Fish 2008 - 13 Stars and Stripes
Dear FishHeads, Freaks, fans and the Company,
I am writing this from a Holiday Inn near the airport which seems to have certain Fellini value considering we are playing the Clutching material in the set on the US tour and this was the original inspiration for that album. As you already know, the lead up to this tour has been way up in the stress mountain peaks and we were still waiting on visas and passports for most of the band on Friday night. The process for application was started in late March and takes longer than it would take to reach the Americas in a kayak. We all had to attend the US embassy in London and the interviews were the last stage of the process. These were granted by the embassy who are not exactly flexible on timings. Yatta and I were seen on the Wednesday the week before we were due to fly and the passports and visas arrived on the Friday with myself Mexico bound on Tuesday at 5am. The rest of the band were not interviewed until Wednesday of last week with them scheduled to fly on Sunday. Despite all our pleas and polite requests for earlier interviews via our professional experienced company who deal with the entire process, we were kept on hold. I had to fly and train the entire band to London for the interviews and put them up in a hotel the night before to make sure they made the 8am meetings. All were approved and duly arrived on Friday after much wringing of hands. They fly tomorrow, Sunday, and arrive at 10pm.
The only problem has been with Chris Johnson who due to various commitments had to have a separate interview date arranged. For some reason, he was given an interview on Monday and therefore will miss the first 3 shows and join us after Boulder. We are extremely frustrated and annoyed by this but there is nothing we can do. This means that Frank will be filling in for Chris's parts on these shows. It isn't a disaster and could have been far worse (a certain singer scheduled to perform an American tour including a Madison Square Gardens date is now dealing with a similar problem as his entire rehearsed band missed their interviews in time!)
The venue move in San Francisco probably made a few bottoms wobble but we expected it as the original venue was an optimistic call with a capacity of over 1100. It's also an expensive hire and with just over 350 tickets sold as of last weekend the promoter decided to cut his losses early. The new venue is, as you probably know, only a few blocks away and in the end will probably make for a far better atmosphere on the night rather than playing to a half empty hall. I think we all have to have a reality check as it's my first tour over here for over ten years and not the return of Led Zep! :-D
All the other promoters are quite happy and with press starting to roll in I am not worried. This tour was put together based on guarantees not on percentages. Everything is in place. The equipment is over here, the bus is rolling to us from Tennessee and the singer is rested and in the right time frame after three successful days meeting the new distribution company, Koch, at their annual get together in Mexico. I presented the new album and my ideas for the "American invasion" and they are well up for it. There is already talk of a coast to coast Canadian tour next year, as that part of the company are extremely excited about having me on board. The Canadians are already working on press and radio for this tour with Lori and I expect my profile to grow steadily as I approach the end of this month.
When Yatta arrived on Friday night, the fog rolled into the Bay area and the flight was held in the air for a while. It cleared quickly.
I woke up this morning to blue skies and my worry of having to practise a two hour stand up gig was left in Cancun (there was a slight perversion, in that I was in a small place in my head looking forward to the challenge and the potential of a new career :-D)
This tour isn't going to be easy, of that I have no doubts or misconceptions. We need your support to make it happen. With Koch now positively behind me this is a reintroduction to the States on which I can build and move forward. The album is continuing to get great reviews and there is definitely a buzz out there. I have just got to increase the volume. I am up for the challenge.
The tour - despite rumours to the contrary - is very much on.
I am now off to the city to take in the sights which I have never seen before due to interview schedules and other commitments on previous visits in the past. Lunch at Fisherman's Wharf, a boat to Alcatraz and a search for Uncle Jack K's haunts. I feel a book coming on! ;-)
The Fish has landed!
lots of love
Onkel (sunny side up ;-) xx
Email 7th June 2008