September 30, 1964
Fort Worth, Texas, United States
As the frontman for Phish, Trey Anastasio was the Jerry Garcia of the jam-band generation, but the prolific, mercurial guitarist/singer/songwriter also turned out plenty of solo albums and side projects over the years. He was born Ernest Joseph Anastasio on September 30, 1964 in Fort Worth, Texas, but the Anastasio family moved to Princeton, New Jersey when Trey was three years old. While studying at the University of Vermont, Anastasio met the friends with whom he would form Phish; their first live performance was a dance at the school in 1983. After a 1986 cassette release, Phish put out their official debut album, Junta, in 1989. It didn't take long for them to become avatars of the burgeoning jam-band scene. Combining a tendency toward epic-length improvisations and a quirky compositional bent, Phish built up a huge grassroots fanbase through constant touring, much like the Grateful Dead had done. By the mid '90s Phish transcended cult status and became a major commercial force. They took a two-year hiatus starting in 2000, and a five-year layoff came in 2004, but outside of that the band remained busy onstage and in the studio. Beginning with his solo debut album, 1999's One Man's Trash, Anastasio maintained his own career alongside Phish. Even before that he started working on extracurricular projects, like the free-jazz ensemble Surrender to the Air, with whom he released a self-titled album in 1996. In 2000, Anastasio formed the supergroup Oysterhead with Police drummer Stewart Copeland and Primus bassist Les Claypool, releasing the album The Grand Pecking Order the following year. In 2003 he began playing with Dave Matthews & Friends, a distinct entity from The Dave Matthews Band. But in 2015 things finally came full circle for Anastasio; he landed (however briefly) what must have been his dream gig, taking the late Jerry Garcia's spot as lead guitarist in The Grateful Dead when the band reunited for a series of huge, high-profile shows to commemorate its 50th anniversary. Anastasio had spent much of his career being considered a sort of Garcia surrogate, and finally he got the chance to step into the man's shoes for real..