Subject: Fish 2002 - Chinese Whispers and other stories!
Dear Fishheads, Freaks, fans and the Company!
Sorry I have been a bit quiet recently but away from the ether it has been a frantic month. Kim asked last year for a month's holiday in February as they had to vacate their home due to renovations and major works in the neighbourhood. By that time I had thought that it would be reasonably quiet and that the new systems and banking would be settling in.
Exactly the opposite happened and delays meant that I was caught between the old bank and the new one with no credit card mail order system, no cheques to write and no accounts to bank the ones I was receiving. Add to that a late Inland Revenue declaration and 2 late VAT statements due to the chaos after the tour and the office move, a house that as far as the Council were concerned didn't exist (it was split from the Main House!) which meant that I couldn't prove to the mortgage providers that there was a property to mortgage! It has been bureaucratic hell!
With Kim out of the office for such a long time the merchandise backlog and enquiries have built up. The mail has also not been helpful with long delays in the post leading to added stress on our side answering and checking enquiries on lost items. The September 11th tragedy also meant that overseas post and packages were snail-like as extra security checks were applied and the American orders in particular were badly hit. Kim cleared most of the orders before she left but anyone who has sent in orders since the end of January or made enquiries have not been dealt with. Mo's imminent move to Scotland will allow us to revamp the current systems and together with Kim will be streamlining our service and making it altogether more efficient. New merchandising forms will be constructed and the ordering process is aimed to become a lot simpler. The move to The Royal Bank of Scotland requires new technical updates to the credit card systems and I will be entering into discussions with them next week as how we can improve the facilities. It has been a difficult transition from the old office arrangements on all fronts and our communications have suffered as a result. However Kim's return and Mo's arrival combined with advice from our bank and the creation of a new office system will mean that we can provide the service that you deserve and we need to maintain a professional image.
I apologise to anyone who has been let down recently but you can trust us to remedy problems as soon as we possibly can.
On the subject of stocks, I will hopefully be receiving the last units from Roadrunner records which will be immediately used to fulfill outstanding orders. They have not sold any RR stock to retail for over 2 years and as we were in negotiation our stocks ran out as they would not resupply until settlement. The delay has been intolerable as legally we could not manufacture albums while technically still under contract. I hope to have the final settlement concluded this week.
The "Fellini Nights" live double CD has been compiled and mastered by Calum Malcolm and Mark Wilkinson will have the sleeve finished when he returns from his interview with Italian MTV this weekend. He is now officially a "star" having been flown to Rome with his wife for the weekend for a 15 minute special on his artwork for myself and Marillion over the years!
The track listing is 3D, So Fellini, Brother 52, Tumbledown, Long Cold day, Tiki 4, Our Smile (disc one) and Perception of Johnny Punter, Pilgrim's Address, Lucky/Credo/Vigil medley, Clock Moves Sideways, The Company and Flower of Scotland (Disc two). All the fishy chat has been taken out (to protect myself from lawsuits from Grolsch and Heineken amongst others) which has tightened up the album and makes the Paradiso gig probably the best official bootleg since the Sushi album.
Calum has also edited Our Smile, Tiki 4 and So Fellini for radio and these tracks will be put to CD for use in promotions throughout the Summer.
And in all that I had to get a band together!
The "Core" band of 2002 ie. the band who will be working on "Field of Crows" and playing all the live shows is as follows -
Drums - John Marter (with Dave "Squeeks" Stewart filling in and joining us for special gigs)
Bass - Steve Vantsis (who has decided to spend the year away from a computer screen)
Keyboards - Irvin Duguid (Glasgow-based, ex-Gun and Stiltskin and highly recommended by many including Calum Malcolm with whom Irvin has worked)
Guitars - Robin Boult
It is a very strong line up and will be augmented on guitars by Frank Usher for special gigs. I am really pleased to have Robin back on board as he will be perfectly comfortable following on from Wes and dealing with the harder edge material. In my opinion since we last played together Robin has grown as a guitarist and he will fit perfectly into the angles I am pursuing with "Field of Crows".
Jan Ackermann has been rumoured to be joining the band on various web-sites. All I can say is that I met Jan for the first time at the Amstel Live show with The Kast and we got on well. We exchanged e-mails and talked informally about doing something together in the future as musos do at such things. There was never any discussion about Jan joining my outfit at any time.
There was a premature announcement that "Taj" (ex T'Pau and Deacon Blue) was on board. We had been discussing involvement but due to the imminent arrival of his 3rd child his wife was not keen on him committing to such a long term and time-consuming gig. He was an obvious approach being an Edinburgh-based guitarist and there is the strong chance he will be involved at some time in the future.
The first gig will be in Germany on Monday 20th May at the RASS festival near Padderborn and will be part of a joint British Army/German Local Community weekend which involves a lot of beer drinking and dancing! I'll also be playing a short acoustic set on BFBS radio on the day.
June will be designated for writing and rehearsals on the build up to the end of the month where we will be playing 5 "specials"!
On the 24th, 25th and 26th of June we will be taking over The Cavern in Liverpool for 3 gigs playing different material across the shows in preparation for the 28th and 29th of June when we will be playing 2 nights in Enschede in Holland at The Muziekcentrum.
The Dutch shows are a 2 day convention organised by the Dutch and German fan clubs and tickets are available for each night separately. The first night will be all pre-89 material including a full rendition of Misplaced Childhood together with some other dusty gems that haven't seen the light for years. The second night will be all post-89 material including some new songs from Field of Crows.
Both in Liverpool and Enschede there will be special guests including as mentioned above Frank and Dave as well as backing vocalists and other musicians who have yet to confirm.
There is a dedicated Convention web site which you can find links to on any of the official sites. There is also a poll where you can vote for songs from either night that you would like to see or hear performed. Addresses are - > english: http://www.fishdome.info/eng >German http://www.fishdome.info/ger >Dutch: http://www.fishdome.info/hol
We will have tickets available for all the shows through the F.I.S.H. merchandise list in the coming weeks. More details will follow as the Convention plans start to take shape and info on the theatre and town will be found on the dedicated site. I would advise Mainland European fans to get their tickets direct from the German and Dutch fan clubs.
More information will be supplied as and when we get it! I think you will agree that this is quite a spectacular start to the year's activities! :-)
I am working on a 2 week tour of Norway in August which will consist of 2 shows each in Tromso, Stavanger, Oslo and Bergen with one show for the Norwegian Army and the other for "civilians". The Oslo civilian show is planned to be an Open Air under the Olympic ski jump. We are looking at 2 other Open Airs, one in Copenhagen and the other in Stockholm. This is all in the planning plus stages and as always I will confirm when all is in place.
The SAS shows in Edinburgh for a German Insurance company are lost as Spike is involved with the Queen musical. This was sad news as we were negotiating for a show in Glasgow and a show in Edinburgh out with the 3 corporate gigs and therefore open to the general public. Spike is putting together a 2 week tour of Germany later in the Summer. I am waiting on dates.
On the filming front, the good news that "Nine Dead Gay Guys" has finally got distribution and further funding to complete the movie means I will be attending a premier later in the year!
I finished filming "Snoddy" for the BBC Scotland Comedy Unit but as yet have no idea of transmission dates. I hope it will be screened UK wide rather than just in Scotland.
As you can see there is a lot happening with the most glamorous being an offer to attend the Highland Games in Brunei as special guest Chieftain! The games are organised by the British army who have a strong presence there as the country provides facilities for jungle training. The ex-pat Scots have organised the event for years and the games themselves are held on a beach on the South China Seas! So they decided to ask me to fulfill the role of Highland Chieftain and we are now working out the practicalities and timing of getting down there. An ideal place to toss your caber I would think!
So as you can see everything and anything can happen. In the short term I'm just looking forward to getting Kim back in the office on Monday and getting the fan club and merchandise service back on line and working smoothly.
All the details regarding the gigs, tickets etc as well as other additions to the line up will be sent out in the coming weeks. Remember to keep in touch with the web-sites!
lots of love
Onkel Fish xx
ps. Last but not least in the rumour department -
Quote from the new Record Collector news pages:
"Brian May and Fish have recorded music for the soundtrack, CLARINDA, a film about Scottish poet Robbie Burns. Their overture and other incidental themes were recorded under the pseudonym of Sylvander and Clarinda, and the Johnny Depp movie should appear later in the summer"
Untrue!! We didn't get round to working together and the movie as far as I am aware is subject to legal action between the producers and director and is highly unlikely to happen.The music that was recorded as demos for the production was written and performed by keyboard player Jim Prime (Deacon Blue). The movie never went into production, no filming took place and Johnny Depp as far as I know never committed.
Oh! And before anyone asks I am not joining Genesis or Marillion...
Email 28th February 2002