A R T I C L E S
a n d I N T E R V I E W S
Rock On with Richard Skinner, BBC radio 1, January 1980
RS: You actually did the rounds for about eight months or so before your first record came out.
MT: That’s true, yeah. We’d never really been in a recording studio before so we didn’t have a lot of experience. Really, the only way we could get the band musically together enough to actually make a record was to do loads and loads of gigs.
RS: And make your mistakes on the live circuit first?
RS: It’s interesting, you know, looking back people still name the first “Wishbone Ash” album and “Argus” as, maybe, your best two albums - your definitive work. Certainly they say that about “Argus”, don’t they?
MT: Yeah, but we started playing the “Argus” material on stage before the album was released and we weren’t too happy with the response. But it’s the kind of record that, once you get into it, it seems to stay with you for a long, long time. It’s got longevity.
RS: Do you still like “Argus” now?
MT: Oh yeah. I mean the songs, they’re the sort of thing you can play over and over again. It’s got some very, without sounding corny, classic themes in it, religious and whatever. It’s very melodic, it’s stood the test of time.
RS: There’s been a lot of water under the bridge for Wishbone Ash since that LP. You’ve changed a bit as a band, haven’t you? The approach, the musical style, is very different ten years on from when you kicked off.
MT: Well, I guess living in America for a couple of years made a fairly heavy impression. I don’t really think it’s a great thing musically for any group. It’s bound to happen - you go to the States a lot and America rubs off on you. In Our case, I wouldn’t say it was to our detriment but, musically, we were a very English sounding band and we started to become Americanised. Maybe now, after ten years, we’ve absorbed that, gone full circle and we’ve picked up a lot of tricks in the States, met a lot of people and played with a lot of bands and I think we have a strong enough identity to put all the elements together and bring them out right.
RS: Do you think the music you’re making today has still got the attack and vitality of the early recordings?
MT: Well, you know, we’re not eighteen anymore! But, I wouldn’t be waiting to go out on stage right now if I didn’t feel right about it. Years ago I wouldn’t have imagined I’d still be here. It’s something in your blood and it doesn’t seem to go away but - here we are again.
RS: You’re about to go on tour, aren’t you? Your tenth anniversary celebrations.
MT: Yeah, it should be quite a long one. It’ll be six months on the road, hopefully. The first couple of months we’re in Britain. I think we play London, Hammersmith on the 1st and 2nd of February and then we go right up the top to Dundee, Aberdeen, places like that. Then to Ireland for the first time.
RS: Is it going to be a nostalgia trip for you? Are you going to be playing a lot of the older numbers that you may have dropped recently?
MT: Yeah, after ten years we’ve got so many songs from all kinds of albums. We can pick and choose from a fair old selection.
RS: Do you think you’ll continue for another decade?
MT: To be honest, I cannot see it. I mean, the idea of being fat, bald and paunchy and leaping around on a stage - or trying to - that doesn’t appeal to me, but who knows?
RS: Would you have said the same thing ten years ago?
MT: I would have, yeah, but look - here I am!