Tom Marshall's musical career has centered around an ongoing collaboration with longtime friend and Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, with whom Marshall has been writing songs since the two met as teenagers. In 1998, he founded Amfibian, an alternate outlet for his songs.
Marshall and Anastasio met at the Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ, in the late '70s, where both were members of an extended social circle whose activities centered around songwriting and general music-making. Some of these songs -- such as "The Divided Sky," "Glide," and "Runaway Jim" -- eventually ended up in the Phish catalog. Marshall and Anastasio's collaboration crystallized while Anastasio spent the semester at home after being suspended from the University of Vermont. The two worked together to record Bivouac Juan, a collection of four-track demos, which was excerpted on Phish's self-released, self-titled demo tape.
Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, Marshall's early lyrics reflected the nonsensical playfulness of Anastasio's first compositions. By Rift (1993), Anastasio had become increasingly more serious in his work and Marshall's lyrics became more introspective. In 1997, the two spent several weekends holed up in Vermont farmhouses with a small battery of instruments and an eight-track recorder to develop new material for Phish. The nearly 30 songs they came up with were spread across several Phish albums. The original farmhouse demo tapes were released in 2000 as Trampled By Lambs and Pecked By the Dove, a warm collection of song sketches influenced by the likes Neil Young, Lou Reed, and Brian Eno.
Anastasio were aborted in late 1998, Marshall founded Amfibian with several New Jersey-based musicians, including former members of the Princeton Day School posse as well as younger talents drawn from local bands such as F-Hole and the Saras. Through their first incarnation, they played mostly Marshall originals as well as a smattering of cover material. Marshall recorded an album in his home studio with various members of the band, released in 2000 as Amfibian Tales. In 2000, Amfibian was joined by singer/songwriter Chris Harford, who infused their repertoire with many songs of his own.