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.