Dear FishHeads, Freaks, fans and the Company,
Finally I arrived home after one of the most exhausting and demanding tours for quite a while. Nearly everyone in the troupe picked up a Purple Heart as we traversed the fog and somehow managed to keep everything on line. I'll cover the journey in detail in blogs in the coming week and you will get an understanding of just how close we came to running off the road. From missing the storms in the Irish sea by a matter of hours to Paul - our Dutch monitor engineer - being rushed to hospital with a near severed and broken finger, the virus that hit practically the entire band (even the UK promoter went down!), the 20 hour drive from Denmark through snow blizzards with the bus fishtailing a number of times on the autobahn as we headed to the replacement gigs. We took the hits including yours truly visiting hospital as a safety precaution with a dodgy throat and being diagnosed with a potential thyroid problem (thankfully blood tests were clear but it was 4 days of extreme stress I didn't need).
And all the time we were focused on those three shows at the end of the tour. The cursed dates were like a beacon throughout the entire tour and we all wanted to rack them up and get them behind us.
In the end the tour was a tremendous success with Amsterdam Paradiso being in the top ten of all time. I've never had as many UK gigs with such healthy numbers for a long time. Even with the overlaps in some cases such as Leeds Cockpit and the Holmfirth gig being so close together due to the rescheduling after the original tour was booked we were doing the numbers. And the reactions from audiences were so positive we couldn't help but be driven onward.
Glyder were a wonderful support band and great company. Stone Sole River came in on the return dates to provide a stunning bill and with their new bass player were tighter than on the previous UK tour.
And the fans were superb. I am forever reminded that the music brings so many people from all walks of life together. It is humbling to be a part of something that is far bigger than I could ever perceive. To witness the relationships and friendships that have sprung up amongst the gig going fraternity always makes me feel privileged to be a catalyst for so many smiles.
It was a memorable tour.
It's strange being home and back in the promo seat. Tara was in tears last night on the bus as we said our goodbyes to crew, band and two superb support acts who joined our family for a few weeks that we won't forget.
But the road always extends and the future beckons.
April is a welcome rest. I have only the Classics in Rock in Holland for a few days and the rest of the time is devoted to interviews interspersed with prolific gardening and gym work. May has the Pinkpop show and then an empty month tour-wise until the US tour in June.
Behind the scenes there is a hell of a lot happening which will be related over the next few weeks. There are barrels of cunning plans.
As I said before its release I didn't really expect a hit single from "Arc" but it did its job and reintroduced me to a great number of people.
I have decided to go ahead with "Zoe 25" as an edited single for radio in May accompanied by a video which I am working out story boards for this week. The Sun newspaper has expressed an interest in getting involved after the recent 'Page 3' piece and with the Ken Bruce "Tracks of my Years" piece moving to April 28th and a Bob Harris Radio 2 session sometime in May, I can utilise this in support of the next single. The entire campaign around "13th Star" was always intended to be a long haul and a slow burn rather than fireworks and that is what is happening.
I was disappointed not to get the Italian shows in May but they will happen later in the year as promoters felt it was too early for open air and too late for indoor shows. As I said previously, I will use the time to promote the album in interviews and media trips and set up the gigs in the late Summer and Autumn.
South America is still in negotiation and is highly likely for October. European dates are in discussion for late August and September with December either a return to North America, dependant on the response to the June tour, or more European shows.
I have booked a UK tour in November and the dates are as follows-
Tuesday 11th - Runcorn, Brindley Theatre - support Stone Soul River
Wednesday 12th - South Shields, Custom House - support SSR
Friday 14th - Penzance, Acorn Studio - no support
Saturday 14th - Frome, Cheese and Grain - support The Reasoning
Sunday 16th - London, Shepherds Bush Empire - support The Reasoning
Tuesday 18th - Bolton, Albert Halls - support The Reasoning
Wednesday 19th - Pontadarwe, Arts Centre - support The Reasoning
Thursday 20th - Norwich, The Waterfront - support SSR
Saturday 22nd - Glasgow, Academy - support The Reasoning
Sunday 23rd - York, Opera House - support The Reasoning
Tuesday 25th - Telford, Oakengates Theatre - support SSR
Wednesday 26th - Buxton, Opera House - support SSR
More dates are likely to be added and details on booking etc. will be posted on the web site. With a 30 date UK tour already ticked off this is the biggest tour I have played in this country for a long time. It's all highly positive and with another single release planned in late Summer hopefully profile will continue to build.
The reviews internationally on the album have generated a lot of interest and hits on the web site are indicating that there a lot of people rediscovering my back catalogue and career. It's a fine feeling! :-)
Until next time when I'll have more news and a report from our side of the tour.
Take care and stay alive
and thanks for being out there!
Onkle Fish xx