The breakfast room looked like a casualty clearing station. I wasn’t too bad and Simone and I sat down with Mickey and Sarah for our first breakfast together in a very long time. The other tables were scattered with band, crew and friends, most in distressed states like Muppets in a blender. I was glad I’d kept it toned down and my voice felt surprisingly open and clear. It was 10am and rehearsals / sound check were scheduled for 11 with 12 doors again. Another gauntlet of events to run but It was better paced today. Rehearsals were with Steve Vantsis as again we had new tracks that needed working over as it had been a while since we played them for the first time up at the studio 3 weeks before! “Feast of Consequences” had been originally scheduled for it’s debut on Saturday but I felt it was maybe a song too far and had stuck to the 2. The other new one up for Sunday was “The Other Side of Me”. I knew there would be some awkward moments ahead.
I’d decided to wear my new T-shirt that I’d been given by Paul Bennett the day before. He wanted me to wear one of his designs from his Mr B Was Framed range of shirts. I thought it a perfect design for the Sunday – “The Death Bear!” 🙂
We decided to walk down to the Assembly rooms and take in some fresh air. Down the tree lined avenues, across the empty park to the leaf strewn iron footbridge and into the back stage area to be greeted by familiar faces. The post mortem on the Saturday had been overwhelmingly positive with our rendition of “Grendel” and “Crucifix Corner” singled out for high marks. I knew we had another breathless set list for this night. First task of the day was rehearsals and we spent a bit of time trying to get rid of the bass traps on stage that had caused some wobbling the night before. A bit of twiddling and turning down alleviated the problem but that time ate into the rehearsals. “Feast of Consequences” was slightly shambolic but memories recovered enough to render a passable version before we climbed into “The Other Side of Me”. I still have a couple of issues with this song but this was not time for engine rebuilds and we agreed to take a running jump at it later that night. Doors slipped back a few minutes. Green light! … Continue Reading
Outside my bedroom window I heard familiar voices. Dave Barras and Scott Mackay, the director and writers of “Electric Man” were unloading a similarly familiar vehicle, the pick up truck I’d driven as “Uncle Jimmy” in the movie and which belonged to Scott. It was a wreck then and hadn’t improved with age. An exchange of haranguing and “witty banter” resulted in Scott having me unknowingly pose for his camera at the window, clad only in a towel, above a sign for the hotel restaurant which read “The Fat Knight” and suitably posted the photo on his Facebook pages immediately thereafter! Touché! They were both knackered after a long drive South and were unloading the new “Electric Man” DVDs and T-shirts just as a beleaguered Foss stalked purposefully past in a style I recognised from the Fishheads Club tour. The forward leaning slouch indicating he was late for sound check and that the previous evening had not been an early one as betrayed by a grey pallor and slightly misplaced hair. Yatta had told me to take my time getting down to the venue as the check was going slow.
A smuggled coffee and then a taxi with Dave and Scott landed us at the backstage door. The downstairs dressing room was a hive of activity like the bowels of a ship at the end of a voyage as boxes of merchandise were stacked and shifted upstairs to the venue, people clambering up the stairs and into the elevator to the main room where musicians readied their gear and tables were groaning with T-shirts being folded, counted and piled while Shaun rang out the PA . Steve Vantsis had arrived and was distinctly nervous. Doors were scheduled for midday and it was already 11 with no stage sounds of note taking shape. I sallied round the hall greeting members of the old guard. Sandy and Judith Fearfull, Hutch, Lou, Elspeth, Gregor all helping out with the merch stalls, haberdashers for the event and who would be joined by others over the weekend as a frenzy developed especially around the bargains table as we jettisoned reams of old shirts at knockdown prices. Chris had come to terms with the lighting desk and Shaun was tweaking merrily, grunting away, focused on the dwindling time. Yatta had his serious look about him and I decided after consulting with my main man that perhaps it was better for me to go in search of breakfast and strong coffee. I wasn’t needed as yet.
Across the road from the backstage door the “Jug and Jester” was already jumping as Simone and I crept into a nearby cafe for a couple of takeaway bacon and egg baps. I bumped into a few people I knew and friendly welcomes and small talk in passing started to create the vibe I remembered. As we waited on our breakfast rolls we got into conversation with a couple of brothers up from the deep South West and questions over the set lists were ducked with a wry smile! Taking on water and Costa coffee at the supermarket across the road it was then a retiral to the sanctuary of the dressing room and the last few moments of relative tranquillity before the assault began. … Continue Reading
Just after 9am on Friday we passed through Galashiels in the packed estate car and descended into mist where the A7 skirted the river Tweed. The market square with my lyrics to “Kayleigh” carved in cold damp limestone behind us and perhaps an omen missed as Elspeth and I headed South towards the border.
Shaun was driving the “clown carrier” and picking up Frank Usher and Gavin Dickie after collecting Foss Paterson and Gregor Firth so was already well out of my mirrors. We were all fully loaded with gear and merchandise and even had to send overflow bags with Hutch on the train. It was a laden caravan and I was running point.
The signal of Radio Scotland started to break up as we wound our way slowly through the border valleys in low visibility guided by the taillights of impassable trucks and wary cars stacked in unwanted convoys.
A scene of fresh wreckage washed by spinning blue lights of recently arrived emergency vehicles, our second of the journey, reminded me not to gamble on the pedals.
The weather wouldn’t break until Carlisle. … Continue Reading
2 F’s with 2 T’s . Rehearsals. “Feast of Consequences” title track in workable playable order for Lemmers.
The “Daleks” are as pointed out extractor fans from the flat roof at the back of the house. They were used when it was a fully functioning commercial studio to move fresh air around the building and into the booths on the North side of the building.
They had brick surrounds as when we opened up the place to record “Internal Exile” with Chris Kimsey producing we kept on hearing low range hums that we couldn’t identify.Turned out it was the wind blowing under the unit’s cowling so we made low brick structures around them.It did the trick. … Continue Reading
The Fishheads Club Live DVD will be ready for the convention and on sale here in the next 2 weeks. I have decided to keep the price as low as I could given the present circumstances and balancing that against the production/recording costs.
It will be priced at £24.99 inc VAT for a double DVD with close to 4 hours of material from the Derby gig Dec 2010 and the Spittalrig studio sessions March 2012.
DVD1 Live at University of Derby Faculty of the Arts December 13th 2010
State of Mind
Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors
Punch and Judy
Out of my Life
A Gentleman’s Excuse me
Produced and directed by Russell Cherrington
Live sound engineering Shaun Rogers
Mixed and produced by Calum Malcolm
DVD 2 The Spittalrig Studio sessions 10th/11th March 2012 (recorded live in front of an invited audience)
State of Mind
Jump Suit City
Punch and Judy
Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors
A Gentleman’s Excuse me
Torch song/Slainthe Mhath
Just Good Friends
Produced and directed by Andy Gamble and Jeff Cousins, AVP Media Ltd
sound engineering, mixed and produced by Calum Malcolm
The studio sessions also contain an interview which introduces nearly every song as well as thoughts on the tour.
Mark Wilkinson has as always done a fine job with the artwork and design.
It has an 8 page booklet with my introduction and photos.
It’s not the box set we’d hoped for but these 2 DVD’s give a pretty good representation of the Fishheads vibe! 🙂
I hope you like it.
Big rocks moving this week and can see a chink of blue from within the cave I have been in for too long and which has not been a healthy space as I was really feeling the pressure.
To be honest I took on far too much and was finding it too hard to break down the mountains as more boulders seemed to pile up as soon as I shifted one out the way.
I made some tough decisions.
I talked openly with Calum Malcolm yesterday about the album schedule. It had been worrying me and close friends had noticed just how stressed out I was becoming as I sought advice and opinions on the situation.We have decided to put the album recording back to February for a release in mid-May on the front edge of the UK tour. … Continue Reading
The Fishheads acoustic gig at St Mary’s Church on Friday is still on as that area is unaffected and as the Tyne “empties” quickly there will be no problems and no canoes or arks required. You won’t need wellies:-)
Meeting pre and post gig at the Tyneside tavern and on Saturday at 2pm Paul Kinnoch is providing a complimentary BBQ for those of you visiting the town for the gig this weekend at the Plough tavern.The Fishheads acoustic gig at St Mary’s Church on Friday is still on as that area is unaffected and as the Tyne “empties” quickly there will be no problems and no canoes or arks required. You won’t need wellies:-) … Continue Reading
Just wanted to let you guys and gals know that the new Fish T-Shirts have arrived at the studio and will be on sale in the Fish shop on Monday.
Check them out here – beautifully modelled by the lovely Fish.