A Christmas Gift From Trey
The Holiday Season is upon us. And, for the first time in years, Phish and their fans will be celebrating together. This year, everyone in the Phish community has a great deal to be thankful for. To start, we would like to thank our readers, and all the people who have helped with the site. It’s been a real pleasure sharing so much great music with so many people. That said, we most likely wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the events that transpired 3 years ago at this time.
As many of you know, Trey was arrested on December 15th, 2006. The day that followed, 3 years ago today, was the day that Trey’s new life began. As he has mentioned over and over, but most recently in an interview with Parke Puterbaugh (in the new Phish biography):
“Getting arrested in that car was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
It seems as though Phish has regained their creative spark. The band is exuding an energy we have not seen from them in years, taking their music further and in new directions. The scene around them has become healthier, allowing Phish to move forward and regain a sense of longevity. The scene, which plagued the band’s ability to write and produce creative new music, is gone. As Trey mentions in the same interview (Phish Biography):
“As long as the four of us are together and have a protected, quite and comfortable atmosphere around us, then we can make decisions with the dynamic that has always existed.”
And so, Phish have returned to their ways of old (sort of) focusing on music and practice. Every venue along the summer tour was set-up with a practice room, and during practice, the band members were the only ones present. It’s clear from their willingness to attack challenging songs in their catalog that this time around will be nothing like ’03-’04. This time it’s about the music, and that’s what we’re here for.
Way back in ’83, during Trey’s semester off school, he headed into the basement of his father’s house equipped with his four-track tape recorder and some blankets, draped from the walls to dampen the sound. Trey, Tom, Pete Cottone, Marc Daubert and Dave Abrahams, members of the “Princeton Mafia”, got together and recorded some of the songs that would eventually make it into Phish’s catalog.
These early recordings show the creative spark within Trey, in its very early stages. The goal was, as he has said “as different as possible”, and the fruition of that can be heard on these recordings. Incorportating elements from many of the greatest artists, but mimicing none of them directly, Trey carves out a niche that would form the roots of Phish’s music. Making use of pitch shifters on the 4-track machine, Trey altered the pitch of the vocals, harmonizing them with eachother, much in the way he does with his Digitech-wham today. His guitar-playing abilities can be heard on his original take on Bronislaw Kaper’s “Green Dolphin Street”, while the vocalized chord-progression in “YEM” shows his compositional prowess. One should notice that this chord progression is the identical one the New York Philharmonic played only months ago at Carnegie Hall. That stands as a bold testament to his early compositional abilities – the fact that many of these songs are still played in the exact same way.
In 1985, after transferring to Goddard, Trey distributed the tape of his 4-track recordings as a Christmas gift to his friends and family. The tape was a combination of the tracks Trey recorded in his basement, along with some others he had created up until ’85. The tape used to circulate as “11/23/85 Godard (side A) / Trey’s 4 Track Project (side B)”, from which the B side has come to be known as “A Christmas Gift From Trey”. These recordings were created at a time when there was nothing but the music, and clearly, Trey put his heart and soul into every one of these songs. From Trey, to us, to you. Enjoy.
And So To Bed > You Enjoy Myself, Green Dolphin Street-> Harry Hood, Slave to the Traffic Light, Antelope, Divided Sky, Letter to Jimmy Page, Dave’s Energy Guide > Fluff’s Travels, “A Last Surprise” (12/01/84 Skippy the Wondermouse)
Check out the “Sand” from the show 10 years ago today in Raleigh, NC. Right before heading into Hampton, the last shows before Cypress, the band stopped in North Carolina dropping one of the finest versions of “Sand” to date. Call us crazy, but we’re expecting a HUGE “Sand” in Miami. Just saying…