Email 27th January 2002

Subject: Fish 2002 - Wheels within wheels!

Dear Fishheads, Freaks, fans and the Company!
Well Fellini still directs in mysterious ways! I sat down to type this just as the draw for the European Championships 2004 came on the TV. After signing on former Germany manager Bertie Vogts as our new Scottish coach who do we get in the draw? Yep! Germany!! With the Faroe Islands,. Iceland and Lithuania in the group it looks like another kicking for the Jocks and more tears at the end of the rainbow. (Faroe Islands beat us last time!!! :-( ) Should be fun in the family as well and Tara will have to show her true colours!! :-)))))

The studio is fast becoming a home thanks to Ikea, the handyman qualities of Kim's husband Steve and a few others who have been working on creating a new front door, much needed cupboard space and the electrics which as expected are complicated! TV's are routed round the building and the satellite feeds into all the rooms! Now I can watch the cooking programmes on the kitchen set and follow the recipes...............! :-))))))

I am now putting the band together as dates are being offered at quite a rate. With Wes in the US and Jim Hayden in Australia never mind Elliot somewhere in Africa this is no easy matter and I have to work way ahead to balance the time against the workloads. It makes me focus on the album and the recording/release dates as well as the writing and live rehearsal period. The wheels spin very quickly from this point. At the moment our first date on hold is on the 20th May in Germany. I won't announce the dates until I have a band in place and the venues confirmed.
What I can say is that there are 2 nights on hold at Liverpool Cavern club in late June together with 2 possibilities in Southampton. These will be warm ups for the European Convention details about which will be released next week. All is going toward and fitting in with my plans declared at the end of last year. That is writing May/ June at the studio after preparing ideas in advance, rehearsing new material in live situations throughout the recording period of July/ August so I can have a finished album at the end of September for touring till the end of the year. Retail release will be in February 2003.
The album once again will be sold in advance on mail order and delivered with bonus material to those of you who help back the project as soon as it is manufactured in September, 4 months before the release to shops. Orders will be taken from May onwards and I will give you more details as we get closer to the date. All this will be covered on the new Field of Crows website which will be launched at the same time. This website will be building on the ideas we played with on the Fellini site last year but taken to another level of communication. With Mo moving up to Scotland it will be a lot easier for us to develop ideas and feed you information as the album progresses.

There has been a lot of bandwidth on the subject of the Front Row Club, an idea pushed by Marillion which involves fans spending 80 pounds in advance for a selection of live albums.
I had a meeting with Ian Mosley and Steve Rothery at Chiddingfold in December about the possibility of releasing pre 89 material through their new set up. The meeting was amicable and they were to get back to me this year with details. In recent days I have had several discussions with their representative and the end result is that I have not given permission for them to release pre-89 material on the Front Row Club.

Before any rumours start about my unwillingness I would like to provide my reasons.

The main reason is that Fish fans who have little or no interest in Hogarth era releases would have to pay 80 pounds up front and wait a long time to fill out their 6 album advance payment with Fish era material. Marillion refused to allow me to sell the Fish era albums through the Company Scotland as individual items and insisted that the Front Row Club controlled all the sales. There was only one album from pre 89 in the rough schedule I was given and it seemed to me that it was more bait on the hook rather than a concerted effort to feed the older material into the light.

Money was not an issue as far as my offer from them was concerned but I did have a problem with the scheme itself. This I stress is my opinion and should be taken as such.
As Marillion have pointed out everyone has a choice on whether to subscribe to the scheme or not. I would prefer that rather than have a large down payment that fans have a choice on which titles they buy on an individual basis. To be able to bank a large amount of money in a high interest account for long periods is appealing as a business plan but I believe it takes advantage of loyalty which I personally consider is the greatest asset of any artist relying on the Internet and fan base as the mainstay of their careers.

I will continue to release live albums from my career as individual titles and give fans the decision on the purchase. I appreciate as much as anyone else what it is like dealing with credit card debts and long fallow periods. The CDs are available all the time and when people are flush they can still buy them through the website. No pressure.

This is not meant to be a put down to Marillion but I want to make sure my reasons for declining to participate with the FRC are understood and not put down to being greedy or awkward.
Should Marillion approach me with another option to release pre 89 material where Fish fans are given equal opportunities then I will be more than happy to discuss the possibilities.

At the moment I am not particularly happy with the manner with which this has been dealt with and I would have preferred if Marillion had contacted me before announcing their intentions.

On the subject of live albums "Fellini Nights" the double CD set recorded at the Amsterdam Paradiso will be available in early March. As Kim is away on holiday in February I decided to delay the release for her return and give me ample time to get the artwork and mastering together.
We will be taking advance orders as of now and the prices are as follows. Non members 14 pounds sterling including postage world-wide with Company members getting a 2 pound discount making it 12 pounds sterling including postage world-wide!

I have also managed to set up with the help of Voiceprint a strictly limited edition run of 2000 Fellini Days 12 inch vinyl picture discs. Track listing is obviously different as the playing time is restricted. Tracks are 3D, So Fellini, Tiki 4, Long Cold Day, Pilgrim's Address and Clock Moves Sideways. All albums will be autographed.
Price including postage and packaging is 15 pounds world-wide. There is an option to have the albums sent by registered post so if you require this service please let Kim know when you order.
(Mo says: If you order via the secure server, add a note at the bottom of the order form to say that you'd like to have a registered delivery. The same credit card number that you use for your order will be charged with the cost of the registered delivery on the following week.)

I repeat these are strictly limited and will be available in early March. Mark Wilkinson has provided the design and is now working on the Fellini Nights album as I write!

There have been problems with postage as some of you know! This is not our fault! As an example my accountant called me on the 23rd of December to thank me for his invitation to the Haddington Convention which he had just received. He lives in Edinburgh - 15 miles away!!
Our new system enables us to confirm send dates but after it leaves the studio packages are the responsibility of the carriers. Should anything go missing then we can provide information to enable a claim to be made. Thankfully these are relatively rare so don't panic!! :-)

A DVD of "Kettle of Fish" including introductions to the clips is in the pipeline and should be ready in the next 2 months. I'll let you know as the project moves forward. This will be the first of a number of planned DVD releases in the year!

Everyone is excited as the wheels start to turn and the curve of the year starts to take shape. Looking good!

happy Robert Burns Day! :-)
love
Onkel Fish xx
 

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