10 Things to Know About Trey Anastasio
The Phish frontman will play with the Grateful Dead at Chicago's Soldier Field in July.
What kind of credentials does one need to handle Jerry Garcia's guitar parts and vocals with the original "Core Fore" members of the Grateful Dead? As today's news of the three-night Fare Thee Well reunion revealed, a musician with an equally devoted fanbase, guitar hero status and the endurance of a true road warrior. Fortunately, Phish frontman Trey Anastasio was up for the task.
Billboard serves up some knowledge on the musician who'll take the stage at Chicago's Soldier Field come July.
1. His name isn't Trey: Born Sept. 30, 1964, the 50-year-old Trey, as nearly everyone calls him, is actually named Ernest Joseph Anastasio III.
2. He doesn't play a Fender… or a Gibson: Anastasio's signature semi-hollow guitar is actually custom-made by the band's soundman, Paul Langedoc, who also occasionally makes guitars for fans for the low, low cost of $10,000-plus.
3. He met his bandmates in college: Although they rarely get credit for it, Phish is one of the longest-running bands to play music with all of its original members. The foursome first got together in 1984 in Vermont, where Anastasio attended both the University of Vermont and Goddard College.
4. His college senior project was a concept album: Called The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, the collection is still unreleased, though the songs from the project have been played throughout Phish's career.
5. Phish has hit the top 10 album charts three times: The band reached the top 10 of the Billboard 200 with 2014's Fuego, which peaked at No. 7, and 1996's Billy Breathes. They also hit the top 10 with 1998's "Story of the Ghost."
6. The longest continuous Phish set lasted nearly eight hours: Like the Dead, winding, elaborate jams are Phish's calling card but the band went to extreme lengths on their New Year's Eve 1999 festival in Big Cypress, Florida. Clocking in at over seven hours, the band positioned port-a-potties on stage with them just in case...
7. He wrote a Broadway musical: Although it only had a short two-month run in spring 2013, Hands on a Hardbody, a musical based on a radio contest that involved contestants holding on to a truck for as long as they could (seriously) was a critical success and saw Anastasio nominated for a Tony Award for best original score.
8. Phish is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The band has never been nominated for induction into the Rock Hall, but a giant hot dog prop from one of their epic New Year's shows, which the band used to fly above the crowd, is part of the Cleveland museum's permanent collection.
9. He's an accomplished orchestral composer: Anastasio has led the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and played with the L.A. Philharmonic both at Walt Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.
10. He's totally sober: Despite Phish fans' party-hard reputation, Anastasio famously got clean after a 2006 DWI with help from a New York State-mandated drug court -- and later testified to Congress about its effectiveness in 2009.