A brief summary of the recent life and times of FISH
By Hugh Connell for PCN Magazine
Here is a look back of 2020 in the eyes of one musician Derek Dick, better known as FISH the former MARILLION frontman, as he takes time out to give us a reflection on where he stands and where we might stand in the future:
2020 was due to be an exciting and memorable year. After 5 years in the making the Fish album WELTSCHMERZ, dubbed as the final work, was nearing completion and due to be released Summer/Autumn with a mini-tour all planned and booked during Spring 2020 with a possible Final Farewell Tour to come.
The first gig of the 12- date mini tour took place at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen (Scotland) on 13TH March 2020 followed by an immediate TOTAL SHUTDOWN – STAY AT HOME – TRAVEL BAN – ALL PLANS CANCELLED
This was a typical experience to hit musicians, technicians and music fans alike. All concerts and Festivals cancelled. Tickets had been sold and despite all efforts to re-arrange dates, music venues have remained empty and fields left to vegetate.
(FISH reminisces on the tour cancellation experience on his web site: https://fishmusic.scot/news/ that also includes an audio recording of the Lemon Tree Concert)
The STAY AT HOME message meant FISH found himself back at his countryside home, east of Edinburgh. Fortunately for a man of vision with the challenge of promoting the WELTSCHMERZ Album release and a lifelong interest in gardening, his time would not be miss-spent. Interestingly in mid-summer the BBC took an interest in his situation and visited his home to feature the splendour of his garden on the very popular show ‘Gardeners World’. Link to the BBC player below.
On the recording side, the release of the WELTSCHMERZ Double Album (the pain of the world) was gathering speed and a decision was taken to market the album privately from home. Following its release in September 2020 and backed by a host of great reviews the orders continue to pour in. To this day FISH and his wife Simone are working tirelessly dispatching album orders to send throughout the world with thousands of orders sent out so far. Unfortunately, since 1st January extra charges and paperwork now apply for sales to EU Countries, that could add around £10 to a single album sale.
If you wish to follow more on the present life and times of FISH during the current pandemic situation you can catch his weekly streaming broadcast FISH ON FRIDAY every Friday night at 6pm GMT at:
Only in the last month or so have the effects of Brexit touched base with musician and their crews planning to tour and market themselves in Europe.
Politicians throughout Europe tell us there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ but the facts do not bear this out!
An average tour for many UK bands normally consists of dates in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France and Germany etc. requiring Visas for each country. The FISH tour set-up for 20-30 dates, normally requires a 10 people crew, so currently under Brexit rules Visa charges for the tour could cost around £125,000 as £250 would be charged for each person for each country. Yes, a 12- 15 date tour say to Germany, where Fish is very popular, might be viable but hoping over the border to other countries to play 1 or 2 dates would have to be ruled out.
“Another issue is the limitation to the number of days you can work in the EU now - 90 out of 180 days. At every border you cross, you now have to get your passport stamped to show how long you have been in that country. Many of the Fish crew do five weeks on the road with Fish before jumping off to go out with another band. It’s the same for session musicians. So, when’ I’m employing guys’ I now have to ask how much time they’ve spent working in Europe over the last six months, a question I never thought I’d be asking.
Fish concludes ‘It’s only now that people are realising what the Brexit deal really is and that’s the problem, we are trying to dance on our feet and juggle greasy elephants, all at the same time. We are a small island with a music business worth around £5.4 billion a year, it’s a lot bigger in Europe, about £70 billion. British musicians need to be able to go there to thrive. The government has to become more flexible. I know they’re playing to the Brexit gallery, but they have to awaken to reality and find a way forward through some sort of ‘passport’ that enables us to play in Europe’.
(Latest News: Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has just announced the setting up of a ‘working Group’ in a bid to find solutions – Fish (Derek) has been invited to be part of this group) – We wish him success for the good of us all!
NOTE: A fish final Tour may happen in September 2021 but if crowds still restricted and Visa Issues not resolved it may be 2022 as Fish wishes to bow out playing at his favourite venues to as many fans as possible)
FOR THE RECORD HERE IS A 40 YEAR DISCOGRAPHY OF THE WORK OF FISH
- 1983: Script for a Jester’s Tear
- 1984: Fugazi
- 1985: Misplaced Childhood
- 1987: Clutching at Straws
- 1990: Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors
- 1991: Internal Exile
- 1993: Songs from the Mirror (covers album)
- 1994: Suits
- 1997: Sunsets on Empire
- 1999: Raingods with Zippos
- 2001: Fellini Days
- 2004: Field of Crows
- 2007: 13th Star
- 2013: A Feast of Consequences
- 2020: Weltschmerz