Subject: Fish 99 - SAS gigs and the Pure Voice!
Dear Fishheads, Freaks, Fans and the Company,
Hellish is the word that immediately springs to mind after a weekend with the SAS mob! I am too old for all this shit and as Paul Young, who now has the prefix "mad" attached to his name on the set lists, pointed out we could never manage a "proper" tour.
I was overjoyed as this was the first time I'd tried the voice out since the debacle of Nottingham. I had been concerned as the wear and tear of the tour may have had a lasting effect and I had deliberately avoided try outs or practising. Spike wanted me to sing Lucky and Faithhealer on the Friday and as Paul was down with a lurgy I was put up for With a Little Help from my Friends as a last minute replacement. Lavender was to be held back for the Saturday show.
Tammi and I had come down to London the night before to meet with theatrical agents and accountants before going out with a friend to a stunning Japanese restaurant on Park Lane. The accountants meeting was not fun as it was pointed out that we had done spectacularly well recovering from the 97 tour and all it's assorted fallout. After paying off all the bills with our hard work and paying all the bank interest we now had to deal with Her Majesty's Inland Revenue! It was just as well the meal was on my friends tab! The taxis hit us hard enough and as we had to scurry across London from the City airport and hit all the meetings, which were all a bit off the beaten track, on time the only reliable transport was London's extortionate cabs.
A later than preferred night at my friend's house left grizzly hangovers and the journey to Chiddingfold was not inspiring. We blagged a lift from Zoe, one of the Fabba Girls and arrived around 5 for the check. Faithhealer and Lucky were tried out and I was overjoyed to have the Voice back and in great fettle.
It made a change to be the only singer backstage without some infection or other. Everyone was racking with colds and flu and there were already a couple of pullouts.
The gig went down a storm and my 2 got a great reception. When I went on for Friends I was high and ready. I love this track and with Paul heading off for an early bath it was up to me to deliver. I relished in the Joe Cocker version which I had first done at Wembley in 87.
Chris Thomson was spectacular as always and even with a dose of serious cold Youngy was terrific!
After the show I was reasonably restrained and hit the sack in the Crown around 4am.
Next morning I was in the restaurant next door for a surprise Birthday lunch for Spike. Dangerous ground as John Martyr and I got nostalgic about the radio City shows and sunk a quantity of Bloody Mary's.
I am not that young any more and definitely wiser so a 3 hour nap in the afternoon set me up for night two.
The show was packed and the singers changed from the previous night. Out went Mark Shaw from Then Jericho who had done a great job with Tie Your Mother Down, Angels and another couple of standards and in came Leo Sayer. I had never met Leo before and always had him down as a "softy Pop singer". How wrong! later that evening he popped into the party at the Crown just for a quick one and left about 3 hours later in a very different state than when he arrived! :-)
Gary Booker also came in on the bill and to hear Whiter Shade of Pale sung by it's writer sent a shiver down the old spine.
Jess Roden was replaced on the Saturday by Stevie Lang and the female contingent of the SAS entourage was topped by the 2 Fabba Girls Zoe and Suzie who are a pleasure to stand behind on stage! :-))))
Paul Young was recovered and we had the joy of a duet on Friends!
Surprise guest and surprise on a personal level was the addition of Damon Hill. I was wary of him as I always thought he came across as arrogant and offish on interviews. How wrong! He is a great guy and we spent quite a while talking about Fatherhood and jobs away from home etc in the packed and sweaty backstage area. He knows his guitars and turns out to be a closet Rock Star! ;-).
Funniest thing was when Youngy and I were talking to him we asked him how he would get the adrenalin rushes now he's retired. 30 minutes later he came off-stage and was babbling and jumping! Youngy and I looked at each other and creased up! :-)
Faithhealer went down a storm and then thinking I was on stage with my own guys I introduced Lucky only to be reminded by Spike that Lavender was next on his set list! My wee set was well received leaving me with a big grin and a dose of self confidence. Friends with Mad Paul Young was as I said special from a performance level and as a personal high.
The party was - as expected - a bit good and I eventually drifted off to bed at around 5. It was a great weekend and to go on stage with no responsibility and have fun for as change was lifting to say the least. I was worried about the after effects of the tour but now I've done a run-through I am supremely confident that all will be OK in the States and that more importantly no permanent damage was incurred by the Viral infection.
The only downer of the weekend (apart from Yatta's car nearly giving up the ghost and leaving him stranded in the depths of Surrey - The Fog, The Fog) was my wife's insistence on having Sunday lunch in a restaurant that had waitresses who had previously crewed the Marie Celeste. It took so long we missed the flight and had to buy new tickets for a flight from Heathrow. She now realises that when the Production Manager says "Go" we go whether she is the wife or not! :-)
(Tosh and Andy - sorry I missed you at the end! I'll tell you the full story later! See you in Florida)
So I'd like to say that that is all my travelling for a while but I'm off to London again tomorrow to audition for a movie called Metal Gods. Produced by George Clooney it's a story about a singer from a Tribute band ascending to take over from the original singer and his hero whom he worships who has announced he's gay and is thrown out of the band!
Yep! You guessed it!:-)
It's a great chance to get into an American movie and with my agents desperate to get me over there to meet and greet and generally introduce myself to American agents and directors an LA trip is on the cards whether I get this role or not.
So I am off to bed with the script to practise my English Rock Star accent and dream of Hollywood!
Hear you all later
lots of love
Onkel Fish X
Ps The gig at the weekend was filmed and recorded and will be available sometime early next year. I'll post details when I get them.
Also I talked with Spike and it is extremely likely that the SAS band will go on a short weekend trip taking in gigs in Wolverhampton, Liverpool and Glasgow as we all feel that we should expand a bit and have fun in the Provinces rather than in just the South of the UK. The plan is to aim for a weekend in late February, early March 2000. More news when it comes in.
Email 13th December 1999