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Fishy View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Fish - future, past & present (Nov 06)
    Posted: November 14 2006 at 14:17

As I write, the last leg of the “return to childhood” tour is coming to an end. Even though I had watched this show earlier this year, I went to see it again.

 I realised this was an evening full of nostalgia but I was shamelessly enjoying every single part of it. This gig was divided in two parts. One part being a sort of best of Fish’ solo works, the second part was Misplaced Childhood in its entirety followed by “Fugazi” as an encore. The band did an excellent performance of the Marillion music. When compared to the original versions, the sound of the music was rough with the guitars of Frank Usher and Andy Trill on the fore. Some vocal parts were adjusted to Fish’ vocal capabilities but it didn’t spoil the fun. In fact,  Fish’ voice was in better shape during the Marillion tracks than it was during the first part of the show. Fortunately, Fish’ released an excellent DVD package of this tour, two months ago.

 

In the past I did several interview sessions with Fish. I’m sure you’ll notice this guy is an interesting bloke. He loves to share his ideas about world politics, his career and his songs. Even though this tour was a celebration of the Misplaced Childhood album, I knew Fish doesn’t like to talk too much about Marillion. I didn’t mind that as I happen to find his latest studio releases exceptional. Though the albums “Fellini days” and “Fields of crows” didn’t receive much of attention at the time of release, there’s some fabulous songs to discover….  

 

1. How is the tour going ?

 

It’s going really well. It’s not really a kind of a tour like it use to be. This whole “return to childhood” tour is fragmented. One of the principle reasons is that I’ve got a 15 year old daughter. I’m a single parent which means I’ve got to spend a lot of time being a father rather than a musician. So, I’m going away for two or three weeks at the time. This is great because when I go away, I want to go away. I’m looking forward to get on the bus and to get on the stage. I’m not away long enough that I’m getting jaded ; I’m not getting cynical ; I’m not getting tired of the material. It’s quite refreshing. My production manager doesn’t like the way I do it but I’m enjoying myself. My voice is well. I mean, going away for 2 or 3 weeks, you’re not away long enough that you’re wearing out ;  you’re not doing damage. There’s nothing worse than to be on a 3 months tour and if you’re getting over 2 months, you’re really fighting to keep yourself together. Now I don’t have that which is cool.

So the tour is successful, the band performances have been great, I’ve not been having that for years.

 

2. Was it the intention to tour for 2 years ?

 

No, it just kind of  happened like that.  I  didn’t think the tour would be successful, I didn’t think there would be such a demand for the tour. It’s been really good. We managed to get my profile re-established in Europe again. Even in the UK, I’ve done more shows in the UK than I’ve done for years. This is the last two weeks of the “return to childhood” tour. Then we call it a day. We go into the studio in January & start working on the new album. I don’t really know what we will be doing yet but it will happen.

 

3. Are you planning other tours with Marillion stuff ?

 

2007 is the twentieth anniversary of the “Clutching at straws” album. So after I released the new album, we will tie that with the CAS material on the live shows. It’s good to have several people introduced to the new album. It’s good to use the past in a positive way. There’s going to be a good balance between the two era’s. Like I said, CAS is probably my favourite Marillion album. It ’ll be fun to do it and play it again. The Marillion guys are quite happy with it. Every time “Kayleigh”  is been played on the radio they get another couple of Euros….We’re all professional musicians. I’m 48 now and when it comes down to it, if you continue to win money of old albums and older songs and playing them the way we do which is quite refreshing, you’re also re-introducing younger people to that kind of music. It’s the same way when I wanted to see Roger Waters to play “The dark side of the moon” again, I really wanted to see him play that and it was wonderful, I had a great night. The bottom line is that it’s entertainment, people want to be entertained. They buy concert tickets to be entertained. It’s good to find a balance between the song that you want to play and the song that the audience is wanting to hear. 

 

4. It’s been more than 20 years ago since “Misplaced Childhood” was released. Can you still identify with the album ?

 

Yeah, I identify completely with that album. It was a very important album for Marillion. It was an important period in my life as a person, not a musician. There’s a lot of my soul in that album.

 

5. How was the public reaction to an album like “Fellini days”

 

The problem’s been that I didn’t have the impact on distribution. Now I got a better impact, not a great one but a better impact. It really helped being with Snapper. People still discover these older albums on my website. A lot of people still buying albums like “Raingods with zippos”, “Sunsets on empire”, they’re all moving…This suggests that there’s al lot of people that are rediscovering me as a solo artist and that’s important. That’s what you really try to do, it’s not just one album, it’s reintroduce yourself through the entire back catalogue. In the same way that when a new James Bond movie comes out and you run to the DVD store ; you’ll find all the JB movies there. I mean that’s what it’s all about.

 

6. What do you mean with “so Fellini” ?

 

Fellini was involved in a kind of new surrealism. If you watch a Fellini movie like “Amarcord” you’ll see all of these surreal moments that happen. When you’re on tour there’s also lots of surreal moments we call Fellini moments.  A Fellini day is a whole collection of Fellini moments. A cluster of them. I love that song, I love singing that song, it’s great. If someone like “Nickelback” released it, it would have had a better impact, I’m sure….Maybe someday somebody’s is going to cover my songs and they will be recognised.

 

7. On each album  you work with different musicians. Is this the intention ?

 

No, It depends on who’s available. It may be great to keep the same guys around but people move in and move out. Take my previous drummer, Neneh Cherry comes along and she can offer him a contract where he can work 4 days each week. What do you do ? You got to let the guy go, I can’t beat such an offer. What do you have to do is make sure you got other people coming up to replace them that are equally as good. That’s the way I work. I accept that I will never be able to keep a band together full time. At the same time it’s interesting cause the chemistry of the writing and the performance changes. That’s one of the problems you’re having when you’re in a band for a long time like Marillion or U2. When you got the same 4 or 5 people there all the time. Every few years you’re going to write an album, what are you going to bring in the game here?  It’s all Yin & Yang. You’re always searching for people. You’re always losing people and this is sad. At the same time you find other areas and different energies.

 

8. You will be playing “moving targets” tonight. What’s the story behind that ?

 

It has become one of the bands favourites. Originally the “Field of crows” album was going to be a conceptual album about a kid that was living in the woods and brought up by a hunter. His only contact with the world is through a TV set. It’s about how he watches things in the way the news media betray of what is going on. And he decides when the hunter dies, he should go into the city. And he does that and starts shooting on people. It’s about how he became an assassin like that. He gets trapped and he eventually killed himself and that was going to be the concept of the album. “Moving targets” was about the first time that he was in the city. Everyone he meets becomes a target. It’s very creepy.  It was a very creepy concept and therefore it was too dangerous to do it. As an album concept it would have been very easy to get misunderstood. It could have been seen as promoting that kind of behaviour. Initially it was a film script, it wasn’t even an album. So we let it go…. “moving targets” is what’s left of that concept.

 

9. Another song you will be playing tonight is “innocent party”….

 

It’s about people who do things and afterwards ask themselves : what have I done ? There’s a political edge as well. The invasion of Iraq, the invasion of Afghanistan, the cultural clash that exists between the east and the west at this moment of time. And you’ve got people like George Bush who introduces the idea of terrorists coming to America. There’s two sides at this story, one from the east and one from the west. The west is having an incredibly arrogant perspective at this moment of where the terrorism actually lies. I find it ironic that during the 9/11 memorial service, there was a fire brigade pipe band and they were playing a song which was called “The rising of the moon”. That is an Irish republican song, an Irish revolutionary song. Now you must know that the Americans supplied money for the IRA. The IRA were a terrorist outfit. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and that is a fact. It’s a dangerous area to talk about. I just find some of the statement that are made regarding terrorism repulsive : bombing civilians, making civilians targets in a war. It’s repulsive. It’s very easy to try to make someone whiter than white but there’s nobody whiter there. There are no innocent parties. America is very guilty of meddling in other people affairs and their Iraq history before the gulf war is not something that a lot of American politicians like to discuss. You can’t just sit down and say Saddam is a terrible person. He was a horrible person, he did terrible things. But look what happens to Iraq now, it’s just as bad as Saddam Houssein. It’s the money that’s involved in the back that I find the most disturbing. People talk about democracy but when you got Palestine. There’s a democratic elected government in Palestine and suddenly the American governments is saying : “we don’t recognise them”. But the majority of the people voted for this government !  I thought, wait a minute you say you’re promoting democracy in the middle east but once there’s a democratic elected government , you don’t recognise it because it doesn’t suit what you want. I’d say stop f**king about other countries. Respect other cultures.

 

“Innocent parties” is about the fact that we have been pulled in a war that has been created for us that we didn’t want. In Britain the majority of the people didn’t want to participate in the Iraq war but the government said that we would. The American government lied about weapons of mass destruction and about the reasons for going to the war. A lot of boys died in uniform because somebody lied. At the same time in an underground station in London people are being killed because we’re no longer innocent parties. We’ve all lost our innocence because the decisions from the last 5 or 10 years.

 

10. What do you mean with “Field of crows” ?

 

“The field of crows” title is based on a painting of “Van Gogh”. It was about a field that was at the back of the studio where I use to live.  When I was going through times of great stress,  I used to go walking through the field and just thinking, looking at the world. That “Van Gogh” painting always had a great effect on me. It was one of the last paintings he ever did. It was about a journey, about suicide, about life and death, …. That painting was a great inspiration. I love Van Gogh.

 

11. When compared to other albums of your back catalogue, Field of crows seems very balanced…

 

“Internal exile” was a mishmash of an album, great songs but as an album it didn’t really work. I really didn’t know of what direction I was going in. “Suits” was getting the car started again, getting to move again. From that point on through “Sunsets” and “Raingods” we ‘ve been creating a momentum again. A lot of people can rediscover what I’m doing and people appreciate what I’ve done. “Bouillabaisse”, my best of album was a good album to bring out to try to consolidate my career, my catalogue.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 14 2006 at 15:37

Nice to hear Fish is planning a new album.

 

thanks for sharing fishy

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 14 2006 at 23:22
Thank you for this lengthy interview. It's good to know that next he will be playing Clutching at Straws material. In its entirety I hope. Personally I would hope to hear some more (or all) tracks from Fugazi on his gigs one day too, but I think I'm daydreaming now.
Really interesting to read about Fish' political views as well, especially when I happen to share them.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 16 2006 at 13:06
Interviews with Fish are always interesting. He is a man of many sides - not only charismatic and entertaining front figure. In his best moments he writes fantastic lyrics about all things in life - love, politics and views on life.
Haven´t seen the Return-tour but will most likely buy the DVD soon.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 19 2006 at 17:11
A very interesting interview, thanks Fishy. My respect for Fish has increased from hearing what he has to say on many things.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2006 at 11:49
Great stuff Fishy!Clap
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2006 at 22:01

I thought the Fish wasn't going to record anymore albums! This is excellent news. I was quite surprised that he addressed Internal Exile and it's chopped-together feel, he's an intelligent fellow though.

Great work, Fishy!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2006 at 09:35
Great news, CAS is an excellent album, much better than Misplaced Childhood IMO. I wonder whether we have to wait until 2009 to hear the whole Fugazi though... or maybe till 2008 to hear Script...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2006 at 09:36
I mean to hear them live obviously Smile
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