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Around The Fire with Phish (An Excerpt)

by Dean Budnick on June 24, 2014

Today marks the official release of the new Phish album, Fuego. The band appears on the cover of our July_August issue, in a feature written by editor-in-chief Dean Budnick, which explores the process of recording the new record with producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed), the decision to debut material on Halloween as well as the current state of the quartet. While the issue won't hit newsstands for another two weeks, today we present an excerpt from the cover story. In addition, we're offering a special discount on subscriptions that will include the July_August issue with the Phish on the cover. So check out the preview below and then head to our subscriptions page, where you can get a discounted year of Relix ($20) by entering the promo code: Phish.

“Fire has always, throughout human history, been at the center of communities. People gather around the fire and talk or sing or connect,” Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio elaborates in reference to the title of the group’s new studio album, Fuego.

The animated musician then pivots from the Spanish meaning of the word to its usage as the French automobile name-checked in the title track, while accentuating the rapport between the band and their steadfast supporters.

“I love being able to sing, ‘inside your Fuego, we keep it rolling’ because it’s the Phish community that’s the heart and soul of what we do. We, Phish, keep it rolling, but what we do is inside of your Fuego. I like being able to think of that as we sing that line.”

However, while the group’s fans do have a place in the story of the new album, at Fuego’s core is the kinship between the four band members, estranged—if only musically—for a period of five years and now, five years after their reconciliation, pushing forward with a new collective enterprise.

“We are communicating better as a group than we ever have in our career,” keyboardist Page McConnell explains. “We are probably better friends than we ever have been collectively. So we had an idea for a pretty cool challenge and a fun way to involve everybody and take things to the next level. As it turned out, it’s become hugely exciting to us. We’ve been going for 30 years, and it’s really pretty remarkable at this point in our career to dive into an altogether different approach to songwriting.”

Since McConnell is not given to hyperbole, such a statement underscores the creative development both generated and reflected by Phish’s Fuego.

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