Email July 12th 2007

Fish 2007 - Climb every Mountain!

Dear FishHeads, Freaks, fans and the Company,

It's Wednesday. Rehearsals are finished and we are now in the lap of the Gods! No warm ups and straight on to a festival stage in two days time with a brand new set containing a lump of "Clutching at Straws", a sequence of history and 4 new songs being played for the first time ever. It's daunting I admit but I passionately believe the team can pull this off with style. The band have put in some serious work at the Scout Hall and combined with the end of principal recording last week, and the follow through, it has been truly exhausting. Laundry is in the machine and the equipment we are taking with us is in the lobby waiting on the mini bus to take us to Glasgow at 2.30 for a 6pm flight to Stansted, an 8pm flight to Leipzig and a 2 hour drive to the hotel. We get there around 1am!
After last weekend's odyssey to see Genesis at Twickenham and back it's not something I look forward to. The gig was great and I met a bunch of new and old friends before the swift exodus out the stadium and home for the an early flight and rehearsals next day ;-)
Tara had a brilliant time and it was great going to the gig with her. I was immensely proud as a father and she charmed all and sundry even to the point of being offered a modelling job! :-D
I was reminded what I was supposed to be working for this week and what I would be doing this weekend. It's been a long time since I was on stage but I am sure it will come back to me quite fast once I am up there facing the "pink". :-D

Lorna Bannon finished all her backing vocals last Wednesday and did an immaculate job. A true professional she commandeered all the necessary harmonies, approaches and attitudes perfectly. I had de-emphasized the female vocal in recent weeks and to be honest the album did not suffer one iota. It made us focus more on the songs and the performances as a whole. Lorna sang on 6 songs and all her contributions were awesome. On "Arc of the Curve" she laid a 5 part harmony vocal on the choruses which was very reminiscent of Sandy Denny's work with the Fairports. She loved the lyrics and all that we had put together. On "Arc" she was close to tears and her compliments on the lyrics weren't taken lightly as she is married to a good friend and someone I greatly admire, Gary Osborne, who wrote some of Elton John's great works of the 80s and 90s as well as Geoff Wayne's "War of the Worlds". She considers "Where in the World" as an obvious single and one of the best things she has sung on for a long time.
I finished my lead vocals on Saturday in between rehearsals. There was little required apart from a couple of verses and some drop-ins. The initial sessions were a lot better than we thought or could have imagined.
The recording is now finished and Calum begins mixing next week with first mixes due for the 4th August. The tracks on MySpace are desk mixes with no effects, finished keyboards (the midi links and sounds are agreed but not in place), flat EQ and no "trimmings" or "magic dust"!! I think you will agree on hearing that they already sound special.
All the extensive time, work and energy that have been spent on the album will stand me in good stead and after reactions from my close professional friends, whose judgement I respect, I firmly believe I have the strongest album that I have had for years. It's different, make no mistake, but this jump in direction is one that I have needed to make and especially at this point in my career. The "Clutching" material sits so comfortably with the "13th Star" material it is quite uncanny. The "13th Star" tracks are obviously "new" but the artistic and creative links are there for all to hear.
I am still reeling from recent personal events and days are often like entering revolving doors when you are pissed and you never know when you will be spun out the "blue" side or the "bright" side. It ain't easy and I fall down a lot. It's getting better and to be honest I am so looking forward to getting out on the road and being on a stage again.
Tara is away in Berlin for two weeks seeing her Mother so the interim gig moments will be strange. I miss her presence in the house. But, saying that, I have time to get on with the luxuriant garden (always on the edge of anarchy!) and all the other pressing work commitments that dominate my time. It's more than enough!
"Fish TV" is now up and running and if you want you can catch a glimpse of what it was like in recent months as Steve and I worked on the writing and initial recording, go check it out. It was funny but also stressful to the highest degree and as we digest our curries and await the laundry there is a slight respite from all the chaos and stress that gave birth to the new album.
The film crew were up on Tuesday catching rehearsals and were blown away by the set list and performances. You will hear about it for yourself as the weekend unfolds. It's the new beginning, the new curve, I hope you like it!

I'll leave you with the next lyric, "Zoë 25". Originally titled "Micklegate", this was altered as of May this year, as far as the chorus was concerned. It's about fantasy and when John Wesley was up here during "Fellini Days" in 2001, he was blown away with the 'Sun' page 3 girls. At the time we had "Zoë, 19, from London" and her pictures were up on the wall (covered with Wes's drool :-D) as we recorded .This year as we started the new album, once again our favourite model was on page 3, and on the first week we started writing! She was once again a talisman! (taliswoman? :-\)
To add to the "Fellini element" on the day my engagement was in the papers Zoë was model of the day! This time she was "Zoë, 25, from London"!
I jammed the lyric with Steve on the song and it became a great hook. For obvious reasons my ex frowned on the inclusion of her name in the lyric, despite me explaining the story, the character references and the lyrical curve of the main character fantasizing about her and missing her completely as the reality crosses the daydream. "Micklegate" was going to be the main thrust of the chorus but as May 2007 came around the sentiment changed and I adjusted to the new reality. The "Looking for somebody...." chorus took precedent and "Micklegate" was relegated to an aside at the end.

Zoë 25

He struggles to the breakfast table, still hung-over, hardly able to come to terms with Monday's new demands,
To activate the microwave, to reheat Friday's take away, the cafetiere to muster up some coffee from the grains,
He lights the next last cigarette and promises himself, as he retches in the sink, to change his ways,
He dreams inside the Sun,
Of Zoë, from London, 25.

She's foetal on the foldaway, staring at the laundry in the corner, that she should have done the night before,
Listening to her flat mate singing Stones songs in the shower, she hopes she leaves hot water when the bathroom's finally free,
Where she cries into the mirror and smudges her mascara,
She's Zoë, from London, 25.

When you're looking for somebody, you might not even see them, when they're standing there in front of you, right before your eyes,
If you're looking for somebody you're going to need some help, you know you'll never find her when you're still looking for yourself.

He races to the subway station, out of breath and out of options; he couldn't make the phone call to explain himself away,
He's locked in a reality that's taking time to sink in because he's lost inside a daydream, his mind is occupied,
He turns his back on everybody, on Zoë from London 25.

She clutches at the broken heel from tripping down the escalator,
Chasing her white rabbits through the tunnels far below,
Where she moves around invisible, to all concerned anonymous,
A dream girl in a nightmare on a journey to the stars,

When you're looking for somebody, you might not even see them, when they're standing there in front of you, right before your eyes,
If you're looking for somebody you 're going to need some help, you know you'll never find her when you're still looking for yourself.

At the Micklegate, where you lost your way and time stood still.
At the Micklegate, with my heart in chains, the dream was killed
At the Micklegate, where you lost your way and time stood still.

c Derek Dick 2007

And now the journey! Light hand luggage and guitars! The first shows! The first highs! Coming at you 3D!!! :-D

lots of love

Onkel Fish XX


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