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Last weekend at Baja prog in Mexico Foss Paterson played his last show with the band. His resignation by mutual consent was agreed back in February when some of you may remember there were a lot of movements in the background as rehearsals were proving difficult to nail down and I was constantly shifting dates and reorganising schedules. Foss had not been happy on the last European tour and exacerbated periods away from home and family created a sometimes stressful situation. We had been working constantly together for a long time with the writing of the “Feast of Consequences” album a massive demand after coming of a 170 date Fishheads club tour. 2012 was a stressful time for us all as I tried to put writing sessions together and in 2013 the early live performances which catapulted us all into the recording and eventual touring supporting the album meant that we all had little chance to still ourselves and commandeer family time. For me it’s never an option as being in command of this battallion I have responsibilities and demands I find relatively easy to deal with and relish but I can sometimes forget that others who are not part of the decision process and who are not involved in that maelstrom have their own needs.
Frank Usher’s departure in 2013 had an impact on Foss particularly after we’d all been so close during the Fishheads Club tour, one I considered the most fun and enjoyable tours I’d ever been part of. He committed to the band when Frank left and in his writing with me on the “High Wood ” suite he delivered his finest writing contributions to date and which have been rightly acclaimed by fans and media alike as superlative pieces of work. We both recognised that the “Moveable feast” tour in late 2013 had taken it’s toll on our relationship and earlier this year communications became somewhat strained resulting in open and frank discussions where we both had to quantify our close personal relationship, which has survived for a very long time, against touring demands and schedules which conflicted with family demands.
In February it came to a head and we both had to make a decision. We decided it was time for us both to take a break from each other. I discovered a replacement but with rehearsals and a proposed change of setlist for the 2014 touring schedules it became very awkward to fulfill contracted dates and manage a suitable changeover. Foss agreed to play the HRH festival and the Baja Prog festival giving me time to bring the new keyboard player in and rehearse the 2014 set while completing the band commitments and allowing a new start on the May UK tour. For obvious reasons this was kept private and I am exceedingly and sincerely grateful to him for honouring those commitments and allowing us to play the 2 festivals. I know Mexico was tough for him and he didn’t have the finest of times to bring this particular chapter of his history with me to a memorable and defining close. It would have been great to have had a gig on home turf but as it was it ended up on the rim of a desert in a border town. Ironically metaphorical perhaps?
Foss will always remain a true and dear friend and sometime in the future he will return to the fold and we can regain our professional relationship on another Fishheads Club tour or whatever. For now that friendship is to important to sacrifice and in order for it to survive we have both elected to take some space away from each other as musicians and to let some water flow under the bridges.
I just want to say it’s been an honour and a distinct pleasure to work with him over the years since he returned to the fold after his last sabbatical when he rejoined me on the “13th Star ” album. He’s a great, funny. talented, intelligent and strong character and I want to sincerely thank him for his brilliant contribution to a “Feast of Consequences” and in particular to the “High Wood” suite which I hope he too will consider a fine and excellent piece of co writing. I wish him the utmost best with the numerous writing and other projects he has lined up and to thank him for all his contributions to my career and my life in the last 7 years.
take care my friend and stay alive 🙂
La a’ Blair s’math n Cairdean