of a full orchestra in terms of sonic range, but still based around popular songs," Anastasio told Billboard.com last fall about his sources of inspiration for the album. "This is the cool thing about getting the chance to do something outside of Phish. Phish is only four people who could only do so much. But to be able to put together an eight-piece band with a 35-piece orchestra melded together, it just opens up a lot of cool opportunities."

Keyboardist McConnell and his band Vida Blue will also release an album in the first half of the year, likely on Elektra, and will tour in support of it. Vida Blue also features bassist Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers) and drummer Russell Batiste (Funky Meters). The band played its maiden shows during the last week of December, and at a New Year's Eve performance in New York, was joined by Anastasio and Phish bassist Mike Gordon on a cover of Traffic's "Light Up or Leave Me Alone."

MP3 clips of Vida Blue's recent jam sessions can be downloaded from Phish's official Web site.

As for Phish, manager John Paluska told Bulletin the group has no current plans to work. But the full band did play an impromptu three-song set at the Dec. 1 of wedding of Jason Colton, who works for the band's Dionysian Productions. It was the first time Phish had been on any stage together since its last, pre-hiatus show on Oct. 7, 2000, in San Francisco.

However, the group is continuing on with its "Live Phish" series of archival concert releases, the first six of which were issued in the fall. Although the next six releases have not yet been specified, Elektra confirms that they are due April 16.

To read Billboard.com's extensive interview with Anastasio, click here.

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