Subject: Fish 2004 - Company Europe newsletter
Welcome to the last newsletter of what has been a weird and wonderful year. After a successful tour to support the "Field of Crows" album and a Summer of intermittent gigging, recent months have been consumed by a range of events and projects all of which are straddling the coming months. 2005 should see a lot of these move toward completion including the "Misplaced Childhood" 20th anniversary tour.
I am already looking at rehearsal time in February/March somewhere in Scotland. My new domestic arrangements mean that the studio is not practical as a rehearsal space so I have to find new premises to accommodate what looks like being an 8 piece band. South America is being negotiated for March/April followed closely by Dubai and possibly other Middle East countries before a possible trip to Scandinavia for around 5 shows. These dates are being discussed now with the main European tour in the Autumn of next year.
Mark Wilkinson and I will be discussing the new artwork in the coming weeks and this will be used on the merchandise and the eventual DVD/live album of the shows.
The idea is to play two sets, the first consisting of a "best of" the solo material and the second set containing the "Misplaced" album and some other oldies. With this in mind I am looking at a "Best of" Fish album to be released sometime during the year through a label that will provide promotion and a stronger presence at retail than I had with the last studio album. Altogether it looks like being a hectic year on the gigging front and the lure of the "Misplaced" material opens doors internationally that I otherwise would not have with a solo album. It gives me a chance to see the World again.
This obviously means that any acting roles will be few and far between as the potential windows will be small considering the extent of touring possibilities. Not ideal but I have to be realistic about my financial situation and having spent the last few months being disappointed by auditions and losing dates in the meantime I have to consider my career overall. If I am to spend more time waiting on roles coming in then I have to gather a "war chest" to support that down time. The "Misplaced" project will hopefully allow me to take a chunk of time off later next year and into 2006 when I can start work on another studio album in between potential acting roles.
I have been examining the idea of a lyric book for next year which would include stories behind the songs and act as a foil against the "fictional autobiography" "Living with Dick" which has been taking more shape in recent weeks. The little black book now contains enough character and story maps to prod me into taking the big step onto paper early next year and my days off on tour will find me tapping away on the laptop rather than on the dance floors!
On the domestic scene I have spent a lot of time developing the garden and the new "Bluehouse". It's a 4m x 4m greenhouse with shelves wide enough and sturdy enough to take a side of beef never mind a seed tray. I decided to paint it blue and I have to admit it's quite a stunning edifice. Heating is in place and everything is ready for the seed sowing in Spring. Yatta has been told that I have to get back for certain times so I can benefit from the hard work and cultivation that has gone in this Autumn. I have moved about 5 tons of horse manure into the vegetable garden as well as creating a series of raised beds and other areas to make us virtually self supporting on the vegetable front. House extension and garage plans have been moving through and bit by bit the studio is becoming more of a house. The onset of what is supposed to be the worst winter in a 100 years has prompted me to put in a Morso wood burning stove especially after the last LPG bill. This has meant ripping apart the main studio room and tearing down the soundproofing from an end wall. Cue a disaster area which has to be sorted out before Christmas when I have the family here for dinner. Tara is over in 2 weeks and so I need to get those holes in the roof sorted and the stove fired up.
The studio/ house renovation will continue throughout next year as it now is highly likely that Tara is moving back to Scotland permanently next Summer to start school in Scotland in September. Her mother and I are agreed that this is the best option and Tara is looking forward to coming back. This obviously means that I have to adopt a completely new lifestyle which includes carefully booking tours to allow me to become a full time parent. It also means re designing other areas of the studio in order to provide proper accommodation and storage for a teenage girl.
My girlfriend has been staying up in Haddington most of this year and we both know that a lot of adjustments have to be made in order that the studio becomes more of a family home. Big changes although I must admit to being both daunted and excited by the new arrangements. I am obviously delighted that Taz is coming home.
This year has had it's fair share of weddings with Avril Mackintosh, engineer on "Sunsets" and a friend since we met on the "Clutching" album, getting married in Kew Gardens this Summer, the spectacular wedding Of Spike Edney and Kyle a month or so back and even more recently Tanya and I attended the marriage of Dave "Squeeky" and Tonya Stewart in Fife. A boisterous occasion with bride and groom holding the bar until the wee hours even dragging Steve Vantsis out of bed for a last round. It was a great wedding and other attendees included Robin Boult, Frank Usher, Foss Patterson, John Young and Yatta all with respective partners. Moment to savour was the first dance when Dave and Tonya took to the floor in a complete choreographed routine they had been working on for weeks. We collapsed in laughter as our old drummer twirled, flounced and span to a raging disco beat! It was great to see so many old faces and we obliged the bride with a rendition of "Lavender" with Foss on Keys, Squeeks and Steve on rhythm section, and Frank and Robin on guitars!
The only really sad bit of news that broke that weekend and came to a dark conclusion on the 26th November was the demise of guitarist JJ Belle who died from cancer in the East Middlesex hospital. JJ played with my band on the "Sunsets" tour of North America and the early parts of the world tour before being replaced by Robin Boult. He was a great wee man with a huge heart and all of us have fond memories of his time with us. You can visit his site and sign the guest book at http://www.dognpony.com/jjbelle/
The Progeny gig at the Astoria on the 22nd went down well despite the band not having played together for months. Yatta was pleasantly surprised and Andy Trill who stepped into Bruce Watson's vacant shoes is making his mark in the band. The rest of the band were Frank Usher, Tony Turrell, John Tonks, and Steve Vantsis. The set was practically the same as at St Guiliano in Italy and the other Summer dates. The cancellation of the South American tour and the delay caused by the wait on film auditions meant that this was the only contracted gig left as the other dates under discussion around that time were blown out due to band availability.
Other news is that the "Scattering Crows" live DVD from Bradford has been delayed till next year as I have been waiting on a Maltese company to send me interview and live footage for the bonus material on the disc. Everything else is done including the double live CD and bonus CD. I am understandably upset as the delay meant we couldn't risk the chaos of the Christmas post again and so I decided not to tempt fate and hold it back for a release in January.
There will be a DVD from the Bradford show in April which was recorded on multi track and shot on multi camera which will contain extras and bonus material. There is also a double CD containing the full show from Bradford together with a full "Plague of Ghosts", "Old Crow" and "Lost Plot" recorded on multi track at the Bilston gig toward the beginning of the tour. As a bonus to those who buy both I an giving away a single CD which holds the rest of the material from the Bilston gig which featured Windsor McGilvray on drums. John Tonks plays on the Bradford show. The material was mixed by Elliot Ness and mastered by Calum Malcolm.
The DVD and the double cd will be £15.99 each with the single bonus CD thrown in for free if you buy both titles. These titles are on mail order only through our web site.
Also being released in January are the DVD's of the "Krakow" acoustic set and the electric set on two separate discs which will contain an audio CD of the concerts in the packaging. Prices will be announced at a later date and all other information on track listing etc will be on the official website.
A brand new range of merchandise including winter fleeces and other garments is now available.
Photographs and details are likewise on the website.
I am now about to head for the Christmas gigs with the SAS band at Chiddingfold where I start rehearsals on Wednesday for the four shows over this weekend. Tickets are still available for Thursday with Friday, Saturday and Sunday all completely sold out. Monday is a charity show at the Grand in Clapham (details on the SAS site) and Tuesday is Southampton Brook. I have to learn "Lola" by the Kinks and "Take Me to the River" the Al Green number made even more famous by Talking Heads and the Eurythmics. More long lyrics! After that it's a long drive home and last minute Christmas shopping before the holidays kick in. The quiet before the storm! To all of you out there have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year and thanks for all your support in 2004! See you in 2005 somewhere on tour!
Email 30th November 2004