Phish Cooking Up New Live Album

There's no title yet. The songs aren't finalized. But plans for a new live Phish album are most definitely underway.

And word is it's going to be based on one jammin' stage show.

Phish fans will soon have another chance to hear the band playing live on CD, adding more live tapings to their scores of bootleg recordings already available. Gihan Salem, a spokesperson at Elektra Records, the band's label, confirmed on Wednesday that a still-untitled live album from the jam-happy Vermont quartet is tentatively scheduled for release on Oct. 21.

Jason Colton, from the group's Dionysian Productions management company in Burlington, Vermont verified that the band is in the studio mixing the album this week and expect to be done by next week. "It doesn't have a title yet," said Colton about the band's second live recording, the follow-up to 1995's double live CD, A Live One.

And although Colton said the "music isn't finalized yet" and couldn't verify what the contents will be, a source close to the band said that, contrary to Internet scuttlebutt, the new effort will memorialize one entire show, not a sampling of gigs.

"It's from a March 1 show in Hamburg, Germany," said the source, who prefers to remain anonymous. "It will be one disc from the show at the Markt Halle and it will probably have a version of 'Mike's Song' on it, which is an old song they have performed since the early '80s, but never officially recorded before."

The album will likely include an a cappella version of "Ragtime Gal," a barbershop quartet-style song. Contrary to the way the band worked on their most recent album, Billy Breathes, for which they buried themselves in a studio and jammed, previewing the material minimally before recording it, Phish have been playing a number of their new compositions on the road over the past few months.

At a recent show at Mountain View, Calif.'s Shoreline Amphitheater, Phish loaded-up on new songs, playing versions of "Ghost," "Dogs Stole Things," "Limb By Limb," "Vultures" and "Saw It Again," which close observers of the band say have significantly changed and expanded since their debuts. Several of those songs are expected to show up on the group's next album, which the source said should be released in mid- to late-1998.

Speaking of the Shoreline show, ATN has learned that the group may have gotten ahead of itself when they chose Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" as a show-closer.

As the source close to the band explained, "They've only played that one other time in concert, in March of this year. They realized they didn't really remember it as well as they thought, so between the set break and the encore, they asked the production manager to cue the song up on a boom box backstage so they could learn it really quickly again before they played it."

Still cramming after all these years.