In an announcement that has stunned the world, American jamband Phish were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The band received a phone call at 6am (Noon in Oslo, Norway, where the prize is announced and awarded) informing them that they received the award. Frontman Trey Anastasio received the phone call from his home outside New York City.
“Um, what do I think? I think this is unbelievable. I heard we were nominated but our old friend Sven (who is in the Norwegian Parliament) from Goddard (College) nominates us every year. I guess this year, something struck a chord with the voters and we won. I am amazed. Was 2010 that great a year for us? Wow. Really…it really makes you think.”
The criteria for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, as set detailed in Alfred Nobel’s will states that “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” The last phrase seems to be the key for Phish’s continual nomination and ultimately, their victory this year. Having been nominated early in 2011, the whole of Phish’s career impact is dually considered while the last two years, 2009 and 2010, when Phish reunited after a 5-year break up and played strong out of the gate.
Member of Norwegian Parliament Sven Svenson, a 1987 graduate of Goddard College has been on the Norwegian Nobel Committee for the past five years, but only recently did his half-serious nomination get taken with full weight by the committee. “Ya, I thought it would be worth a shot and since I’m on the committee, I can nominate who I want. I have seen Phish over 200 times and make trips back for the festivals and bigger shows, like Miami and SuperBall 9. So when this year, I took the committee to SuperBall 9 with me, something clearly struck a nerve. Soon, the whole idea became quite serious, and research was done on their body of work to see if they truly did benefit World Peace,” shared Svenson. “In fact, I think that it is well deserved.”
While some felt others were more deserving, including Activists, Political Prisoners, the Initiators of the “Arab Spring” movement and website Wikileaks, other members of the committee expressed their support for Phish.
Olga Olafson, a member of the committee was enthusiastic about the nomination of Phish after SuperBall 9 and her excitement grew as she shared her rationale for choosing Phish as the Nobel Laureate this year. “Have you listened to the Waves Soundcheck from Bethel? Or the Cobo Disease? Either of those, right there is pure gold and could in fact benefit world peace. Anyone who heard that music would put down their guns, put away their anger and find peace in the music. I know I did, I did a few shows on, ahem, ‘sick leave’ from the committee. I just couldn’t wait till SuperBall 9, I needed some Gordo bassbombs.”
Sven stated that he made his argument best by examining the Ghost from MSG on 12/31/10 and finding that when broadcast amongst warring factions during the Arab Spring in North Africa, the crowd became more peaceful and was able to demonstrate an ability to talk, communicate and discuss rationally and calmly with each other. You sincerely cannot see that with any form of music. “Basically, Phish helped to fuel the Arab Spring. What was also was a big help was the entirety of set 2 on 1/1/11. What a set from start to finish. That Simple was sublime.”
Added Svenson, “These guys need to play Europe more often, and after the ceremony, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a mini-tour up here in Scandanavia.” Of the 20 organizations that have received the Nobel Prize in the past 110 years, there has been no musical recipient of the high honor, making Phish a band to break new ground both at home and abroad.
As is the norm, a concert is planned in Norway at the Oslo Spektrum on December 11th, 2011, the day following the official ceremony at Oslo City Hall. (Mike Gordon will be rescheduling his tour dates for early 2012) The concert, which is broadcast to more than 450 million households in over 150 countries around the world has become a notable in recent years due to the eclectic lineups of music. In the past, Herbie Hancock, Wyclef jean, Lionel Richie, Yo-Yo Ma and Andrea Boccelli performed in the past few years, making Phish one of many to play, and some potential for collaboration brewing as well. (There have also been hundreds of world music acts that no one in America has ever heard of, and in the interest of time we didn’t bother to mention them. Our sincere apologies. Maybe if you played Bonnaroo we would have said something.)
This will mark Phish’s first performance in Norway. An online ticket request period is currently underway at Musictoday.com and will end on Friday, October 14th at noon ET. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on October 15th. There are very few tickets available, so unless you plan to drop $800 on a plane ticket and $400 for a hotel room, don’t ask for an extra.