In a surprising move, Vermont-based jam band Phish – which has long been considered the heir to the Grateful Dead crown – announced on its Web site Tuesday that it plans to break up once it finishes its summer tour in August.
"Last Friday night, I got together with Mike, Page and Fish to talk openly about the strong feelings I've been having that Phish has run its course and that we should end it now while it's still on a high note," guitarist Trey Anastasio, 40, referring to himself, bassist Mike Gordon, keyboardist Page McConnell and drummer Jon Fishman, writes on the site.
"Once we started talking, it quickly became apparent that the other guys' feelings, while not all the same as mine, were similar in many ways – most importantly, that we all love and respect Phish and the Phish audience far too much to stand by and allow it to drag on beyond the point of vibrancy and health."
He continued, "We don't want to become caricatures of ourselves, or worse yet, a nostalgia act. By the end of the meeting, we realized that after almost 21 years together we were faced with the opportunity to graciously step away in unison, as a group, united in our friendship and our feelings of gratitude."
This will not be a mere hiatus, as has occurred before with the band. This is it. The final Phish shows will be held Aug. 14-15 in Coventry, Vt. Before then, the group will release what now appears to be its final studio album, Undermind, on June 15, reports Billboard.
A band spokesman in Vermont confirmed the announcement to the Boston Globe but declined further comment.