Subject: Fish 2004 - returning to the nest
Space and time at last. It has been too long a time and the on-tour laptop found itself crammed with interview requests and other business and the great intentions of day by day communication to the list disappeared. I was on full alert all through a tour I had little faith at the outset of finishing. I thought we had been too ambitious with the date spread and intensity but I had either to take the heavy concentration of gigs or pass on the tour as financially it didn't work any other way. Days off were taken very seriously and a cigarette habit was kicked before I got on the bus. Even with the canisters of health products and vitamins I was exceedingly careful on the tour, limiting my partying and being very aware of my voice during the shows. I tried to get as much rest as possible and apart from one gig (more on that later) the voice held up better than on any previous tour even with an average of two full backstage interviews a day. Under those circumstances my web site communication got left behind in the endless list of "things to do!" Sorry!
I'll comment on the tour on various e mails in the coming weeks.
Thanks to all of you who sent birthday wishes. I spent the weekend in London with my girlfriend and had a perfect time. Best birthday for years in fact.
But now an update on where things are at!
Next week I am working on "Ugly One Morning", a two hour comedy film for ITV written by Stuart Hepburn and based on a Christopher Brookmyre novel. Directed by Sam Miller it stars James Nesbit and the cast includes Morven Christie, Kevin McConagle, Danialla Nardini, Mark Benton, Eddie Marsan and Annette Crosbie amongst others.
I'd read the book years before and had met Chris at the launch party for one of Iain Banks books. As expected we all ended up in a Thistle Street bar with Ian Rankin who created the Inspector Rebus crime novels!
I took the call from my agent just as we were heading to Calais on the bus and turned up to the audition in London after catching an early morning train on the day of the Bristol gig. I felt good about it as the producer, Murray Ferguson I had worked before with on "Rebus" for STV with John Hannah, and the script was written by Stuart Hepburn who I had worked with as an actor on "Jute City" for the BBC. Too many coincidences. The offer was also perfect timing as it required around 5 days in a relatively gig free May. I auditioned for the role of Finlay Price, a seedy tabloid journalist with an office in a pub! Perfect! I was told I had the gig less than an hour after the audition.
I am really pleased that I have managed to get in another acting role so soon after "The Jacket". It all adds to the profile and its useful having another comedy role about to be added to my C.V. As the main thrust of my energies are being directed at my acting career in October it all helps.
On the subject of careers: I am taking a long time away from music but I am not deserting it completely. Many interviewers on the tour wanted me to declare my retirement and some interviews have given the impression that I am. This is not the case. I am planning to devote a far greater amount of time to acting but will be still open to gigs as long as they don't clash with any acting engagements. This is the opposite of how I have structured my commitments up till now. I have no plans to make another studio album in the pipeline but I am sure that songs will gather over a period and when I feel inspired and ready I will take those songs into a studio to record. This will mean I will no longer take huge swathes of time out of my calendar to devote to an album project but will put it together piece by piece over a longer period of time.
Touring methods will also change and after September/ October I no longer intend to commit to a long bus tour. Any tours supporting an album release will be short and sporadic and built around availability in any acting schedules. Obviously carrying a regular band will become difficult but it is at the moment as we approach the festival period where even current members have availability problems.
Bruce Watson has resigned from the band as his commitments to his two other bands; "Dead Men Walking" and the "Casbah Club" are taking up too much of his time. He left my tour in Glasgow and joined the "Casbah Club" for his first gig with them next day outside London. I saw the band last weekend on their final UK tour date at the Academy in Islington and they are very, very good. The line up is Bruce - guitar, Mark Brezizicki (Big Country) drums, Josh Phillips (Big Country) keyboards, Bruce Foxton (The Jam) bass and JJ "Jinkie" Gilmour (The Silencers) on guitar and vocals. They play a "greatest hits" set of the various bands they have been in and it will obviously appeal to a number of promoters and fans alike. Bruce had already committed to a "Dead Men Walking" tour of South East Asia in September so I was already aware of having to find a replacement if I am to follow the success of the recent tour with another European tour later in the year. I am replacing him with Andy Trill who ably covered for Frank Usher when he had to return home for his Mother's funeral on the Denmark and Oslo shows. We will all miss Bruce as he was a fantastic asset and character on the last tour. His stage presence was superb and he taught me a lot of new steps! We obviously remain great friends and we would both like to think that we will be continuing our writing partnership which has begun on "Field of Crows" in the future. We all wish him all the best with his new career(s)and thank him for all the entertainment and great playing on the "Scattering Crows" Tour!
I will be playing the "Feast of Hope" festival in Geneva on the 29th May but I'll be working with other musicians on a couple of numbers we still have to work out yet. I could be appearing with a couple of separate bands as guest singer. The arrangements haven't been finalised. Please note that I will only be singing a few numbers and not a full set as some thought last time I appeared at the festival. The event is free and if you fancy expanding your musical mind it's definitely worth attending as there are a number of excellent International acts making an appearance.
The band reforms on the 4th June for a gig in Lachen near Zurich. This is a headline gig as part of a small town festival celebrating Scottish culture. Sunday 13th June we play the "Arrow Rocks Festival" in Lichtevoorde in the East of the Netherlands. This is a classic rock festival and one of the most important in Europe as is shown by the line up-
ROBERT FRIPP/STEVE VAI/JOE SATRIANI
I would have paid to see most of these acts!
The rest of June is under negotiation for South America. As we all know from previous experience these tours are forever shifting and dates continually change right up to getting on the plane. At them moment we are discussing 5 shows in Brazil, 4 in Argentina, 1 in Chile, one in Peru and 3 shows in Mexico. I must stress that these are only potential shows but our promoter there is confident he can deliver at least 9 shows. Let's hope it happens! We would all like to get back down to that area of the World again.
In July we are negotiating approximately 7 shows in Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. I should know more about these in the next couple of weeks.
31st July I have been offered an open air in Malta which is awaiting a contract. This has ended up clashing with the SAS band open air in Eastleigh which moved from the 25th July. Obviously I must wait on the contract before announcing a definitive engagement.
More news to hit in the next couple of days
Sorry again for the time lapse
Onkel Fish xx
Email 13th May 2004