Phish plans to hit the studio?

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As if life wasn’t chaotic enough for the members of Phish these days (see: this weekend’s stint in Hampton, Virginia, the summer U.S. tour) now comes word that the legendary rockers will hit the studio next month to begin work on the long-awaited followup to 2004’s Undermind.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, the band revealed that the idea of making a new album was the spark that originally reunited Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Jon Fishman, and Page McConnell last fall. Since the, the quartet has recorded demo versions of 20 songs, one of which, a selection entitled “Backwards Down the Number Line” and described as a “fond birthday song that asks, ‘Do you know why we’re still friends?'” will be debuted this weekend.

The expose also went on to share a few other details of what fans expect expect from this weekend’s performances, such as the the fact that unlike 2004’s farewell concerts at The Coventry, which the band described as sub par, Phish will be ready for this go around.

…They resolved to be the version of Phish they prized most: the intently practiced, well-prepared Phish from the mid-90s. They started their Vermont rehearsals not with their countryish three-chord songs but with their intricate, suitelike songs that verge on progressive rock, like “Split Open and Melt” and “Foam.”

What’s this mean for song selections?

Figuring out what to play for its first three reunion concerts became “one of those exercises in overthought that Phish is known for,” Mr. Anastasio said. Band members went in a circle naming the songs they wanted to play, deducted some, consulted a list of every song Phish ever played, did some trading and eventually arrived at about 80 songs. Mr. Anastasio started constructing three nights’ sets. “It’s like Tetris,” he said as he showed a visitor the list, a printout full of handwritten changes from six different pens.

80 songs, three nights…that’s going to be a lot of digital downloads!

Have fun, kids – we’re looking at you Hidden Track!

Phish 2009 Tour Dates:
03/06 – Hampton, VA @ Hampton Coliseum
03/07 – Hampton, VA @ Hampton Coliseum
03/08 – Hampton, VA @ Hampton Coliseum
06/04 – Wantagh, NY @ Jones Beach Amphitheater
06/05 – Wantagh, NY @ Jones Beach Amphitheater
06/06 – Mansfield, MA @ Comcast Center for the Performing Arts
06/07 – Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center
06/09 – Asheville, NC @ Asheville Civic Center
06/12 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
06/14 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
06/16 – St. Louis, MO @ Fox Theatre
06/18 – Burgettstown, PA @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
06/19 – Noblesville, IN @ Verizon Wireless Music Center
06/20 – E. Troy, WI @ Alpine Valley Music Theatre
06/21 – E. Troy, WI @ Alpine Valley Music Theatre

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