Interview 2nd September 1995

Fish took part in an IRC session from Edinburgh on a VERY WET Saturday afternoon (Julie did the typing!). It was impossible for Fish to answer all of the questions put to him during the session, but he had great fun trying! Here is the tidied up log.

Fish: Hello everybody

Fish: Welcome to another rainy day in Edinburgh "blue umbrellas in Princes St. Garden"

Eboi: Did you know that Just Good Friends is 6th in the Rock chart? I saw it in Our Price one week but then it disappeared... so I got it while I could.

Fish: I was really disappointed with the JGF single in the UK, it's difficult enough coping with retail outlets who are completely mercenary and only seem to operate in favour of major record companies who have got the catalogue and the capital to disperse huge amounts of stock and influence the buying. The radio support was pathetic as always especially with regard to the national stations. Our Price insisted on 50% discount on the buy-in, which meant we lost around 23 pence per single and as soon as they saw it didn't make the top 40 in the first week they took it out of stock and we lost around 34% of the UK retail outlets. such is life. We are getting great responses in Europe. Follow the scent.!

Eboi: Us Brits just don't know great music when we hear it (Well, I do)

Slainte: Any luck getting back into the US market?

Whale: Are you planning a tour in North America

Fish: We've approached a number of record companies in the last year and got nowhere. They are very nervous about artists with too much baggage. There is definitely an " ageism" element involved here. We still have options which are being pursued as our catalogue of around 10 albums is still interesting to some of the larger independents. We are looking into doing a tour in the USA in late spring next year which will take in hopefully around 15 concerts coast to coast in areas we know are strong.

Roleary: Great to hear that the US may be in your plans. Haven't seen you since Milwaukee, USA in '87. Good Luck!

Whale: Are you planning to come in Canada During this USA tour (Like in Quebec City)

Fish: Canada - I was across there at a music convention and talked to a number of labels most of whom displayed general apathy. As with the USA I'm hopeful and any USA tour would incorporate Canadian concerts.

Whale: I'm very happy to read that you'll probably come in Canada

Bootleg: Hey Fish, to save money on a US tour, your welcome to crash at my house

Fish: Might take that up, but it will have to be a big floor - there'll be about eight of us!

Bootleg: No problem!

Eboi: Sorry to ask a boring question, but will you be coming to the North East of England to play?

Fish: N.E. England probably December.

Eboi: Excellent!

Cauch: Can you confirm date in Bergen, Norway, the 22nd Sept?

Robloy: We wills see us at, I think 5 gigs in Germany in October. Could you tell us the real release dates of YY?

Fish: Cauch: Don't have dates here - see web site. Robloy: 15 shows in Germany in October.

Robloy: I know, but I only can manage 5.

Sisi: Will you come to the Free Record shop again (Rotterdam) by the way.. you have great legs!!!

Fish: Probably doing the Free Record Shop in Groningen or Amsterdam. Nothing confirmed yet. Will be wearing a kilt - it takes peoples attention away from my bald head!

Salmon: You'll need more than a kilt

Sisi: Bald is beautiful baby!!

Eboi: We love you for your music, not your hair

Sisi: You said: " probably in Amsterdam or Groningen" but can I expect you in Rotterdam someday?

Fish: We've overplayed Holland in recent years and were trying to give it a break. Will be back next summer.

Jvi: You can never overplay a place (especially America! *hint hint*)

ACTION:- Sisi offers Fish a nice cold beer

Fish: Sisi: See you in Groningen.

Sisi: I'm very sorry...but I can't go...too far away for me.. that's why I asked about Rotterdam....(but maybe next summer)

Charrua: Will you play in Argentina?

Fish: I'm waiting on a phone call from my agent re a role in Alan Parker's new movie Evita. If it happens then I'll be in Argentina in March and I'll bring the band over. This is why Y& Y is so important in that it provides a key to a lot of territories that I've been otherwise unable to tour in recent years.

Jvi: wow, Fish and Madonna in the same movie!

Eboi: Tell Alan Parker that all the Fish-heads will watch the film if you're in it so the audience of the film will be much bigger

Jane: Any other acting possibilities?

Fish: If Yin and Yang is as successful as I hope then it will provide a cushion where I can concentrate on the next album, Sunsets on Empire and hopefully give me enough space to put in two projects next year.

Cauch: Will we hear more bagpipes and Scottish folk influences on next album?

Fish: Yes for the folk influences.

SteveStan: I live in Atlanta, GA...saw your show in Northampton last June...musically/set list wise how does your current tour compare?

Jane: For your current concert, what percentage of it is your old Marillion music?

Fish: Current set list: Black Canal, Jumpsuit City, Big Wedge, Emperor's song, " medley" . Lady Let it Lie. Vigil, Shadowplay, Fugazi, Slainthe (medley), Family Business, Kayleigh, Pipeline, Incommunicado, Internal Exile, Credo. Lucky, Roadhouse Blues, Lavender and then Raw Meat.

Eboi: Excellent set list, I can't wait to you in the north east in December.

Umquat: Great, can't wait to hear Black Canal live.

Trawler: What no Heart Of Lothian as an encore

Fish: Thought about it, but it didn't feel right

Janwill: Black Canal, Shadowplay, wow! Might go to Groningen after all...

Robloy: The upcoming tour will be great!

Fish: The set is the hardest set we have ever had. The medleys contain more power than ever before present in these songs.

Cauch: Who is playing in your band at this tour?

Fish: David Paton bass, Frank Usher, Robin Boult guitars, Dave Stewart drums, Foss Paterson keyboards.

Paula: Is there any chance of playing Incubus on the tour? You refused playing it on the last two concerts in Oslo. We worked really hard making those Incubus banners.

Robloy: Yeah, Incubus is a great song!

Fish: No, not this time. Its still my favourite song from my Marillion era and the version on the Yin album is spectacular and probably one of the finest prog moments of my career.

Paula: Will you play Incubus in Oslo if we make a REALLY nice banner for you on the 21st?

Fish: No, sorry

Janwill: Is there (going to be) a fanclub version of Yin and Yang?

Fish: No fan club version. For anybody that's finding it difficult to get Y& Y in the USA we'll be dealing with Mail Order through the web site. Should eliminate the high import prices.

Umquat: What did you think of the reviews in Q of Y/Y? Do you still take any notice of them?

Fish: I was really disappointed that they gave the albums to a new stringer to review. It made sense to me to give them to someone who's aware of my music rather than somebody who was not aware of my history. Don't have any control over who reviews. Q have never conducted an interview with me since 87, we are talking about the " style fascists" here.

Umquat: It is a shame, the reviews of Internal Exile a few months ago in Q were very favourable too

Fish: Maybe it will get better reviews of Yin and Yang in 3 years time, ageing like a good wine!

Robloy: I have the YY-promo and I can't wait for the release of the Y& Y-albums. Can you please give us the release -dates. The ones on the web site doesn't fit with the ones from THE COMPANY Germany.

Fish: It was released in Germany on the 28th. The rest of Europe on the 4th of September.

Sisi: How about writing a song about this; the Internet, people so far from each other telling all kinds of stories and secrets, and never seeing one another...?

Fish: Being considered

Sisi: Cool, thanks a lot! looking forward to it!

Script: Do you think that Internet can help you. I mean: promoting, giving more information, finding new ideas for new songs? Or do you think it is only an interesting 'toy' ???

Fish: I think the Net provides a wonderful route into the States and could be the most exciting development for the Dick Bros label and my career yet.

Slythex: Well, I gotta say, it's certainly a welcome sign seeing more and more musicians getting on the net

Script: Do you like the quantity and the quality of the information that is now available on the Net. Or do you think it can be better?

Fish: Yes. As a complete Luddite I'm incredibly impressed. I've just woken up to the computer age. I'm taking manuals and my new laptop on tour. Expect conversations to become more regular in the future.

Jvi: Do you think the " resurgence" of Luddism is a theme worth pursuing in your lyrics?

Fish: Its an idea, in conjunction with a previous question about strangers talking world-wide on the net.

Arcane: Do you plan to do IRC session again?

Fish: Yes there will be future IRC sessions

Eboi: Regular conversations on IRC! Excellent!

Script: Except this stuff (IRC): Are you planning to do more on the net: Like posting articles on the newsgroups and the Freaks Mailing List, or for the WWW-pages about you????????

Fish: At the moment I'm relying on Mark and Julie to interpret but hopefully I'm getting myself an education that'll enable me to take a more active part.

Script: OK, thanks. I really hope you will be able to take more active part!

Script: You said you wouldn't even listen to Mick Pointers new album. Why didn't you even give it a try???

Fish: I don't remember saying that - if I had a copy I'd listen to it.

Robloy: Do you remember 1984 as you visit the ELOY-gig in London? I have a photo here with you and Frank Bornemann. What do you think about ELoYs music?

Fish: Not heard ELoY's for a while.

Charrua: A question about duets... Who was the female singer that you wanted for one of the songs from Fugazi?

Fish: Can't remember.

Jvi: I have the mini-poster from The Thieving Magpie 3/5th autographed. I'm just missing yours and Ian's autographs... If I mailed the poster to the Company with the return postage, would you sign if for me, please? (I want to frame it for my wall)

Fish: Yes.

Jvi: Thanks!

Jvi: Is the last part of Blind Curve called " Threshold" (as the lyric sheet in my US CD say) or " Tschub" (as the CD label says)? What is Tschub?

Fish: TschuB should be said with a double 's' ending. it means Bye in German. It seemed a good idea at the time but confused the hell out of everybody. I had to make up the titles once we had recorded the album to fit in with the official publishing register. It was a name off the top of my head -obviously we changed it.

Jane: I really enjoyed " Acoustic Session." Are you planning on releasing any other acoustic CD's?

Fish: No, Although the Fortunes 4 CD Pack might be condensed into one CD as the packaging is so expensive. It will make the fifteen thousand or so that we've printed valuable in the future and benefit the fans who went out and bought it.

Eboi: Do you still write poetry or does most of your writing go toward song lyrics?

Fish: Still write poetry. Everything really goes towards the lyrics.

Zedar: Could I have seen you in Aberdeen on the 13th of July this year? (you were shopping?)

Fish: Wasn't there - must have been some other six foot five bald guy!

Zedar: Guess so.... he was wearing a Company T-Shirt!!!

Jane: I heard rumors about you and some of the guys from Marillion doing a gig. Is this true?

Fish: It was offered at one point a few years ago and Steve was asked to the Edinburgh show today. He was unavailable. Marillion were also asked to perform but Mark and Steve H were on holiday. I've not seen them since backstage at a Genesis gig in 92

Slime: Has anyone asked you to join Genesis, since Phil started to consider leaving?

Fish: Not a chance. I'm happy occasionally working with Tony.

Yell: Have you ever been to Shetland?

Fish: I would love to go there, I've been trying to play gigs for years.

Jane: Do you have a favorite song that you have written?

Fish: Fave song written: don't know, there's too many, Gentleman's Excuse me?

Umquat: What music do you listen to at the moment?

Harrie: What kind of music do you listen to at home?

Fish: Last night in a wine frenzy we did Black Grape, the new Paul Weller, Yessongs, PFM, and Tricky.

SteveStan: Do you write exclusively at the keyboard (piano or synth?) or do you also play guitar?

Fish: I don't play any instruments. Always write in collaboration using the voice and a strong sense of rhythm.

Trawler: Are you still on for tonight!!!

Fish: The gig is on - it would be hypocritical of me to cancel a gig that's in aid of the Big Issue and the homeless question because of some rain that'll be falling on the streets where people will be spending the night.

Cauch: What do you think of current neo progressive scene. do you consider yourself a part of it?

Fish: Don't consider myself part of any scene

Incheol: Do you ever know that there are dedicated fans of yours in Korea ?

Fish: Hi Korea: there's a chance of a gig in Seoul next year.

Incheol: Fish: really ? can't believe it!!

Fish: We have distribution through Pony Canyon which gives us access to Japan and S.E.Asia. Gigs earlier this year in Singapore and HongKong were well received. The Hard Rock Cafe chain is interested in taking us out for a more elaborate tour

Robloy: I'm lucky that you are still alive! I've heard a bad rumour on the German COMPANY-phone. Could you tell us something about that?

Fish: We had a very close call at the video shoot where Sam Brown and I were nearly taken out by a helicopter that was buzzing the lighthouse we were standing on. It missed the top of the tower by 2 metres.... I was just trying hard to look cool

Incheol: You lost some weight, huh ?

Fish: I did last year, and then stopped smoking for a few months. I'm back on the fags again. Gauloises Blonde Lights. The weight is coming off again. Three months on tour should sort it out.

SteveStan: Do you plan to release a vidoe (video) comp soon...perhaps you could go thru Griffen in the US.

Fish: Video Comp will be announced on the site some time in December. In negotiation. I don't have anything to do with Griffen, having cancelled the contract due to their violation of export rules.

Umquat: I loved your collaborations with Tony Banks. Is there any chance of you two working together in future?

Fish: Yes, late next year...... If we get together - I'm a busy boy

Paula: Is there any chance that the book, MASQUE, will be released in the near future?

Fish: Masque is on hold as always. But there's an idea to put together interview CDs - one for every album to explain lyrics, visuals etc. This could fill the gap that Masque has left. It was Bill McNie's idea.

Janwill: Audio only CD's or Multimedia CD's (with sketches of the cover, eg.?)

Fish: CD ROM production is very expensive but we have been looking into it. The success of Yin and Yang dictates the future development.

Incheol: Is Kayleigh your first girl friend ?

Fish: No

TimmyTim: Do you think (neo) prog-rock could ever become " popular" again (and who will lead the way) ?

Fish: Don't concern myself with scenes. they're too tribal and too restricting.

Charrua: Are you interested in playing football games when touring, your team against a journalist or a fan team, as Pink Floyd used to do in the 70s?

Fish: Yes but my production manager gets too nervous at the Scottish style of football. Enthusiastic, physical and crap!

Zedar: Would you mind telling me what your favorite author is?

Fish: Iain Banks

Zedar: Thanks! I'll get some of his books on Monday!!

Fish: I recommend Espedair Street and The Bridge and of course his debut The Wasp Factory.

Harrie: Any chance of seeing you in the Irish Pub over here in Groningen after the gig on September 14?

Fish: Yes

Sisi: Is there someone who you would really love to sing a duet with?

Fish: Joni Mitchell, or Ricky Lee Jones.

Eboi: I've heard that Mr1470 was inspired by a trip to Africa... and a skeleton in a museum - is that true?

Fish: Yes, the skull in the Suits cover is the one with the catalogue number 1470

Umquat: If you had to pick just one song that influenced you most, what would it be?

Fish: Lola by the Kinks

Script: Why Lola by 'the Kinks'????

Fish: Wrapping up a sexual experience with a transsexual, and selling it as a pop song takes some doing. There's a lot of feel there, great melody, great power and a simply stunning lyric, all in less than four minutes.

Bootleg: What do you think of people who tape your shows for collection purposes ?

Fish: The problem is that somebody always borrows them and eventually they find their way into the fairs. I appreciate that genuine people exist, but they seem to be outnumbered by a lot of mercenaries

Jvi: Do you think the obvious " neediness" of Pipeline has hindered your efforts with labels?

Fish: No.

Incheol: How about your possible co-work rumor with Rick Wakeman ?

TimmyTim: Wakeman-Fish could be awesome!

Fish: As he still seems to be managed by Brian Lane, my ex manager, there isn't a hope in hell. I like Rick a lot but not some of the people he hangs about with.

Zedar: Are you against eating fish?

Fish: I love fish., especially sushi, I'm a sushi fanatic.

Sisi: (probably you'll hate me for this) did you ever regret leaving Marillion?

Fish: No.

Eboi: Do you feel you are influenced by Yes at all? Also, any Kerouac recommendations?

Fish: Yes. they were the first band I ever saw live, on the Relayer tour, a big impression.

Incheol: Did you actually sing on Hammill's 'Usher' ?

Fish: No, I helped with the demos, but our voices were too similar to develop the two characters necessary for the plot.

Jvi: What's your take on the Rock Against Repatriation " Sailing" single. It's a great song, but I can't hear you anywhere on it.

Fish: I am on the mix,

Jane: Have you been to any concerts lately (other than your own)?

Fish: Not been to any, no time, I'm too busy.

Fish: I've really got to go now, Roy Harper is on stage. This has been a lot of fun. Check our site for details of all releases, tours and upcoming further chats. Wish I could stay but duty calls. Stay Cool, take care, stay alive. lots of love - me

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