Email 6th November 1999

Subject: Fish 99 - Still a bit foggy!!

Dear Fishheads, Freaks, Fans and the Company
Well it appears I made the right decision re the UK shows! My voice has improved slightly but nowhere near singing standard. Add to this that both Tony and Liz have now gone down, the set would have sounded like a tribute to the Budweiser frogs rather than Chocolate Frogs!
Rehearsals for the STV film were called at 7pm last night for Wednesday so in theory had I gone for the shows and wasted the voice I could risked losing the role. The part is a small one but as I am now a jobbing actor everything I can get from now on adds to my C.V. and reputation. Both Tony and myself feel physically fit but Tammi is falling about laughing as we both communicate in Klingon!

BTW I would like to present a defence for Tony as he has had a wee bit of a rough ride from some quarters recently on the Mean Fiddler show. Wes told me before he flew down to London today that he had also read the said review and pointed out that Crispin, who is known to Wes, was directly at the front of the stage in the centre. This is not the best place to judge a mix. Mike my engineer mixes for the room and the best place to assess a mix is from that point. Tony was also using In-Ear monitors which means his on stage sound will always be a lot quieter than normal and a lot quieter than Mickey's who used in my opinion a ridiculous on stage volume in 97.Mickey had 2x M4 type wedges which blared out his mix. Sound levels on this tour had to be closely guarded as in some territories there are legal limits and in small clubs a loud on- stage sound affects the out front.Working with some of the shit rigs we had to required a sensible approach. With both Tony and Squeeky on In-Ears we could help the singing staff who are more susceptible to strained voices if they have to fight over high sound levels. With my condition in the latter stages this was doubly important. Anyone standing so close to a stage in front of monitors pointing away from them with 2 members of a band working In- Ear is not capable of a judgement of a band mix.The perspective on the "room" is coloured.

I thought that Mike Hogg did a fine job under the circumstances on this tour considering the rigs changed every night and he never once had the same system. This has always been my argument for carrying PA on tour. As you know this tour would never have even begun had we not compromised.

On the subject of Tony's abilities I have to allow personal opinions and that obviously includes Crispin. I thought Tony did a great job on this tour and both Wes and Tony rose brilliantly to the occasion and the pressures of walking into a situation that would always attract criticism from long term fans and people who are friends of previous musicians.
Wes is without a doubt the best overall guitarist I have had the pleasure to work with and as he himself admitted to me today even he was surprised at his growth as a recognised lead electric guitarist on this tour.
Tony with his first major live tour was exceptional. He took "Tumbledown" note for note and the only reason that "52" drew negative attention was because Tony has not got the "Breathing module" on his keyboard. It didn't bother me and personally I thought that 52 was better on this tour as Tony brought the Hammond Organ into the frame and added a wee bit of Doors to it! Both Tony and Wes were told to "do their thing" and not copy note for note previous musos.
With no disrespect intended to Mickey who I consider a great keyboard player I consider his sound very much rooted in the 80's whereas Tony is more 90's. He is like Steve Wilson in the respect that he was "born" there but has a 90's approach. That is why he is my keyboard player and that is why he will be a main co-writer on the next album.
On this tour he had to deal with the whole spectrum of my musical styles over the years and did a commendable job in both my opinion and the opinion of the band. He isn't Mickey and he isn't Mark - he is Tony Turrell.

Finally thanks to all who wrote in and gave their backing to my decision to quit the organised tours.It seems that all of you seem to understand exactly what should be done and where I am going with all this.
America in January is forging ahead and I may be able to make positive inroads this week. Please do not book anything just yet as I know the travelling fans are impatient. I will be having a full vocal check in 4 weeks to determine what damage has been done if any in the previous 3 weeks of singing with this infection. My fingers are well crossed!

As long as I hold my voice back on Saturday!! :-)))))))))))))
SSSSSSCCCCCCCCCOOOOOTTTTTLLLLLAAAANNNNDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!
Better get me coat! :-)))))

lots of love
Onkel Fish x
 

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