- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Officially retiring

Phish is calling it quits for real, according to guitarist Trey Anastasio.

The Vermont jam band took a hiatus between 2000 and 2002, during which its members worked on a variety of solo projects. This time, they mean it.

“I should say that this is not like the hiatus, which was our last attempt to revitalize ourselves. We’re done,” Mr. Anastasio said on the band’s official Web site.

Phish, which also includes drummer Jon Fishman, bassist Mike Gordon and keyboardist Page McConnell, made the decision at a group meeting.

“We don’t want to become caricatures of ourselves, or worse yet, a nostalgia act,” Mr. Anastasio wrote. “By the end of the meeting, we realized that after almost 21 years together we were faced with the opportunity to graciously step away in unison, as a group, united in our friendship and our feelings of gratitude.”

After a summer tour, Phish will play its last concert in Coventry, Vt., Aug. 14 and 15.

Officially retired

Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley took nearly a year and a half to end a marriage that lasted less than four months.

The couple’s divorce was finalized Monday, according to Associated Press. They filed for separation in November 2002, just a few months after a romantic Hawaiian wedding.

“I’m sad about this, but we shouldn’t have been married in the first place. It was a big mistake,” Miss Presley said at the time.

Don’t go there

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, had a testy exchange with the host of a British TV talk show when the topic turned to the royal family.

The former daughter-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II was being interviewed on Channel 4’s “Richard and Judy” show Tuesday when host Richard Madeley said: “A couple of quick questions about the Windsors…”

“I suppose you have to, don’t you?” Miss Ferguson replied.

When asked if she is still on speaking terms with Prince Philip, her former father-in-law, she gave a curt “yes.”

Mr. Madeley persisted and asked if there was any possibility she would get back together with her former husband, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

“I really thought I was going to come on to this show and you were really honestly going to take Sarah Ferguson as Sarah Ferguson — a single working mother with two girls,” she said.

“I’m very serious about what I do. OK? And don’t make a mockery of it, all right?”

Mac attack

If Fleetwood Mac had played Nissan Pavilion last night as scheduled — someone got sick, but the band won’t say who — here’s what Lindsey Buckingham says fans would have seen: the best Mac yet.

“Strictly on a musical level — as musicians and as a band — I think we’re actually doing better work now than we’ve ever done,” Mr. Buckingham said in a recent interview.

Is the rejuvenated ‘70s supergroup, despite current illnesses, in it for the long haul?

“I would say so,” Mr. Buckingham said. “I think we all have a major chunk of our idealism — or maybe our illusions — intact.”

Also, everyone’s getting along. The band is on the third leg of a tour to promote last year’s “Say You Will,” the first Mac album with Mr. Buckingham’s participation since 1987’s “Tango in the Night.” “This is the best time we’ve ever had, certainly on a social level,” he said.

He and singer Stevie Nicks, with whom he split during the making of 1977’s “Rumours,” “still have our moments,” but he said those moments are born of affection, not animosity.

“It took a long time, but we’ve managed to become friends,” Mr. Buckingham, 54, said of his relationship with Miss Nicks.

“For many, many years, I didn’t get closure on that. I kept having to be around her all the time. But here we still are, someone I’ve known since I was 16.”

More good news is that Mr. Buckingham, the songwriter, is as busy as ever.

He reported, “The last six months, I’ve been writing like crazy.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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