Subject: Fish 99 - More info on the European Tour, Polish video, "Not Quite Red Fox" etc
Dear Fishheads, Freaks, Fans and the Company,
Two in a day then!! My excuse is I have been busy! Very busy!
The cunning plan is still unfolding but the news I can give you is the following.
Roadrunner have released me in the States and Canada and we are at this very moment in negotiations with a company in New York who are looking to have the catalogue including Kettle and Raingods re-released in the Fall.
They are also backing any touring we are undertaking with radio, press and good solid promotion. This is a bona fide set up and the company have already indicated their attitude by recent actions they undertook on my behalf with no prompting or request from my side. I will explain later.
Although this now opens up the strong possibility of a US/Canadian tour before Christmas I will not announce any touring unless it is locked in concrete. I have told some of you who have admirably offered individual gigs that I wanted to wait to determine the releases on a new label. This is now happening. I do not want another fiasco like early Summer. Please hold off and let us unravel the campaign to our best advantage.
The European tour is shaping up and Yatta has done a brilliant job together with Nigel Hassler my agent at making this possible.
In order to make the tour happen I have had to compromise in certain areas.
We will be using in house lights and PA systems in nearly all venues rather than carrying our own rig. It was impossible to tour otherwise.
The specifications are as determined by Andy Williamson the sound engineer and Yatta so we are assured of good systems being supplied.
We will be on a bus as always and carrying our backline in a trailer. I turned down a number of venues and stuck as much as possible to favourites and halls we know that have decent acoustics and services.
My biggest disappointment is the lighting which will be determined in most cases by the quality of the in-house systems. In the larger shows this will not be a problem but we will be designing every day. I am hoping to take a good all round lighting engineer with me but that is totally dependent on budgets and will be a late call.
At the moment the tour is losing around 17 000 pounds on basic guarantees. I consider this an acceptable gamble as it does not include 4 shows that have to be arranged (TBA) which could bring it back to a deficit of 10 000. If we can sell out 40% of the tour I can break even.
Promoters are only guaranteeing fees at their lowest estimates of attendances and as I explained before we need to sell above their projections in order to earn the bonuses to break even.
It's possible with the right promotion and awareness.The dates are concise and the routing although rough in places is acceptable in exchange for a non loss making tour. The ticket prices have gone up in places but I met stiff resistance from promoters who want to keep them low and make them easier to sell. Tough call but I believe that there are enough fans out there who are willing to support the concerts and understand the logistics after the 97 disaster zone.
The bottom line is that if this tour cannot break even then it will be the last time I consider this style of venture. In short I would appreciate if anyone out there who has an ear at radio or in the media can help create an awareness that this is happening. It's getting harder every year and when governments are taking taxes from the fees we are paid (Germany 28%, Poland 15% etc) the prospect of live shows in general is becoming bleaker.
It's not just the bands it's the crew, drivers and other services that suffer as the work dries up.
I love gigging and would hate if my future touring is restricted to one off events. Any help you can supply keeps the option alive. I'll talk to the promoters concerned and post the addresses on the Fishheads list where you can contact the people concerned if you feel you have something to offer.
The Friday show at St Mary's will not be happening as I have decided to hold the acoustic gig as a special fan club event. I didn't want to go into the Saturday show after a previous night's gig. This keeps me fresh for the main night although we will probably have a wee warm up in the Victoria Arms on Friday for the early arrivals. More a giggle than gig!
We could easily have sold the Friday but I'd prefer the Saturday to be something really special for the fan club.
On the subject of tickets the Corn Exchange show is now open for sales to the general public and a poster and press campaign goes into gear this week. The vibe is excellent.
Tickets can be found in Virgin Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as Ripping Records Edinburgh. There will be a booking charge on these tickets. You can still get them from here with no booking fee or at the Tyneside tavern. On the subject of booking fees I was told today that tickets for Cambridge Junction are now on sale on-line with a fee of UKP 1.50 over the face value. Buy them from the venue if you have the choice as they are 13 pounds.
I have my tickets for the Hibs v Hearts derby game next Saturday and hopefully will be presenting Scott Wilson, a DJ on Forth FM, with his long awaited Vigil gold album. He for some reason was the only DJ at Forth that didn't get an album and being a Hearts supporter was told that he would get one when Hearts won some silverware. After winning the Scottish Cup last year I had no excuse!! :-))
We decided that it would be a good crack if I presented it at the next derby match in front of the fans and we are waiting permission to do this next week. One of Scott's favourite tracks of all time is "Big Wedge" which he plays regularly on his drive time show.
I am still waiting to hear about the possible sponsorship from the brewery who we are looking to help us with the Estonian flights and the convention. I have been given the all clear by the Estonian FA to sing the Scottish anthem at the match and the gig on the training pitch next to the stadium where Scotland are playing earlier is on. The only problem is getting there as the flights cost twice as much as the fee we are offered due to the economic situation in Estonia. If anyone knows any companies with spare promo budgets and looking for some great press drop me a line!!
The Polish Video from Przemysl in Eastern Poland on the 'Sunsets on Empire' Tour will be back from the manufacturers in just over a weeks time. It was filmed by TV1 Poland on multi camera and is without any shade of doubt the best live in concert footage ever shot of one of my performances in 18 years. This is no exaggeration! The sound is excellent and the camera work and editing simply superb. Everyone who has seen it so far is astounded at the quality and the footage captures that set at it's peak. Although TV1 Poland put he broadcast out in 3 programmes we have extra footage totaling 147 minutes and includes a spectacular clip of Goldfish which I will be sending to VH1 on the off chance of getting a 6 minute clip on the station! I wouldn't even have considered sending so long a clip unless I thought that it stood a chance of catching someone's eye! The set list of the video is-
1. The Perception Of Johnny Punter
2. What Colour is God?
3. Goldfish and Clowns
4. Mr 1470
5. Brother 52
6. Jungle Ride
7. Medley -
(v) White Feather
8. Family Business
11. Internal Exile
12. The Company
13. Gentleman's Excuse Me
This title will be available in both PAL and NTSC formats and will be listed as FS036 costing 16 pounds UK and 18 pounds ex UK including postage and packing. Company members will receive a 1 pound discount (please remember to quote your membership number).
All of this info and more is in the fanzine which is now at the printers. It will be sent out to arrive the week before the convention and the content I'm sure will raise a lot of discussion.
There's a lot happening in the next few weeks leading up to the tour and I will keep you posted on the inevitable drama!! :-)
Off to see a pipe band tomorrow at the North Berwick Highland games and then up to Lennoxlove to catch James Taylor at an open air performance. Groovy!!
I noticed on the Freaks list an excerpt from the Avalon web site-
"Back in the late seventies, an Edinburgh based Celtic-rock band called 'The Medium Wave Band' were playing to packed houses across Scotland, and significantly, to sell out audiences during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Medium Wave Band at that time included singer Erne Parkin, fiddler/mandolinist Les Cockburn, guitarist Steve Moss and keyboard player Richard Chernes (who later went on to join Runrig). The success of their Fringe shows led to inevitable pressure to go pro, and an equally inevitable split, with half the band staying part-time, and the rest with new singer Derek Dick (who after changing his name to Fish joined Marillion) pursuing professional status."
This is a bit misleading. The band when I was auditioning was called "Not Quite Red Fox". The drummer was school friend Gordon Feeney who asked me along to audition as their bass player George who had a great voice wanted to concentrate on his playing.
I auditioned twice but never sang live with them. The closest I got to a stage was passing an acoustic guitar to Steve Moss at Aberdeen University in March 1980. The band said that they liked my voice but thought that I didn't have enough experience. They told me to go away and join another band and when I had some gigs under my belt that they would reconsider me. I was so pissed off at their attitude that I went out immediately and found a gig with Blewitt in Galashiels with the sole intention of proving them wrong. It was Blewitt that gave me my first chance and set me up for the Marillion gig.
"Not Quite Red Fox" were heavily influenced by Genesis and Gentle Giant and I still have a tape of them somewhere. They won a "Most original name" contest in a weekly music paper called (I think) "Musicians Only" and played in a Battle of the Bands contest at Luton "Mad Hatters" nightclub where George the singer came to the attention of another band on the bill that night who were looking for a replacement for their bassist / vocalist. Yep! You got it! Marillion wanted George to replace Doug Irvine. It never happened because they didn't know how to contact him.
In late 80- George had a bad car accident and smashed up his arm and fingers. He disappeared with a bad drink problem.
Gordon joined a number of progressive bands after giving up the dream of being the next "Budgie" (he was a big Banshees fan) and even auditioned for Marillion before Jonathan Mover eventually took the drum stool temporarily. He had become very cynical toward the music scene and I still think that he deliberately blew the audition. he was a great drummer and went on to join one of the Citizen Cain bands in the late 80's. I never heard from him again.
Steve Moss who was the main decision maker in "Not Quite....." turned up at the Funny Farm studio to record with Avalon a few years back. Never has so much Humble Pie been consumed at one sitting. TBH I had forgotten the 1980 incident as so much had passed under the bridge since then. He was so embarrassed it was embarrassing. I actually sincerely thanked him as without the humiliation of those auditions I would never have been propelled into Marillion. It's a funny old world!!
talk to you soon
Onkel Fish x
ps I seem to remember that Ian Mosley gave drumming lessons to Roy Castle's son! Ask Rob C to confirm!
Subject: Fish European Shows Autumn 99
Dear Fishheads, freaks, Fans and the Company
These are the dates available so far, anything marked TBC is not confirmed.
Monday 16th - Wednesday 25th August - rehearsals in Scotland
Saturday 28th - Haddington - St Mary's Church (acoustic show - fan club only)
Sunday 29th - Haddington - Corn Exchange
Monday 30th - Monday 6th September - off
Tuesday 7th - possible flights to Estonia
Wednesday 8th - Tallinn, Estonia - TBC - Open Air - Football ground (after Scotland football match)
Thursday 9th - fly back to Gatwick, hotel o/night
Friday 10th - bus travel to Groningen
Saturday 11th - Groningen, Holland - Oosterpoort
Sunday 12th - Utrecht, Holland - Muzikcentrum
Monday 13th - Tilburg, Holland - 013
Tuesday 14th - Amsterdam, Holland - Paradiso
Wednesday 14th - OFF
Thursday 16th - Aarhus, Denmark - Train
Friday 17th - OFF
Saturday 18th - Malmo, Sweden - KB
Sunday 19th - Oslo, Norway - Rockefellers
Monday 20th - Stockholm, Sweden - Studion
Tuesday 21st - Gothenberg, Sweden - Tradgarden
Wednesday 22nd - OFF
Thursday 23rd - Copenhagen, Denmark - Pumphuset
Friday 24th - Bremen, Germany - Tivoli
Saturday 25th - Hamburg, Germany - Grosse Freiheit
Sunday 26th - OFF
Monday 27th - Poland TBC
Tuesday 28th - Poland TBC
Wednesday 29th - Poland TBC
Thursday 30th - OFF
Friday 1st - Poland TBC
Saturday 2nd - Poland TBC
Sunday 3rd - OFF
Monday 4th - Berlin, Germany - Columbiafritz
Tuesday 5th - Offenbach, Germany - Capitol
Wednesday 6th - Stuttgart, Germany - Longhorn
Thursday 7th - Hannover, Germany - Altro Mondo
Friday 8th - OFF
Saturday 9th - TBC
Sunday 10th - Koln, Germany - Live Music Hall
Monday 11th - OFF
Tuesday 12th - Bern, Switzerland - Bierhubelei
Wednesday 13th - Vienna, Austria - Planet Music
Thursday 14th - Lucerne, Switzerland - Schuur
Friday 15th - OFF
Saturday 16th - Genova, Italy - M.C.M.
Sunday 17th - Milan, Italy - Binario Zero
Monday 18th - Winterthur, Switzerland - Salzhaus
Tuesday 19th - Marseille, France TBC - Espace Jullien
Wednesday 20th - OFF
Thursday 21st - Madrid, Spain - Caracoal
Friday 22nd - Barcelona, Spain - Bikini
Saturday 23rd - OFF TBA
Sunday 24th - France TBC
Monday 25th - France TBC
Tuesday 26th - Lyon, France - Rail Theatre
Wednesday 27th - Torcy, France - Lino Ventura
Thursday 28th - Lille, France - Le Splendid
Friday 29th - OFF TBA
Saturday 30th - Brussels, Belgium - Ancienne Belgique
Sunday 31st - OFF
Monday 1st - Wolverhampton, England - Wulfren Hall
Tuesday 2nd - London, England - Mean Fiddler
Wednesday 3rd - TBA
Thursday 4th - OFF
Friday 5th - Bolton, England - Albert Halls
Saturday 6th - Guildford, England - Civic Halls
Sunday 7th - Cambridge, England - The Junction
all the best
Email 6th August 1999