I’m having a pretty interesting week since returning from Sweden Rock. (Fantastic festival by the way, and we played a great show). I’d managed to stop off in the U.K. and stabilize some rather alarming occurrences with my 96 year old mother Ruby. It was all to do with how the ‘care business’ for the aged, which I’ve now found out, sometimes works against the greater good, exploiting the interests of people in care, as well as those of their families.
You see, my dear old mum decided to take a week’s respite in a nice care home but was ‘encouraged’ by an administrator to simply stay on (at great personal cost), which she wasn’t fully cognizant of, having just received a diagnosis for vascular dementia. The administrator of this facility, gave me a hard-core and alarming sales pitch telling me that my mother only had ‘weeks to live.’ After this jaw dropping piece of news, I was then informed that should my mother’s finances be depleted before she herself expired, this illustrious facility “would never throw anyone out on the streets.” Their exact words, not mine. Yeah, right. There are some pretty manipulative and coercive people running what is now a huge industry in the U.K. and U.S.A. no doubt.
Anyway, Ruby is now rocking on, and way more happy back in her brand new apartment with some real professional and honest caring folks, together with frequent visits by yours truly as well as other family members. I know this is an issue for many of our fans out there, as their own parents are aging or dealing with diseases like Alzheimers and dementia, so that’s why I mention it. On the positive side, we also had a big family reunion in the U.K. around this time, with family members coming from as far afield as Australia. That was a tonic for dear old Ruby, I can tell you. At the end of the day, nothing beats, or is a substitute for family.
I also had another reality check. This time from two dear fans of ours, twin sisters in the States, who've followed the band in all its incarnations, since the early 1970s. We’d kept in touch over the years but recently they let me know, in no uncertain terms, that they were suddenly deeply upset by some political posts I’d been putting on my OWN personal Facebook page. It made me sit up and think about how the current political climate is dividing friends, families and now fans, it seems.
Everyone by now, knows that I’m a dyed in the wool social democrat with capitalistic leanings. My dad was a total socialist, verging on communist, going so far as to believe that money was the root of all evil (he had a point). So naturally, in my early twenties, wanting to rebel against all of this, as you do, my politics became slightly right of Attila the Hun, figuring that each man or woman was a self realized entity in charge of their own outcome with no need of a social parachute or ‘nanny state’ to help weather the storms of life. In fact, I’ve never even particularly bought into the idea of national boundaries and phony patriotism, to be honest. However, after building a family and a business and learning a bit more about the ways of the world, I’ve become much more of a centrist. People change, I guess.
Most people will know that the current Trump administration just nauseates me BUT of course I realize the huge divide and disconnect between the educated liberal elites and what used to be called the middle class in this country (the USA) and how the Trump phenomenon has come about. We also shouldn’t forget the role that technology and globalization has played in all the disenfranchisement that people are now feeling. Big forces are currently in play and just don’t get me going on Brexit.
These aforementioned fans are not the only folks I’ve fallen out with by having the temerity to air my beliefs. I’ve ceased relations with in particular, two non music-related, so-called friends, because they felt it wasn’t my place to speak out. Hey, I KNOW it’s been the same for many of you out there too. This is big stuff! On the other hand, I’m also in the ‘business of music’ and I simply had to take on board the fact that many people don’t have the same political beliefs as me and in this case, with my ‘sisters of mercy’, who are delightful people btw, I was told in no uncertain terms, that our music would never again be listened to by one of them. O.K. fair enough - c’est la vie. I have broad shoulders. Your choice, BUT in thinking on it, Wishbone Ash has numerous social media sites and at least two websites where the commentary really IS just about the music. Please go there.
So, unless I’m gonna be a Leonardo DiCaprio or someone, and dedicate all my waking hours to the environment, politics and the state of the world (which I’m not), I’ve decided to take the advice of my sisters and back off with the political rants. I don’t want to take on these battles. My views will always be my views but my real focus has to be the band and our music. To that end, this week I’ve been working on some new material and building up a little home studio in order to get some ideas recorded. I’ll just let the music do the talking. Politics can take a back seat for the time being - until it just won’t. I certainly enjoy healthy debate and in this particular case, with the old ‘friends' not the sisters, things got very personal and unnecessarily ugly and I realized that ultimately, these are some friends that I could do without.
Good thing too, because I’m now at working with my son Aynsley on 4 or 5 songs for a solo project. (You can hear some of his input on Ash tunes from the Blue Horizon CD like Take It Back and American Century). I’ll vent my spleen in these new songs. Just joking - most likely this project won’t be fully realized for a year, since I have to fit it in when the schedule permits. It is inspiring me though, at present.
It was the summer solstice a couple of days ago. I really hope you all can dive into summer with joy and peace. By all accounts it’s already hotter than ever for my friends in the U.K. and most definitely for my friends in Arizona. That’s on another level.
Dates are going up all the while on our website and for those asking about us appearing in the western U.S. states, we’ve decided to work those into our schedule for next Spring. Oh yes, and I’ve been promised some Canadian dates for September 2017 so we’ll let you know when those are firm. I’ve got some fun personal musical events coming up which you can read about on the new andypowellmusic.com website and these will include checking out concerts by Eric Gales, Bill Frisell, Paul McCartney and believe it or not, Rammstein tonight, at Jones Beach. I like variety in my musical diet. A few of my U.K. friends are having a wonderful time at the Glastonbury Festival this weekend. Ain’t music great?
Toodle Pip ~ A.P.
Postcript: I just called Ruby and she was busy trying to find a live broadcast of the Glastonbury Festival on TV. Rock On! She’s going to be just fine.