To: Freaks Mailing List
SOE is a new album with new sounds, approaches and attitudes and will benefit from the input of a new unit of musicians with fresh ideas. This is being treated as an opportunity to develop rather than as damage limitation. The album is aptly named. So where there's a Yin there's a Yang!
The new band is already taking shape and I've nominated Keith More as guitarist and musical director. His pedigree is well known, everything from Michael Schenker Group to Asia & Arena with all styles between. A London based Edinburgh guy who is extremely respected amongst the guitarist and muso fraternity, his initial thoughts are that he can handle both guitar parts with the assistance of technology and a dexterous and imaginative keyboard player. I'm open to the change. We're both going through the options which are surprisingly quite a few. Bass player is Steve Vantsis, a 26 year old Edinburgh born based virtuoso who has come highly recommended by his regular rythym team partner on Scottish sessions Mr. Squeeky Stewart. Squeeks was really excited when I told him that Steve and Keith are now onboard.
Steve, by the way, has previously worked with Horse, River City People and Candy Dulfer amongst others and has toured extensively.
Annie McCaig has come on board as a backing vocalist and her work on Sunsets can be emulated on tour. She's previously provided vocals for Simple Minds, Tears for Fears and Level 42. She's also Edinburgh born and based.
Is a picture starting to form and doesn't it look good?
Rehearsals are due to start on the 27th April and the first scheduled date is the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen on 26th May followed by Glasgow at The Garage on the 27th. The other UK dates will be confirmed in the next week as will the Turkish dates (probably Istanbul 18th June, Ankara 19th). Luxembourg Dudelange is confirmed for the 14th June. It's all coming together and a full Scandinavian Festival scene will be announced soon, as well as a whole sequence of open-airs this Summer.
The open-airs and festivals are important as they subsidise the club gigs especially in the UK where the guarantees (ie the money the promoter promises to pay for an appearance) are disappointing. Touring is expensive as well as uncomfortable and time consuming. It shouldn't be confused with holidays which also involve lots of travel, hanging around and lots of drinking and debauchery etc. This is a fallacy and lie used to attract young musicians to the order. I am a road rat as is Yatta my production manager. We love this lifestyle and have become immune to certain deprivations, apart from family which we both miss when out on the rim. But it's got to be done. We have no choice. I am captain of a ship which if it doesn't sail on regular voyages will be impounded for non payment of harbour fees and who's cargo will rot in the hold. Being independent and being a willing professional musician and intending to continue with the career until God puts up the big red light, I believe that where there's a will there's a way and there's always a way to find a gig and turn it into a tour.
Another message follows but I had to break it up ......
To: Freaks Mailing List
Subject: more from Fish
Yo Freakies, or should I say Phreakies!!!
That's me away for an epoch then back & you can't get rid of me.
The Phish thing. It's come up on a more regular basis, so I felt it's time to embrace the issue and stick my tongue down it's throat.
Phirstly listen to Don (4/25) he is a wise man. There will be no war on the Phish nation and these guys should be hugged not hunted! I like their philosophy and whether it's similar to the Dead's is like the Genesis/Marillion thing!
I've heard some of their stuff and would like to hear more. I actually bought 4 of their albums (can't remember titles at the time vodka was intimate!) in NYC in December, however, they were stolen at the airport along with my luminous green statue of Liberty. I was ghutted!! I can't find their stuff here in the stores either. (This is like Bizarro world!!), but I've been told they're on tour in Europe playing mostly to American backpackers.
I do see a problem developing with the name once I have distribution in USA. Although I was using the moniker way back in 1981, it wasn't until 1989 that it was used to identify the artist as solo in his own right. All previous idents were as part of a band and although I was the recognised singer, I've no more right to own the name than a "Bob" or "Paul" etc. The spelling differentiation isn't really that helpful in identifying who's who as the main hassles we have are at Radio. Over here they've been identified on radio as "Phish from Vermont" as obviously I'm far better known in Europe than they are.
I think it's going to boil down to finding a prefix or suffix for my name in the USA and they'll have to use one here! It doesn't make sense to change the names completely as we both have respect from different areas of the World and a total change would I think add to the confusion. I did think about going out as Dick!! Another suggestion was Fishmac or MacFish but I'm sure the guardians of the Golden Arches would soon order their armies of suited legal squadrons into the fray to give me a damned good kickin'. I'm sure it'll be resolved and I expect there'll be some official contact in the near future. I don't consider it a problem and both parties are bound to benefit from the press.
I think we should do tours together. I'll support them in the States, they can come with me in Europe. We'd go out as double Fish. Damn how would we spell the bill!!?
Anyway, there's my thoughts. Lay off our potential allies. Anyone who plays 2 hour sets is ok by me.
Other topics:- I come to praise Cesar not bury him. I think he's funny and laughter is good for the soul. We can't all be po-faced and I'd rather read his postings than some of these "favourite lists", which do bore me stupid sometimes. They don't really stimulate discussion do they. Flaming can be fun and I must admit the Venezuelan keyboard gag creased me!!!!!!! By the way, how come I've never been asked there? Have a nice weekend you all - happy anoraking.
Love Fish (friend of the Bittars!)
Email 17th March 1997