The Spark of Trey’s Solo Career

2.16.10 - NYC (J.Orsillo)

I still remember getting the analog tape in the Spring of ’98. It was labeled “8 Foot Fluorescent Tubes,” the moniker of some local Burlington musicians Trey had assembled to play a single show at Higher Ground, a club in their home town. His band featured Russ Lawton on drums, Tony Markelis (formerly of The Unknown Blues Band) on bass, Tom Lawson of the punk outfit The Pants on a second guitar, and Heloise Williams of viperHouse on vocals. Together they ran through a stripped down set of Trey’s unplayed solo material before many more musicians joined them as The Burlington All-Stars for a second half filled with covers . But in that first set, Trey’s solo career was born.

The first two songs on the analog tape were labeled “Bing-Bong” and “Wee,” both referencing musical elements of the songs themselves. “Bing Bong” alluded to the climactic and repetitive chord change at the peak of the the song (words also sung by Williams)—a piece that would transform into “First Tube.” “Wee” alluded to Trey’s siren loops that started at the beginning a heavy groove, one of the strongest parts in the show, that would soon be known as “Sand.”Also performed in the set were the debuts of “Free Thought,” which would later appear as “Mozambique,” and a “jam” that would evolve into “Last Tube.” In between these songs, all that soon morphed into polished staples of Trey’s solo act in 1999, the band played four other pieces including the punk-inspired “Silicone Fairy” and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”

Event Poster

The band’s sound that night in April 1998 was raw, as this was the one and only show The 8 Foot Fluorescent Tubes ever played together. But something was there. Trey liked what he heard so much that he plucked the band’s rhythm section of Markelis and Lawton and brought them into The Barn to jam, thus beginning the the power trio—the first incarnation of The Trey Anastasio Band. The trio soon made their debut at the Very Special Arts Vermont benefit at Higher Ground, but would come together in earnest a year later, hitting the road as The Trey Anastasio Band in May of ’99. Touring in the same acoustic/electric format of Trey’s upcoming winter run, the trio threw down extended second sets filled with sweltering dance fury, in what were, perhaps, the most spectacular shredding guitar showcases Trey has ever played. But a year before he ever hit the road as a solo act—a project that would balloon to an eleven-member ensemble before returning to a quartet in 2008—Trey’s solo career was sparked with one under-the-radar gig in Burlington, Vermont.

Here’s the original setlist:

I. Bing Bong, Wee, Free Thought, Mr. Green Man, Naturally to Blame, In the Mood, Silicone Fairy, Jam > Higher Ground

Here’s the translation:

I. First Tube, Sand, Mozambique, Meatman, Shame, In the Mood, Silicone Fairy, Last Tube > Higher Ground

4.17.98 – “First Tube” debut


Jam of the Day:

Ghost > She Caught the Katy” 7.21.98 II

Before Worcester’s recent bust-0ut, the last version of “She Caught the Katy” came out of Desert Sky Pavilion’s “Ghost” during the summer of ’98.




4.11.1991 The Cave, Carleton College – Northfield, Minnesota SBD

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Carleton College

Here’s another ’91 SBD, famous for Fishman’s telling of “The Prison Joke” during the encore, not to mention plenty of on point playing throughout.

I: Runaway Jim, Cavern, Paul and Silas, Tweezer, Magilla, Dinner and a Movie, Bouncing Around the Room, Foam, Carolina, You Enjoy Myself, The Squirming Coil, Chalk Dust Torture

II: My Sweet One, Reba, Llama, TMWSIY  > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY, The Lizards,Split Open and Melt, Lawn Boy, The Landlady > Destiny Unbound, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

E: Fee, HYHU > The Prison Joke > HYHU, Possum

Source: SBD

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567 Responses to “The Spark of Trey’s Solo Career”

  1. halcyon Says:


    Check this article out. Read it last night at work.

  2. themanatee Says:

    that First Tube from 8 Foot is such a cool video. time capsule stuff

  3. halcyon Says:

    Milli Vanilli on the big screen???


  4. BingosBrother Says:

    “If only y’all knew what wookie foot was actually like.

    Shit’s gross, yo.”

    Worlds are colliding, yo.

  5. ThePigSong Says:

    someone was saying yesterday that it’s not actually Rothbury, but a SCI festival.

    Oh how I wish it was the Phish fest since I have to be in Detroit on the 2nd… 🙁

  6. BTB Says:

    ::begins hula hooping:

  7. angryjoggerz Says:

    I sort of wish I had hit the Dead at Rothbury when they did it a couple of years back. Not really one for hippie festivals, but that area is so beautiful and easy to get a house on the lake no more than 20 minutes from the venue. Beautiful part of the country, for sure.

  8. Chuck sweD Says:

    8 foot tubes? sure…

    who’s got stinkfoot?

  9. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    “8 foot tubes? sure…”

    Or as we call them out here, “lightsaber hits”

  10. lumpyhead Says:

    ^ haha

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    Used to have a 4 footer until my friends dad came home early, saw it in his garage, and sledgehammered it. What kind of dipshit carries around a 4 footer? this dipshit. I had spectacular lungs back then though and could clear it no problem.

  12. joe Says:

    looks like trey was influenced by sprockets in this video. Awesome stuff and great article as usual Mr. Miner.

  13. Robear Says:

    MINER!!! Great, insightful article. Some phishstory I hadn’t heard.

    Between Trey’s candid interview and this article, my excitement to see TAB is growing to a feverish pitch!

    what a guy. love the little family tidbits and such.

  14. Robear Says:

    startin’ the morning withe the Memphis Pyramid ‘Also Sprach Zara Thrustra’

  15. cal Says:

    Morning, all. Thanks for that link, lw. Now I don’t have any qualms about not going to ‘roo. Again. Plenty of good acts on there, but…yeah.

    I wish Rothbury would come back in its original form. First year was magical; Trey’s solo set with Mike guesting for a couple tunes, probably the best Primus show I’ve ever seen, pristine grounds and I could take the ferry over from MKE and then drive a mere 30 miles or so.

    Still didn’t top my two favorite Bonnaroos, though–’02 and ’06, Trey conducting the crowd and Radiohead’s best show ever + the debut of GRAB. But the hassle, the heat…just not worth it any more. It used to feel like we were all in it together at ‘roo. Now it’s a motley bunch of different commercial factions vying for dominance in the name of “diversity”. I’m all for diversity but there’s something to be said for solidarity.

  16. river trance Says:

    I remember being in U of Iowa’s dorm before they booted me pulling the 3 footer with the 3 foot extension. have to love the pull of plastic.

    we were watching a cubs game and had to pull one for every run the cubs pitching gave up

    chilling on the top bunk while it was lit by your roommate below.

    shit would get stale as fuck before it was filled and pulled. awesome.

  17. ThePigSong Says:

    aren’t we supposed to get a tour announcement today?

  18. Robear Says:

    when Trey starts his solo around the 16 min. mark, it sounds like he’s using a ‘reverse delay’ effect. basically mimics his solo in reverse


    i think that’s what it sounds like.

  19. joe Says:

    that’s my favorite effect….and what candid trey article, Robear?

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    Announcement pushed back a week I’m told

  21. Robear Says:

    @ joe, from ‘’. supposedly a multi-part interview by email. check out their website. should be easy to find.

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    Announcement pushed back a week I’m told

    ^ BOO!

  23. goochy Says:


  24. lumpyhead Says:

    that debut of first tube is crazy cool. never saw that before.

  25. garretc Says:


    That’s exactly what I thought was happening too…

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