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. Leo Weaver Says:

    Wasn’t the real genesis of First Tube in Barcelona ’98? Can’t recall what jam it was in, but it’s there…I think. That was a HOT HOT HOT venue. I recall a coupel of folks gettin it on by the stage. Crazy Europeans…

  2. river trance Says:

    just noticed I have this in my mediafire. if anyone is interested

    Dr. John – Desitively Bonnarroo

    anyone looking for some slick mid 90’s scum rock to spin and hasn’t heard Royal Trux. THis is a fav of mind.

    ROyal Trux – Thank You

    1995 release on Drag City

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    “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.”

    Damn. Thats some hardcore shit RT. I was also booted out of my dorm in college for da herb, among other things. Fuck em. You may be interested in this record auction, or not. Check it out.

  4. river trance Says:

    I saw that in the paper today Bingos. very cool.

    was thinking about looking into it.

  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    I’m surprised they’re doing the bonnaroo album. i know i know namesake yada yada yada but “right place” would have been slamming.

  6. river trance Says:

    we combined 4 of us freshman year into one room. still don’t know how the RA’s let us do this. imagine it was a fire hazard or some shit. we had those wooden bunk bed things so we fit, although kinda tight.

    the other room became known as the “lounge”. basically the huge party room with a nice stereo, tv, a bunch of couches and coffee table.

    if you lived in Currier or Burge dorms and you needed to find a party post bars kids would be partying there.

    since I was a professional partier and never went to class the other 3 realized I was the only one enjoying the “lounge” got dismantled soon after and I got booted.

    fun times.

  7. Guyute711 Says:

    That Roo lineup can’t be right. I didn’t see Franti. How you feelin??!!

  8. gavinsdad Says:

    my homie Kevin Lyons has a show up at colette in Paris.

    this piece is for sale and just what Chuck SWE (and butter) were looking for.

  9. angryjoggerz Says:

    cool stuff, GD. Colette is the shit, as is Paris. Damn I love Paris.

  10. JMelby Says:

    My wife and I vividly remember getting the 8 ft tape shortly after the show, and it rarely was replaced in the car deck for over a month. Really liked In the Mood too, I think it was the first time I heard Trey sing with a woman and the results are awesome.

    6-29-98 we were behind Grey Hall listening to the 2 plus hour sound check/rehersal, and after Trey was the first out and came over to my wife and we started having a conversation. Wasn’t long and I was just getting ready to asked if we will hear some of the 8 ft Tube music soon, when this other fan comes up and asks Trey, “What’s with all the mellow shit” referring to Brian & Robert that they had been playing 3 or 4 times. Trey went from a smiling happy guy to see ya later. Didn’t get our answer til 9-9-99 and you can clearly hear my wife’s elation at the start of First Tube on the FOB’s.

  11. Chuck sweD Says:

    if i ever dropped $15 on a lighter, i’d be all over that.

    … anyone use hemp wick (or similar) to light their bowls? just heard of that the other day… dude didn’t want to inhale bic fluid.

    personally, i huff the bic before and after takin’ a rip. extra 10% ^^. (disclaimer: not true)

  12. river trance Says:

    I’ve been on the beeline for a few months SWE

    once you drop the butane you can’t go back

    much cleaner taste without it

  13. Chonz Says:

    @rt /aw / pg. I’ve been pilfering your mediafire for a while and LOVE the Royal Trux. Thanks for turning me on to them (not to mention all the other shit I’ve copped from you – adderly, etc.). Love the vinyl rips.

  14. river trance Says:

    glad you dig it man

    Royal Trux was an amazing live band back in the day. Their album THank you is one of the only albums David Briggs produced other than Neil Young.

    Briggs said that Neil and Jennifer were by far the most fucked up musicians he had ever dealt with in his life. strong words from someone that produced Crazy Horse and was around Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

    The album Thank You and the previous one Cats and Dogs are masterpieces of the era

  15. mitch Says:

    so bummed. gonna be out of town when this is happening. anyone in close distance should go


    Bustle in your Hedgerow – a lyric pulled from the Led Zeppelin epic “Stairway to Heaven”, puts on sporadic shows showcasing only Zep tunes. But don’t call them a tribute band. Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Dave Dreiwitz, and Scott Metzger channel Led Zeppelin’s songs with such passion and energy, you would swear they are their own songs.

    sounds like a damn fun night out to me.

  16. mitch Says:

    ^caps were from copy / pasting from the site. my bad.

  17. joshua Says:

    I LOVE the vocables that were sung in 1st tube back then. I wish, with Trey going back to the foundations of certain songs, that this would be a prime example. I have always thought this song needed some lyrical scatting, or something.

    ok rant. I remember when hearing phish play a song, they used to tweak the arrangements, to almost perfection. To me, by 99-00 it became almost too perfect. But still, you could tell that their intent WAS to perfect their arrangements. So it seems to me in 3.0 Phish, that they arent annalyzing their playing as much or at all. This is to me, one of the noticeable things with the Phish this era,

    Sorry for the rant. But you might understand where im coming from,
    love the site, hate the black background.

  18. kayatosh Says:

    “since I was a professional partier and never went to class the other 3 realized I was the only one enjoying the “lounge” got dismantled soon after and I got booted.”

    ^^^ post of the day. hilarious.

  19. Kaveh Says:

    Good late morning everyone! Is it alright to start drinking at work at 11:30am? Just got back from the tax preparers office…damn. Finally, do you think I can turn the Phish shows, travel and other expensive into a tax deduction? 🙂

  20. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    “Bing Bong, Wee”

    – R2D2

  21. snowbank Says:

    Beeline ordered. Love you guys!

  22. snowbank Says:

    I am a little concerned about having a burning rope while burning… hopefully it comes with instructions.

  23. Highway Bill Says:

    Hello BB.

    Great read today….Thank you, Mr. Miner.

  24. river trance Says:

    the thing about beeline is the taste difference is night and day

    I tend to be the last persons to make a decision for health reasons so I fought it for a while.

    Once I got some and realized how much cleaner a taste it was. I was hooked.

    I’ve yet to start a fire with it yet. I have the huge spool and the few times I’ve forgotten to put it out it just burns in to the spool and puts itself out

    greatest invention since the grinder and ice catcher

  25. GuyForget Says:


    I have seen the Bustle incarnation everytime they came through Chicago, including the shows minus Dreiwitz. Side note, Bustle in your Hedgerow is actually an English phrase describing a queef. Back to the band though, they rip, Scott Metzger shreds and Marco is a true showman. Russo will give you chills listening to his drumming, and Dreiwitz lays down a funky bottom line.

    If you care to listen to me, don’t miss an opportunity to catch it if it’s in your hood. I want to see Some Cat from China the funky Jimi Hendrix project also with Metzger. That guys is a true rockstar and super cool dude.

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