Anastasio arrested

From Albany, NY's

by Bob Gardinier, Staff Writer 

WHITEHALL — Former Phish frontman Trey Anastasio was arrested by village police early this morning and charged with DWI-drugs after they stopped his car for failure to keep right.

Ernest Anastasio was stopped at 3:30 a.m. by Patrolman Andrew Mija who said the musician was observed to be under the influence of a narcotic substance after failing field testing, Patrolman Jeff Whalen said this morning.

Anastasio lives in Vermont, which is just over the border from this Washington County community. Whalen said he had a suspended driver's license in New York and allegedly was found with an assortment of prescription medications including hydrocodone, Percocet and Xanax, which were prescribed for another person.

Anastasio was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and DWI – drugs, Whalen said. He was released from custody with appearance tickets for a later date.

Anastasio, who is pursuing a solo career since Phish broke up, is scheduled to appear at the Palace Theatre in Albany on Dec. 29.

In an interview with the Times Union last year, Anastasio discussed the role drugs played in the band's final years, and in his decision to call for its end.

While fatigue was generally seen as the culprit, few fans were willing to chalk it up to anything more than artistic torpor or mundane road-weariness after the band's breakup announcement in May 2004.

"I thought it went without saying how deep into our scene hard drugs had gone,'' said Anastasio in the November 2005 interview. He resisted getting into the specifics of who was doing what, and how much.

"That's why I was surprised at people saying, `How could you do this?' How could I not do this? What's the alternative here? I always thought our scene was so transparent, that everybody knew everything. That's why it was hard to hear the anger and frustration from Phish fans,'' he said.

"I just want to say to them: I love Phish, too. But because of what was happening to Phish and happening to me, the decisions came from a place of love and respect for the same thing that you all loved and respected. That same light was going out pretty damned fast.''

"We got through the '80s and '90s without encountering hard drugs which is pretty miraculous considering what those eras were like and it is a testament to the guys in the band, in how intent we were from keeping those type of drugs away.''

"Once we let our guard down around 1998, the scene started to eat itself and there was a massive loss of perspective. … The whole thing was being crushed under its own weight. The germ of the thing that feeling between the four of us is still there, but we were getting unhealthy and tired,'' he said.

The band went on hiatus in the fall of 2000, and didn't return to the road until the end of 2002. “We came back and it was even worse,'' Anastasio said.

The summer 2004 tour ended with the band's weekend-long August farewell on farmland outside of Coventry, Vt.