Congratulations

Congratulations to Ben and Jassi on your marriage today from the band and the Wishbone Ash community!

We'll toast you both in person in Chesterfield at AshCon on October 10th.

~ A.P.

Eyes Wide Open - The Book

Andy's book "Eyes Wide Open" is complete and will be available soon.

Pre-order yours on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk now.

Also, keep your 'eyes wide open' for information on a signing session at a local bookstore in Islington on October 3rd.

Andy will also be signing books at AshCon on October 10th in Chesterfield and extra signing sessions may be added for other venues on the forthcoming tour.

Reelin’ in the summer.

As the saying goes, “ My feet don’t hardly touch the ground” . We arrived in Finland after a monumental series of flights which saw us going from South Africa within hailing distance of Antarctica all the way up to north of Finland - next stop the Arctic! Thanks to the logistics expertise of Pauline, the going was made good by virtue of some strategically placed hotel stops en route, since the final leg of our journey to Keitelejazz, the festival we played up there, was a 4 hour haul from Helsinki.

No matter, the show went great and the folks on site were especially accommodating and mindful of our needs. Muddy in particular, seemed very happy to be on Finnish soil again and was, it seemed, more energized than the rest of us by that.

So, at any rate, now we’re all home in our respective neighborhoods and for my part I now have a new rule that, at least for the next couple of weeks, I stick within a two mile radius of home although I did actually break that after only 2 days, with a visit to Boston to enjoy a Steely Dan concert. They were inspirational - the live mix superb - and I couldn’t help a secret smile to myself upon hearing the time -honored riff in the song Reelin’ In The Years, so obviously redolent of the outro twin guitar part in our song Blowin’ fFree.

Today I’ve been listening to the sound mixes of our Paris DVD recording and that’s been a pleasant surprise. We’re almost there with that project, the creative team of producer Christian Guyonnet, video editor Mikaël Samson and Tom Greenwood in charge of audio, having done sterling work to get the mixes ready during the last few weeks. Also, the Metropolis direct to vinyl cut is now ready and I’m sure this pressing will mailed out to everyone imminently.

I like to use what’s left of the summer to recharge the batteries and get fresh musical inspiration. Tomorrow night I’ll be visiting the Ridgefield Playhouse yet again, it’s only 5 minutes from home and I love this venue. Boz Scaggs is on offer and I’m keen to see how he’s playing these days. Some of you will remember that we opened for him in California during the 70s. On Monday, I’ll be visiting the reknowned Village Vanguard Club in NYC with Tom, for some big band jazz. It should be musically hot and also an opportunity to hook up with Aynsley Powell who has been gigging out in Vancouver and the San Juan Islands up there. The much travelled Powell clan will attempt something of a summer reunion in a week or two, if we can get everyone in the same place. I really want to do this because the months of September, October and into November are extremely busy. Again, we’ve been hard at work, especially Pauline, on finessing all the logistical details for these 60 plus dates in the USA and UK.

See you out on the road.

~ A.P.

South Africa

Not your usual tour, this one in South Africa. More a team building affair you might say. Not that this team is in great need of that but a little rest and relaxation during a tour can be a good thing for a band. Then there are the shows: Great - all of them. So far we’ve played at two different venues in the greater Jo’burg area plus one in Pretoria. Two of those were sold out completely which is gratifying. Last night’s number count was 575 folks. I have to say that the chain of Barnyard Theatres is really impressive. Each of them features a vast wide stage, great sound system and dedicated staff - oh and not forgetting our genial host and master of ceremonies, Danny De Wet who has been working this tour for some months now.

Today we are en route for Durban in the north on the coast. This show was organized by Norman Dugdale, an old touring buddy from the days when we were on the same agency roster as Vinegar Joe. Big thanks Norman! It’s been pleasant temperatures in Jo’burg for this week, reminding me of California somehow, but this morning it was freezing when we left for the airport. No worries though, because here in Durban it’s dry and warm.

We took a three day break after playing a couple of shows and our whole party went to a fabulous game lodge called Nedile in the Welgevonden Game Reserve and a very special time was had by all, relaxing and going on photo safaris each day. Our guide, Michael, who hails from Stratford Upon Avon, exhibited a masterful knowledge of all the animals as well as the flora and fauna of this fascinating region. Evenings were spent relaxing after a fabulous meal, before retiring to our individual lodges, where welcoming fires were lit for us.

It’s not often one can luxuriate and relax while on tour so this has been very special. Big thanks to David Salter for making it all happen. Without the distraction of TV and internet, I decided to bring a good book with me, A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre which recounts the fascinating and appalling exploits of Kim Philly both during wartime Britain and thereafter. Our original manager, Miles Copeland and his family were neighbors of the Philbys in Beirut before the spy defected to the Soviet Union so I had a special interest. Philby had been a double agent for over 35 years. If spies are your thing, then I highly recommend this book.

We’ll fly down to Cape Town tomorrow. That show also promises to be sold out. We just heard that the gear we’ve been using won’t make it in time by road so a duplicate set of backline gear will be provided locally. Muddy and I have been using two special Randy Rhoads model Marshall rigs on these bigger stages and I have to say, I’ve been quite impressed with them. On the subject of gear, I was fortunate enough to pick up a great sounding acoustic guitar here, made by Cole Clark in Melbourne Australia. I love the fact that in addition to sounding great unamplified, it has a piezzo pick-up mounted in the bridge as well a small microphone mounted inside the sound hole, enabling both signals to be blended together when using an acoustic amp.

Well that’s it from me right now. I might write a final tour wrap up once the dust settles on this tour but it’s certainly been something to remember, meeting new people and audiences and experiencing the southern part of the African continent.

~ A.P.

Ashcon 2015 Ticket Update

As most of you already know Ashcon 2015 will take place on Saturday October 10th at Real Time Live in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. This year we have changed venue to make it a more intimate show where the interaction between our favorite band and you the fans will be further enhanced. We are planning the usual afternoon performances from tribute bands and of course our very own Wishbone Ash will perform a set.

I am pleased to announce that the evening support will be provided by the wonderful Laurence Jones. You can check out Laurence at www.laurencejonesmusic.com.

Tickets are now on sale and can be bought from either the online store at www.wishboneash.com or from the venue via their own website www.realtimelive.co.uk Please note that tickets will sell out for this event and to avoid disappointment please order as soon as possible. For those of you who make this a weekend event Mike Day has booked the County Bar for the Friday evening where the fans themselves will perform Wishbone Ash material as the weekend party begins.

Please also note that those of you normally stay at the Chesterfield Hotel will be saddened to hear that is has closed down and at this point does not intend to reopen. There are plenty of other hotels in Chesterfield for example the Ibis and the Portland. If anyone needs any help please contact me at guyroberts@wishboneash.com Further updates will follow in the build up to the event.

Guy Roberts

Eyes (still) Wide Open.

Well, I’ve probably had a harder period of work in my life but I can’t remember when - wait a minute, it was a couple of weeks ago winding up our circumnavigation of America. But you know what, a good night’s sleep and it all gets filed away and I’m good to fight another day, in true road warrior style.

We played Barcelona and Madrid having arrived there via Paris and the South of France where we stopped off to play a show in the excellent little town of Salon de Provence. Our Spain trip was a real success considering the tough economic climate there at present. Our promoter, Robert Mills did us proud and he and I had fun going over our recollections of London in 70s from the standpoint of the characters that made up the music business at the time.

The last show on our spring agenda was in southern Germany at a festival called Wudzdog (a pun on Woodstock of course). This was a true old style festival which has grown up over the last 7 years from a small gathering of folks camping out with their guitars, in the countryside, to a rather large and happy event - a festival for all the right reasons involving thousands. We had a blast. Thanks to all the organizers who were charming hosts as well as doing an excellent job.

Paris was a much anticipated blast - an absolute cauldron of creativity in the intimate Le Triton theatre in Les Lilas a district of Paris. Big thanks to all the dedicated supporters who filled the theatre each night and to those who bought the 3 day package and travelled from parts unknown. The savvy ones, made good use of the weather and did some sight seeing during the days, sometimes availing themselves of the theatre’s lunch menu if they were in the area, but most definitely meeting up pre show and post show in the busy bar which spilled out into the patio after the show each night.

I’d also like to give sincere thanks to my good pal Christian Guyonnet and his team for recording what promises to be an great set of music for an upcoming DVD. Mikael Samson handled the editing and will continue to work on the project as we move forward. Christoph handled the roving camera. The venue’s manager, Jean Pierre and his team did an exceptional job of providing technical facilities by way of the on - site audio and visual recording studio where we were able to get all the audio and visual images to be worked on later. In all, it was an eight camera shoot - pretty good for a rock DVD.

This whole spring period has been an intensely creative one with live shows in multiple countries and the set of quite unusual - recordings on the way. What it means is that there will be plenty of new offerings to feed the ravenous hordes of ever - hungry Wishbone Ash fans needing their Ash fix of live musical memories. Copies of the live cut vinyl from Metropolis Studios should be wending their way to the lucky folks who’ll be commemorated in the package. There will, later on down the line, be some copies available on the road when we begin touring in earnest again in September and at some point we hope to have a CD version of that night complete with an audio interview.

The Live in Paris DVD should be available, hopefully, also around that time, especially for the October UK tour and Talking Elephant records will be producing a complete box set package of the 4 disc Roadworks series for those who have not yet purchased those CDs as we’ve been releasing them.

As for the boys in the band, Pauline, Daniel Vetter and myself we’ll all be taking some private time before setting off for South Africa in July for some dates in the Barnyard Theatre group of venues there. We have also added in one extra city on that tour. Durban will once again play host to the band. Thanks to Norman Dugdale our old friend and business associate who brought that one to the table as did David Salter with the Barnyard connection. David, fixer and fan extraordinaire, will also play host to some serious R & R on one of the country’s top game reserves during a photo safari. Some 'educational' time will be spent in the Cape’s vineyards, for sure where we’ll be adding to our knowledge of the fruits of the vine.

Oh yes, and finally, this week, I’m putting the finishing touches to my book about life in one of the most interesting bands I can think of. I’ve gone through every kind of emotion as I’ve worked the text to this tome, since it covers 45 uninterrupted years in rock. My co writer, Colin Harper whom some of you will have met in Paris, has really worked me hard, delving and digging, with all his journalistic incisiveness, to get to the real meat on the bones of this venerable rock band and I must say, it really feels like giving birth. I’m going to be one happy camper when it’s all done and dusted. Look out for the title, Eyes Wide Open . True Tales of a Wishbone Ash Warrior available on Amazon in the autumn.

~ A.P.