I speak for all the band in taking a minute to state our revulsion of the act itself and to pass on our sympathies for the families of those impacted by the Manchester disaster. These are strange times. It’s like being on shifting sands these days. I sometimes wake in the mornings and have the phrase “Abandon All Hope” on my mind, but that’s just playing into the wishes of the perpetrators of these heinous acts, and on the other hand, who am I to think such things when Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis live under totally intolerable situations - actual war? Hope springs eternal.
As writers and commentators, on life in general though, these things simply stop you in your tracks. I remember the difficulty of making sense of 9/11. We were in the studio and producing the Bonafide CD at the time. A lot of bands and writers abandoned projects then. It was simply too overwhelming. For good or for bad, we did not. I thought Ancient Remedy, the song from that album, was a brave attempt to even dare to comment….but in reality, sometimes it’s best not to. The words of that song have once again, particularly resonated with me after Manchester, I must say.
However, gently moving on, a big part of the creative process, is taking that down-time for oneself, to reflect and simply take stock. That’s one thing I’m doing right now. People realize that we’re on the road for about half the year. But after all, what use can you be to anyone; your family, your audience your band mates, unless you settle things with yourself and take that time out to contemplate, meditate, rejuvenate and reinvigorate. That’s my theory and I know others who believe in this.
It’s been a whirlwind of change in the Ash camp, what with Muddy’s departure and our newest recruit, Mark Abrahams, waiting in the wings. I can’t wait for this new phase to kick off in earnest. In the meantime, to aid in the reflective process, (a process that many people view as wasting time), I’ve been fishing. Did some yesterday in fact with Roger Filgate who sends his best wishes. (By the way, for the squeamish, we do throw ‘em back). Afterwards, we even picked up guitars and knocked out some tunes for old times sake. Yes, fishing aids in the meditation on life. I really believe it. In fact Deepak Chopra says that 20 minutes a day, being in nature, is no bad thing. Try it. Walk the dog, plant some flowers, take a walk in the woods. It’s all good. I’ve also been doing yoga and walking a lot too. It helps
Some fun things happening in Ashland: The mega box set, Wishbone Ash, The Vintage Years, is well under way now and big thanks to Ian Crockett at Snapper Music, the project manager, for cutting through all the inter-band politics and legal crap to deliver the goods. In addition, I’ve been approached to be interviewed for an upcoming documentary on the Flying V guitar. I told the producer, I’d be honored to film an interview for that at the upcoming Sweden Rock festival.
By the way, I have a new personal website, currently in the build stage, where I’ll be sharing a more personal perspective on the music game, my gear, more of my thoughts and oh yes, a possible solo album, among other things. Check it out ~ andypowellmusic.com
Dates are now going up on www.wishboneash.com for Wishbone Ash tour dates throughout the U.S. and U.K. and yes, our German friends, when it’s January, it’s Wishbone Ash time. That particular tour is being booked for 2018, as I write.
While being off the road, I’ve been checking out a lot of live shows of late. Sometimes Pauline accompanies me, if it’s an act that she approves of, like the Zombies, the other night. Great show! We met Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent and original drummer, Hugh Grundy with Steve and Jim Rodford backstage (thanks to Bob Skeat). As all of us were Hertfordshire lads, we shared memories of St. Albans, near where I grew up.
Also, backstage down in Washington D.C. we met my hero David Lindley after his wonderful solo show. We talked of his friend, Ry Cooder , another of my heroes, who says, “Gigging is like being in a series of boxes - the dressing room box, the airplane box etc.” We also shared tales of the RoundHouse in Chalk Farm. Of course, that’s where Ted Turner and I lived, or more correctly, right behind it, on Gloucester Avenue, back in 1969. What a gentleman David Lindley is. Been listening to his albums all week and all my adult life, it seems.
In June, for something completely different, my son Aynsley will accompany me, to Jones Beach Theater for the experience that is Rammstein. Check out their videos on YouTube - probably one of the most amazing live shows going. Try the song, Engel for starters. I know that there are more than a few Ash fans who are closet Rammstein fans too.
In July, Pauline and I have tickets for Paul McCartney. He’s playing in Miami. We'll visit South Beach and Coconut Grove just like old times. Should be funky and really hot there. I’ve seen Paul on several occasions in the past and once, decades ago, went to a party he held at the Peppermint Park Club in London where he was celebrating the purchase of the Buddy Holly song catalog. Unfortunately, it was the night that Keith Moon was to leave us. I’d been sharing a table with him that evening and we talked of those crazy U.S. tours we'd been on and then he was taken from us...... Fast forward, Paul is now getting on in years and I need a fix of that wonderful music. He has THE best band these days and they can really do those old songs justice. Also, Sirius XM satellite radio, here in the States, has a dedicated 24 hour Beatles channel which I’m digging, as I drive around.
Robben Ford was cool the other night though - sweet jazz blues tones from his gold top Les Paul, played through a custom Dumble amp. However, meeting him after the show, he wouldn’t pose for a selfie! Eric Gales is coming up soon, at the Iridium in Manhattan. I’ll be heading along there with fellow local guitar slinger, J.D. Seem, who I met at open mike dates we’ve played together. Oh yes, and recently, I’ve been playing a lot of those. Monday open mike nights at The Note bar and grill in Bethel, Connecticut are not to be missed. Come on down. There’s often, some serious talent on display there. One of our crew, young Emma Kiara, a fabulous singer, has managed to get a scholarship to Richard Thompson’s summer writers’ camp, held each year in upstate New York and of course I couldn’t miss his own recent solo concert at the Tarrytown Theater. Richard plays there to a sold-out audience each year. They love him and he loves them.
I could go on and on but getting back to Sweden Rock, we’ll be looking forward to checking out my personal favorite, Kings X there, plus Aerosmith, Ian Hunter and the Scorpions et al. You know it’s gonna be good when the chef sends the band members VIP menus for their á la carte food selection! The staff could not be more accommodating to us, that’s for sure. After that, I’ll be participating in a Powell family reunion over in the U.K. and giving thanks for that.
Enjoy some fine days and my best wishes to you all. Go fishing! ~ Andy.