Interview 2nd May 99

IRC chat, reproduced with the permission of Gary Davis, The Artist Shop
Many thanks to Mark 'Itchy' Bredius for supplying me with the log of the chat.

WotanCCC: ******************************
WotanCCC: . Welcome to todays
WotanCCC: . Artist Shop
WotanCCC: . Featured Artist Conference
WotanCCC: . An afternoon with
WotanCCC: . Fish
WotanCCC: . (using the handle OnkelFish)
WotanCCC: . Presented by
WotanCCC: . Music and TalkCity
WotanCCC: ******************************
WotanCCC: Few artists have achieved near-mythic cult status in the
WotanCCC: way the Scottish singer-songwriter Fish has. Since
WotanCCC: departing prog-rock heroes Marillion ten years ago, the
WotanCCC: talented vocalist and wordsmith has produced a unique
WotanCCC: artistic oeuvre expanded from his initial progressive
WotanCCC: rock template.
WotanCCC: On brilliant records such as his 1990 debut, Vigil in a
WotanCCC: Wilderness of Mirrors, and 1997's Sunsets on Empire, he
WotanCCC: has continually expanded his musical and lyrical boundaries to the delight of fans worldwide.
WotanCCC: Now with the release of Raingods with Zippos, he stands
WotanCCC: ready to capture an even wider audience!
WotanCCC: Fish, thank you for joining us today.

OnkelFish: Pleasure to be here.

AskFish: socalsue says: How are U. S. sales of RWZ so far?

OnkelFish: The interest has been phenomenal.
OnkelFish: It's very hard to judge. I think we'll get a better idea in the next four weeks.

AskFish: AdamPerk says: Has their been any radio play of RWZ material in the U.S.?

OnkelFish: Again, Jim Pitulski, my manager is on top of this. There's a lot of interest in Faith Healer!
OnkelFish: Basically Road Runner have got the full carte blanche choice of material for radio.
OnkelFish: So they're getting feedback at the moment.
OnkelFish: If people can send in requests to radio stations or DJ's who are sympathetic towards it.
OnkelFish: Requests songs off the album to create an awareness of the album, that would be wonderful.
OnkelFish: And if you hear cuts, follow up on it!

AskFish: Dontcry says: what inspired your title "Raingods with Zippos" & what do you like best about it compared to "Vigil in a Wildernes of Mirrors" & "Sunsets on Empire"?

OnkelFish: Rain Gods with Zippos is an analagy to Fire and Water.
OnkelFish: Both are exceptionally powerful elements, but directly opposed to each other.
OnkelFish: There's also an indication towards the confrontation between spiritualism and materialism as represented by the Rain Gods and the Zippo.
OnkelFish: This also kind of lines up the conflict between my professional and my private life.
OnkelFish: When you have a title for an album it's always best to have something that is short, concise, memorable, but with a sprinkling of mystery.

AskFish: colrbly84 says: Greetings...just a quick one. Were certain electronic/"techno" stylings in "Plague of Ghosts" primarily your idea, or Steven Wilson's? Or someone elses? Or a callaboration ? how did that song come into being?

OnkelFish: The original idea was given to me by Mark Daghorn & Tony Turrell.
OnkelFish: They originally were going to do some remixes on What Color Is God, a track from the Sunsets and Empire album.
OnkelFish: In exchange I was going to provide some vocal samples and read some poetry on their track.
OnkelFish: What I had the huge slab of ambient/groove that they called All These Christs, I recognized that it could develop into something that could have a lot more impact than what they intended.
OnkelFish: Once we started to put the live instruments onto the track, then I recognized we were in the process of creating something very special.
OnkelFish: And their introduction of the more electronic edge meant that a lot of these techniques sat in the track in a very natural way rather than sounding gimmicky.

WotanCCC: Great questions today folks...keep em coming....

AskFish: JFROXY says: what music currently influences you?

OnkelFish: I listen to all sorts of music.
OnkelFish: Last night for example, my wife and I after a few cognac's...
OnkelFish: had one of those evenings in the kitchen...
OnkelFish: we started off with Joni Mitchell and moved through the new Led Zeppelin BBC Live Sessions...
OnkelFish: into Sensational Alex Harvey Band live music through John Coltrane....
OnkelFish: and ended up with before finishing off the evening with some classic Otis Redding!
OnkelFish: We were very, very, very drunk ;-)
OnkelFish: It was a very tough day yesterday because I'd heard of the death of a close friend.
OnkelFish: I was told that Darryl Sweet had died of a heart attack in Kentucky...
OnkelFish: Darryl, for those of you who don't know, has been the drummer of Nazareth since it's inception.
OnkelFish: It was a very tough night as I've known Darryl since even before I moved up to Scotland in 1988.
OnkelFish: And tonight I'm going to Dunferline for a party to celebrate the Birthday of Bruce Watson, guitarist of Big Country.
OnkelFish: Nazareth come from Dunferline. So obviously there's a lot of Yin and Yang in the celebrations today.
OnkelFish: And in Scotland it's a very small music community and the loss of somebody as reknowned as Darryl is a severe blow to us all and will be felt for a long time.

AskFish: Diablo_Du says: Rites of passage seems awful personal , how did you get it past Tammy?

OnkelFish: When she came into the control room to hear the finished version, every musician left the room!
OnkelFish: I hit the play button and by the end of the track we were both in tears!
OnkelFish: It's just one of those things. People shouldn't read too much into the overall situation from one exclamation.
OnkelFish: We both had a lot of problems when I finished the last 8 month tour.
OnkelFish: And the song and the lyric was just another small part in an ever running love affair.

AskFish: michaek Hi Fish.....this is Michael Ablassmeir....Great to be here with you more question if you don't mind......have you had a chance to listen to the tribute album (Hope For The future) How do you like it? Do you have a favorite song that was covered?

OnkelFish: No, I haven't had a chance to listen to the tribute album yet.
OnkelFish: Life had been really hectic here due to all of the promotion duties.

AskFish: ssocalsue what do you think of "Suits" nowadays? I STILL think it's one of your best.

OnkelFish: Suits benefits greatly from the remastering of Calum Malcolm.
OnkelFish: I was very surprised when I heard the remastering. And especially when I heard the layering and production that had got lost in the original mastering.
OnkelFish: The whole thing springs open now.
OnkelFish: Very happy!

AskFish: Mo111111 says: How much does your history make a difference to your current work? Do you want to make a new career in writing/acting or is it not important?

OnkelFish: I don't really think about my history when I'm creating new stuff.
OnkelFish: I keep trying to look forward rather than back.
OnkelFish: To develop parallel careers is extremely important.
OnkelFish: And in the coming months/year there will be conscious efforts at developing my career in both these arenas.

AskFish: dtItchy says: Hey Fish! Let's say Steve Hogarth took a break from Marillion for ONE year, and EMI offered you and the four remaining Marillos *each* ONE MILLION DOLLARS to record ONE LAST Fish/Marillion album... Would you? :-) (be honest!)

OnkelFish: I'd think about it.
OnkelFish: And it would be dependent on what I was doing at the time.
OnkelFish: :-)

AskFish: NickRose says: I'm jazzed that you're touring North America again! Do you have any set list ideas yet? I hope you do all of "Plauge of Ghosts!"

OnkelFish: I'm not letting anyone know the set lists, but Plague of Ghosts is intended to be in the set.
OnkelFish: We'll discover everything at rehearsals in June.

AskFish: FuGaZi says: Hi FISH this is Rick Steinhauser Happy- belated -Birthday. Great to see you back Question:1. Can you explain the meaning of Chocolate frogs and will you be writing more like "Plague of Ghosts in the future?" 2. Why the contrst in styles between songs 1-6 and "PoG"?

OnkelFish: Chocolate Frogs is a Scottish expression as used in the phrase a heid fu of chocolate frogs.
OnkelFish: It's used to describe somebody who is very very drunk.
OnkelFish: Stoned!
OnkelFish: Or otherwise debilitated...
OnkelFish: to the point where he doesn't make sense or have a grip on reality.
OnkelFish: A similar expression is 'A Heid Fu of Chocolate Motorbikes."
OnkelFish: Plague of Ghosts part 2? Maybe, I don't know.
OnkelFish: The contrast just happened. No intention.

AskFish: garylevin says: How much of an influence has Peter Hammill been to you?

OnkelFish: PH was an influence in the early days, but I've not listened to his stuff in quite a long time now.

AskFish: dylan says: Fish, where did you find your bass player Steve Vantsis? What a solid backbeat, with him and Dave Stewart working together...

OnkelFish: Steve comes from Edinburgh...
OnkelFish: and approached me when he'd heard of a vacancy.
OnkelFish: He'd worked with Dave Stewart before and the two of them already had a musical relationship from playing together in Edinburgh.
OnkelFish: When I talked to Dave about Steve, he was very enthusiastic.
OnkelFish: And it made sense to develop an already existing rhythm section.
OnkelFish: We worked very well together and he'll be on the next tour.

AskFish: Dontcry says: How do you decide which tracks will make the album & do you find that you adlib more during the recording or do you know basically how the songs will come out when original composing them?

OnkelFish: I came to specifically write the album rather than follow the Springsteen style of writing 40 tracks and picking 12.
OnkelFish: The curve and drama of the album are very important as a whole. The album is more designed that just recorded and written.
OnkelFish: Ad libbed a lot more during the recording than I used to...
OnkelFish: which comes from an ever growing confidence.
OnkelFish: It's fun!

AskFish: jesters_tear says: Hello Fish, Tom Keys here. After listening to the album with so many choices for a first single. What was the push that made Incomplete the first released and if I may, what is planned for the next single?

OnkelFish: Incomplete seemed to suggest itself.
OnkelFish: And in mainland Europe it's received a significant amount of airplay.
OnkelFish: The next single we're unsure of at the moment.
OnkelFish: But it will probably come out in June.

AskFish: colrbly84 says: What was like to work on "Into the Electric Castle"?

OnkelFish: It was fun!
OnkelFish: And it happened at the right time.
OnkelFish: It was just after I came back from France and before we began the main writing sessions for Rain Gods.

AskFish: socalsue Why the contrast between the intro on "Tumbledown" and the rest of the song?

OnkelFish: The beginning of Tumbledown represents that beautiful wakeup in the morning feeling when you hear the birds singing through your window...
OnkelFish: and the warmth of your loved one besides you.
OnkelFish: And then suddenly you remember you've a world of shit to deal with immediately.
OnkelFish: That is why the juxtaposition between the calm and the storm.

AskFish: garylevin says: Have you had problems being confused with the US band Phish?

OnkelFish: No!

WotanCCC: <--- has had to deal with that while advertising todays event.

OnkelFish: In Europe I've got no problems. And generally speaking in the US it's solved with a short conversation.
OnkelFish: Perhaps once Rain Gods starts to happen, then there may be more problems, but at the moment I don't consider it a problem.

AskFish: NickRose says: How much control do you exert over the music on your albums?

OnkelFish: I have complete control over all product that is delivered to the record company.
OnkelFish: And in the studio, although I'm not producer, I have executive control.
OnkelFish: Although I'm a solo artist, I still consider myself a team player.

AskFish: DrPhibes says: How do you feel the internet and technology in general has changed the creation and marketing of music.

OnkelFish: Yes, without a shadow of a doubt!
OnkelFish: And in the future I can see the artist maintaining control of all the product right from their homes!
OnkelFish: I look forward to that moment!

AskFish: MoWarden says: So, what's next?

OnkelFish: LOL!
OnkelFish: Hi Mo!
OnkelFish: More promo for America with the upcoming tour.
OnkelFish: And then waiting your visit. I'll get the whiskey in. ;-)

AskFish: FuGaZi says: what kind of relationship do you have with your old bandmates and is there any chance of guest appearences on future Fish albums?

OnkelFish: We get along very well.
OnkelFish: Regarding guest appearances, I don't consider it being out of the question.
OnkelFish: But at the moment I'm concentrating on Rain Gods with Zippos.
OnkelFish: The situation is more relaxed than it's ever been.
OnkelFish: But the question of a reunion is not even an issue.
OnkelFish: We're still good friends and that's what's important.

AskFish: michaek (Your new album - RWZ - is exceptional....Do you have a favorite song and/or moment in the album?)

OnkelFish: Plague of Ghosts!

AskFish: garylevin says: What is the significance of 1470?

OnkelFish: It was the number of an archeological exhibit...
OnkelFish: in the national museum of Kenya.
OnkelFish: in Nairobi
OnkelFish: The skull of whose number it was was the oldest skull that had ever been dug up in the Rift Valley and considered one of the earliest specimens ever found.
OnkelFish: It was part of an exhibition of early man.
OnkelFish: And the waxwork montages that showed these people wandering around savannahs under blue skies picking berries off trees with no stress or mobile phones...
OnkelFish: maybe wondering just where we'd all gone wrong.

AskFish: garylevin says: You use alot of colloquialisms in your lyrics. Is this a possible barrier to audiences in foriegn countries?

OnkelFish: yes.
OnkelFish: I've found that non-english speaking audiences tend to look a lot harder at the lyrics.
OnkelFish: The fact that incomplete is still receiving huge airplay in mainland Europe is an example of this.

AskFish: its_tosh says: are there plans for a second single in europe if so which track?

OnkelFish: I don't know what the second single will be. It's up to the record company.

AskFish: kingmercu says: what are your favorite bands ?

OnkelFish: Little Feat, Pink Floyd,
OnkelFish: Joni Mitcell, Van Morrison, Frank Sinatra....
OnkelFish: Led Zeppelin, amongst many, many others.

AskFish: Dontcry says: what music really drives you? Not as an infulence on your albums but just as pleasue...Say even to give you a "rest" so to speak from your own music or what you are doing at the time.

OnkelFish: See above.

AskFish: prognut says: someone has described Plague of Ghosts as very similar to the song Vigil, would you agree or dieagree

OnkelFish: disagree.

AskFish: FuGaZi says: how was it working with Tony Banks of Genesis and would you work with him in the future?

OnkelFish: It was an interesting experience as is working with any other musician.
OnkelFish: But I suppose the first time I met Tony it was very daunting and a high adrenaline rush.
OnkelFish: I'm sure we'll work togetherin the future sometime. But at the moment I'm too busy in the present situation.

AskFish: AdamPerk says: The last two albums featured extensive spoken word sections. Any chance for a spoken word album in the future?

OnkelFish: Perhaps.
OnkelFish: I enjoy using the dramatic monologues and they've always been well received.
OnkelFish: So maybe I'll work on a more spoken oriented album at some point in the future.
OnkelFish: Either that or set up a sex chat phone line ;-)

AskFish: garylevin says: You actually relased a live Faith Healer as an early B side. How com you waited so long to record it in the studio?

OnkelFish: I never felt the moment was right until the summer of 98.
OnkelFish: It was originally intended as a bonus track as for the Songs from the Mirror album.
OnkelFish: But once we started recording it I realized we has something exceptionally good on our hands.
OnkelFish: And I felt that it was out with the production of SSTM but fitted perfection on RWZ

AskFish: Diablo_Du says: Is Steve wilson a permant fixture during recording now?

OnkelFish: No...
OnkelFish: but it seems highly probable that we'll be working together on the next album in some form.

AskFish: michaek1 (Any musical regrets over the last 10 years of your solo career?)

OnkelFish: no.

AskFish: NickRose says: Did you aim for a variety of music on Raingods with Zippos or did the variety just happen naturally?

OnkelFish: The variety just happened naturally.

WotanCCC: Is there anything else you would like to mention
WotanCCC: before we conclude today?

OnkelFish: Just to say that I'm really excited with coming to the American continent to begin the tour...
OnkelFish: and that I'm sure we're going to start to realize the potential that a lot of fans realize who were there from years before.
OnkelFish: Thanks for hanging in and carrying the torch for me.
OnkelFish: And to all the European fans, I hope to see each other in September as that end of the tour develops.
OnkelFish: Thanks for being here tonight.
OnkelFish: It's good to talk to you.
OnkelFish: Thanks to Wotan and yourself (Gary the typist) for helping us out.

WotanCCC: Thanks Fish, its been great having you here today.

OnkelFish: g'nite. I'm on my way to Bruce Watson's birthday party.
OnkelFish: Love Onkel Fish!

WotanCCC: Have a good time.
WotanCCC: Looks like our time is up...

OnkelFish: Thanks very much.

WotanCCC: I'd like to thank everyone for joining us today.
WotanCCC: Fish, we appreciate your taking the time to
WotanCCC: come and chat with us today, and hope you'll
WotanCCC: come back to Talk City again soon!
WotanCCC: The transcript of this event will be posted within
WotanCCC: a few days on the Music discussion boards on Talk City
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WotanCCC: and on the Artist Shop web site
WotanCCC: (
WotanCCC: To purchase RainGods with Zippos,
WotanCCC: or for information on other Artist offerings,
WotanCCC: please visit The Artist Shop Online at:
WotanCCC: and The Perception of Fish at
WotanCCC: ===========================================
WotanCCC: Finally, thanks to the Artist Shop for working with
WotanCCC: us on this conference. We especially appreciate the
WotanCCC: efforts of Gary Davis in giving us the opportunity to
WotanCCC: speak with Fish.
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WotanCCC: Tonight's show has come to an end.
WotanCCC: We thank you, our great audience, and
WotanCCC: extend a very special Thank You to our guest
WotanCCC: ....... FISH.........
WotanCCC: We look forward to seeing you again soon.
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