Fish’s latest album, A Feast of Consequences is now available in the shop with deluxe packaging, 100 page book, bonus DVD and high-quality download.
Order now with a free T-shirt
Just over a week into rehearsals and Doris arrived Monday for a couple of days working on bv’s with us.It’s been strange getting back into the swing of playing again but all falling into place and confidence is high.
Weird singing songs I last sang in a recording studio 30 years ago and which I never did live with the ‘Marillos’ as well as some solo stuff that hasn’t been performed for quite some time.
News that Leamington is now sold out together with Glasgow, Manchester and the first 2 London gigs and the others, including the 3rd London gig with only a couple of hundred left is adding to the excitement of the fast approaching tour.
The ‘Suits’ and Songs From the Mirror’ remasters arrive here on Friday and the tour merchandise is being delivered next Tuesday. I’ve not announced a pre sale on either as I hope to have the new website and shop open this weekend. It’s a new domain, fishmusic.scot which will be linked to the fishheadsclub.com website to avoid confusion and we have revamped a lot of elements and simplified the ordering process with PayPal express as well as revisiting postage pricing which has been trimmed as much as we can.I think you’ll enjoy the new experience and we will be adding a lot more content as the weeks progress.I’ll let you know more as it moves into ‘live’ settings.
As you can probably understand it’s been a hecticated last few weeks so comms have been curtailed by the workload.More to add very soon once I clear rehearsals this weekend.
As most of you probably know by now Simone and I were married on Saturday 14th October at Aberlady Church. We had kept it very quiet as we wanted a small gathering of close friends and family and had been setting this up since January. Too much to report just now as we only got back on Sunday from a short honeymoon in Malta and have hit the ground running.
The day was very special and we will remember it for the rest of our lives.
After being together for just over 6 years with Simone and her son Liam moving over to Scotland last August we both decided to make it official this year when we had a window of opportunity and time to organise the event. We couldn’t have done it without the wonderful Elspeth and as you can imagine it was a pretty daunting challenge with everything else happening on the work front.
I didn’t have much time after the wedding to post much else than my very short previous message but I’ll write up a blog in the coming days and put together some of the hundreds of photos from our special day. It truly was magical.
May sincere thanks from both of us to everyone who posted their best wishes while we were away and all I can say is that we are both so happy together at finally tying the knot that binds us.
lots of love Derek and Simone
And so like many of my fellow Scots we endure the strain of the countdown to today’s kick off in Slovenia at 5pm and the inevitable nail biting angst and suffering over 90 mins hoping we get the result we hope for.
I was reminded of probably my most stressful and heart pumping day at a game by this picture sent to me recently.
Wembley during Euro 96 when Scotland played England was the most intimidating atmosphere I’d ever performed in.
I’d been asked to sing ‘Flower of Scotland’ by the organisers for the pre match national anthems with Paul Carrack singing ‘God Save the Queen’. I was at the stadium hours before and the build up was terrifying. There was a soundcheck of sorts and my tiny monitor looked like it had been bought from ‘Woolworths’.
Paul and I were both shaking as we stood in the tunnel waiting to come on to the turf and above me there were scores of English fans hurling abuse at me. I’d been told that probably half the stadium was Scottish fans. They lied.
Paul walked out to rapturous roars and on my announcement it turned to a cacophony of booing. As I made my way out the tunnel all I saw was a sea of red and white with a tiny section of Scots fans in one corner. It was brutally hot and we had to stand for ages waiting on the teams coming out. All I could see in front of me were baying English fans giving me the finger. All I could do was smile.
The teams finally filed out and I felt a little better when a couple of the Scots team standing next to me gave the thumbs up and friendly winks of support.
‘God Save the Queen’ started up and the stadium burst into spectacular song, Paul doing his best to ride with them. I’d never heard it sung so loudly and so passionately and I waited my turn, heart pounding.
I was announced and at exactly the same time as the snare drum intro crackled out the speaker the booing became deafening. I just had to focus and count myself through it. After only a couple of lines the Tartan Army were already ahead of me and I had to stick with the song timing rather than follow them. It was a nightmare and it turned into a nightmarish cacophony that I just wanted to end. My adrenalin was spiking and my heart rate through the stadium roof. It was the longest 3 minutes of my life and as I walked back up the tunnel the relief was incredible. Paul and I were both drained and the come down was enormous. And now we had the most important match of the Euros to deal with.
The result didn’t go our way as was to be expected. A Shearer goal should have been nullified by a Scottish penalty taken by McAllister but even I saw the ball move from the stands as he took the run up and that miss was compounded by a brilliant strike by Paul Gascoine 90 seconds later that effectively left us dead in the water. It was horrible to take in and after the game I saw McAllister looking like he was going to the hangman.
Singing ‘The Flower’ at Wembley that day was an incredible experience and definitely one for the ‘bucket list’ ticked off. I just hope we get the result today and get into the play offs to give us a chance of our first major tournament for far to long. I will probably be drinking heavily from 5 onwards
Calum Malcolm was at the studio yesterday dropping off listening material for the ‘Suits’ and ‘Songs from the Mirror’ remasters. Disc 1 of the 2 titles, the original albums’ have still to be remastered but ‘Suits’ disc 2, the demos, and 3 the live versions are finished as is ‘SFTM’ disc 2 a mixture of demos and live material.
David Barras has edited the DVD for ‘SFTM’ disc 3 and I will be getting the finished version on Monday which will be going for mastering as a DVD 9 on Wednesday. It’s turned into quite a collection with a 90 minute interview, the ‘Hold Your Head Up’ promo video, ‘Solo’ with Fairport Convention from Cropredy 2015 and ‘Fearless’, Boston Tea Party’, Jeepster’, Hold Your Head Up’ and 5 years from the Vredenburg show in Utrecht in 1993.
The Dutch material is pretty rough, “bouncy” and grainy as it was shot on 2 Hi 8 cameras, one static and one “wild”, but as the only surviving footage from the main tour in Spring 93 it’s a souvenir rather than broadcast quality. David has replaced the camera soundtrack with the ‘Sushi’ versions as coincidentally it was the same show I released on the Dick Bros label in 94 as the first of the ‘official bootlegs’, now long since deleted.
The artwork is already in production and all the discs will be with the manufacturer next week.I’ve been told that we could have both finished remastered albums by mid November.
The T shirt and seat shirt designs are now with the printers and again we hope to have them in stock on the mail order service at the same time.
Rob Skarin ( who put together Steven Wilson’s web site among others) is confident we will have that up and running by the end of October and it will launch with the first section of the on stage interview I did with Steve Blacknell in Islington in September.
Steve Vantsis and Robin Boult were up last weekend and we worked on all the keys for the December set list and tinkered with new songs for ‘Weltschmerz’. There are some great ideas around but as I said before it’s highly unlikely I will have new material to play on the tour. That’s slightly disappointing but I know the wait will be worth it and the set list is pretty powerful without their inclusion.
The only downer at the moment is that my back has ‘gone wrong’ and I’m suffering from dreadful sciatica which makes walking and standing really painful.( one of the reasons I wasn’t at Hampden last night) I’m seeing my specialist again and had another MRI scan on my spine last Friday. I’m still waiting on the diagnosis but the specialist hopes I won’t need invasive surgery and if it comes down to it I will get steroid injections to get me through the 11 shows in December.I had them on the ‘Childhood’ tour and they gave me relief and mobility but it’s a short term fix and I’ll have to deal with the problem next year.
A wee piece of silver lining was that I’d noticed the last time I had an MRI scan that the machine had some interesting sounds and rhythms. The operator advised against taking my phone in to record them due to the magnets but pointed me at some clips on You Tube. I came back and told Steve and Robin and we listened to the samples which they thought could be interesting.
A couple of days later Robin came up with a wonderful riff on the acoustic guitar and I had the idea to see if the scanner samples worked as a complete juxtaposition to the feel of the riff. It was quite uncanny as not only did the underlying rhythms of the scanner match the pulse of the riff but the sounds were in exactly the same key. It was meant to be! 🙂
Steve Vantsis and I had a productive time last week when he was up but I have to admit I was pulling myself out of a creative swamp for the first 4 days and had to sit back and let him conjure some magic until I got on my feet. I have to be truthfully honest and say I have taken on a lot bigger job than I thought and we are both realising that we have been overly optimistic on timings. That’s not to say we are struggling for ideas; in fact we have too many but none of them are anywhere near ready for performance. This could result in having nothing new to play live in December. That may sound disappointing to some of you but there’s a huge ‘Yang’ in all this.
As you know I have nominated ‘Weltschmerz’ as my last studio album and I have always intended this to be special. There have been fragments of elusive lyrical ideas floating in my mind for quite a while but now I am in a position to start catching and pinning them down to create frameworks that make sense. Steve has given me around 15 musical ‘doodles’ to play with and from them I think we have the seeds of about 4 songs and a number of pieces that can be added to structures that are becoming more elaborate as we enter into the writing sessions proper.
My problem is that I am writing screenplays or short stories and creating huge challenges for myself.
I’ve already been documented as saying that I don’t want ‘Weltschmerz’ to deal with the big business/ corporate/ kings and queens/ empires/ world perspective but to pull it down to focus on people dealing with the current world we live in and their struggles, trials, pain and anger. I’ve developed a few characters with their own scenarios, all different but all linked by ‘Weltschmerz’.
For example I want to write about a young woman who is self-harming because she can’t vocalise her pain and anger and other issues. I wanted to bring in an older male character that is preying on her vulnerability and in fact ‘grooming her’, disguising himself as a younger person when he contacts her online. Steve has 2 musical pieces that both fit the characters but they are very different and I was trying to find a way to work them together. I wasn’t comfortable relating the second character in first person and needed to relate both in third character in a similar way to the ‘Zoe 25’ lyric. As the 2 musical “characters” weren’t compatible I realised that this was a 3 act play and it was only today I realised what I needed to complete the triptych and provide a resolution. It has evolved into a very dark neo Gothic horror tale and it is still being added to. There’s so much scope to play around sonically with and there’s all sorts of things to be added to the mix as it develops. At the moment the only musical input has come from Steve and we are both genuinely excited at what others can bring to the feast. The working title is ‘The Cutter’ but that will definitely change. ( ‘Echo and the Bunnymen’ already used it).
I’ve also not made it easier for myself as I have decided that every song on ‘Weltschmerz’ must be associated with or have a link to a flower as gardens and growing will play a symbolic role on the album.
‘Market Garden’ is another title for a lyric about an old Dutchman living in Arnhem who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and who is clinging to his memories from youth when Allied paratroopers dropped on the city during an ill-fated operation with the same name as the title.
The man is still married but can’t remember his wife who is heartbroken at “losing “him and who is now a stranger in their house. His days are spent wandering the streets always ending up at the bridge that was brutally contested in 1944 and where it was the last time he saw the body of a young Scottish paratrooper who crashed through his father’s greenhouse during the initial parachute drops. The memories for those days anchor his life and everything else, even the writing on a page is forgotten once it’s turned. The lyric has to take in his memories, the relationship between man and wife from both sides and his struggle coping with a modern world that’s been built around him and which he doesn’t recognise or relate to. The flowers related to this lyric are ‘forget me not’s’.
Again it’s a difficult and delicate subject matter to deal with in a simple song structure and lends itself to a palette of sounds and musical movements identifying the characters and timelines. I started work on this with Steve Vantsis and John Beck but we have only just scratched the surface.
‘Man with the Stick’ a lyric about aging and about how we use sticks throughout our lives ( conductor, pipe band leader, riot control, boys fishing rods etc etc), ‘Guardian of the Flowers’, inspired by a Channel 4 documentary about a gardener in Aleppo, are another 2 ideas in progress. All stories with characters and as I have said many a time in the past ( and which I should have copyrighted as so many people use it these days) I find myself writing movies for people’s ears.
There will be other musicians involved in the writing process of ‘Weltschmerz’ with John Wesley willing to contribute as well as Romain Thorel from Lazuli who wants to get involved at some point and who has already worked with me earlier in the year on an idea which as yet is untitled.
And here is the ‘Yang’ of it all. I may be struggling to get songs together for the tour but with the door now opened and the first 5 months of 2018 dedicated to writing with a wealth of material starting to bubble up and out I am now looking at signing off with a double album. I discussed this with Steve when he was up and after a few glasses of wine we are both convinced this is achievable having been only 30 minutes or so short from one with ‘Feast of Consequences’. A double album gives us space to breathe and for solos and other ingredients to be played with and extended upon. The subject matter abounds and I’m being provoked every day into new ideas and directions. It’s a big call and I am very aware that this will become a very expensive project as session musicians, studio time and producers’ commitment all increase accordingly. It’s more than just a serious consideration just now but I have an underlying confidence that I can pull this off.
Mark Wilkinson is excited as he too has been developing ideas and is totally inspired by the subject matter bouncing around. He is confident he can put together a phantasmagorical collection of images and present them in a package that is fitting for my last call.
I may have to look at crowd funding to finance this as the commitment will be a huge drain on finances but I want to bow out with a big statement. With the lyrical content blossoming into near film scripts and bona fide stories you could perhaps call this a crossover album.
copyright Derek Dick 2017
On Monday Simone and I went up on the train to the city where I was taking part in a BBC Radio Scotland quiz show ‘Stop the Press’ with big fellow Hibby and presenter Grant Stott as compere at the ‘Monkey Barrel’ comedy club..
My ‘captain’ was comedienne Jo Caulfield, who I’d last met on ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’, while our opposing team was led by journalists Gary Robertson and Fiona Shepherd.It was a lot of fun and comedic rather than competitive. It’s being broadcast on Friday at 13.30 and will be repeated Saturday at 11.30. If you miss it you can catch it on the BBC i player.
It could be worth it just to hear my ‘Brazilian’ tour story
The link is below but sorry to say it’s UK only
After much consultation with fans on the FB pages Mark Wilkinson and I have come up with the new designs for the T’s and sweat shirt for the ‘Clutching at Straws’ tour shirts. There was a lot of to’ing and fro’ing and gnashing of teeth so much so that Mark eventually sent me this on the last late night of design frenzy.
I felt it was important to get input from fans as to what you want rather than plough ahead with something we both liked as I’ve come unstuck in the past and been left with a wardrobe of shirts I loved but which didn’t go down as well as I’d hoped with the majority of people at the shows.Obviously the ‘Weltschmerz’ artwork is in formative stages and although an element of it has been hinted at on the tour poster with the frame of flowers there wasn’t anything substantial to bring into play. We therefore decided to concentrate on the ‘Clutching at Straws’ images.
The ‘cocktail glass’ was my initial idea for the ‘CAS’ album front cover but was rejected by the band at the time. I decided to resurrect it on this tour and Mark gave it a twist as befits a martini with the ‘fish’ logo on the umbrella and a ‘tear’ of blood as used on the ‘Warm Wet Circles’ single artwork. It actually seems more relevant than before and ties in to the ‘Weltschmerz’ idea in an abstract way. We tried using the ‘flower border’ on the design but the detail didn’t come over as we had hoped so reverted to a clean image for the front of the shirt. The lettering was settled on when Mark suggested we use the original album title font style.We went for a blue shirt rather than a’ traditional’ black as it just made the image more vibrant. I had originally intended to go without a backprint as it’s only 11 shows and many a time I’ve been caught out with overstocks that become dated after the tour. The fans decided otherwise and I bowed down to wishes and we created a simple design for the back of the shirt that ties in with the front and provides a souvenir from the first of the shows on the ‘Clutching at Straws’ anniversary tour.
The idea for the second shirt was a polo with an embroidered martini glass but after consultation with our printers, ‘Razamatazz’ we discovered we couldn’t capture the detail in the needlework we wanted. It was Mark who suggested a second T using the artwork he’d supplied to ‘Prog’ magazine for their front cover a few months ago when they ran a feature on ‘CAS’. Neither Mark or I were happy with the original album cover and his retake where he populated the original bar scenario I thought was genius. Again I went for an alternative to black and we agreed a grey background gave it a bit more class. The backprint of tour dates and the “still drowning” quote was again added by popular demand.
The final item on the merch stall will be a black sweatshirt rather than a ‘hoodie’ as it lends itself more to a front design. With these never as popular as T’s on the road I decided to omit the back print and keep it simple and ageless as a stock item.Hoodies may be popular with some but as we still have stock from the ‘Feast of Consequences’ tour I opted for a return to a traditional sweat shirt and sated the demand for a black item. I personally think it looks stunning.As with the T shirts the seat shirt will be produced in large sizes and I’m waiting to find out from ‘Razamatazz’ just how big we can go with the designs. I’m not going with ‘girlie’ sizes as in all honesty we don’t sell enough to qualify print runs but we should be able to cater for most other sizes.
All these items will be available on the mail order shop on the website in November together with the ‘Suits’ and Songs From the Mirror’ remasters and all will be for sale on the UK tour on the merchandise stall. Some have asked if the mail order service caters for outside Europe and the UK and the answer is yes. We send items worldwide
With the web site being completely redesigned by Rob Skarin, who has done an amazing piece of work with Steven Wilson’s site and others, it’s a perfect way to launch the newly designed mail order pages.
I’ll know more about pricing and the date for the new website relaunch in the next week or so and this post will be followed up later with news on ‘Weltschmerz’ and the new ideas which quite honestly I think you will be very excited to hear about.
It was a strange experience walking out onto a stage again after such a long lay off and I was glad I’d had a wake up call at rehearsals the previous week as I was rusty to say the least. The flight down to Southampton had me on edge especially as we had an aborted landing due to high winds. I had an hour or so drive to Sturminster Newton and couldn’t have picked better company for the drive. Nick was a retired master mariner and ex commander in the Royal Navy with a catalogue of tales to tell while our driver Martin had worked all over the world with all the top perfume companies as a display designer. Nick and I jumped straight into diving stories as he had been a deep diver with the navy. Tales of treasure hunts, sunken u boats, diving accidents to chill your bones and a host of other related incidents wiped the journey time and we ended up having lunch in the afternoon soaking away the hours before soundcheck. They were both fascinating and lovely gentlemen and I could have spent days listening to their yarns. In fact all the staff at the venue were so friendly and helpful and the day drifted by effortlessly. The ‘Exchange’ is a wee jewel of a place. and will definitely be in my plans when I take the next Fishheads Club tour out as the acoustics, staging and seating are perfect.
I was scheduled for 5 songs in the set, Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’, Lowell George’s ‘What do you want the girl to do?’, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, Dean Martin’s ‘Amore’ and ‘Kayleigh’ with a joint vocal on ‘With a Little Help from my Friends’. I’d originally intended to record the tracks for the ‘Songs from the Mirror’ third CD but had blown out the idea when costs started to mount and it became infeasible. I was glad I’d made that decision as my voice wasn’t anywhere near ready and the long travel day hadn’t helped. Soundcheck went well and I ran through all my songs with no hitches.I was nervous and uptight about the performance and discovering I was last on meant I had a long wait until my slot. Spike never gets a setlist time right and marks every song down as being ‘4 minutes’. He never allows for the gabbing of which he is as guilty as everyone else. At 1 hour 40 minutes into the set I was backstage being very frugal with the wine on the rider and very aware that Toyah still had her 4 songs and Tom Robinson had 5 songs to sing.There was a curfew at 10.30 and it was already 9.40 and as I didn’t know how strict it was I was worried I might not even get on.
Toyah was wonderful as always and then Tom followed up with a strong set including a powerful version of Leonard Cohen’s’ First we take Manhattan’. And then it was my turn. ‘Sledgehammer’ was a test and I clung onto the vocal as the band stormed away, horn section ablaze. ‘What do you want’ was an understatement as hardly anyone in the crowd appeared to know the song. I leaned heavily on backing vocals of the ‘Fabba Girls’, Suzie and Zoe and was stretching myself in the choruses. ‘Kayleigh’ had me back on familiar territory and my confidence was raised. I blew out ‘Alabama’ on stage with Spike’s consent as time was our enemy and then launched into ‘Amore’, a song I’d never thought I’d sing on a stage and one of my favourites. I remember singing it on stage at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh with the band and my dad in the audience smiling with disbelief on hearing his laddie perform one of the songs of an artist he’d force fed me on the 8 track player in his car when I was a kid. The audience in Sturminster lapped it up and I had them on their feet singing along as Spike, Jamie Moses and the 2 Fabbas and I performed an extremely dodgy step dance routine.Last up was ‘Friends’ which I shared with Ryan Molloy, a talented singer who was one of the leads in the ‘Jersey Boys’ musical. It brought the curtain down. The band had been on stage for over 2hours and 20 minutes! The musicians were exhausted especially Steve Stroud on bass and drummer John Marter. Steve had a bout food poisoning and John was down with the lurgy that he’d caught from guitarist Jamie Moses who was also well under the weather.Despite all it was big smiles backstage and the staff at ‘The Exchange’ were overjoyed at the show.
Back at the hotel there were a couple of glasses of wine and then the batteries fell out of this particular Duracell Bunny.Next morning Tom Robinson had his smartphone out and was filming Spike, Toyah, Suzie and myself for his video blog on his Radio 6 show site to promote the Portsmouth show later that night. I drove with Suzie to Portsmouth and with Spike stopped off at Costcos in Southampton to pick up the drinks rider for the Guildhall backstage. I resisted buying the 2.5 metre ‘Halloween Frankenstein Butler’ that growled out his recorded greetings which had I been on a tour bus might have joined the circus.Suzie filled a trolley full of scented candles and various articles of clothing and Spike, who lives most of his time in the US these days waxed eternally lyrical about the great offers on display and admitted he never went into his store in Palm Springs without emptying at least 500 quid on a visit.The knowledge I was flying with hand luggage next day tempered my consumer frenzy but I noted there was a store in Edinburgh I should maybe visit one day when I’m over flush!
The Guildhall was familiar but I couldn’t place when I’d last been there. A beautiful old venue with a cavernous backstage area I walked out onto the stage and felt ready for the show. Soundcheck was delayed and there were many mutterings about the set list which had to be axed into reasonable shape. We weren’t going to get leeway on a curfew and overruns were expensive. Ryan was off the bill and replaced by none other than my old mate Tony Hadley who I hadn’t seen since he came to the ‘Childhood’ show in Aylesbury last year when we had a long natter about all things ‘Spandau Ballet’ as he had just come back from tour and he was not sure if he was going out again. I hadn’t realised he’d left the band a few months before and it became patently obvious that his exit hadn’t been well received by fans and the rest of the band. There was a press conference in London that night with his old band mates who were announcing they were looking for a new singer and carrying on without him. Tony was with his manager on the night and I could tell he was really wound up with what was said as he listened to the live press conference online backstage. It wasn’t the best way to line up a performance. I have to be honest and say I was sad to hear about the continuing confrontations having been there when Tony and John Keeble, the Spandau’s drummer and also a dear friend, went though the original bitter court cases back in the early 90’s. I’d got to know the boys well in the 80’s and even gave away John’s wife Flea at their wedding. The Spandau’s divorce was an ugly time for all concerned and very expensive for everyone. The settlement back then meant that Tony was not allowed to reference ‘Spandau Ballet’ in any shape or form in any solo engagements and his recent US tour was plagued with legal problems. Obviously when he was back with the band this didn’t matter but now he’s broken ranks the restrictions are back in place. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like for me if I’d been legally shackled when I left ‘Marillion’ as sometimes promoters without my knowledge have advertised shows as ‘the voice of Marillion’ or ‘former ‘Marillion’ singer. To be in a position where I could be taken to court for contempt if a promoter or press officer inadvertently used my previous band’s name to sell solo shows is a scary thought. For Tony who is known worldwide as the voice of ‘Spandau Ballet’ and yet not allowed to acknowledge it without risk of prosecution, in my opinion seems excessive. Obviously I have only heard one side of the story but it remains truly sad that the animosity and bitterness remains among people who were once great friends. I understand more than anyone how brutal and ugly a ‘band divorce’ can be and I spent quite a few years in a dark place harbouring grudges and grievances with people who I was once close with. I’m glad the rest of the ‘Marillos’ and I sorted out our differences, rekindled our friendships.and managed to move on.
I met up with John Reid, who looks after the Fishheads Club site, in a pub opposite the Guildhall. It was a rare chance for a good natter away from backstage areas. Later on we would be joined by Stuart James and David Richardson who’d been at the previous nights show and taken some great photos.Before they arrived I’d gone to the bar and came across this story that I’ve already posted to the Face Book timeline and which reached over 300 000 people!
“As is my want and custom around straggling soundchecks I often have a wee wander for some soothing nectar for the ‘thrapple’. At first I thought the till was tied into the jukebox and then realised the lovely young lady behind the bar had just logged on.
I said to her ” I gave you that name” to which she looked a bit bemused. “So your dad is a ‘Marillion fan’. The penny dropped and she was quite taken aback when she realised who I was. We had a photo taken together to show her Dad who she called later. He was blown away as was Kayleigh who gave me a pint of ‘Doom Bar’ on the house.
A definite first for me and a lovely coincidence. She told me she knew loads of ‘Kayleighs’ in the Portsmouth area and she even knew a guy with that name. As I said on stage later I hope it doesn’t end up like the story line in Johnny Cash’s ‘A Boy Named Sue’
The gig was fast approaching and with Tony on the bill tonight to replace Ryan Molloy I was on earlier. The set list had been thinned down and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ was dropped again. I followed a sparkling set from Toyah and another powerful performance from Tom Robinson. They had got the crowd buzzing and I was better prepared than at Sturminster with a voice that had the cobwebs blown away. Again ‘Sledgehammer’, ‘What do you Want’, ‘Kayleigh’ and ‘Amore’ made up my contribution to proceedings and I was a lot more confident in my delivery than the night before. The ‘Kayleigh’ story from the pub went down well and I got a few chuckles on my intros from both band and audience. I sung a decent set and left the stage for Tony Hadley. Being the same height I didn’t need to adjust the mike stand which is always a problem when following or being followed by Toyah 🙂
Tony , in my opinion is one of the finest and most distinctive singers in the UK and as I listened to his set I couldn’t but help admire his professionalism and be reminded that ‘Spandau Ballet’ are going to have a tough job finding his replacement. I got the chance to sing with him as we were to share ‘With a Little Help from my Friends’ and standing next to that voice and taking in the sheer power and projection really made me feel slightly inadequate. We left the stage to a great ovation and as we took our bows I was reminded about just what a great bunch of musicians I get the chance to work with.
There was an aftershow party upstairs in the venue and as this was Spike’s hometown it was a family affair. I took the chance to have a look round the music exhibition upstairs where there were a couple of rooms dedicated to Spike.It’s incredible seeing just who he has played with during his career and the photos of him with heroes and dignitaries from all over the world is hugely impressive.
I headed back to the hotel on the seafront just as ‘Storm Aileen’ was picking up. I hoped it would be blown over by morning as I had a flight home at midday. It was an early night for me and I slept with the window open listening to the sea raging and the wind howling around the pier.
After fond farewells to Spike and his lovely lady Kyle I taxied to the airport and a flawless flight home to my own lady. It had been a fine couple of days and it whetted my appetite for my own December shows.I only had a few days to clear the control room before Steve Vantsis arrived to carry on searching for new writing ideas. It’s going to be a while until I see the SAS band again and with Spike out with ‘Queen’ soon there won’t be any traditional Christmas shows this year.Simone, Liam and I are invited along to their Glasgow show in December and with it being the night before the rehearsals and gig in Stirling it’s a perfect fuse to fire up my own stage sparks and send me back out on the road again.
Mark Wilkinson has finished the artwork for both ‘Suits’ and ‘Songs from the Mirror’ and I think they are the best yet. The sleevenotes are immense and the ‘Suits’ booklet runs to 60 pages with 15000 words and photos. ‘SFTM’ runs in at 12000 words and is a 48 page booklet. Between the 2 the entire period of 92-95 is covered and takes in my first steps as an independent artist and all the trials and tribulations involved.Even I was amazed at just how much happened in such a relatively short space of time.
The audio is now with Calum Malcolm for mastering and I’m waiting to see the first edit on the DVD from ‘SFTM’. It’s all on line and I should have finished copies by the end of November.I’m glad these remasters are now finished and I can now fully concentrate on writing and building up to the tour.It’s not all completely stress free but then that’s the way I like it.Nothing like a bit of pressure to fuel the creative juices!
With ‘Suits’ and ‘Songs from the Mirror’ now virtually completed apart from the mastering I can switch my sights onto the last 2 albums in the remaster schedule, ‘Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors’ and ‘Internal Exile’. I don’t plan to get into these compilations until early next year but I’ll be collecting material as I go along. I already have a whole suite of demos from ‘Vigil’ and ‘Exile’ that have been transferred from old Akai 12 track recordings and I’m looking forward to hearing what we have to play with.There’s a lot of material available for both titles that has to be sifted through and I still have to determine how it will all be packaged.It’ll provide a nice break in the ‘Weltschmerz’ writing sessions as I have allocated the first 6 months of next year to the new album. Interesting times.
The word ‘overwhelming’ springs to mind as the satellites feed us seemingly never ending images and soundbites from all over the planet’s surface.
Someone sent me my own video clip to ‘Blind to the Beautiful’ and I was reminded that although the song was written in 2012 the relevance hasn’t diminished and it seems even more ‘current’ than back then.
With hurricane ‘Jose’ following up along the destructive path of ‘Irma’, typhoons raging across Asia, devastating flooding in India and wildfires lighting up the skies in America, Europe and everywhere else I think even the most skeptical of us have to admit ‘The times they are a changing’. This isn’t the place nor the time to examine that argument because it sure won’t help those citizens of the world out there that are just trying survive and recover at the moment.
This weekend I’ll be’ soul brother’ linked in to my former guitarist and great buddy John Wesley who lives in Brandon on the west coast of Florida. I called him last night to see how he and the family were coping and what their arrangements were for the oncoming storm. He was pretty chirpy as I’d expect and when I called he had the power tools out boarding up his daughter’s house. It kind of threw things in a diamond edged perspective as did this e mail from him this afternoon.
Blind to the Beautiful
The stars are fading, ashes to ashes and dust to dust,
The bread we have broken, the wine we drank from tarnished cups,
And I stopped believing in miracles a long long time ago,
I lost my faith and I sacrificed my soul,
I worshipped fallen idols, chased false prophets to an end,
To where I just can’t see the beautiful anymore
The ice retreating, mountains exposed in the sun,
The earth is baking, raindrops precede the floods
And hurricanes with children’s names write our history
Signatures tracked by satellites on high,
We should have talked about the weather a bit more seriously,
More than stocks and shares and corporate wares,
We were blinded by the skeptics and their greed
I just can’t see the beautiful anymore; I just can’t see the beautiful anymore
I howled and I cried when the melody died, the song was finally over, There was nothing to say, words stole away, their meaning lost in the ether, What there was left stopped making sense, a broken up alphabet, language dispersed
I just can’t hear the beautiful anymore
The oceans are rising, islands in time disappear,
The canyons burning, forests consumed by the flames,
Wildfires rage across the plains to be starved by barren soil,
Deserted farms where seeds refuse to grow,
I close my eyes to cloudless skies I dream of what we had before,
I just can’t see the beautiful anymore
I just can’t see the beautiful anymore I want to see the beautiful once more copyright DDICK 2013
as a big PS : maybe I completely misunderstand how it all works but I hope the corporates, companies and individuals that use some of the Caribbean islands and benefit hugely from them as tax havens will be contributing way over a fair share to help the islanders recover. It’s only fair but does fairness really still exist?