It’s been all quiet on the Northern front so far this year. After a traditional Hogmanay with great friends and neighbours we fell into the doldrums of that post partying/ pre work zone malaise and both Simone and I were clobbered with a virus. I honestly thought I had avian flu that I’d picked up as bad karma from plucking pheasants or from the bird feeders. Extreme swinging temperatures, tight chest, shallow breathing and sleeping over 16 hours a day kiboshed me for nearly a week. Getting back into the office groove was difficult and I wasn’t operating on all cylinders until last Monday. Liam returned from holidays in Poland snowboarding with his Dad and I was back to early morning school runs in mild shock trying to get my bearings on the year ahead.
2016 had completely thrown me and plans that should have been initiated and moving forward had all stalled. The replacement dates for the ‘Childhood’ tour closely followed by my father’s passing and then seriously deteriorating back issues in the summer that resulted in the operation late in the year meant my heid was full of chocolate frogs for long periods and I just couldn’t focus on anything creative. I should have been halfway through writing ‘Weltschmerz’ but I’m sitting here in January in a slight panic realising there’s a mountain to be moved.
My shoulder has worsened since the back operation as muscle groups realign and my body adjusts to its new upright position. Sleep is broken and I toss and turn like a live prawn on a Japanese hot plate in the night. I’m still waiting on the date for the operation and have been told there are delays on my hospital appointment which was pencilled in for February. I’d already cancelled all open air work this summer and first week of January I had to phone my new agent in Hamburg and tell him to postpone all work in Europe until 2018. With my right arm completely immobilised for 4 weeks and then 6 weeks painful physio as part of a 6 month recovery that requires a lot of careful attention I decided that to deal with writing and recording the album and aiming at an Autumn tour was too much to take on.
The good news is that I have been given the all clear on my spine and tomorrow I head to the gym in Edinburgh to start work with a personal trainer. The idea is to use the window between the operations to get some semblance of fitness in my back and legs and set myself up for the shoulder recovery. With all that’s happened in the last year there’s been a definitive wake up on my approach to health and lifestyle and having lost so much time in 2016 the original idea of a 2018 retirement from music has to be moved slightly back.
This year I will be concentrating on writing and recording which hopefully won’t be too much affected by the shoulder recovery. Calum Malcolm is mixing the live material recorded in Warsaw from the ‘Farewell to Childhood’ tour and is mastering the Berlin show for a DVD which will be part of the package scheduled for release in early March. I’ll also be working on the remasters for ‘Vigil’, ‘Internal Exile’, ‘Suits’ and ‘Songs from the Mirror’ throughout the year during the writing sessions for ‘Weltschmerz’ in order to fund the project as obviously without the expected live income from the summer there’s a shortfall. I won’t be able to invest in any vinyl releases on the remasters this year as the outlay is too expensive.
The UK tour in December will be the only live dates this year. With a fair wind and a bit of luck I’ll have the ‘Weltschmerz’ album in hand by then. If for some reason not I’ll follow the same tack as with ‘Feast’ and will be playing tracks prior to recording but in all honesty it should be in the can.
As with the ‘Misplaced Childhood’ farewell shows I plan this to be the first and last time I’ll be playing ‘Clutching at Straws’ in its entirety and that means a first time out the box for ‘Tux On’, ‘Going Under’ and ‘Just for the Record’ all of which will be rearranged for the tour.
The European tour will be set up for March 2018 onwards and there will be a few UK dates added to that section. At the moment there are no plans for North and South America but I am open to offers that make sense. With another £100 added to the cost of US work visas in recent months and the new administration tightening controls I’m sad to say a North American tour is highly improbable.
The most important project this year is the ‘Weltschmerz’ album. Mark Wilkinson already has images in mind; I have the seeds of a couple of lyrics, Steve Vantsis is primed and there are a couple of musicians in the wings that could play influential roles. I now have to start bringing it all together. I’m sure this is going to be an interesting year and the time is right for the subject matter. It has to be special and as you know well from my history this album won’t be released until I am sure it is.
Blue Monday for some Happy Monday for others. Here are the UK ‘Weltschmerz – Clutching at Straws 2017’ tour dates for December with tickets going on sale tomorrow at the venues and on Seetickets , Eventim and at The Gig Cartel
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
These are the only dates this year as because of my shoulder operation next month with the extensive recovery period and my commitments to writing and recording the new ‘Weltschmerz’ album I decided to postpone all European touring until Spring 2018.
The set list for this tour will include a full performance of the ‘Clutching at Straws’ album on it’s 30th anniversary and as with the ‘2015-16 Farewell to Childhood’ tour will be it’s final full outing.
More news to follow
As you’d expect the preorders for ‘Field of Crows’ ,’Moveable Feast’ and the t shirt offer with the remasters have proved highly popular. The mail order service has been inundated with orders and as such we are running out of some sizes in some designs.
Because the automatic stock counters on the service are taking so many simultaneous hits there have been a few incidents where some shirt sizes have not been immediately recognised as “sold out”. Elspeth has tried to contact people where this has happened but with the office running at full tilt it has become difficult to “backtrack” and some people despite being sent e mails haven’t responded.
I have decided that should this problem be encountered and sizes of some designs are sold out then we will send out an alternative t shirt in the size originally requested. If you find that your size is completely unavailable then I suggest you take advantage of the free offer and order it for Christmas for a friend.
The offer is “as stocks last” and as we are not reprinting any of these designs I hope you appreciate and understand that there are limited numbers of some t shirts.
All the orders for ‘Field of Crows’ without ‘Moveable Feast’ are now in the post and when ‘Feast’ arrives tomorrow we will start to send out those orders. Our focus is to get the preorders out first and these will all be packed and in the post before the weekend.
To answer a couple of questions.
When your preorder is notified as “completed” it means we have received and processed the package with the other items in your order and it is just waiting on the new titles to be added.
Remasters and ‘Moveable Feast’ bought on Amazon are not subject to the free t shirt offer which is only available on fishheadsclub.com
Please take time and make sure your order is correct and be patient as we have had some multiple orders when people have kept hitting the “send” key ( It’s an easy mistake. I did it myself on the Hibernian site the other day when I bought the new Scottish Cup final DVD twice. The extra one is now a Christmas present for someone 🙂 )
The last postage date for a guaranteed delivery before Christmas is the 15th December and after that a signed for delivery is the best way to make sure anything arrives if you need it for a gift.
To give you an idea of the workload the photo shows one side of the control room with packages waiting to be filled with ‘Feast’ albums when they arrive tomorrow.
Available to pre order now and released on December 5th the new remaster of ‘Field of Crows’ and ‘Moveable Feast tour Europe 2013-2015’ with free t shirts offer.
We are now taking orders on fishheadsclub.com for 2 new releases that will be available from December 5th.
‘Field of Crows’ is the next in the remaster collection and features a brand new remix of the original album by Chris Kimsey together with live tracks and demos all mastered by Calum Malcolm. The 3 cd collection is packaged in a hardback cover containing 48 pages of artwork and photos designed by Mark Wilkinson with over 7000 words of sleeve notes by Fish and is available for £16.99 plus VAT and postage and packing. A full track listing is available on the website.
‘Moveable Feast tour Europe 2013-2015’ is a 4 CD collection mastered by Calum Malcolm taking in a full show from Karlsruhe with Foss Paterson on keyboards from October 2013 and a complete performance from Wurzburg in October 2014 with John Beck on keyboards. This title is also a hardback cover booklet with 20 pages of photos and extensive sleeve notes by Fish and is available for £16.99 plus VAT and postage and packaging. The full extensive track listing from both shows can be found on the website.
Free T Shirt offer
A free T shirt is being given away with orders for any 2 of the following albums – remastered ‘Field of Crows’, ‘Sunsets on Empire’, Raingods with Zippos’, ‘Fellini Days’ and the ‘Moveable Feast’ live album.
Buy any 4 of the remasters/live choices and get 2 free t shirts, 6 get 3 shirts etc
This offer also applies to the deluxe version of ‘Feast of Consequences’ where a free t shirt is being given away with every order. An order for ‘Feast of Consequences ‘ Deluxe version should be made separately from any remasters order as the shop is not configured for the combination.
The t shirts available in the free offer are the Moveable Feast tour shirt, black Feast tour shirt, X Ray Fish, Thistle Alley, Feast of Consequences white tree, Fish portrait charcoal and blue long sleeved birds shirt, the ladies t shirt, Fishheads club polo, Scottish tour, blue Fishheads and black Fishheads club t’s and the “stay calm..” blue and red t shirts. ( details and sizes are on the website shop)
Select the t shirt from the links given that you would like and add it to your order as you normally would when purchasing and it will be sent to you free of charge with the 2 titles you have ordered from the albums on offer.
For example. Order ‘Crows’ and ‘Sunsets’ and a medium size ‘Thistle Alley’ t shirt and the albums plus relevant tax and postage will be charged with the t shirt registering as free and sent out with your order.
Order ‘Moveable Feast’ live , ‘Raingods’, Sunsets’ and ‘Fellini Days’ remasters and add ‘X Ray Fish’ large and “ladies T shirt’ small to your order and the 4 albums will be charged plus relevant tax and postage with the 2 t shirts registering as free and sent out with your order.
T shirts are only available while stocks last and this T shirt offer is only available on the fishheadsclub.com mail order service
Preorders are being taken now and will be given priority when orders are processed and sent out on December 5th.
‘Fishheads Club Live’ DVD price reduction
I’m in the process of re jigging the fishheadsclub.com website with John Reid in preparation for the launch of the ‘Field of Crows’ remaster and the ‘Moveable Feast’ live album in conjunction with the t shirt offer with the existing remasters. As part of the new offers leading up to Christmas the ‘Fishheads Club’ live , double DVD has been reduced today to £14.99 plus VAT and postage/ packaging
‘Feast of Consequences’ deluxe version T shirt offer
We’ve been undergoing a major shake up of our stock cupboard in recent weeks which has been creaking at the seams after the Fishheadsclub Germany stock returned from Karlsruhe.
That stock included a few hundred ‘Feast’ deluxe versions that I thought would have sold through the German website and which have added to our remaining stock here at the Studio.
I’ve decided that the 2500 deluxe versions we have left are the last to be manufactured and as such are now the remainder of a limited edition of 12500. The extremely high cost of low number production runs and the 20% increase in costs brought about by the current value of sterling ( the books are printed and put together in Europe) have made further manufacturing impossible to consider.
Despite now being an attractive limited edition I am still carrying a lot of stock and have decided that at the same time as the offers of a free t shirt for 2 of the remasters I am going to extend it for a limited period and while t shirt stocks last to the deluxe version of ‘Feast of Consequences’.
In short, buy a deluxe version of ‘Feast of Consequences’ and get a free t shirt!
Details on how to get this offer and the offer on buying the remastered albums including the 2 new titles will be on the fishheadsclub.com website before the weekend.
This offer will only be available on the fishheadsclub.com website and not on any purchases through Amazon
Well it’s now 5 days since the operation on my spine and I have to say despite a wee bit of an ache it hasn’t felt this good for many years. My posture has dramatically changed, my spine is bending inward not outward and I am standing a few inches higher these days. I’m still taking it easy although my lady would prefer if I took it easier and reminds me that I was always having a go at my Dad for exactly the same thing. It’s frustrating as there’s so much I can’t do just now. Sitting at the desk is limited to 20 minute stretches and I do spend quite a while as an elongated couch potato with an itchy finger on the satellite remote. I’ve watched the entire ‘Ray Donovan’ series 4 that’s been on the drive for months as well as some old classics like ‘Colditz’ and ‘Guns of Navarone’ when I have succumbed to the enforced rest and I’m always in search of a decent box set to while away the hours.
I have been walking about as between the limited seated position and the stretched out on sofa position getting around is the other designated exercise.It’s raising a smile as I am no longer walking like a penguin and can stride about the studio with ease now. As you can see it’s been a revelation to regain this new mobility .
The office duties are dealt with in intermittent phases and I was glad to get the ‘Moveable Feast’ and ‘Field of Crows’ projects sorted out with Mark, Calum and my production firm and get the albums on to schedules.Mark Wilkinson and his wife Julie are up here this weekend for a break and also for the first of our brain storming sessions on ‘Weltschmerz’. I’m sure it will be an interesting discussion over red wines while spinning vinyl into the wee hours.
John Reid and I have been discussing the website as we both agree we need to update it and prepare for the remaster offer and the next projects. We are throwing around ideas to make it more interesting and to fill the gaps that are obviously going to occur as we move into the writing schedules next year.
Preparing for the release of ‘Feast’ and ‘Crows’ with the free t shirt offer and getting everything in place for that is highest on the agenda just now.
Steve Vantsis is sifting through the ‘Farewell to Childhood’ material but we already know we have a multi-track recording from Warsaw in 2015 that Calum Malcolm will be mixing in the next month and a full show on DVD from Berlin already designated for that project. We hope to find another show from the Tony Turrell line up and there are a couple from Holland to choose from. The only disappointment was that all the shows from the summer of 2015 including ‘Loreley’ and ‘Das Fest’ which would have been obvious contenders were only recorded on MP3 and are not good enough quality to consider. I hope to have the ‘Childhood’ release ready for late January 2017.
I’ve had to relinquish all my gardening duties to Simone and Rab and had to watch on as they planted out the garlic, shallots and onions for overwintering in the front beds. I may just be able to stick broadbeans into one of the raised beds but all thought of lifting dahlias and pruning the orchard has to be put aside.
The only other garden project on the horizon is the extension of the ‘blue house’. The front of the building is rotten and has to be replaced.Last week when I was standing in the now cleared greenhouse the idea hit me that while I was replacing the front of it why not extend it? After the cost of the back operation it may not be feasible this year but the idea has got me excited as it would practically double my indoor growing space for next season.
The usual ‘spanners’ came my way with a septic tank sump pump having to be replaced and the pump in the underground rainwater tank deciding to pack in 4 months after the 2 year guarantee ran out.I have plastic pond pumps that have lasted longer at a third of the price.Thankfully there’s not much watering needed outside so it’s not urgent.
The firewood stack is visibly shrinking as the temperatures drop and it looks likely I’ll have to reorder sooner rather than later as we are getting through the wood at some pace. Normally I’d be on tour at this point in the calendar and the studio empty so it’s a really different experience aiming at Christmas with a clear run ahead and a fire in the hearth at home.
For now though I just have to concentrate on healing up and doing the physio, getting myself in shape and being careful not to overdo things.
Thanks again to one and all for the best wishes and positive posts in the last days, it sincerely meant a lot to us.
take care , stay alive
3D visual for the ‘Moveable Feast European Tour 2013-2015’
I should have delivery dates for this and ‘Field of Crows’ in the next days and will let you know ordering details as soon as I have them.
The 4 remasters ‘Sunsets on Empire’, ‘Raingods with Zippos’, Fellini Days’ and the new ‘Field of Crows’ will be on sale together with ‘Moveable Feast’ on a special offer where if you buy any 2 titles you get a free T shirt from the ‘Feast of Consequences’ collection ( buy 4 get 2 T’s).
You will have to input your selection and size required on your order form in the ‘customer note’ section and these will be sent out with your CD order. The T shirt offer will be available while stocks last and should your choice be sold out an alternative in the same size will be sent out.
This offer is only open to anyone buying direct through fishheadsclub.com and not available on any purchases on Amazon and will be made available when I have the definitive delivery dates on the new titles.
Track list /credits Moveable Feast
Karlsruhe, Substage 25th October 2013
- Perfume River ( Dick, Vantsis) 10.46
- Feast of Consequences (Dick Vantsis, Boult) 4.48
- Script for a Jester’s Tear (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Pointer) 9.54
- Dark Star (Dick, Vantsis) 7.45
- All Loved Up (Dick, Vantsis, Boult) 5.04
- What Colour is God? (Dick, Wilson) 6.36
- Blind to the Beautiful (Dick, Vantsis, Boult) 9.35
- Mr 1470 (Dick, Paterson, Boult) 6.02
- He Knows You Know (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Minnett, Jelliman, Pointer) 6.12
1 Crucifix Corner (Dick, Paterson) 7.48
2 The Gathering (Dick, Paterson) 4.32
3 Thistle Alley (Dick, Vantsis, Boult) 6.33
4 Assassing (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley) 2.29
5 Credo (Dick, Simmonds, Usher, Boult) 3.52
6 Tongues (Dick, Simmonds, Usher , Boult) 2.54
7 Assassing (reprise) (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley) 3.29
8 Drum solo
9 Fugazi (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley) 1.58
10 White Feather (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley) 2.09
11 View From a Hill (Dick, Gers) 2.37
12 Freaks (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley) 5.10
13 Lucky (Dick, Simmonds, Boult) 8.26
14 The Company (Dick, Simmonds) 5.13
All songs Fishy Music Ltd/ Copyright control except
CD1 tracks 3/9 and CD 2 tracks 4/7/9/10 Charisma Music Publishing Ltd/ EMI Music Publishing Ltd
Fish – Vocals, Foss Paterson – Keyboards, Robin Boult – Guitars, Steve Vantsis –Bass, Gavin Griffiths – Drums
Wurzburg, Posthalle 29th October 2014
1 Perfume River (Dick, Vantsis) 11.33
2 Feast of Consequences (Dick, Vantsis, Boult) 4.24
3 Manchmal (Dick, Vantsis) 5.39
4 Arc of the Curve (Dick, Vantsis) 5.43
5 High Wood (Dick, Paterson) 5.17
6 Crucifix Corner (Dick, Paterson) 7.25
7 The Gathering (Dick, Paterson) 4.30
8 Thistle Alley (Dick, Paterson, Boult) 6.40
9 The Leaving (Dick, Paterson) 5.10
1 Slainthe Mhath (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley) 5.26
2 Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors (Dick, Simmonds) 14.12
3 Big Wedge (Dick, Simmonds) 6.09
4 Heart of Lothian (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley) 4.38
5 Incubus (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley) 10.20
6 The Company (Dick, Simmonds) 4.59
All songs Fishy Music Ltd/ Copyright control except
CD2 tracks 1/4/5 Charisma Music Publishing Ltd/ EMI Music Publishing Ltd
Fish – Vocals, John Beck – Keyboards, Robin Boult – Guitars, Steve Vantsis –Bass, Gavin Griffiths – Drums
Original live recordings from the sound desk sourced and mixed by Shaun Rogers
Additional engineering and sound enhancement Steve Vantsis
Mastered by Calum Malcolm
Artwork compiled and designed by Mark Wilkinson
Field of Crows Credits October 2016
1 The Field (Dick, Watson) 8.48
2 Moving Targets (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 5.45
3 The Rookie (Dick, Watson) 5.33
4 Zoo Class (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 5.26
5 The Lost Plot (Dick, Turrell) 5.15
6 Old Crow (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 5.21
7 Numbers (Dick, Watson, Usher) 5.39
8 Exit Wound (Dick, Watson) 5.58
9 Innocent Party (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 7.41
10 Shot the Craw (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 6.21
11 Scattering Crows (Dick, Watson, Turrell, Duguid) 5.08
Recorded at the Studio, Haddington, East Lothian Autumn 2003
Engineered by Elliot Ness Re Mixed by Chris Kimsey 2014
Fish – lead vocal
Bruce Watson- guitars and e bow .Frank Usher- guitars, slide guitar
Steve Vantsis- bass Mark Brzezicki- drums and percussion
Tony Turrell- keyboards Dave Haswell- percussion
Danny Gillan – backing vocals on 1/2/3/4/6/11
Richard Sidwell- trumpet and flugel horn on 1/4/6/8/10
Steve Hamilton- Saxophone on 1/4/6/8/10
Irvin Duguid- clavinet on 6
Yatta and Lars K Lande crowd vocal on 1
1 The Lost Plot (demo) (Dick, Turrell) 6.20
2 Scattering Crows (demo) (Dick, Watson, Turrell, Duguid) 4.59
3 The Field (demo) (Dick, Watson) 8.46
4 The Rookie (live 2004) (Dick, Watson) 5.41
5 Moving Targets (live 2004) (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 6.14
6 Innocent Party (live 2004) (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 6.46
7 Zoo Class (live 2004) (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 5.06
8 Numbers (live 2004) (Dick, Watson, Usher) 5.55
9 Old Crow (live 2004) (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 5.34
10 The Lost Plot (live 2004) (Dick, Turrell) 6.18
Tracks 4/5/6/7/8 recorded live at Bilston Robin 18/2/04
Lead Vocals – Fish
Guitars- Frank Usher and Bruce Watson Keyboards- Tony Turrell
Drums – Winston McGilvray Bass- Steve Vantsis
Backing vocals and acoustic guitar- Danny Gillan
Tracks 9/10 recorded live at Oslo Rockefeller 5/3/04
Lead vocals- Fish
Guitars- Andy Trill and Bruce Watson Keyboards- Tony Turrell
Drums – Winston McGilvray Bass- Steve Vantsis
Backing vocals and acoustic guitar- Danny Gillan
1 The Field (live acoustic 2006) (Dick, Watson) 8.19
2 Shot the Craw (live acoustic 2006)(Dick, Watson, Duguid) 5.23
3 The Lost Plot (live acoustic 2006) (Dick, Turrell) 4.53
4 Scattering Crows (live acoustic 2006) (Dick, Watson, Turrell, Duguid) 5.22
5 Innocent Party (live 2005) (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 5.08
6 Moving Targets (live 2005) (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 7.08
7 The Rookie (live 2004) (Dick, Watson) 5.56
8 Zoo Class (Live 2004) (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 5.01
9 Numbers (live 2004) (Dick, Watson, Usher, Duguid) 5.36
10 Moving Targets (live 2004) (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 5.42
11 Innocent Party (live 2004) (Dick, Watson, Duguid) 7.08
Tracks 1/2/3/4 recorded live at St Mary’s Church, Haddington 26/8/06 (originally released on ‘Communion’ album) engineered, mixed and produced by Calum Malcolm
Fish – lead vocal
Guitars -Frank Usher and Andy Trill Keyboards – Tony Turrell
Steve Vantsis – Bass Gavin Griffiths – drums
Dave Haswell – percussion
Backing vocals – Angela Gordon, Anne Marie Helder and Heather Findlay
Tracks 5/6 Amsterdam Paradiso 15/11/05 (originally released on ‘Return to Childhood DVD) mixed and produced by Calum Malcolm
Lead Vocals – Fish Guitars Frank Usher and Andy Trill
Keyboards- Tony Turrell Steve Vantsis – bass John Tonks – drums backing vocals – Deborah Ffrench
Tracks 7/8/9/10/11 recorded at Bradford Town and Country Club 6/4/2004 (original released on ‘Scattering Crows’ DVD)
Engineered by Chris Archer, Elliot Ness, mixed and produced by Elliot Ness
Fish – lead vocal
Guitars- Frank Usher and Bruce Watson Keyboards – Tony Turrell
Bass – Steve Vantsis Drums – John Tonks
Backing Vocals and acoustic guitar – Danny Gillan
All 3 CD’s mastered by Calum Malcolm 2015