Strange Days Interview
Tokyo's Strange Days magazine recently published an interview with Andy Powell prior to Wishbone's upcoming dates in Kawasaki Club Citta, where the argus album will be performed along with much other material in a two night residency. You can read the interview (in Japanese ) in the July 2010 issue but here it is reproduced in English for our English speaking fans.
I understand that you will be coming to Japan for two days at the end of June and play live. Please tell me all about it! WELL, ORIGINALLY I WANTED TO CELEBRATE OUR 40TH ANNIVERSARY AS A BAND BY PLAYING SHOWS IN SOME OF THE FAR FLUNG (TO US) TERRITORIES AROUND THE WORLD WHICH WE’D PLAYED IN THE DISTANT PAST. SO I CONTACTED CLUB CITTA, WHICH WE’D PLAYED IN THE 1990’S AND THEY WERE VERY ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT MY IDEA. THEY SEEMED TO WANT TO DO IT FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS. WE AGREED ON A WAY WHICH WOULD REALLY SHOWCASE THE CURRENT BAND BUT WITH THE FANS WISHES, VERY MUCH KEPT IN MIND FOR THE SONG SELECTION. I have heard that your stage show consists of two sets: The first set consists of the album "Argus" and the second set is a 'best of' Wishbone Ash set. You have also released a live album version of "Argus". How and when did you first come up with the idea to do a full live rendition of "Argus"? THERE WILL BE TWO SETS EACH NIGHT AT CLUB CITTA. ARGUS FIRST AND THEN DIFFERENT SONGS EACH NIGHT INTHE SECOND SET, TO SOME EXTENT. REGARDING THE LIVE RECORDING OF THE ARGUS ALBUM: WE WERE INVITED BY DJ GEORGE TAYLOR MORRIS WHO HAS NOW SADLY PASSED AWAY. HE WAS A WELL- KNOWN PERSONALITY AT XM SATELLITE RADIO IN THE STATES AND I’D KNOWN HIM BACK IN THE 70’S WHEN HE WAS A BIG PRESENCE ON FM RADIO. THE ORIGINAL IDEA WAS TO SIMPLY COME INTO XM’S STUDIOS IN WASHINGTON DC, AND PLAY THE ALBUM LIVE IN FRONT OF A STUDIO AUDIENCE FOR A LATER BROADCAST. OF COURSE A RECORDING WAS MADE AT THE TIME AND AFTERWARDS, THE STATION SIMPLY SAID WE COULD MAKE USE OF THE MASTER RECORDING AND PRODUCE AN ACTUAL CD FOR THE FANS. I SUBSEQUENTLY MIXED IT, FOR A CD RELEASE AND SO MORE FANS OVERSEAS, WERE ABLE ENJOY IT. THERE ARE ALSO 4 BONUS TRACKS INCLUDED AS WELL.
BIZARRELY, I HAD A SERIOUS ATTACK OF FOOD POISONING THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RECORDING AND IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT TO PERFORM THAT NEXT DAY. BUT I MADE IT THROUGH AND I BELIEVE IT’S A VERY GOOD PERFORMANCE NONETHELESS. Mr. Martin Turner has re-recorded and released the "Argus" album. What is your opinion about this? THIS IS A DIFFERENT IDEA FROM WHAT I CAN TELL. I HAVE NOT HEARD WHAT HE HAS DONE. IT’S A VERY CAREFUL RERECORDING SO I AM TOLD, TO RECREATE THE ALBUM AS A STUDIO PRODUCTION, THEREBY GAINING CONTROL AND OWNERSHIP OF A BRAND NEW STUDIO MASTER OF THE CLASSIC ALBUM. THIS IS NOT OUR INTENTION AT ALL. YOU CAN NEVER BETTER A CLASSIC LIKE ARGUS AND SHOULD NEVER ATTEMPT TO DO SO IN MY OPINION. I COULD NOT IMAGINE THE PINK FLOYD OR THE WHO DOING THIS FOR EXAMPLE. I DO NOT BELIEVE HIS RELEASE HAS SOLD WELL AT ALL. OURS ON THE OTHER HAND HAS BEEN RECEIVED VERY WELL BY OUR FANS WORLDWIDE. "Argus" has become a very special album for you. In what way would you say that it is a special album? IT IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF A BAND ALL PULLING TOGETHER MUSICALLY. IT SHOWS THIS BAND AT THE PEAK OF IT’S CREATIVE POWERS. ARGUS WAS A CELEBRATION; OUR THIRD ALBUM AFTER 2 YEARS ON THE ROAD WORKING HARD EVERYWHERE . IT’S US, ‘COMING OF AGE’ AS MUSICIANS AND SONGWRITERS AND PERFORMERS. IT IS HONEST, PASSIONATE AND A REAL GROUP EFFORT AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT HAS A KIND OF VISION, MUSICALLY AND LYRICALLY GIVING US A GREAT CORE OF MUSIC WHICH AGAIN, IMPORTANTLY, COULD BE PRESENTED IN BIG STADIUMS AND OUTDOOR FESTIVALS. ARGUS HAD A BIGGER VISION THAN THE PREVIOUS TWO ALBUMS ‘WISHBONE ASH’ AND PILGRIMAGE’. With "Argus" you became one of the UK's leading rock bands. However, the following album, "Four", incorporates a more American rock type of sound. It is said that the reason for this is that you did not want to get stuck in the musical landscape of the very successful "Argus" album, but keep the freedom to develop. Is this true or are there other reasons? THAT’S WHAT WE SAID AT THE TIME. BUT I BELIEVE THAT WITH ARGUS, WE COULDN’T QUITE BELIEVE WHAT WE’D CREATED AND BECAME A LITTLE SELF CONSCIOUS, ESPECIALLY AFTER WE SAW WHAT GREAT MUSICIANS AND WRITERS THERE WERE IN AMERICA. WHAT WE DID NOT REALIZE WAS THAT WE WERE ACTUALLY INFLUENCING A WHOLE NEW RAFT OF AMERICAN AND BRITISH BANDS LIKE LYNRD SKYNRD, THIN LIZZY AND LATER IRON MAIDEN. FIRSTLY, WE RECORDED WISHBONE 4 TOO SOON AFTER THE ARGUS ALBUM. WE DECIDED TO PLAY SAFE WITH THE FOURTH ALBUM AND IN RETROSPECT, I BELIEVE WE SHOULD HAVE WAITED LONGER TO RECORD A FOLLOW UP TO ARGUS, AS BANDS WITH MORE SAVVY MANAGEMENT, LIKE THE PINK FLOYD USED TO. BUT WE WERE BEING DRIVEN HARD BY OUR MANAGER, LABEL AND AGENCY WHO SAW US AS ‘THE GOOSE THAT LAID THE GOLDEN EGG’. I FEEL WE WERE USED IN SOME WAY, AS PART OF AN EMPIRE BUILDING STRATEGY BY CERTAIN FACTIONS LIKE THIS - OUR MANAGER FOR ONE. THIS WAS NOT A TOTALLY BAD THING IN THE BIG PICTURE BUT I JUST DON’T THINK WE WERE READY AND WE SHOULD HAVE TAKEN TIME OUT TO TAKE STOCK OF THE NEW POSITION WE FOUND OURSELVES IN. I BELIEVE WISHBONE COULD HAVE GONE ON TO HAVE BECOME ABSOLUTELY HUGE IN THIS WAY SINCE WE WERE ALREADY BREAKING BIG IN AMERICA, HEADLINING OVER THE LIKES OF SPRINGSTEEN, KISS, AEROSMITH, ZZ TOP - YOU NAME IT. IT ALSO DID US NO GOOD SERVICE FOR TED TURNER, MY CO GUITARIST , TO QUIT THE BAND AT THIS CRUCIAL TIME. BUT IN RETROSPECT, HE WAS MERELY REACTING ON A PERSONAL LEVEL TO ALL THE DISCONNECTEDNESS AROUND US. Instead of having the keyboardist as a regular member of the band, you are very fond of twin lead guitars. Why is this so? WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER, I USED TO PLAY IN BIG BANDS OF 7 OR 8 PIECES; SOUL BANDS AND R&B BANDS. THEN THERE CAME ALONG BRITISH ROCK BANDS IN THE 60’S WHICH PLAYED THE SAME KIND OF MUSIC, TAMLA, SOUL ETC, BUT JUST USING 1 OR 2 GUITARS BASS AND DRUMS. I’M THINKING OF BANDS LIKE THE WHO, THE ACTION, THE CREATION, THE BIRDS, THE T-BONES. MY IDEA WAS TO COMBINE THE GUITARS AND USE THEM LIKE A HORN SECTION WITH SONGS LIKE BLIND EYE FOR EXAMPLE. WE WANTED TO CREATE A NEW SOUND, OUR SOUND, AND OBVIOUSLY 4 PEOPLE COULD TRAVEL A LOT EASIER AND MORE CHEAPLY THAN 5, 6 OR 7 PEOPLE WITH A LARGE HAMMOND ORGAN. REMEMBER, THERE WERE NO SMALL SYNTH STYLE KEYBOARDS AT THAT TIME. OF COURSE, ON THE RECORDING OF BLIND EYE WE USED MATHEW FISHER OF PROCUL HAREM ON PIANO AND LATER, PEOPLE LIKE PETE WOODS AND GRAHAM MAITLAND, BUT THEY WERE NEVER REALLY FULL TIME MEMBERS OF THE BAND. 7) In the latter half of the 80s you reunited with the original members, but then Steve Upton retired from the music industry and the band became dormant again. What is Steve Upton doing these days? Are you still keeping in touch with him? WELL, WITH RESPECT, THE BAND DID NOT BECOME DORMANT AGAIN. THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS LEFT ONE BY ONE STARTING WITH STEVE UPTON. THEN MARTIN LEFT, FOR THE SECOND TIME, SHOWING A DISTINCT LACK OF INTEREST IN THINGS. THEN TED AND I PRODUCED LIVE IN CHICAGO IN THE EARLY 90’S AND THEN HE LEFT. I THEN PRODUCED ILLUMINATIONS, LIVE IN GENEVA , PSYCHIC TERRORISM AND TRANCE VISIONARY WHILE CONTINUING TO TOUR. ROGER FILGATE WAS THE GUITARIST AROUND THIS TIME. STEVE UPTON’S DEPARTURE WAS QUITE TRAUMATIC FOR HIM. HIS MARRIAGE WAS FAILING AND HIS PLAYING WAS SUFFERING GREATLY DURING THE RECORDING OF THE ALBUM STRANGE AFFAIR. HE NOW LIVES HAPPILY IN A BIG CHATEAU IN FRANCE WHICH IS OWNED BY OUR FORMER MANAGER, MILES COPELAND. FROM WHAT I GATHER, HE IS THE ESTATE MANAGER. I HAVE CALLED HIM A FEW TIMES OVER THE YEARS. HE HAS NEVER CALLED ME. HE’S QUITE RECLUSIVE. 8) Back in the 70s, was Wishbone Ash a progressive rock band or were you categorized as a hard rock act? What is your own opinion about these categories? NONE OF THESE CATEGORIES IS TOTALLY CORRECT FOR US. YOU COULD SAY AT TIMES ALSO, WE ARE BLUESY OR FOLKISH BUT IN REALITY WE ARE ECLECTIC - WE GO OUR OWN WAY. THIS IS HOW IT WAS IN THE EARLY 70’S. BANDS HAD A LOT OF FREEDOM FROM THE LABELS AND FROM THE AUDIENCES. THERE WAS NOT THIS NEED FOR CATEGORIZATION, ALTHOUGH I REALIZE THAT THE INDUSTRY AND MARKETING PEOPLE NEEDED TO DO THIS. IN A WAY THIS AVOIDANCE OF A MUSICAL CATEGORY BY US, HAS ASSISTED IN OUR LONGEVITY AS A BAND. IN MUSICIAN CIRCLES, WE ARE KNOWN AS A PLAYERS BAND, WELL - RESPECTED BOTH FOR OUR MUSICIANSHIP AND DEDICATION TO TOURING AND RECORDING. A LOT OF MUSICIANS CERTAINLY ENVY THIS. IT’S HARD TO PIN US DOWN THOUGH. I QUITE LIKE THAT. IN THAT WAY, WITHOUT BIG SINGLES SUCCESS, WE’VE STAYED A LITTLE ‘UNDER THE RADAR’ ALL THESE YEARS, BUT HAVE WORKED AND RECORDED CONSTANTLY. WE HAVE A HUGE BODY OF WORK WHICH WE’VE CREATED AND IT IS OF THIS, THAT I AM MOST PROUD. "Phoenix" and "Throw Down The Sword" are melodically influenced by traditional music. "Vas Dis" has a jazz influence. I think that by drawing on such influences you were exploring a new direction for progressive rock. What do you think? What kind of music was it that you were trying to make at the time?
YES, YOU ARE RIGHT. I THINK WE WERE FIRST OF ALL TRYING TO PLEASE AND IMPRESS OURSELVES, TO SEE HOW FAR WE COULD DIVERSIFY AND PUSH OURSELVES AS A BAND AND AS INDIVIDUAL MUSICIANS. SONGS LIKE THROW DOWN THE SWORD WERE BIG STATEMENTS. THIS SONG FOR EXAMPLE WAS DESIGNED TO FILL A BIG STADIUM, THESE NEW KINDS OF VENUES WE WERE DISCOVERING, ESPECIALLY IN THE USA AT THAT TIME. DON’T FORGET THAT BRITISH BANDS LED THE WAY IN THE EARLY 70’S WITH STADIUM ROCK. TEN YEARS AFTER, THE WHO, PURPLE, CREAM, ZEPPELIN. The keyboardist from Renaissance, Mr. John Tout, is playing keyboards in Wishbone Ash and you are playing the guitar in Renaissance. What is the relation between the two bands? WE BOTH HAD THE SAME MANAGER - MR. MILES COPELAND. THAT’S HOW WE MET AS MUSICIANS. JOHN TOUT HAD ORIGINALLY BEEN IN MILES‘ VERY FIRST MANAGED BAND, THE POP OUTFIT, RUPERT’S PEOPLE. WISHBONE ASH WAS MILES’ 2ND BAND. IT WAS HIS MOST SUCCESSFUL, UNTIL HIS BROTHER STEWART CAME ALONG AND PRESENTED HIM WITH THE POLICE TO MANAGE. 11) In early Wishbone Ash songs such as "Pilgrim” “Phoenix” “The King Will Come” and “Warrior” there are themes that makes one think of the ancient or medieval world. What were you thinking about when you wrote those songs? WELL. MARTIN AND I WERE NOT LONG OUT OF GRAMMAR SCHOOL. REMEMBER, WE WERE YOUNG AND WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG YOU THINK ABOUT A LOT OF THE BOOKS YOU READ LIKE THE BIBLE AND SHAKESPEARE AND SO ON. I STUDIED ENGLISH LITERATURE AND MARTIN AND STEVE IN PARTICULAR, LOVED TO READ. THE BAND WAS FORMED JUST AT THE END OF THE VIETNAM WAR SO THOUGHTS OF WAR AND PEACE WERE IN OUR MINDS, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE WENT TO AMERICA. IF YOU LISTEN TO THE SONG ‘WARRIOR‘ THERE IS A LINE IN THERE THAT STEVE ACTUALLY LIFTED STRAIGHT FROM THE RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM - ‘THE CHECKERED BOARD OF NIGHTS AND DAYS‘ AND THE LINE ‘IN THE FIRE, THE KING WILL COME‘ IN THE SONG OF THE SAME NAME, COMES FROM THE BIBLE. MARTIN TURNER CONSTRUCTED THOSE LYRICS. 12) There are many theories about why the band is named Wishbone Ash. How did you really come up with the name and what does it signify? I HAD AN ASH TREE GROWING OUTSIDE THE WINDOW OF MY LITTLE BEDSIT FLAT IN WEST HAMPSTEAD LONDON. I LOVE TREES AND PUT THAT NAME DOWN ON A LIST. SOMEONE ELSE CAME UP THE NAME WISHBONE AND PUT THAT ON ANOTHER LIST OF POSSIBLE NAMES. MARTIN TURNER THOUGHT THE TWO WORDS TOGETHER HAD ALLITERATION AND SOUNDED GOOD WHEN PUT TOGETHER. WE HAD FLEETWOOD MAC IN MIND SINCE WE LOVED THAT BAND. THEIR NAME, WE THOUGHT, WAS COOL. I DON’T THINK WE EVEN REALISED THAT IT WAS A CO JOINING OF TWO OF THE BAND MEMBERS’ NAMES (MICK) FLEETWOOD AND (JOHN) MACVIE. THERE WAS SOMETHING MYSTICAL IN THESE TWO WORDS - WISHBONE AND ASH - WHEN YOU PUT THEM TOGETHER. THAT APPEALED TO ALL OF US, I THINK. ‘WISHBONE’ FOR LUCK AND ‘ASH’ FOR DEATH AND DECAY. SOME HAVE SAID THE NAME REMINDS THEM OF BROKEN DREAMS, YIN AND YANG, POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE AND TO A LARGE EXTENT I AGREE WITH THEM. IT’S A MYSTERIOUS NAME AND ONE THAT DID NOT PUT US INTO ANY FIXED GENRE OF MUSIC. THERE HAS BEEN GOOD LUCK AND JOY IN THIS BAND AS WELL AS SORROW AND PAIN. ONE GOOD THING WAS THAT WE WERE FREE FOR OUR MUSIC TO BE EITHER HEAVY AND ALSO LIGHTER. THERE WAS NO PROBLEM PLAYING A HEAVY SONG LIKE ‘WARRIOR’ AND THEN SOMETHING GENTLE LIKE ‘LEAF AND STREAM.’ WITH A NAME LIKE LED ZEPPELIN FOR EXAMPLE, YOU KNOW THE MUSIC WILL BE HEAVY. CREAM WAS SMOOTH AND CLASSY AS THE NAME SOUNDS. THAT’S HOW OUR NAME CAME TO BE. 13) When I met Storm Thorgerson from Hipgnosis about three years ago, he said that one of his own favorite albums was "Argus". What do you think about the jacket and cover art for the album? BRILLIANT. STEVE UPTON HAD THE IDEA FOR THE NAME. HE’D BEEN READING A LOT OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY AND THE ARGUS FIGURE IS THE 100 EYED WATCHER OR SENTINEL. HIPGNOSIS PERFECTLY CAPTURED THE MOOD OF SONGS LIKE WARRIOR AND THROW DOWN THE SWORD WITH THEIR PHOTO SHOT OVERLOOKING THE GORGE OF VERDUN. AS STUDENTS OF THE LONDON SCHOOL OF FILM, I THINK STORM AND HIS PARTNER, AUBREY POWELL, WERE INFLUENCED BY KEN RUSSELL’S 1971 MOVIE, ‘THE DEVILS’ SINCE THE COSTUME WORN BY THE ARGUS FIGURE ON OUR ALBUM SLEEVE IS FROM THAT VERY MOVIE. I have watched clips from recent live performances on YouTube, and you seem to have really fun on stage. The performances are also strong. Please introduce the band members to me and explain how they got to be members of the band. I COULD NOT BE PLAYING CONSTANTLY IN WISHBONE ASH ALL THESE YEARS IF IT WERE NOT FUN. I LIKE TO BE IN A POSITIVE MINDED BAND AND THAT’S MY MISSION. BOB SKEAT ON BASS, HAS BEEN IN THE BAND FOR OVER 14 YEARS. HE’S A CONSUMMATE MUSICIAN AND THE SON OF BILL SKEAT WHO WAS A WELL KNOWN SAX AND WOODWIND PLAYER IN THE 50’S AND 60’S IN LONDON, HAVING PLAYED ON MANY OF THE BRITISH MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS. BOB GREW UP NEIGHBORS WITH PETE AND SIMON TOWNSEND, WHOSE DAD ALSO RAN A DANCE BAND CALLED THE SQUADRONAIRES. BEFORE MUDDY MANNINEN JOINED THE BAND ON GUITAR, BEN GRANFELT (ALSO FROM FINLAND) WAS MY CO GUITARIST FOR 4 YEARS. WHEN HE LEFT TO START A YOUNG FAMILY, HE STRONGLY RECOMMENDED MUDDY FOR THE JOB. I THOUGHT - ‘ ANOTHER FINN?’ HOW COULD THAT WORK? BEN WAS SUCH FUN TO PLAY WITH AND A GREAT GUY. BOTH THESE GUYS, BY THE WAY, HAD BEEN IN AN 80’S TWIN LEAD GUITAR BAND CALLED GRINGOS LOCOS. THEY’D BEEN SIGNED TO ATLANTIC AND HAD EVEN HAD AN ALBUM PRODUCED BY TOM DOWD, AS WE HAD. WELL, I MADE MUDDY COME TO AN AUDITION AND YES, IMMEDIATELY, HE WAS A STRONG MUSICAL FIT WITH THE SAME ROOTS AS ME. WE BOTH LIKED ALL THE SAME PLAYERS AND MUSIC AND HE HAD AN EVEN DEEPER KNOWLEDGE OF MUSIC THAN I. I THOUGHT HE WAS A BIT SERIOUS THOUGH, AFTER BEN, BUT ‘STILL WATERS RUN DEEP ‘ AS THEY SAY AND HE HAS PROVED TO BE A GREAT ADDITION TO THE BAND BOTH AS A PLAYER AND A SONG WRITER AND HE IS ONE OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS, AS ARE ALL THE BAND MEMBERS. WHEN LONG TIME MEMBER AND DRUMMER RAY WESTON LEFT TO START A NEW LIFE ON THE WEST COAST OF AMERICA, I CALLED UP ANOTHER EX WISHBONE ASH DRUMMER, MIKE STURGIS, WHO’D TOURED WITH US AND PLAYED ON THE ILLUMINATIONS ALBUM. I’D ALWAYS LOVED HIS DRUM STYLE AND ASKED IF HE KNEW ANYONE HE COULD RECOMMEND. HE’D SETTLED DOWN IN GUILDFORD WITH HIS WIFE AND FAMILY AND WAS RUNNING THE DRUM TEACHING DEPARTMENT AT ACM COLLEGE OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC THERE. WITHOUT HESITATION HE PUT FORWARD JOE CRABTREE. JOE HAS NOW BEEN IN THE BAND FOR 3 YEARS AND HAS BEEN AN OUTSTANDING ADDITION BOTH AS A MUSICIAN AND IN HELPING ME WITH THE MANAGEMENT OF THE BAND. HE IS A COMPUTER GEEK AND SYSTEMS GUY, HOLDING A PHYSICS DEGREE FROM DURHAM UNIVERSITY. HE’S THE SON OF MARK CRABTREE, THE INVENTOR OF THE AMS DIGITAL DELAY AND NOW OWNER OF NEVE INDUSTRIES. I FOUND THIS OUT AFTER WE’D AUDITIONED JOE AND HE’D GOT THE JOB WITH US. JOE’S CONNECTION WITH NEVE HAS BEEN QUITE GOOD BECAUSE WE ARE NOW RECORDING THE NEW ALBUM USING A NEVE GENESYS CONSOLE IN A STUDIO WHICH WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER. THERE’S NICE SYNERGY IN ALL OF THAT. JOE IS A SUPER POSITIVE GUY AND EVEN THOUGH HE’S THE YOUNGEST MEMBER OF WISHBONE ASH, HE HAS A MATURITY WHICH BELIES HIS YEARS AND HE’S VERY SMART! SO HE KEEPS US ALL ON OUR TOES AND IN TOUCH WITH WHAT’S GOING ON. MOST IMPORTANTLY, HE DRIVES THIS BAND LIKE NO OTHER.
15) "The Power of Eternity" from 2007 is your most recent album. Do you have any plans for a new album? If you already have an image of what a new album would be like, please tell me about it. YES, AS I SAID, WE NOW, ONCE AGAIN , HAVE OUR OWN RECORDING STUDIO WHICH IS GREAT BECAUSE A ROCK BAND LIKE OURS, HAS TO BE RECORDED LIVE WITH ALL THAT ENERGY INTACT, IN A REAL STUDIO. WE’VE ALREADY RECORDED A KIND OF SINGLE TRAILER FOR THE ALBUM AND THIS SONG IS CALLED ‘REASON TO BELIEVE’. WE WILL BE FEATURING IT IN OUR SET AT CLUB CITTA. THERE IS NO REAL ‘CONCEPT’ TO THE ALBUM OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT WE ARE INTENT ON GETTING THE BAND TO SOUND AS ‘REAL’ AS POSSIBLE. YOU CAN SEE THIS IN THE HOUR LONG DOCUMENTARY WE HAVE MADE IN NORMANDY, FRANCE, WHICH COVERS THE WRITING SESSIONS. IT’S JUST US IN A REHEARSAL SPACE WORKING OU THE MUSIC. WE WILL HAVE THIS MOVIE READY TO ACCOMPANY THE RELEASE OF THE PHYSICAL CD AS AN ENTIRE PACKAGE. IT WILL BE A GREAT GIFT TO THE FANS AND A SUMMATION OF A BAND IN IT’S 40TH YEAR. From the formation of the band and all the way to the present, you are the only person who has always been in Wishbone Ash. What does Wishbone Ash mean for you, personally? WELL, IT REPRESENTS MY LIFE AND IT IS MY LIFE’S WORK AND IN THAT WAY I’M EXTREMELY PROUD OF THE BAND’S LONGEVITY AND IT’S ACHIEVEMENTS. IT HAS ALLOWED ME TO WORK WITH SOME GREAT PEOPLE ALONG THE WAY AND IN A WAY, IT’S BEEN MY WINDOW ON THE WORLD WITH ALL THE TRAVEL AND PLACES WE’VE VISITED. I NOW HAVE FRIENDS ALL OVER THE WORLD AND IN FACT MOVED MY FAMILY TO AMERICA DUE TO THE BAND’S ACTIVITIES THERE IN THE 70’S. I’VE PUT MYSELF INTO EVERY ASPECT OF THIS BAND AND LIVED THE LIFE OF A TRAVELING, RECORDING ROCK MUSICIAN TO THE FULL. I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT. SO, THANK YOU WISHBONE ASH AND IT’S FANS! The current music scene is very heavily influenced by online distribution, and music with a more ambitious format is suffering. You seem to have put a lot of importance on the relationship between the music and its visualization, such as having the album sleeve designed by Hipgnosis. What do you think about the current situation in the music industry? I LIKE THAT PHRASE ‘AMBITIOUS FORMAT’. YOU ARE RIGHT. FOR THE LAST FEW TOURS IN EUROPE, WE HAVE BEEN OFFERING THE FANS VIDEO BACK PROJECTIONS OF OUR HISTORY AS WELL AS CONTEMPORARY IMAGES . OUR ALBUM COVERS HAVE BEEN AWARD WINNING AND THOUGHT PROVOKING AND THE ORIGINAL IDEA OF PRODUCING AN ALBUM IS WITH US IN WHAT WE DO TODAY DESPITE THE NEW FORMATS AND SHORT SHELF LIFE OF MUSIC. I FEEL LUCKY TO HAVE COME UP IN A TIME WHEN POP / ROCK MUSIC WAS REVERED AND SO MANY CLASSIC ALBUMS WERE PRODUCED. THE EARLY 70’S BLUE PRINT FOR SONGWRITING IS STILL WITH US. THE ELECTRIC GUITAR’S PRESENCE N ROCK IS STRONGER THAN EVER AND DESPITE ALL THIS NEW DOWNLOADING TECHNOLOGY, THERE IS A REAL NOSTALGIA FOR THE PAST AND THE WAY THAT MUSIC WAS PRODUCED. IN NEW YORK, YOUNG ENGINEERS ARE COLLECTING ALL THE OLD ANALOG GEAR AND REEL TO REEL TAPE MACHINES. YOUNGER AUDIENCES ARE INHERENTLY AWARE THAT THINGS ARE SO TRANSIENT AND THAT DISTURBS THEM. 18) You have not been on tour in Japan for a long time. Do you have any message to your Japanese fans who are looking forward to seeing you come and play? SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL THE FANS WHO HAVE KEPT THE FAITH DESPITE FEW VISITS BY WISHBONE ASH OVER THE YEARS. WE WANT TO MEET AS MANY OF YOU AS IS POSSIBLE. WE ARE REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SHOWS AND I AM REALLY PROUD AND EXCITED TO SHOW OFF THIS BAND AND IT’S AMAZING TALENTS ONCE AGAIN.