Email 21st February 1998

Subject: Fish 98 - Is Tom pickel Demis Roussos sized?

Tom Pickel wrote:
> Hello,
> In looking over your list of items for sale, I was wondering if you could
> clarify something for me. Item MRB123, the lyric wizard outfit, states
> it's "Demis Roussos sized outfit" Could you please tell me what this
> means? And does it also come with the headgear?
> Tom Pickel
> Grand Rapids, MI

Hi Tom! How the hell are you!!!?:) I got your order, thanks! RE the wizard outfit :):):):):) ( I just can't help smiling at this one, imagining you shooting hoops or poised at the barbie, and the neighbours thinking that the nice guy over the road has finally flipped and gone over to Satan!!) It's HUGE man!!
BTW. Demis was/is a Greek singer (And also bassist/voc with old prog band Aphrodite's Child!!) He was a big, and I mean big singer in the 70's! Known for his very high voice and penchant for wearing long flowing robes to disguise his bulk! The voice was incredibly high and never failed to impress until a South American tour when the tapes allegedly went down!! I heard they threw him out the country and kept all his gear (including the wardrobe!!!:) ) I was told this by a keyboard player from Edinburgh who was on the tour!! All his rig was stolen and never returned and to this day is probably still gathering dust in a customs warehouse!
I've never heard of Demis since! Demis demise so to speak!!:0
As an interesting footnote the keyboard player in Aphrodite's Child was Vangelis Papathanassiiou, now known by forename only for obvious reasons. He was tipped to take over from Rick Wakeman after he left Yes in 1974 but due to a serious problem with excessive stage fright (and I mean serious!! ) he never got the job as Yes were such a committed touring outfit. Reason I know all this. Keith Goodwin, Marillion's PR guy from the early 80's ( currently living in Malta and still one of my best mates!! ) was present at the auditions in Paris as he was also the Yes PR officer for all the early years of the band! Vangelis is the godfather to Keith's son Darius who came to last years show in Malta with his Dad!!! The Yes manager at the time was Brian Lane, my manager for a brief period till I sussed him out!!
I digress!! The wizard's headgear was chewed up by our sad lamented dog Kerry in a moment of pique after being shut up in the house for too long. So Tom I'm afraid you'll have to make your own pointy hat!!! :)
So there you are a story with more links than your average chain mail suit of armour which is what I'll need when the wife catches me on the rig at 6am!! You can tell that I'm bored!! :) Anyone fancy a pint!! :)
Onkel Fish (too stressed to sleep and soon to join the ranks of the castrati !!!)

Subject: Fish 98.. "You may think me as thick as a whale omelette but..."

Jim Loftus wrote:
> Hi Fish,
> Sorry to come over like a complete numbskull, but I'd originally
> gathered from your emails that you'd actually lose Millenium
> Recording Studios from the forthcoming sale. Can you clarify that
> this is the case? I remembered the comment in one of your
> interviews when you said that 'as long as you could pay the
> electricity bill you could keep recording albums and releasing them'.
> This seemed best for you as the studio does bring in it's own income and
> allows you to finance the recording of your own albums. So I was
> horrified to hear that you might be selling it. Are you only looking to
> sell the house part or the whole caboodle?
>From the keenness of the fans it sounds as though, with the right
> guidance from you, we could all help you to hang onto the studio and
> keep it running as a business in it's own right aside from whatever
> happens to the Dick Brother's label (though I sincerely hope this stays
> alive through hell and high water too). Sure we can't set it up as a
> co-operative, but how about selling us some shares?
> It sounded like the best situation you could have to hang onto the
> studio, both as a company and as a means to record your albums without
> the 'suits' sticking an oar in and screwing around with your creativity.
> I read the e's on the Freaks listings and everyone seemed very keen to
> get themselves a slice of your history and use it as a holiday resort or
> something.... nevertheless, they did come up with a pledge of just under
> ten grand in the space of twenty four hours.
> I think we'd all much prefer to help you out financially as best we
> could rather than see you lose such a useful foundation in the next
> phase of the war.
> Thanks for your last email and I take it on board that you're keen for
> us all not to get ahead of ourselves with ways of helping you. But I
> want you to know that, like a great number of people out there, I owe
> you big time and will do all I can to help you out if the shit really
> hits the fan.
> Hold your head up!
> Jim

Dear Jim,
Thanks for your thoughts and for the generosity that both you and other members of the list have offered. I don't know of any other bunch of fans that would even contemplate such a venture or even care about an artist as much as you do!
The issue is a complicated one! The studio is for sale at 795,000 pounds. That as we all know is a shitload of money. To organise shares would be an incredibly complex affair necessitating company structuring, electing a board, etc etc It gives me a headache thinking about it.
Dealing with 20 investors is a feasible but energy consuming matter- but 1500!!? Don't get me wrong I sincerely appreciate your motives and I'm blown away by the commitment. I can understand where you're coming from and perhaps it could work with time and a lot of careful thought.
However I can't see it working in the long run.
I can work in other studios. I'll still be able to record. The main costs in making a record are in session fees, engineer and producer fees with studio hire although still expensive, second to the above! Not owning a studio does not equate to being unable to record!
There are more reasons than the obvious in divesting myself from the studio. My wife and I have been working on this for 6 years. The studio is our home and our home the studio. We're both tired of having no privacy and no real sense of family life here. Tara is getting older and bigger. The family "Apartments" are too small but the overall buildings with the residential studio accommodation are too big. Tammi's operation last year means we can't have any more kids so this means that to shut the studio down and turn the building into a private residential home would mean 3 of us living in an 8 bedroom complex!!! I couldn't afford to run a house like that.
In an ideal world I would have liked to buy another house away from the complex and turn the existing house into further residential accom. for the studio. I can't afford to do this.
The studio still requires investment in the property and equipment. We will need a replacement desk in the future which is not the shy side of 60 000 pounds. The present DDA is fine but we're aware that it won't last forever. Generally the whole place is in good condition but to really bring it up to a high standard requires work and money. Studios can be money pits and anyone taking on a venture like this must be aware of the pitfalls and be capable of throwing another 100,000 if needs be and not blink!!
The complex has planning permission for further buildings to house a B-studio, offices, an orchestral sound room and a new control room. The design is superb but will cost a small country to get together!! I am hoping that whoever takes this on has a similar vision to my own but a lot more available funds.
As a current business it makes sense and anyone who buys this property can walk in and switch on a working studio with bookings, reputation and vibes! Last year the business made 75,000 pounds net profit, this year will better that!! It works.
But there's more to it. I can't afford further investment and to be honest I've lost interest in running it. I set out to build a residential studio in Scotland and make it happen! I wanted to create a studio that had a reputation that attracted musicians that I admired and respected. I wanted it to sell itself by word of mouth and reputation rather than by marketing aggressively in trade mags. I've achieved all I set out to do and now it's time to hand it over to someone else! I don't want to be the businessman anymore, I want to go back to being the artist. Many have commented on lack of artistic output or the fact that I talk too much business and not enough music. As I said in previous posts I realised that never more so than last year. I am now rectifying the situation.
I need the space to think, to get away from the circus that is my present home. I want a family home where I can rest up, think, write and relax. Tara needs it and so does Tammi who has had more grief here than I could ever imagine. For years she has cooked and fed visiting bands and dealt with their washing, organised cleaning and done everything from unblock showers to putting in light bulbs!! All this and bringing up a child while her husband is away on another world tour losing another dose of wedge! After May it was all obviously too much and the alarm bells sounded. We were becoming victims of our own success as far as the studio was concerned. Our private and family life was squeezed in a corner of the business. Sometimes I really wonder how she coped with it all and stayed sane. I have nothing but admiration for the Lady!
Our financial situation has never been great ever since losing the EMI case and having to deal with the initial studio investors. The tour losses, the less than impressive album sales and various co's and people going down on us owing money brought it all into focus. The move was obvious. Sell the house/studio, pay off the bank, buy a family house and continue as an artist with less financial pressures, less overheads, less responsibilities and more time to enjoy life!! It's an easy formula as long as I sell the studio!!!:)
So when it comes down to it losing the studio is not the end of the world. It's the key to the next phase of our lives! As I said on the list yesterday I don't want to lose your respect and to move into Freaky ownership of a studio is not a good idea!
I am honestly humbled by your loyalty, your generosity, your feelings toward not only me but my Family. I have nothing but a deep rooted respect for you all and I can only thank you for your offer!
And that Jim, Ladies and Gentlemen of the list is the last time you will ever hear me talk someone out of buying something!!!!! :)
Lots of love Onkel Fish XX

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