I’m behind with blogging and communication in general, so apologies for that. We have been a tad busy with the album release and over 9 weeks of solid one-nighters on two continents. So here goes:
We arrived home – from corona-ravaged Washington State, Seattle to be precise – and I had to promptly go in for some oral surgery involving a tooth extraction, prompted by raging toothache during the last couple of weeks on the road. So I now have cadaver bone grafted onto my jaw. Rather unsettling, but the surgeon assured me that it would amalgamate with my own living tissue! Speaking of health in general, we all had various issues on these two tours, from bronchitis resulting in four postponed gigs and so on. Equipment broke down, electric guitars quit working, even Joe’s wedding in California got postponed, but through the talents and amazing team spirit of this outfit, we got through it all. The scariest bit was going into Tacoma and Seattle, which are hot-spots of coronavirus outbreaks. We almost cancelled as had several other acts but we went ahead in the end, keeping the social distancing rule and foregoing meet & greets after the show. Special thanks to Lorna Turner Skeat for handling merchandise and working with fans in the lead up to this crisis.
All this was prior to to the current coronavirus crisis as it’s unfolding this week.
Germany was a blast with increased numbers at our shows and the same in the USA too. We covered the South, Texas and the West – 10,000 road miles on the US continent alone. As luck would have it, I had an amazing 70th birthday in New Orleans. It was just pure coincidence that we hit party-town on that particular day. The audience sang Happy Birthday to me, there was cake and champagne brought on stage by my son and daughter-in-law and believe it or not, several British fans even made it over as well as those diehard Americans who’d followed us from different states. Naturally, I got lots of presents of whisky, so I’m stocked up for the apocalypse now. All in all a great day, with beautiful tributes and memories from especially my family but also fans from far and wide. Thank you all.
Through all of the touring, we were tracking the success of our new album Coat of Arms which has been getting so many great reviews, great airplay and is now making some chart positions around the world. I cannot say enough about our German label SPV/Steamhammer. What a team! Olly, Frank ,Björn and everyone there in Hannover; I salute you and so do the fans. There has been so much PR activity that I was regularly doing 4 to 6 interviews a day – so much so, that I was in danger of losing my already-fragile voice, due to the prior laryngitis.
So anyway, we (like many of you all no doubt) are now confined to our homes, for the foreseeable future. I’m doing some deep thinking about our little cottage industry – Wishbone Ash , and how the hell we can survive all this on a business level. No doubt, you’ve heard by now that immediate dates like our much anticipated On The Blue Cruise and most likely our upcoming European dates in May are postponed. Keep hold of those tickets though! Some of these dates had already been rescheduled once and agents are working hard on rescheduling yet again. We have summer festivals on hold and the next real work is in the USA Midwest and on the East Coast in September. It’s going to take some special tenacity to steer the good ship Wishbone through these rocky waters and we realize that we’re not alone in this.
Enough of my problems though, as I say I’m giving it all deep thought. Initially, for the time being, there’ll be no little ditties on YouTube from me in my basement, like I see other performers are doing. However, I AM thinking of ways to produce some online content for you all. Tricky, since we band members all live thousands of miles apart. But we’ll see. I’ve had no shortage of suggestions from fans of course, but our team, especially the younger members like Joe, Mark and Aynsley are pretty adept at using the internet, being intrinsically tech savvy. Of course I’m very pleased that also, in the meantime, the really good thing is that we’ve been able to leave you with over 55 minutes of fresh new music to enjoy, in the shape of the new album, Coat of Arms. If you really want to support us, go out and buy it and also encourage your friends to buy it. That’ll spread the word and help keep us and our record label afloat in these coming tough times. I’m asking the band members to help me post on social media regularly.
Initially, though, with so much time now on my hands, and the beautiful spring weather coming, here in Connecticut, I’ll be doing yard work around our place. There are a lot of projects that have been neglected due to the constant touring. In that regard at least, I feel blessed. I actually like getting my hands dirty. As we move forward, this summer, we’ll obviously start writing new music with a view to a follow-up album, some time in the future.
Please, in the meantime, stay safe yourselves, keep your sanity and stay sanitised. Take care using those petrol/gas nozzles as well as supermarket trolleys. The virus hangs out on hard metal surfaces, other than copper. Stay away from public transport if you can and keep to the 6 feet/2 meter social distancing rule. As you can imagine, I’ve heard from a lot of fans and friends, about their take on it all, and of their personal circumstances. Several are working in health care, or have sons and daughters also working on the front lines of the battle against the virus and its impact. They are already having to deal with being asked to rewash and reuse surgical masks and putting themselves at great risk for us all, due to the gross unpreparedness of the current system. All quite intolerable. I get very little comfort from the ramblings coming forth from the federal government but all praise to governor Cuomo of New York, who puts forth a lot of useful info and common sense. Things are set to hit that city and state very badly in the next 2 weeks I fear.
Best wishes and Best Bones ~ A.P.