A R T I C L E S
a n d I N T E R V I E W S
Rockspeak, BBC Radio 1, October 1974
Q: Like many people I should declare an ignorance about what Wishbone Ash have been doing lately, because although you always sold a lot of records, you seem to keep yourself to yourselves. Where have you been?
Steve Upton: Well, for the past year we’ve mainly been concentrating on writing and rehearsing and recording our new album, which is called “There’s the Rub”. Also, Ted Turner, who used to be one of the guitarists, decided he’d had enough of rock ‘n’roll and he decided to leave, which sort of set us back a few months.
Q: You were a group that didn’t have changes, weren’t you? Other groups are continually changing...
SU: That’s right, yes. We’ve always felt the strength has been in the four of us rather than any particular individual and since Ted left we’ve found Laurie Wisefield, who used to be with Home, and everything’s great again now.
Q: Why did Ted leave at that moment? Was it success?
SU: We’d been on the road so much - concerts and being in America so much - and it was a very trying period for everyone. I think Ted’s decision was a very hard one for him to make but I think overall, as far as the band’s concerned, it was a right decision and it’s given the band a lot of time to rethink, and I think we’re a lot stronger for it now. I think Ted had personal ideas of what he wanted to do and I think he felt he’d exhausted his role in rock’n’roll.
Q: What’s Ted going to do? Do you know at all?
SU: Well, I saw him today actually, and he’s going to New Orleans to spend some time, and then he’s going to Peru. So, I don’t think he’s going to be getting another band together at the moment. I think he really finds he needs time to reassess himself.
Q: Will he be playing in New Orleans? Because albums have been made in New Orleans - Jess Roden made his album in New Orleans quite recently with the Meters. Is he going to do anything like that?
SU: Well, you can never tell, he may well do that, but I think as it stands he’s really just thinking about what he’s going to do. He’s got his ideas, he wants to go to Peru and check a few things out there and that’s all I know. I’m sure he isn’t certain what the future holds.
Q: The album title “There’s the Rub” sounds slightly like a comment on what’s been happening.
SU: Yes. It does tie in a bit, but this was instigated by our album designer, who’s done all our albums up to now, except the first one, and I think it’s an appropriate title.
Q: You have sold an enormous amount of records. Do you ever feel you lack recognition in any way?
SU: Well, I don’t think so. I must point out that we haven’t been a band that’s concentrated on the singles market. We haven’t ever gone out to write singles. On this album we have a couple of tracks that we’ve taken into the singles market. We’ve considered it a lot more this time. I think we’ve got a single on there, but this band up to now has mainly been concentrating on live performances. We’ve worked solidly in America, although we haven’t done much here in the past few years. I think the role of the single now, in the case of an album band, is like a ‘calling card’ really. This is the way it seems to be treated, especially in America. If you have a single out and it’s a success, your albums usually is. It’s just an extra way of getting across to more people really.
Q: Could you tell us a little about the circumstances of the recording of “There’s the Rub”?
SU: Well, this is the first album that we’ve recorded out of England - we recorded it in Miami at Criteria Studios, and we also had a gentleman by the name of Bill Szymczyk, who has produced people such as J.Geils, Joe Walsh, James Gang, Rick Derringer and a host of other rock artists. He has managed to get the band across on album in a better way than we’ve ever managed to do so before and we thoroughly enjoyed doing it.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the tracks?
SU: “Don’t Come Back” is quite a heavy, rock’n’roll number - very direct and strong. The first track on the album is called “Silver Shoes”, which is a bit more relaxed and which I happened to write the lyrics to. It’s about a lady of the road and it was inspired by going to America and checking out these ladies. “Hometown” is our hopeful single - the lyrics were written sometime ago by Martin. I think the lyrics are about a year old, they’re about coming home after being away for a long time and this is one of the funkier tracks on the album, which is a bit of a departure for us because we haven’t been regarded as funky before, but I think this is quite a funky track. I think the atmosphere of Miami helped a lot in this particular case. “FUBB” is an instrumental. It’s quite long and involved and it’s a number that is very popular on stage and it’s enabled us to drop an old number of ours from our stage act, which is “Phoenix”. This is a very guitar orientated track and shows the skills of both Laurie, the new guitar player, and Andy Powell. I’ll leave your imagination to sum up what “FUBB” means!
Q: Groups now are playing America and everywhere - a large amount of it’s economic obviously, but it does seem a bit hard on the British fans.
SU: Well, the one problem in England is that it’s so small, as many people have commented before, and unless you do two or three nights in one particular place it’s just not a viable proposition. We love working in England because it’s so cosy and the audiences are just great. We just appreciate England, I don’t think we could ever move away from England, but that’s a thing we’ll have to see in the future, whether we’ll have to stay or go, but the next tour will take in a lot more of the country and probably do two or three gigs in one particular town. From now, we’re finishing off a European tour, then we have a little rest and then we go back to America for about two or three months, taking in the whole of the easy and west coasts and then we hope to go to Hawaii to do a gig, and then over to Japan, Australia and New Zealand. We’re really at the beginning of this world tour and we hope to see everyone soon when we tour England again. Hopefully it will be in the Spring of 1975 that we’ll be making another album. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a tour in either before or after that. This particular tour of England has been very short and I’m sure a lot more people would like to see the band as it stands toda