Sunsets on Empire, Raingods With Zippos, Fellini Days and Field of Crows are now available in the Fish Shop!
On Wednesday I boarded a flight to Berlin from Edinburgh for a serious trip down memory strasse. I was bound for a film shoot with a production company creating a feature length movie documentary on the history of Hansa studios where we had recorded the ‘Misplaced Childhood’ album back in 1985. Obviously our history is gloriously intertwined with the city and the studio which was why I’d been asked to participate with my dear friends and fellow collaborators Steve Rothery and Chris Kimsey. All three of us had jumped at the chance at a fond reminiscence, a free bar tab and a fine hotel dictated, in the nicest possible way by Herr Kimsey, to the production company. He was very specific and the promise of lubricated memory jangling and exclusive verbosity by the invited participants appealing to those on the other side of the camera. They wouldn’t be disappointed.
Edinburgh airport, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, Americano coffee with Jimi Hendrix on the restaurant PA with the “Wind cries Mary” was totally apt for the occasion. I hadn’t been in Hansa studios since the day we finished recording.
I drove in the taxi past the redundant Tempelhof airport chasing other memories as heavy flakes of snow fell and immediately melted in the struggling sunshine. At first I thought it was the proverbial cherry blossom and then, as Chris Kimsey likewise mentioned in the Italian restaurant soon after, it came into my mind that it looked like ash and created a far more sinister scene which I readily dismissed and cut from my own movie.
The street names were familiar, the surroundings not. The taxi came to a halt and the driver announced my arrival. I didn’t recognise the area. The wasteland where we had shot band photos outside the studio had been replaced by modern buildings and the sweep of gray Berlin Wall I walked past every day to the studio now swallowed in a modern city. The studio building from the outside was exactly the same apart from “Siegmar’s Mampe Bar” now transformed into an Italian restaurant and the aforementioned neighbourhood encroachment of the 21st Century.
It was fantastic to see Steve and Chris again and the hour of jollity we had before filming began warm and unique. We wallowed in our own private memories and caught up on all things family and beyond before heading into the studio where our lives had been dramatically entertained and changed by a 2 month encampment where we produced a piece of work we never thought would have the impact it had.
Entering the main recording floor for the first time in 30 plus years could have had the soundtrack of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” as it was such an incredible moment and I immediately voiced the “wasted ” line from ‘Perimeter Walk’. The 3 of us were like kids visiting their old school and we exchanged various thoughts and memories even before we sat down on our allotted seats in front of camera to be cajoled into our respective and collective associations with the space. We were relaxed and evocative revisiting this famous dimension from our new perspectives.The years were peeled back and we fondly remembered magical times like old soldiers on a park bench, the darker elements unspoken as unnecessary intrusions and embarrassing to the company.
The control room we had spent so many hours, days and nights in was now a bar that served the main recording floor which although still used for recording also served as a function room. The irony was not lost as once it had been a ballroom for German military officers and it was now utilised for corporate use. The new world order. The old control room that we had used was where Bowie had, as legend goes, seen the protagonists that he had written ‘Heroes’ about as once it had a clear view of the Wall. I had so many memories from that room and now found it difficult to replace the working set up as I knew it back then with the sumptuous surroundings in it’s place.The rest of the studios are impressive and we were invited up to the mixing room where the final touches were added to ‘Misplaced’ and where quite a few both hair raising and extremely funny memories had been had. I have to admit after years of working from here in Haddington at my own humble studio I longed for an opportunity to work in a mainstream establishment like Hansa again.
Funnily enough one question during the interviews was why we never came back. None of us had an answer.
It’s still an amazing recording space and defined by it’s history and temporary occupants who created so many magical recordings many of which most people have no idea of their point of creation.
To give you an idea have a flick through the artists and albums on this website and it will take your breath away https://www.discogs.com/label/274153-Hansa-Tonstudios?sort=artist&sort_order=
We retired to a small bar near the studio for some more “off the cuff” filming after the Hansa shoot to fill in the more “Berlin” moments of our time there. All I will say was it was fun! Maybe I said too much but I think my “filters” were working.There’s always the edit 🙂
We were met there by Thomas Stiehler, our engineer back in 85 who had arrived in Harris tweed plus 4’s and with his wonderful eccentricity that I fondly remembered from the ‘Internal Exile’ recording sessions here in 91.
He would join us for dinner in our hotel at ‘The Savoy’ (Thanks Chris) where a marvelous meal and accompanying beverages would deliver me early to bed after more reams of story telling and a reminder that my partying stamina wasn’t as it was back in 85.
As I left for my last shoot at the remaining section of the Berlin wall that morning I saw the guys in the breakfast room and bid fond farewells to slightly bleary eyed individuals.Yes we were older, more dignified and fragile in the grand scheme of things but there were still beautiful sparks in us all. Warm smiles and hugs it had been a great reunion of kindred souls. We have all moved on along different paths that can never be rejoined as they once were but to share a moment and a memory and celebrate a defining period in our lives was a wonderful opportunity we will cherish.
I’m looking forward to seeing the finished film and have to thank Martin, James, Rachel and all the team for providing this occasion – it was really special.
To Steve and Chris – Let’s not leave it too long till next time x
To follow on from the last post these dates are the only shows I’ll be playing until next Summer
Just to give you a heads up the tickets are selling fast and it is pretty certain another London show will be added on Sunday 17th. THIS IS NOT ON SALE YET so please don’t contact the venue or ticket outlets until I officially confirm the date.
Glasgow and Manchester are past 75% sold and the others more than healthy. With a major piece coming up on the ‘Clutching at Straws’ album in Prog magazine in the coming months and various other pushes in the press and media there will be a lot of interest generated and I’m confident of sell outs across the board.
I don’t need to remind you that on the ‘Farewell to Childhood’ UK tour there were a lot of people that missed out having left it late in the day to book tickets.
With these appearances the only chance to see indoor shows until probably September 2018 I am expecting a lot of international interest as well.
I will be performing the entire ‘Clutching’ album plus ‘Tux on’ for the first time. I also intend to play some material we will have written from ‘Weltschmerz’ plus a selection from the solo catalogue to provide a great all round set list. This will provide a template for the 2018 shows.
all shows December 2017 ticket details on the events section of this page, the fishheadsclub.com website and at the venues.
Fri 8 Leeds University
Sat 9 Manchester o2 Ritz
Sun 10 Leamington Assembly
Tue 12 Cardiff Tramshed
Wed 13 Bristol o2 Academy
Fri 15 London Islington Assembly
Sat 16 London Islington Assembly
Tues 19 Cambridge Corn Exchange
Wed 20 Newcastle Wylam Brewery
Thurs 21 Glasgow o2 ABC
I’ll be playing a couple of shows as a guest artist with the SAS band (September 12th in Portsmouth already booked) but these shows above are the only Fish gigs.
After many weeks of careful thought and discussing the situation with friends, musicians and colleagues including my new German agent I have made the decision to delay all touring, apart from the current UK shows in December until next summer.
It has become obvious that there is no way I will have a new album written and recorded by the end of the year. I’d hoped to have been a lot further down the line with writing by now but in all truth I’ve been struggling to get to grips with the ideas I do have and piecing them together in order to move forward.
Steve Vantsis was up last weekend and he agreed that we are so far behind in the intended writing schedule that to pull it back 6 months and go for a release in June 2018 made perfect sense.
My agent, Patrik Mertens also agreed that to begin with open airs and supporting club shows next summer and building up with promotion to a full European tour beginning mid-September gave us all adequate time to prepare the ground and make sure everything was firmly and soundly in place on all levels.
As I have written before 2016 took the wind completely out my sails. The replacement ‘Farewell to Childhood’ tour dates followed so closely by my father’s death and then dealing with those emotions affected me so much more than I could ever have imagined. My physical health was deteriorating due to the back and shoulder ailments and the subsequent serious operations completely sapped all my creative powers. It was only the arrival of Simone from Karlsruhe in August, her unquestioning support and the sanctuary of our garden that kept me sane as I felt everything else uprooted and my perspective on Life drastically shift. I was suffering from what is more commonly known as “writer’s block” and as I penned back in 83 I was “becalmed, be stilled, bewitched – drowning in the Real”.
“Weltschmerz” as a concept had grown into a monster I was finding difficult to chain down and tame.
Losing Yatta, my production manager and loyal friend from my future tour plans also hit hard and although he will be involved in the background his presence on the road will be difficult to replace. After nearly 4 years of touring with a stable unit it is obvious that changes have to be made and this I find quite daunting just now. The 11 date UK tour is well within my capabilities, logistically, physically and professionally but to consider anything more than that and trying to complete a new album is a step too far.
The shoulder injury is healing but it’s at least 8 months away from being 100% and that is only if I continue the recovery process without adding undue strain and creating my own problems for myself through being impetuous and foolhardy. 11 UK shows, staying in hotels with adequate rest and plenty of preparation is achievable.
In the coming weeks we will enter the writing sessions in earnest and I am confident I will have new material to play alongside the ‘Clutching at Straws’ album performance in much the same way I played ‘Feast of Consequences’ material before it went into the recording studio in the summer of 2013. The set will not be saturated with the new songs and I envisage moving new material in and out of the setlists during the dates combining them with other solo works to give me a balanced show.
The open airs in summer 2018 will continue to feature the ‘Clutching’ album as will the European tour at the end of that year. The only difference will probably be more ‘Weltschmerz’ material as the album will by then be available. The rest of Europe will not miss out on this particular “farewell” tour and there will be more UK dates added on the final section.
I have no idea as yet about the “rest of the World”. At the moment I would probably not be allowed entry to the USA with the stamps I have on my passport but you can trust that I still do have my eye on that particular piece of the touring puzzle and I do sincerely hope that chances will come my way that make sense of some sort of trip across the big water. The same applies to Canada and South America. With the current state of affairs I can’t consider it and would really need a massive show of support and concrete guarantees to make it happen and that would most probably be in 2019.
You can already see that the retirement plans are changing and that I have to rejig the entire outro plan. Simone and I have talked long and hard about this and she is totally supportive of the extension although we are both agreed that I have to scale my touring activities right back. The book and screenplay writing will take prime position in the next years as will hopefully other ideas for endeavors nursed over a bottle of wine in our garden on an evening.
The plans to compile the rest of the re mastered solo albums will go ahead in the next months and ideas will be dealt with in another blog/newsletter in the next days. I want to reach out for some of your input as there are a couple of options especially with ‘Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors’ and ‘Internal Exile’.
I’ll be depending on the re masters and the new live albums to support the next year or so and the UK tour will play a big part in propping me up through the writing stages and into the recordings.
The entire writing process and its progress will be covered here on the website as players arrive at the table and the album takes shape. I can’t say much more at this point as the crystals are still forming. Mark Wilkinson was in agreement with the delay on ‘Weltschmerz’ and he too will be practicing his arts on the re master collection as he puts together the cover ideas which already have associated images.
The touring delay will obviously disappoint some people especially those in Europe but I am sure you understand the album takes precedent and that I need the space and focus to deliver something I intend to be very special.
All is good in the garden but I’m wary of late frosts and droughts that are inevitable. Sounding like ‘Chauncey’ in ‘Being There’ just now but that is where my head is at. I’m channeling my energies into tidying up business and uncluttering my Life, setting the scene for a clear run at ‘Weltschmerz’. It’s important that I jettison a lot of debris and re balance myself as I’ve been overwhelmed for far too long. There’s still a lot to do and a lot of issues to deal with personally and professionally but it’s all achievable given time.
I just felt I had to write this. Thanks for your patience and your support,
Saturday afternoon, football on radio and my wonderful lady in the mail order room packaging the new ‘Farewell to Childhood’ CD’s that arrived unexpectedly yesterday. We’d thought that by having a short pre order period that we could prepare packages but the early consignment delivery meant that the orders are all “Live”.
Simone decided to just get stuck in today and this weekend we should be able to tear down the mountain although every download of e mails seems to be rebuilding it as fast as we get the packages together.
It’s great to hear that some albums are already arriving out there the first batch having only been picked up from the studio by our loyal postie at 4 o’ clock yesterday.
As we are dealing with a big influx of orders Simone doesn’t take them all of the system at once and packs around 50 in a batch. Notifications are sent out when the order is taken of the computer so it may take a day or so from when you order to get the confirmation e mail. A wee bit of patience is required as sending e mails asking for information on your order are difficult to answer at this time and really slow the office down.
We are doing our best to get orders out as soon as possible and to be honest have been taken a little bit by surprise by the overwhelming demand for the album. To be honest I don’t think it’s going to recede soon as judging by the comments from those who have already got it word of mouth is going to create a lot more interest.
I think it’s a great release and it seems that those of you who have it already think the same 🙂
Thanks for all your support on this, it’s sincerely appreciated
The good news continues! ‘Farewell to Childhood’ arrived a few days earlier and the first of the preorders are winging their way out this afternoon thanks to Simone, Rab and the stressed out Elspeth in the mail order room. It looks fab! 🙂 Very pleased 🙂 Now available at http://shop.fishheads.club/pro…/farewell-to-childhood-cddvd/
If you are preordering ‘Farewell to Childhood’ and waiting on an e mail order confirmation check your junk/ spam files as the e mails may come from a different location now we have changed server and your computer may not recognise the source just now.
It will settle down soon but just in case you are fretting over whether your order landed here check your spam file just in case
NOW AVAILABLE TO PREORDER WITH RELEASE 5TH APRIL
‘Farewell to Childhood Live in Europe 2015-16’
The final farewell performances of the seminal Marillion album ‘Misplaced Childhood’ by Fish on the 30th anniversary of it’s release. Taken from shows on the hugely successful and acclaimed tour.
2 CD’s and a DVD in a hardback book case with 96 pages of photos ,artwork designed by Mark Wilkinson and 9000 words of sleeve notes by Fish.
Recorded live at the Progresja Music Zone, Warsaw Poland November 9th 2015 except “Market Square Heroes” recorded Stuttgart, Longhorn November 23rd 2015
DVD – full show filmed and recorded live at the C Club, Columbiahalle , Berlin 5th November 2015 , same set list as CD’s
16.9 ratio/ stereo language english NTSC (O) all regions
All audio Mixed and mastered by Calum Malcolm
Fish – vocals Robin Boult Guitars, John Beck Keyboards,
Steve Vantsis Bass, Gavin Griffiths drums
1 Pipeline 9.41
2 Feast of Consequences 4.41
3 Long Cold Day 7.46
4 Family Business 5.53
5 The Perception of Johnny Punter 12.12
1 Pseudo Silk Kimono 2.39
2 Kayleigh 4.18
3 Lavender 2.37
4 Bitter Suite 8.26
5 Heart of Lothian 5.26
6 Waterhole (Expresso Bongo) 1.47
7 Lords of the Backstage 2.19
8 Blind Curve 14.04
9 Childhoods End? 4.43
10 White Feather 5.33
11 Market Square Heroes 6.52
12 The Company 5.26
Free T shirt offer (while stocks last) when you buy this with any of the new remasters or ‘Moveable Feast’ live CD. Details available on the website
Well I saw the physio today and was given a big green thumbs up to go.The shoulder is healing nicely and all my exercises have been updated. The right arm is ok’d to move above shoulder height and I’m allowed to sleep on my right side. I’m now attending gym classes with a physio on a Friday for the next few weeks so I will be under supervision. Also permission to drive a car (when I eventually get it back from the garage) which means a return to school runs with Liam to replace all the brownie points I’d racked up before the op and spent in bed while Simone did the early rises for the last 6 weeks.School holidays mean I have a chance to retune my body clock before the dawn patrols begin when he gets back.
I’m not kidding myself, there is a hell of a long way to go and I have to take it easy and play the sensible game until the end of the year and the UK tour. I’m still in pain and was again reminded today by Neil my physio just how big the operation was. However he’s really pleased with my progress and urged me to slowly start stretching the tendons to get the flexibility and full movement back.
I have to say I thought it would have taken me longer to get this far but the mantra of “don’t overdo things or it’s back to square one” continues.I’ll be fully fit by December if I can keep this up and that’s my principal goal.
Neil said I could probably get back to the “Big Gym” in 4 weeks or so to start light training and after the buzz of the early part of the year working to strengthen my back it’s a fantastic feeling to finally seeing a chink of bright light after all the surgery and repairs in the last 5 months.
As I said there’s a way to go yet but I’m moving in the right direction