I just arrived home last night from my solo travels in Europe. Once in a while I like to just ramble with loose plans based around some sporadic Wishbone Ash shows. These rambles allow me to reflect and recharge the batteries, even though I’m still mobile. I take a lot of reading material and visit old friends in their surroundings and eat some good food and sample of the grape.
The shows which provided the wherewithal to make the cost of all this worthwhile, were the Rock of Ages Festival in Germany, the Chateau Beaufort show with Doro Presch and then lastly, the Cambridge Rock Festival. Living Stateside, I can’t be flipping back and forth across the Atlantic anyway for individual dates and it’s far less stressful to take the road less travelled so to speak. The 11th century chateau was undoubtedly the most amazing location for a rock show and the hospitality and warm welcome from the audience that we received there was super. Cambridge. England too, nice folks who produce shows for all the right reasons. We’d played the Rock of Ages festival situated not far from Stuttgart, Germany, eight years ago and that was also a pleasure. Great crowd and the usual incredible German organisation.
It was great to get down on the farm in true French country style, with Danos, our intrepid sound man at his place in the Ardêche region. Dan has spent the last couple of years renovating a remote house there and I was eager to see the results of his work. With gorgeous views and lots of stone and wood, it was everything I hoped it would be. Again, good to catch up with my old friend and his wife Rosie, who fed me to bursting point. In addition, I made it to the Gorge of Ardêche, for the surprise birthday of another dear friend, Mikaël Samson, who has in the past, edited some of our DVD work. Visit this region if you get a chance. It’s where all those amazing prehistoric cave paintings are, some of the oldest recorded human artwork ever found on the planet. We swam in the river and hiked and ate a spit-roasted sheep. Unbeatable.
Then, I visited my dear 93 year old mother ‘behind the gates’, as they say in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex. This largely retirement community, is quite relaxing as you can imagine with its beach huts and beautiful examples of 1930s Art Deco homes and its ‘there’ll alway be an England’ mentality.
Lastly, I visited the Cotswolds home of Muddy and Mia for some wellness and relaxation in the countryside there, eating,drinking and walking the dog - oh yes, and picking blackberries. We did routine a few new songs for our upcoming tours. Just simple stuff. So, all in all a nice trip.
Last night Pauline met me and we drove straight from JFK to a Kenny Loggins show to which I’d been invited by our former tour manager back in the 70s, Mel Baister. Great to see him again. It’s been many years. I’m not especially a Kenny fan but hats off to him and the band. This was American professionalism at its best. Great vocals and guitar playing and the staging in the neighboring town to ours, Ridgefield at the Playhouse there. This is the town that inspired our recent song American Century. A site of the only Revolutionary War battle to have taken place in Connecticut.
Tonight I’ll be checking out the Tedeschi Trucks Band in Simsbury, CT (Derek Trucks is a favorite) but I wanted to get a quick blog down here. Folks are always asking for an update of the legal situation between myself and Martin Turner so whilst its painful to keep going over this tedious exercise, the latest is that of course the courts ruled overwhelmingly in my favor concerning the fact that once you've quit a band, you quit it and then cannot purloin the name back after a 15 year absence. All logical stuff. So, after a wait of 9 months, Guildford Court set a hearing to glean some financial info pertaining to settlement of awarded court costs and legal fees etc. Unfortunately, Mart had a tummy upset and did not make a court appearance!!!!
Sadly, we’ve now been told by his lawyers that he’s filing for bankruptcy. We’ve seen no evidence of that yet but apparently he has signed over his share of the equity in his million pound Surrey home to his wife, who has been financing his latter day musical career with one assumes, some of his own funds. That’s what we’ve been told so I’m just waiting to find out how he will meet his various legal and financial obligations. Prepare for a long wait folks. It ain’t over till it’s over. So sad that it all had to come to this, when just one of the many honest attempts at mediation could have avoided all this misery, and those that have for their own selfish reasons, been poorly advising Mart could have been side-lined.
Enough of that though it’s a sad chapter in the history of Wishbone Ash. On a more upbeat level, the band’s current tour date sheet is stacked. I mean really stacked. Come September we’ll be touring the West, Mid West and North East in the States plus Canada. I’m really excited that we’ll be at Infinity Hall, a beautiful venue in my home state of Connecticut. The UK tour has been worked on for a year by our stalwart agent, Andy Nye. The legal issues over confusion and brand dilution have made his work in particular really hard BUT he’s prevailed with a really solid tour. Many of the old haunts plus some new places for you Brits to catch up with what we have on offer. The feature of both of these tours is that we’ll play the entire Live Dates album in the same song sequence like the famous 70s album. There’ll be a few other surprises along the way too, I can assure you.
Moving into 2015, we have tours of Holland Belgium, Switzerland and Germany like always. I’m sure there will be extra dates in Poland and France coming on line and I will tell you that negotiations are under way for some more South African dates. So all that remains is to pass on best wishes to all our friends from the band and crew and see you down the road apiece.
P.S. I almost forgot; my first stop on this whole European sojourn was in Dublin where I’ve been working with Colin Harper on the much requested biography. Yes, Mart has had his turn. Mine will be forthcoming in 2015.