Cloppenburg, Park Hotel, interviewers: Mark & Julie Wynne.
Mark: Despite the obvious bass player related problems. How has the tour been going?
Fish: It's been going brilliant. It's achieved everything that we thought it was going to. At this very moment in time we are in Germany. If you see the bill for October, you've got Lenny Kravitz, The Levellers, Saveloy Brown, the night after us is Peter Frampton, the night before was Ziggy Marley. There are some heavyweight acts out there. Someone estimated that there are 250 acts touring Germany in the next two month period up to Christmas. There are just too many bands. This will be the last tour that I will be making in Germany for at least a year. We will do some open airs next year but not a concise tour - it's too much. Our tickets are expensive, which is something that was out of my control, I think that 40 Marks for a ticket is too much. Having said that, we are averaging about 650 a night on the German tour. Two weeks ago people were talking about "is the tour going to be blown?". The promoter phoned me when I was in Krakow Poland, saying "we've got a real problem - what can we do?". We had to run the tour, when you are getting walk ups on the night of 200 people - that's quite a spectacular walk up. Things are changing, people are deciding to come to concerts at the last minute. They are not buying two months ahead like they used to five years ago. The same goes for records, people aren't rushing out and buying things immediately. We can tell by the sales of Yin & Yang, it is just steady, trundling along. There is not a great big flash and then the decay, it just moves along consistently. As long as it keeps on doing that then I'm OK.
Mark: You have been getting good reviews for the German shows.
Fish: The reviews for all of the shows have been incredible. They are the best reviews we have ever had for a show. Kick have been great, Kick are my management company based in Koln, they deal with the Germany, Austria and Switzerland set up. They have been working really hard and generating as much as possible. One of the problems that you always have with the media and journalists is that you do the interview two months ahead of the tour, but the paper won't put the interview out until the we are on tour, so that it is concurrent with something that is going on, sometimes this is not what you need, you would prefer to have it was up front for the ticket sales. The trick is trying to get all of the different areas intertwining and relating.
Nobody has walked away from the gigs and said that they felt let down. The journalists and the radio people have been great with them, so I am happy. I have done more TV interviews on this tour than ever before. Somebody was saying last night that they have never know my profile in Germany to be so high. I have got the rock day on Viva2 coming up in November. We record it on November 4th and I think it goes out on the 7th or 8th.
Mark: What is the rock day?
Fish: It's a whole day of different clips. They have got a whole programme on The Who, one on Lenny Kravitz. I introduce them, and top and tail them. So it gets your face about. Yatta my production manager was worried about going out on this tour without having any new songs in the set, but I think that the way the medleys have come out, especially the central one, and throwing Black Canal in there, it is a very refreshing set, there is a lot of energy in it. Going back to the bass player scenario. We have found two great bass players, we have got two options now. We were very worried about Niall originally because he is so young, whether he could actually cope with it, but he has done more than that. He has clipped right into the band. So has Ewen, but Ewen doesn't know what he is doing next year, he has got his own jazz band and stuff, but we have got the option, it is exactly how I wanted to build my solo outfit up, is to have a pool of people that you can call on, and utilise them if people drop out etc.
Mark: Like you can do with Mickey
Fish: Yeah, Mickey and Foss. The only problem I would ever have is if Robin or Frank got lost in another project. Robin has come on so much. Robin is gonna be one of the pivot points on Sunsets On Empire. There are a lot of ideas flashing about. Yesterday we were kicking about with something in the sound check. It just sort of sprang out. You can tell when the jams just pop out and you can sense that the time is right. You can not force writing.
But back to the tour, the tour has been great. The support band The Seer really make you work, you can't just sit back and say well the support band has come and gone, they get an encore virtually every night. They really warm the crowd up and it's good to have that at this point in the tour because there's a danger when you're two months into it , you get lazy, and especially in Germany where the gigs are very very similar. I remember last year I wanted to get the hell out of here because I was "Germaned out", but this one's been just great. The last time we were here the virus had come in and everyone was feeling down. There was a big financial mess that was log-jamming a lot of the things that we were trying to do, but this year the situation has been better. My voice has been really good, I've been watching what I'm doing. It's outrageous, we're doing two hour and fifteen minute sets. Yatta's actually saying it's getting too long, but we're just having so much fun playing.
Mark: Have you got any memorable moments from this tour, funny stories etc.?
Fish: Yeah, funny story number one. We had a day off in Malmo. The previous night we had had a bit of a soiree so I was really hung over. I decided to do my classic day off, which is go off and find a nice restaurant, read a book and be nice and quiet - a sort of 'treat yourself day'. I walked about Malmo for about an hour and a half and came across this French restaurant and thought 'Great'. I'd actually phoned my wife up and told her to just get on a plane and fly out, and she's going "No, I can't do it", so I'm sitting on my own and I thought, I'll phone the wife from the restaurant. I couldn't get my phone to work, you know the new digital international phone, and I couldn't work out how to use the damned thing! I'd left the book for the phone in the house. So I've got this great big book "The Diamond Age" by Stevenson I think it is. It was a big chunky two and a half incher. So, I'd walked into this restaurant, with the ripped jeans and muddy sweatshirt scenario. The waiters were looking down their noses. So, they showed me to a table and I ordered my food, and I've got a bottle of wine, and I'm sitting there reading the book and I'm trying to phone but I can't get through. I suddenly noticed that the candle on the table was burning brighter than it was five minutes before, so I looked up and my book had actually caught fire! Everyone in the restaurant was actually looking at me going "so what's he doing?" so I just blew it out and carried on reading .
The other highlight was definitely the one you saw the other night, the beer drinking competition! I've always wanted to do a beer drinking competition. That was incredible, it was definitely one for the boys. There's been a lot of laughs on this tour, but a lot of heavy stuff going down as well.
We went into this club in Poland and it was pretty much red-neck territory. I'd gone in with Fats, my lighting guy, and we were on the dance floor and everyone was bumping into him - it was like a seventies disco, it was quite funny. After the Lithuania gig we stopped off at this hotel, and the hotel manageress phoned up the gig promoter and said it was incredible, we've just had the first ever coloured person staying in the hotel. It was a really wild place - it's definitely the "Wild East" . You've got the big bus driving down the road, overtaking horses and carts carrying turnips. It's a pretty wild place, but a lot of fun. The gigs in Estonia were wonderful. Everyone's been dancing a lot, before and after sound checks Bob Marley goes on or Frankie Goes to Hollywood or James Brown and everybody grooves down. There's a lot of music about on this tour. We've got a lot of videos with us. We've got a video club upstairs, "Silence of the Lambs", "The Crying Game", "The Piano", a lot of good high-brow film stuff, together with "Under Siege" or whatever, your Stephen Segal movies and stuff, "Shallow Grave", some really good movies. But at the same time, the music we're playing is like Johnny Cash. We've got a CD of this Lapland band, which is brilliant. On this tour I've got the Pulp album, I picked up Harry Conick Jnr's last album, I've got an album of Native American Indian music all set to grooves. I've got the new Goldie album. I've got Massive Attack's Production album, I've got an album of great jungle hits, Oasis's new album, Blur's new album, Johnny Cash live in San Quentin. We've got some really weird stuff. I've got a Ronnie Jordan album called The Quiet Revolution which is sort of like jazz. We've listened to a really wide spectrum of stuff. Everyone's getting into Tom Petty as well. That's also a sign, when you start listening to a lot of music, it's a sign that the album's coming out. The band's been great, the vibe on the road has been brilliant. We had a real party zone in Scandinavia, and it being very very expensive was shocking! Then of course there was the Ewen Vernal story, about the champagne.
This is a brilliant story. Ewen's been in the band for three days, and we go out in Wroclaw and we ended up going out for a meal with the promoter and the radio station, and everyone splits up and goes to different clubs in the same neighbourhood. Ewen disappears into this really dodgy up-market night-club. Just as it's closing, he buys this bottle of Dom Perignon. In Poland, they've changed the money around - basically they've taken about four zeros off the old money - you used to get twenty million, but now it's about twenty thousand or whatever. He's ordering this Dom Perignon , he's ordered three bottles, and it's not until the end of the night that he finds out that the price that's in the wine list is in the new money and not in the old money. The next thing, there were two security guys drove to our hotel to pick up Yatta, who had to get the cash out of the hotel safe to go down and bale out a very very drunk Ewen, who'd actually spent just over a thousand pounds on champagne. The band record was previously held by Yatta, and that was four hundred quid, and Ewen trashed it! He was so drunk he never really knew what had gone on. He was left lying naked on his bed staring at the ceiling, looking like he'd died - he was like a corpse with just its socks on! He came down the following morning with a bottle of beer in his hand, and checked out, went straight on the bus and collapsed. He didn't actually realise till the next day how much money he'd spent. He's got to come back out on tour with us, coz he's gotta pay us back the money! It's one way of keeping people in the band.
Mark: This is not a record you want to break yourself, is it?
Fish: No way, we were all bowing down saying "We're not worthy!". Ewen is a real find. But Niall Muir is such a funny guy as well, his movement on stage has really picked Frank up. Everyone in the band's playing great. We've dropped Roadhouse Blues, we got bored with that, and picked up Boston Tea Party. It's a great set to play. I will never play another set like that again. The good news is , in Poland, P1, which is like the Polish BBC1, recorded a full electric show, and a full acoustic show - there's two separate shows. To give you an example, we were doing the acoustic show with Ewen . We said we'll probably do around an hour and fifteen minutes. We were playing this tiny club, to about 150 people in Krakow - both TV gigs were in Krakow - so we said we'll do Sugar Mice, we'll throw in State of Mind and stuff, and things like that, and even the acoustic set was two hours long. They were both recorded with seven camera shoots, and we've been given the opportunity to get hold of them for use outside Poland. We've already got interest in Scandinavia, to get the full shows out, this would really help if we got the transmissions out in January/February , it's going to really tee us up for the release of the live album next year, and with the profile from the open airs. We'll probably release the acoustic set, the electric set and probably the clips all at the same time, we'll release them to the fan club first and then put them out.
Mark: Even though you're in the middle of a huge tour at the moment, a lot of the Email coming in is asking when you are going to be playing that person's home town in Venezuela, Australia or wherever. Most of the Email is from the USA - do you still intend trying to get out there next year?
Fish: At some point we'll definitely be there next year. I've got to go in and do something. I'm getting embarrassed myself about it. I know there are a lot of people out there. Maybe I could follow Marillion's example and play ten cities. At this moment in time, first and foremost is to get the writing in place for the next one. We've been offered the Falkland Islands, which we really want to do and my agent's chewing that one over at the moment. We want to go down to Spain, we're in discussion with Spanish promoters to go and do about three or four gigs - that'll probably be in January or February. We'll also try and tap Portugal. Italy we couldn't get into, every tour in Italy in the first six months of this year was losing money, and the promoters were nervous. The political and economic situation is like the seventies again. We really wanted to play but we just didn't get the offers. South Africa's probably going to be February. I'm in discussion with an Australian distribution company at the moment about distribution down there , and I'm in discussion with an American company as well. I'll be going down to MIDEM in January - we've been offered a show down in MIDEM as part of Scottish night, which puts Cannes back in the equation for us - maybe we'll do that and then tag Spain onto it. Turkey's going to be May, and the rest is all really coming in now. One of the most important things next year is to get the albums done and get the open airs. I want to get five or six Scandinavian open-airs, four or five German open-airs. We need to use them to get the money in to put the war-chest together, to pay Yatta's retainer. When we're writing and recording we're not earning money so to pay the band, and pay for the electricity and stuff we need the open-airs next year to keep the whole thing fluid. I can see the American thing happening maybe in September - if we can get something sorted out with America as far as distribution goes - because the catalogue's getting quite big now. My idea is to do three albums next year. The Sunsets on Empire album, a second more abstract album, and then maybe a cover version album at the same time, which we'll just do off the bat, with Jackson Brown, Joni Mitchell - sort of American Singer/Songwriter type vibe. We'll just put that in the back cupboard, and just keep the tape, so that the album's just sitting there. This means that if we're going to anybody for major distribution, then we're looking at giving them nearly twelve albums including the live stuff. We're going to re-package PigPen's Birthday, the Hammersmith Odeon gig, from '90, and the Dusseldorf show Crypt Creepers from 91. Toiling in the Reeperbahn will be deleted, as will the fan club one from Haddington, and the other one which was the Edinburgh one . Some of the stuff is becoming really good collector's items now. So, with that, I think, as a live package, there is a chance of putting the four albums out at single album prices - four double albums . We'll release them maybe at the same time as the vids. We've got the live album from this tour. The Polish shows were recorded on 24 track, which means that we've got access to full masters, which means that we can go in and repair a couple of dodgy notes etc. Just to make it a really good live album. Saying that, the DAT from Esbjerg in Denmark was brilliant, there's a lot of good DATs flying about. The Scandinavians have actually asked for the Stockholm show to be put out as a double live album at a single album price. It's just a case of keeping it going, feeding the machine.
Mark: There is no Company Scotland convention this year, do you intend making them bi-annual?
Fish: Yeah, I think that we have done so much touring this year that everyone has had a chance to come and see us. I would rather do the convention next summer, maybe during the Edinburgh Festival and pray that it doesn't rain this time. We are up for a gig in Rotterdam at the Feyenoord football stadium, it's a big AIDS benefit. There is a good chance we will take that up. So even though we are going to do open airs next year, we could do indoor conventions, maybe one in Belgium for the Belgians and the French, one in Germany, one in Holland and one in Scotland. We could do them between the open airs. On top of that, in-between the open airs, we really want to play the old East Germany. We did Harlett, it was stunning, 800 - 900 people showed up. So we really want to do Liepzig. Prague was a good result for us as well. There is a chance of doing a Polish open air in conjunction with one of the radio stations out there, GWR which can be picked up on satellite. They already play a lot of our stuff. There is an Estonian festival in Tarlin as well. So, with all that we could patch dates in, in-between the open airs. I really feel that we should go back to France and do another 10 or 12 provincial shows. The Paris show looks like it is going to sell out. The promoter is raging about it, he said "The whole perspective of Fish has changed in France. Before it was seen as something that was on the way out, now it's seen as something that's on the way in again." Just Good Friends was number 4 in the RTL play list, which was great. There is definitely a feeling on this Yin & Yang tour that there is a lot of positive energy being generated from it, and it is affecting people. What we have got to do is keep that running. We need to get this new original album out, and it's got to be very good. With the energies that are about, we are in an optimum position to pull a major album out of the hat. I have got to come up with a stunning album, I have got to come up with an all time classic. I really honestly and sincerely believe that we have got it in our capabilities.
Mark: Will there be another single release from Yin & Yang?
Fish: We have been talking about it, Lucky could be one. But then again, it costs so much money to put a single out, is it worth it? We are running a lot of radio campaigns in Britain around the tour, maybe we could put something out in January. I do not think it's wise to put something out in December because there is going to be so many heavyweights out there. There is another thing now, with EMI letting Marillion go, maybe we could put Lavender out in May. I think that out of all the older material that we recorded it could be the ideal one to put out, around when the live album comes out. The whole thing with EMI has changed. Another thing is, a lot of my distribution deals are coming up in March and maybe some of the companies that we are signed with at the moment might change.
Mark: When will you start writing Sunsets On Empire?
Fish: December or January. The hard facts are that Yin & Yang have not gone out and gone bang. We knew that we were going to have to make a decision at some time within the first few months of the release. If Yin & Yang had gone out and sold 300,000 copies then it would have given us the time. There are a lot of people who say "Well I have already got that material". A lot of people are not aware that there is so much re-recorded material on them. It's been slow, so what you can't do is sit back. In Germany there have been a couple of negatives where people have said "Well fair enough it's a best of collection, but when are we going to get the new stuff? Is Fish burnt out as a song writer?" The answer to that is a definite NO!. What we have go to do is prove it. I always said that Yin & Yang was a passport into other territories. We are talking to the Japanese and South East Asia about tours as well, but all of this has got to be fitted in around the writing. The writing is the most important thing.
Mark: What sort of direction will the album take, have you come up with ideas whilst on tour?
Fish: Yeah, I want to make an album that has got good grooves and good melody. I think definitely grooves. Listening to the Goldie stuff, I found it definitely interesting, but maybe that would be for the abstract album. There is an idea to use very bass piano and voice over stuff, and using that as inserts in-between numbers. We just have to see how it goes
Mark: Does that mean there will be a concept feel to it?
Fish: We have just got to see what happens, let it move naturally. I am very interested in the folk angle again, and taking that sort of folky bluesie sort of thing. I think you will probably see a lot more Scottish and Irish stuff coming through on it. But again, I see grooves and melody. That sort of Doors vibe. I think!
Mark: Will James produce it?
Fish: There are a couple of options. James is tied up at the moment. An option is Calum Malcolm who has worked with Runrig, Blue Nile, Martin Taylor.
Mark: What about the artwork, will Mark Wilkinson be involved?
Fish: Yeah, I want to put my ideas forward to Mark and see how Mark relates to them and if they excite him. Mark has got a lot of work on at the moment, he is a very busy man. The whole idea is to do something based about the art deco, art nouveau sort of style. Having a movie type, Rudolph Valentino type cover. Very romantic, but at the same time doing something like the Internal Exile sleeve where you throw in modern symbols. The lettering for example will definitely be in the art deco sort of style.
Mark: Have you got anything back from EMI / Polydor yet?
Fish: No, we have been too busy to discuss it. I think we will have meetings with these people in December or January to discuss it.
Mark: On the Freaks mailing list, there have been a lot of discussions about the lyrical content of Misplaced and if it was written from a religious viewpoint.
Fish: Embracing religion, I have always been interested in religion. There is a fair bit of stuff in it, but there is no religious undertone or message in it. Religion fascinates me in the same way that relationships fascinate me. It is something that we will deal with on the interview CDs that will probably come out next year as well.
Mark: How come you finally took the plunge and got the Yin & Yang tattoo?
Fish: It had to be done, it was written. This tour has just been so much fun, I wanted something to remember it by. When we started this tour, there was so much happening, there were so many stories flying about. I have decided that I am going to make an attempt at putting a novel together, which will be called 'In Search Of Yang". It's like Connrads 'Out Of Darkness' sort of concept, except not as high brow. Probably more humorous. When we went in to this tour we didn't know what was going to happen, we didn't know if we were going to have a house at the end of it. There has been some real serious adventures on this tour, really serious. From the Paton stuff to being threatened etc. Rather than the heart of it being about the boat going down the river, it will be about the bus going down the road. There have been a couple of points on this tour where I have felt like Cornal Kurtz in an 'Apocalypse Now' type of vibe. I have always wanted to make an attempt at an autobiography, but rather than doing a straight forward 'this single was released and went to number 3 and this single blah blah and I met George Michael etc. etc.' I thought I would try and put something together that was a collection of stories and build up like a mosaic of stories. It is going to start off with the Malmo book story. I have got a computer on the road with me and I am trying to get in to it but to be honest it has been really difficult. The word processor on it is awkward to use. Anyway, who needs a diary when you have got Yatta. But, I am getting to grips with it, I can find my way about with a mouse now. I have been playing computer games as well. I am gradually getting drawn into it. I have got my own office in the house now which will make things easier. I can sit down and write without having to share the couch with my daughter who is watching a video of 'The Jungle Book' in German. I fancy doing this book at the same time as the albums. I would like to get the screen plays together as well. There is a real creative spirit about at the moment and I want to indulge myself in it. This is a long tour and we are really proud that we have come through it. There were a lot of people who thought this tour was going to go down about 20 dates ago, for a lot of reasons. Just being together on a bus for that long, when you are 23 you can handle it, but when you are 37 it's not as easy. I was told last year that I had a serious voice problem, but I have come through it. I now smoke light cigarettes, I am staying away from neat spirits and drinking a lot of water.
Mark: So you don't gargle with wine anymore?
Fish: No, I have completely stopped gargling, I never realised how bad that was. I have stopped taking aspirins as well. On the last tour I took aspirins every day, six aspirins every day. I have had a couple of throat lozenges, there have been a couple of sore throats but nothing that has detracted from any of the performances, but this set has been sculptured. We have taken the key of Fugazi down, which nobody notices. But the vibe is brilliant. It is attack, attack, attack. We have got about 14 gigs left now. When we first got the itinerary nobody looked at it for the first 3 weeks, it was too scary. But it's been good, We treat them as separate compartments, Scandinavia was a separate compartment, Germany is a separate compartment. We have got two weeks off then it's the UK gigs. We have got Ireland as well, finally we have got Ireland, Belfast and Dublin which is great. The whole thing has gone exactly how we wanted it to go, we are getting the profile. We treat every gig as a showcase. There hasn't really been a duff gig on this tour. The Poznan gig in Poland was a bit lack lustre because when you get the speck through and it says you are playing a 2500 capacity hall and then you get there it is more like 8000 capacity and you have a PA that is like trying to put a rave on with a portable CD player. At the Mannheim gig we had terrible problems, technically rather that vocally, the hall rather than the operators. But even the reaction at those gigs was great. So there is a definite sense of achievement about the whole tour, which is great. Last year I was thinking about giving up touring so its been a wild turn around. I have really enjoyed this tour, it's getting to the point that I do not know what I am going to do when it finishes. I am so locked into this tour. I can't even remember Marillion doing a tour this big, 3 months straight work.
Mark: I think you will just crash out when you get home.
Fish: Well I have already talked to Kenny down at the Tynesider and told him "On the 22nd November at 6 O'clock, I want a pint of 80 bob on the counter waiting!". The good thing is, Hibs are doing so well, they are 3rd in the league. Life is good.
Mark: What's the best, Hib's being 3rd or Hearts being at the bottom?
Fish: It's Yin & Yang isn't it! It's funny. I have discovered that 3 of the band are Jambo's (Hearts supporters). They are all coming out of the closet. Originally it was only Squeaky who said that he was a Hearts supporter but that he wasn't really that bothered. But he has been getting gutted in the last few weeks. Even Foss, he is a closet Jambo. Then there is Squeaky, Niall Muir's nickname is Squeely because someone grabbed him in a sensitive area on night and he screamed high! It was glass shattering. So there is Squeaky, Foss and Squeely who are Jambo's. I have had a lot of fun with the line in Lucky "Down at Easter Road till his throat is raw, on a Saturday he knows the score".
Mark: Do you phone home on a Saturday night for the scores?
Fish: I phone Kenny down at the Tyneside or my Dad, I don't phone my wife because she never has them. Its been really funny because I just read my horoscope. I always read Patrick Walker in the Sunday Mail, he does these monthly ones and he has been pretty good. He said "Beware of October - it will seem like the bottom has fallen out of your world". I told everybody to prepare, I said "Be ready, be on the balls of your feet, because there is bad stuff gonna go down". David left on the 1st October, and I had all of that mess to clear up which has been a nightmare. It's been a real nightmare. It has taken a lot to turn around all the money we lost because of it. At the end of the day we are still going to lose money on this tour, but it's going to be well compensated by the amount of albums we are going to sell because of the tour. At the moment it looks like we are going to lose about GBP 20,000, which is nothing on a three month tour of this size, paying musicians etc. If that had been Marillion we would have been quite happy with that. If I was with a major record company and I turned around and said to them "We want a tour settle of twenty grand", I don't think that anybody would have turned around and said "No, you can't have it". When you consider that on the Vigil tour we lost about GBP 125,000. We have done brilliantly. We have gone into Germany and most of Europe that's in a recession and we have pulled this out of the bag. We deserve a medal. Yatta's done a brilliant job as a production manager. Fats our lighting designer is brilliant, he has been picked up by AC/DC now, he is going out with them for two years. We have got another L.D. coming in for Koln.
Mark: So you are going to lose Fats?
Fish: Yeah, but we have got a pool going now. We have got a pool of people that we can use. There was a review posted in one of the technical magazines and we got a really good report. Yin & Yang is doing what it's supposed to be doing. It's building the profile. Now that Marillion are no longer with EMI, we are going to be seen in a lot more positive note than we were two years ago. Two years ago Mark Kelly said that he would not work with Fish again. Now he was in a magazine saying, I can't remember the exact quote, something like "If Fish comes to us with a good idea, then we would consider it, as long as it was for the right reasons and not for the money". My answer to that is.. (A), if I had a really good idea one of the last bands I would take it to is them. If I had a really good idea, I would want to work it with the musicians that I have got. (B), if I was Steve Hogarth and I read that article, I would have put him up against a wall. It is a terrible insult to Steve Hogarth. He is the Marillion singer, he has been with them longer than me.
I am not interested in going back and working with them. As I said, if I had an idea I would work it with my own band. It's as if they are saying we might help him with one of his ideas. I do not need their help. The only people who are interested in seeing me go back to that band are die-hard fans, and there are very few of them left. To be honest, I think that what we are doing now is far more exciting than any recollaberation or any return to that outfit. I don't think that people are really interested in it. I could never imagine doing the sort of shows that we are doing at the moment, as relaxed, as powerful, as energetic, as refreshing as the show that we are putting on at this moment in time. I have spent seven years building a solo career bit by bit, and it has been a tough hard slog. There is no way I am going to throw away all of that hard work just to go under that name, because all that Marillion is, is nine letters. That's all that it is - it is a name. I do not need that name. People are respecting what we are doing now.
Mark: A couple of years ago, you offered them a Lorelei type thing where you go on stage with your boys, then they go on with Steve, and then you go on together.
Fish: Yeah, and I was told at the time that they will never walk on stage with me again in their lives. If they are signing to a new label and they are trying to rekindle that flame, then I am sorry but I am going to throw a bucket of water right across it now. I have been poked in the eye so many times in the last seven years. I have just given up. I find Mark's attitude completely condescending. If I was Steve Hogarth I would be flaming about that. They have spent seven years trying to destroy the Fish myth and build the Hogarth myth. This just kicks the foundations out from everything that they have done.
Mark: There are a lot of Marillion fans that do not like Fish, and a lot of Fish fans that do not like Marillion now.
Fish: It's history now. I was talking to Yatta about it. People just aren't interested now. It would be a really negative move, a very very negative move for me to get involved with them in any way. It would be like the Searchers going out on the road, or like The Bay City Rollers or whatever. It would be definitely a nostalgia package, and I am not interested in building nostalgia packages. Yes, we play the old songs, yes we have put them on the albums, but they are there because I was involved in writing those songs.
Mark: It would never be the same anyway.
Fish: I would be betraying my guys, I would be betraying Robin, Frank and all of the other guys.
Mark: I think that Robin and Frank work brilliantly together. The new Incubus is stunning, to improve on a song that was a classic anyway was going to difficult, but they have done it.
Fish: Yeah, It's just getting people to listen to it. A lot of fans have come up to me in Germany and said that they weren't really interested in buying it because they had the stuff, then they heard it and they said that it's great and that it's really different. A lot of journalists have said that as well. They have said that it is really different. It's when you listen to it, and you hear these new versions of Just Good Friends, Punch And Judy, Incubus, State Of Mind and it's like "Wow!". Anyway, it's sound check time now.
Interview 31st October 1995