Sunsets on Empire, Raingods With Zippos, Fellini Days and Field of Crows are now available in the Fish Shop!
After discussion with James Cassidy I’ve decided to forego the remix of the ‘Suits’ album. The original intention was for James himself to remix but he was honest enough to admit that he’s “ring rusty” when it comes to engineering and producing having been working in artist management for over 15 years now. It was put forward that a 3rd party should take over the mixes but I thought that defeated the purpose as in all honesty the original album works well and a polish in the remaster suite by Calum Malcolm will more than freshen it up.
Another factor was cost and with all the reel to reel tapes having to be transferred and a new engineer, unfamiliar with the album working without tracking sheets in a mixing studio in London the budget was far exceeding what the project could afford. It was becoming a step into the unknown and the question was whether the new mixes would bring something really worthwhile to the table. James and I decided it didn’t make sense.We would be tinkering with something that didn’t really need tinkering with.
The remastered original album with the B sides on CD1 is a good chunk of material and I have the following to use on Cd2 and3.
Suits CD2 Demos
Somebody Special 4.25 April 92
Pipeline 6.18 April 92
Out of My Life 3.39 May 92
Mr 1470 4.26 May 92
Pipeline 7.10 May 92
Somebody Special 4.21 June 92
Raw Meat 4.44 June 92
Lady Let it Lie 5.16 Summer93
Bandwagon 3.30 Summer93
Mr 1470 6.10 Summer93
Jumpsuit City 4.44 Summer 93
Somebody Special 5.08 Summer 93
Emperors Song 6.13 Summers 93
Lady Let it Lie 5.55 radio session, Haddington 7/94
Suits CD3 Live Versions
Mr 1470 6.30 Haddington Convention 28/5/94
Fortunes of War 6.27 Haddington Convention 28/5/94
Somebody Special 4.46 Waterfront, Norwich 21/6/94
Black Canal 7.04 Schuurr Club, Lucerne 28/11/95
Jumpsuit City 5.09 Schuurr Club, Lucerne 28/11/95
Pipeline 7.31 Schuurr Club, Lucerne 28/11/95
Emperors Song 5.52 Krakow P1 studios 11/10/95
Lady Let it Lie 6.05 Krakow P1 studios 11/10/95
Jumpsuit City 5.30 Haddington St Mary’s Church 26/8/06
Fortunes of War 6.37 Haddington St Mary’s Church 26/8/06
Raw Meat 9.55 the Blue Note, Poznan 30/3/2011
I think the overall selection and the wealth of really good demo material makes the remaster release special and following the format of the other releases it will have extensive sleeve notes and photos in the hardback book.
I’m starting writing the sleevenotes in the coming weeks and doing last minute searches of the archives just in case there’s any more wee gems around.
I have to admit it’s been interesting going through the fanzines and old notes on both this and ‘Songs From the Mirror’ as both projects ran consecutively and it was a very important period in my career when I moved from major labels to being independent with the Dick Bros label.I hope you find it as interesting as well.
This tour in December is the beginning of a tour that will stretch well into next year. I will be playing Europe from June onwards with more UK dates added in the Autumn. My German agent is working on dates in the next months and will take offers that make sense for us to play.
Some people keep on asking about Ireland. The last time I played in Dublin on the Fishheads Club tour I pulled less than 150 people, the last time I played Belfast on the same tour I had about the same attendance. These numbers do not support a full electric tour and as I have as yet had no offers from Irish promoters it is highly unlikely at this point that I will get over the water. I’m sorry, this isn’t through choice.
There is talk at the moment about a South American tour next September but it all comes down to numbers and if they support all the logistics, wages, travel etc etc that a tour there requires.
It’s the same in North America where the bureaucracy and legal requirements are so overwhelming, the distances so huge and the costs so high it’s extremely difficult if not impossible to make sense of that commitment.It’s all very well a couple of people writing from a city asking for a gig but the promoters/ the venues and I need a lot more people to make sense of the numbers to make a show happen and on the last North American tour the numbers weren’t that great and promoters when asked a couple of years ago about a return tour declined or reduced offers.
I remember on the ‘Moveable Feast’ tour there was “uproar” among Spanish fans here when I wasn’t going to replace the Madrid and Barcelona shows that had been postponed. I made the effort and the Circus drove hundreds of miles over 4 days to make them happen. I played to less than 750 people across the 2 cities and barely broke even even with merch.
I can’t afford to take chances, the promoters can’t afford to lose money, the venues want safe bets in the main and I have to be realistic no matter how much either I or a few dedicated fans want a show to happen in a particular city.
If I won Euro millions and could afford a ‘busman’s holiday’ where it didn’t really matter if I lost money on a gig then I’m sure I could play in places I’ve always wanted to visit and spend time in without the extreme stress of keeping a circus financially operational and nearly losing my house as I have come close to in the past.
Until then I am in the hands of an agent who gathers deals that make sense, pay the wages and the bills and puts me in decent venues in front of hopefully full houses on a tour routing that doesn’t require me to be sitting on a bus for days between shows.
Please try and understand what it takes to operate a tour and everything that’s involved. ‘Feast of Consequences’ sold around 25 000 copies worldwide. For an independent label in this day and age that’s pretty good going and I was happy with the result.
But put that in perspective. If I sold that many in North America alone a tour there may have had a chance. I didn’t. Most of those sales were in Europe and even in some countries there I struggle to get gigs.
I’m not complaining as I am pretty happy with my lot and accept where my career is now. I understand some of you are frustrated at not being able to see live shows anywhere near you but I’m sorry there has to be a reality check in there.
I am totally aware of places where I should be playing and places where I want to play but if there are no offers, no promoters and limited demand outside a dedicated but small fan base it will not happen no matter how much people post here and complain.
It’s where it’s at and I accept it and try and do my best to make people happy where I can.I’m 59 now, not that old but old enough to feel the strain of touring and in the last year it’s been a ‘sair fecht’. Be thankful I’m still planning gigs somewhere if not in your immediate neighbourhood.
thanks for all your support now and in the future, it’s sincerely appreciated
All the ‘Misplaced Childhood’ deluxe vinyls now signed, packed and labeled so now we move onto the deluxe CD’s. Only a couple of thousand to deal with! 🙂
Another 25 Vinyls were added to the shop today as we had slightly over ordered to make sure we were covered.There are still some CD deluxe boxes left from our quota from Parlophone but they are running out very fast. As I said before I have no idea when we will be restocked.
Just for the record every preordered album is being signed by myself! 🙂
As I’ve been told by Parlophone that no orders can arrive before the 21st we have to allow the cardboard mountain to accumulate for the next week but as of next Monday orders will be posted to the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan etc.
European orders will be sent out from the 19th and UK orders will be sent Friday 21st onward. That way we should be able to get them to you as soon as possible and stay within the rules.
Please don’t ask when your order will arrive or ask if it’s been sent as I’m sure you will understand this is going to be a complicated mail out with those who ordered first being serviced first. We need to clear the decks here before we can get into answering questions on any orders and fingers crossed we will have very few. Please try and be patient and we will do our best for you.
Some people have had problems with accessing the site due to security questions. The site is secured and has a certificate but for some reason some devices don’t recognise it. John Reid has been working on this issue and it should be sorted tonight. The new web site is well under way with construction and it promises to deliver an entire new experience with a whole load of new features and fixes to help you out, particularly in the mail order shop.
coming together nicely 🙂
I can now announce that the Circus is complete for the December UK Tour.
Gavin Griffiths will be returning to the drum kit with Robin Boult on guitars, Steve Vantsis on bass and John Beck on keyboards.
We will also be joined by Doris Brendel who is singing backing vocals for us on all the shows as well as supporting with her band on 5 gigs. Lazuli are supporting on the other 6 nights.
Our old friend Mark ‘McKinty’ Gordon is taking over as production manager on the road with Yatta now in charge of the tour set up. He’ll be visiting us at some of the gigs on the tour and I’m glad he still has a role in the circus.
Vince O’Malley is background technician, Angus Fearful will be dealing with the projections ( when he gets back from his Australian adventure) and Alastair Lindsay is dealing with out front sound. Andrea Holmes was intended to be with us on merchandise again but that position could be taken up by her husband Adrian ( who’s out working with King Crimson just now) as she sits her driving test for commercial buses this week and if she passes she is taking up a job on her newly adopted island home in the Orkney islands! There’s a BBC Scotland comedy series right there! 🙂
And so one huge log moves down the river and I can turn my attention to writing which begins the week after next when Steve Vantsis and John Beck arrive at the studio to begin the first sessions here.
Only the ‘Misplaced Childhood’ deluxes, the rapidly changing garden, the remasters and their sleevenotes and a few other major hurdles and challenges to deal with in the coming months.
This weekend I will mostly be signing deluxe versions of ‘Misplaced Childhood’
The new poster design from Mark Wilkinson using the image I had always wanted for the front cover of the original album plus a tip of the hat to ‘Weltschmerz’ in the other elements 🙂
We will get banners and larger formats in place on the new website launching in the next months to help promote the tour.
We are now just about sold out of vinyl versions but still have a few CD versions left. Once these are gone I’m not sure when we will be restocked from Parlophone.
I’ve been told we cannot send items out that arrive before the 21st July so we will post overseas orders a few days earlier to comply.
These arrived earlier than expected today. I have to say they look brilliant! Currently signing and packing to get on top of it all right away but waiting to hear from Parlophone when we can officially send them out in the post.
A couple of years back at Cropredy festival I met up with a Welsh artist who over a couple of ales suggested we should get together and he would paint a portrait of me. The years went by and a couple of e mails fluttered in the ether but it wasn’t until this year that i rediscovered a missive and got back in touch.
Steven Allan Griffiths RI came up for a long weekend in May and did a series of pencil drawings as sketches for the portrait.
It was a strange but lovely few days in good company as we discussed ‘Weltschmerz’ and other issues in between him rattling of sketches and impressing all of us with his talent.
He sent me this drawing up last week as an indicator of where he was with the study. I’m really pleased with where it’s going and excited about seeing a finished article.
it’s been a strange last couple of weeks as everything and nothing happened at the same time. It felt like I wasn’t doing anything some days then when I checked the “to-do” list end of day it was scrawled in ticks and added to with an extra “done” list!
The garden took up a lot of time and energy and I’ll deal with that in a “4 Green Fingers” Blog but the business and organisational side was more than just ticking away as a whole plethora of demands butted in.
Dealing with the ‘Misplaced’ releases has been a challenge as numbers changed and grew and I had to keep a firm hold on where our allowances from Parlophone were. Everything sold is covered and I’ve kept back some extras as safeties. I had to remove thew vinyl from sale a couple of times as there were questions on whether I could get extra units.The stock arrives next week and I’ll be scribbling away as Elspeth and Simone stick the units into the new packaging we’ve ordered in that should cover all the bases.We are well prepared.
Steve Vantsis left after a hugely successful time up here and although we didn’t get any writing done we conquered a couple of massive mountains and the rest regarding the remasters.I retired into research mode and burrowed my way into old ‘Company ‘ fanzines as the early 90’s aren’t covered on the website.
The entire era between 92 and 95 is very confusing to write about as ‘Songs from the Mirror’ and ‘Suits’ twist around each other and are in some ways inseparable. Trying to unravel the 2 projects is proving difficult and although I don’t want to duplicate sleeve notes the threads are impossible to ignore.
It hasn’t helped that I am missing Company Fanzine 14 which came out between September 93 and August 94. If anyone has a copy handy can you post below and I will PM you. It’s an important period as that was when I moved on from Brian Lane and went back to self management as well as firing up the Dick Bros Record Company. I know most of it but there’s some dates and events I need to check out.The old fanzines have proved invaluable in filling in some memory gaps so if anyone can copy me with the relevant pages in Issue 14 I’d be grateful.
The 12 track Akai demos from the ‘Vigil’ and ‘Exile’ sessions are now being transferred but I am still looking for the missing reel from the ‘Suit’s’ masters.This is proving the most frustrating issue just now.
Calum Malcolm is set up for recording the 5 new songs for the ‘Mirror’ remaster and we will be working here the first week of October with Calum mixing both that session and the SAS live material in the following weeks.
All things going well ‘Songs from the Mirror’ and the ‘Suits’ remasters will be available at the beginning of December just as the UK tour starts.
Tour rehearsals are currently scheduled for the second and third week of November with a further couple of days and a potential warm up gig immediately before the tour.
I’ve had to accommodate Robin Boult who has sessions with Howard Jones around that time and I want him with us when we go out.
He’ll be joined by John Beck who is coming up to the studio in the summer to start writing with Steve Vantsis and I. Robin will also be involved in between his touring commitments. I’m really glad John is involved in the ‘Weltschmerz’ sessions as I’ve wanted to write with him for a while and I know his experience and huge creative talent will be invaluable to the project.
Yatta is up here in the next few weeks to go through the touring organisation as although he won’t be on the road with me he will be helping with all the background logistics.
Everything is coming together slowly but surely but in all honesty I could have done without the recent health issues.The beta blockers aren’t helpful and the sooner I am off them the better. It feels very unnatural to be calm in moments of turbulence.
It’s not helped that after waiting a month for contact I was told yesterday that my next appointment is scheduled for September 14th with another probable 3 month wait on any surgical remedy. As with my back I can’t hang around as it infringes on the tour. As I haven’t worked a stage since last April I can’t afford to hang around and once again I have to elect for private treatment. With a tax bill that smarted landing in my mailbox yesterday it sticks in my craw that I’m going to have to fork out again for medical treatment if I am going to get back to work.It would be easier to swallow if it was deductible but it’s just going to be yet another unexpected cost this year. Thankfully the Yang to balance it out came in the form of the ‘Misplaced’ issues which you will probably agree has a certain irony to it!
I’ve done a few interviews for Parlophone to support the project and i have to admit it’s been an extra bonus as I’m obviously talking about my own titles and projects as well as the ‘Misplaced’ releases. With recent full page adverts in Prog Magazine and another couple in Classic Rock due in the coming months my profile is bubbling away and the remasters and live albums are still slowly moving out in the post from here.They’ve been aided by a promo campaign in Germany with similar ads in Eclipsed and Goof Times magazines as well as a series of reviews across the board.It’s all been positive.
Mark Wilkinson and I have a very clear idea now on the imagery we want on the ‘Weltschmerz’ album and that is driving my own lyrical ideas. The string for the pearls is being fashioned.
It does feel like the quiet before the storm and there’s a very loud clicking of things falling into place across the board.