Interview 7th March 2008

What's On Southwest (Jackie Butler)

All the baggage and experience from the 50-year lifetime of singer songwriter and occasional thespian Fish will probably end up in a song eventually.
Whether it's a relationship break-up or a spiritually enhancing trip to Vietnam, the affable bear of a Scot with the distinctive strong, clear, rock voice, finds writing about his issues therapeutic as a tool to work through them and move forward.

"I find solace in my writing, whether it's songs, or a blog on my website," he reveals.

This is particularly evident in his most recent album, 13th Star, which draws on the inspiration he absorbed on a journey through Egypt, absorbing its ancient history and mystery, while dealing with his personal place at the time.
The former Marillion frontman whose vocals distinguished the classic 1985 track, Kayleigh, takes to the road this month with some of those new songs and a host of older ones. He makes a welcome return to the Westcountry next weekend with a show at the intimate Tavistock Wharf.

"We've been making a few forays into your part of the world in recent times. Last year I was not really able to deal with the ballads, but this time there'll be a lot more standards coming in because I feel more confident in myself," he says.

Fish's music makes a passionate, brave and honest statement while defying trend or fashion, and his live shows are set apart by his charismatic stage presence as much as the noise he makes.
Unusually he also writes tunes in his head, but plays no musical instrument, relying on others to capture the notes for him. But he is surrounded by a core of accomplished and enthusiastic band members who will accompany him on tour.
In a career that has seen many dips and troughs as well as highs, Fish is currently on a bit of a roll. He has a huge and growing following in parts of Europe and some critics have cited 13th Star as his best record to date.

"Being 50 years old and being told your new album is the best you've ever made is tremendous. It destroys the philosophy that your best work as a rock musician has to be when you're 19 and naive," he muses. "This is my 13th record and my 26th year in the business, and that's something a lot of other people can only fantasise about, so I know I am lucky.
"There have been many times in my life when I have doubted myself and started wondering if I should be looking for a new job."

Last year his fiancee broke off their engagement shortly before their planned nuptuals. That's a subject that will probably be tackled for the next album. He says he left behind a lot of that baggage on his visit to Vietnam at the end of last year.

"I had to get to a point where I could enjoy my own company. I know now that you can't love someone else until you can learn to love yourself. This business is incredibly selfish. When you are on the road and there are people backstage, it can be difficult for your partner to accept that.
"If you are not mature enough or secure enough in yourself or you don't trust the other person then it's not going to work. Talking to two or three women backstage after a gig is not having an affair, ye know."

These days single parent Fish is accompanied on the road by his 17-year-old daughter Tara, who handles all the merchandising.

"I really like her being there," he says. "We have a very close relationship and now she really understands what it is her dad does. She's a good saleswoman and she keeps me in line, but she also brings me out of myself.
"Normally I would retire into my hotel room and watch TV on days off but she makes me go out and see and do things."
 

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