November 17, 2004

Tom Marshall: The Secret Life of Words


Relix conducted a big interview with Tom Marshall, half of the Phish songwriting team Anastasio/Marshall.

Probably sometime in 1979 when Trey and I were in ninth grade, he had switched from being one of our class’ few drummers, to one of many aspiring guitarists. I remember a specific moment in PDS [Princeton Day School] classmate Barry Lamb’s basement where a bunch of the school’s guitarists were gathered in a corner teaching each other riffs—like "Rock ‘n’ Roll Hootchie Coo" and "Smoke on the Water" and stuff like that. I walked over to the other side of the basement, and there was Trey, sitting alone with his guitar. I sat next to him thinking, what the hell is HE doing with a guitar? He’s a drummer! Then I listened to him playing Allman Brothers riffs and several other songs in their entirety and realized that he, after playing about two weeks, was leaps and bounds better than several guys who had taken lessons for many months, even years. I asked him, "When did you learn to play?" He just said, "I always sort of knew how." I never questioned that statement—because it was irrefutable.

» The full interview

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