Last summer, Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio assumed the lead guitar role for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Grateful Dead, joining the “Core Four” surviving members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart for the five night celebratory run. In a new feature piece for Relix Magazine, famed writer David Fricke spoke at length with Anastasio about the experience.The piece, which was just published online for the first time, sees Anastasio talk about the four main lessons that he learned while playing with the Grateful Dead.1. “There has never been a great rock band that hasn’t been built around an irreplaceable drummer… That guy, in the Dead, is Bill Kreutzmann. I stood there for five days, watching people dancing. Bill is the heartbeat—Mickey, too. Together, they are one heart. Once the music started”—Anastasio hums the opening riff of “Truckin’,” the first song on the first night in Santa Clara—“I was like, ‘I know who’s driving this ship.’”2. “Bobby is Mr. Slow Down… He is patient, comfortable—no rush. Sometimes I’d be like, ‘You really want to play this song that slow?’” When Anastasio played the entrance lick in “Deal,” the last song of the first set on July 4, it was “at a Jerry Garcia Band tempo from 1982.” It was also “a little too fast.” When the song was over, Anastasio walked over to Weir. “I said, ‘That was too fast, wasn’t it?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ But he was totally cool. He played it anyway.”3. Weir “is a rock singer. Sometimes the music would get loose, a little floundering—no one knows where it’s going to go. Then Bobby would step up, like in ‘Samson And Delilah’”—in the first set on July 5. “When he started singing like that, boom, 80,000 people came together. It didn’t matter if it was in tune. That wasn’t the point. I could feel him unifying that stadium.”4. “I love to jam,” Anastasio says brightly. “I love to jam long. But even for me, the time would come when I’d think, ‘This is too noodle-y. Let’s play the next song.’ I would do something, a lick, that gently alluded to it. Then Phil would look over at me and put his hand up, like, ‘What’s your rush, dude?’ They weren’t done… That thing from the Acid Tests”—the 1965 and ‘66 LSD communions in San Francisco that were among the Dead’s first gigs—“was still there. ‘We’re not here to entertain you.’”Read the full article here.