Phish, a US rock band, was formed in 1983 (1983 in music) at the University of Vermont by guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio, rhythm guitarist Jeff Holdsworth, and drummer Jonathan Fishman, later joined by bassist Mike Gordon. Jeff soon left the band (he found religion) and Page McConnell joined on keys, finalizing the lineup. Phish began playing at local clubs in Burlington, and their live shows gained a reputation for extended improvisational jams. Their musical ethos is a playful mix of skilled improvisation, psychedelic rock, folk, bluegrass, funk, a capella/barbershop quartet, and intricate compositions. Some of their original compositions (such as "Theme from the Bottom" and "Farmhouse") tend towards a psychedelic-rock and bluegrass fusion, with more rock and funk elements than the Grateful Dead and other earlier jam bands. Their more epic compositions (such as "Divided Sky" and "Fluffhead") are often said to resemble classical music in a rock setting. They recorded their debut album, "Junta" in 1988 (1988 in music), and began touring nationally soon after, playing 150 concerts in 1990 (1990 in music) alone. They were signed to Elektra Records and released:
Their fame grew with each successive release and, instead of succumbing to the pressures of huge stadium concerts, the band began organizing massive festivals such as the Clifford Ball (1996 in music), Great Went (1997 in music), Lemonwheel (1998 in music), Oswego (1999 in music), a 3 day millennium concert at the Big Cypress Seminole reservation at the end of 1999 (1999 in music), and the "It" festival at Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine. Phish toured throughout the summer and fall of 2000, and began a hiatus at the end of the tour (The first break longer than a few months for 17 years). The band members then began embarking on side projects: Trey fronting his own band, Page forming the trio Vida Blue with Russell Batiste and Oteil Burbridge, Fish performing with Pork Tornado, and Mike working on films such as Outside Out and The Deep End.
Phish ended the self-imposed hiatus with a sold-out New Year's eve (12/31/02) show at Madison Square Garden in New York City followed by a 3 show run in Hampton, VA. They have completed a Winter and Summer Tour for 2003, a 20th anniversery tour (Nov. 28-Dec. 2), and have planned a four day New Year's Run in Miami.
Ben and Jerry named a flavour of ice cream after them, "Phish Food". It has chocolate ice cream with gooey marshmallows and fudge fish. It is Ben and Jerry's third highest selling flavor as of 2000. All profits go towards the cleaning of Lake Champlain.