Phish Management Firm Winding Down

Longtime Phish manager John Paluska is to dismantle the band's Burlington, Vt.-based management company, Dionysian Productions.

Longtime Phish manager John Paluska is to dismantle the band's Burlington, Vt.-based management company, Dionysian Productions.

"Dionysian Productions will be a non-entity as of the end of the year," says Paluska, who was Phish's manager for 16 years until the jam band's breakup earlier this year. "I'm taking a sabbatical, and I don't know where I'll re-emerge. It may be in the music business, or it may not be."

When the band was on the road, the staff of Dionysian -- which includes merchandising company Phish Dry Goods -- numbered more than 25.

Phish will maintain a small headquarters in Vermont, headed by the band's longtime archivist Kevin Shapiro. "The rest of us are all splitting off and doing different things," says Paluska.

Sources say band guitarist Trey Anastasio is close to announcing a management deal with Dave Matthews Band manager Coran Capshaw, but the move could not be immediately confirmed. Anastasio, who has the most box-office clout of any Phish member, will likely tour in 2005, sources say. Like Phish and DMB, Anastasio is booked by Chip Hooper at Monterey Peninsula Artists.

Jason Colton, a key executive at Dionysian, will continue to manage Phish bassist Mike Gordon, who is recording a second album with guitarist Leo Kottke. Keyboardist Page McConnell just released a DVD, "Live at the Fillmore," with his band Vida Blue & the Spam Allstars, on Image Entertainment. Drummer Jon Fishman also has a side project, Pork Tornado.

The last major effort of Dionysian Productions was orchestrating the mass refunding effort for those that could not make it to Phish's final festival, Coventry. Held Aug. 14-15 in Vermont, the concert sold out and grossed more than $8.8 million, but at least 10,000 ticketholders could not get to the site because of torrential rains that closed roads in the area. Those ticketholders were fully refunded and also received a limited-edition Danny Clinch photodocumentary of a decade of Phish. Each member of the band hand-signed every copy.

On their final tour, the members of Phish stayed true to their history, keeping ticket prices low when they likely could have charged devoted fans three times as much. "It would have been a little late to change our whole strategy," observes Paluska. "These guys will continue to have careers as musicians, and hopefully Phish fans will follow them in their new careers. So there wasn't any thinking 'This is our last chance to squeeze every penny out before it ends.' "

Phish's final year of touring grossed $27.5 million from only 25 shows, capping one of the most remarkable chapters in the history of the concert business.