A R T I C L E S
a n d I N T E R V I E W S
"Ask Martin" Q&As - www.wishboneash.co.uk
No doubt you're looking forward to the footie, how do rate our chances?
Personally looking forward to an Engalnd Brazil final with Rooney coming on for his 1st game and scoring an 89th minute 30 yarder...perchance to dream, there's the rub etc..
Always thought "Hometown" would make a great England World Cup song...
Cheers and enjoy the fest!!
I watched England only last night, fairly heavy going but got there in the end. I, like most folks, hope that when they start playing some of the major nations that they start to play like we know they can. At least they are getting results so far, which Sven does have a good record of. The World Cup is always a blast and the Germans seem to be doing a good job of hosting it. One of the TV channels did actually use some WA music on the late night round up show back in 1990 - Gazza and Linneker days - it was one of the tracks on Nouveau Calls!
Also I want to see Crouch do his robot dance in front of the world stage.
Martin (16 June 2008)
Long time WA fans have previously complained about you not being at the Ashcons. It looks now that you have been invited in the past. Without going into things that are not a fan's business, could you give us some idea of why you haven't shown. Seems odd you would not have replied to an offer. Were you invited only for Meet and Greet, or in some other capacity that you didn't want to do? Did you not want to create an awkward sitiuation for Mr. Skeat? Just plain didn't want to see Andy at the time?
If this is none of our business, I can accept that, but it would be nice to hear something, as oppossed to speculation that will otherwise likely smolder about the forums.
Ashcon - the last time I appeared was in 1997. I was asked by Andy to perform “Master of Disguise” and a couple of other tunes, I cant remember which but maybe four or five songs in total. "Master Of Disguise" was a tricky one as we had never performed it at that point. It took me a while to get it down. I arrived at Ashcon and was told that we would not now be playing "Master Of Disguise but just a bunch of the “usual old stuff”. I had not rehearsed all the old tunes. I ended up being on stage for over an hour and because of my lack of preparation I was not altogether happy with my performance. The audience were very warm, but I was not informed by anyone, before, during or after the event that it had been filmed and was later released on a fairly poor quality video, the proceeds of which, no-one has ever consulted me about. Not for the first time I found myself in a situation over which I had hardly any say - the plan was changed at the last minute and important considerations completely overlooked and not mentioned. It all leaves one feeling like you’ve been used or exploited for someone elses profit.
I do remember speaking to Guy Roberts on the phone a couple of times in early 2004 after we had liased to get the Lost Pearls album together. He suggested my appearing at Ashcon that year and I agreed in principle to perform with the Blue Bishops at the event. Obviously I figured there was a good chance I would be expected to perform a few WA tunes as well. My apologies to Guy Roberts if I failed to respond to two emails – I was in the USA for a good while during Spring 04 helping my wife clear up the estate of her parents both of whom had passed away during the preceeding few months (we’ve just about finished sorting it out now). Pretty soon after my return to the UK, I received papers from a firm of Lawyers representing Andy Powell asking me to 1) shut down my wishboneash.co.uk web site and undertake to never use the name “Wishbone Ash” again, 2) surrender the domain name to their client and 3) pay their “reasonable costs” in this matter. After having worked alongside Andy for a great many years on numerous WA projects, you can imagine that this came as quite a surprise. I refused to submit to any of the requests they made and his people responded by lodging a formal complaint against me with Nominet, which eventually failed. Having worked together up until this point, Andy with many live appearances and a few albums, myself with many album projects and a few live appearances, the working relationship, I am afraid, was changed forever by this confrontational and extremely unpleasant turn of events. Maybe you can understand why it would have been impossible for me to appear at Ashcon alongside Andy given this backdrop and indeed this development has been instrumental in my coming to the conclusion that any future work I do, in the context of Wishbone Ash, will be done independently of Mr Powell.
Your question is difficult to answer because I have no desire to inflame passions of the fans, but when people get hold of bits of information and fill in the blanks it can become misleading, so I have tried to deal honestly with the facts and not resort to emotive language because I too am sick of the “war of the websites” mainly driven by half a dozen individuals determined to create a competition where they can “trash the opposition” and come off looking clever. For those who want a contest, maybe we could get a venue together and put on the two Wishbone Ash bands with Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne to act as judges - that might be entertaining.
On a more serious note: Andy and I do share one thing – we are both working hard to bring good music to people, both live and on record, and we both need as much support as we can get for that to continue. Music is very rarely negative, it can inspire and help us all through life’s journey, so please, lets look at the positive and give everyone involved in the WA story the respect they deserve.
Thanks for listening,
Martin (16 June 2006)
I expect you have been asked these questions many times, so hope you don't mind repeating yourself. What made you decide on the bass as your chosen instrument, did you try electric guitar first and move to the bass or was it a desire to play bass right from the start? Was there any one particular artist who influenced your decision? Have you ever played the double bass? I am very slowly learning bass, in fact I have a T'bird. Personally I never got the urge to learn the Electric or Acoustic guitar, possibly a mistake, I'm not sure. But something always fascinates me about bass and I always listen for the bass lines when I hear a new tune.
Looking forward to seeing you and your band again soon
I played guitar for about a year before my brother Glenn and I started a band. It really was a situation where one of us needed to switch to bass (we had a guy willing to play drums) and then we had a three-piece band, so we tossed a coin and I came out as the bass player, so I went and bought me a Futurama (plastic job - cheap and nasty), and made fairly rapid progress. From day one I always played it wrong, i.e: with a pick like a guitar player although I also play with fingers and thumb sometimes. I have never got into playing double bass - it is another instrument completely methinks but I do admire those who can play both (Sting for instance who used to play D. Bass in a Jazz quartet when he was up in the North-East). I do remember seeing the Merseybeats in the early 60s using Firebird guitar and Thunderbird Bass, I always liked them but it was many years before I acquired one from Pete Watts in Mott the Hoople. It has become virtually part of my body and I think it might have to come in the box with me when I depart this world.
I have always used a technique of singing the bass line to myself and then translate it onto the instrument, I used the same technique with the harmony guitar parts that became part of the WA sound in the 70s - that was quite a process but did help to give the band its distinct identity. I am surprised you picked a T'Bird to learn bass on - it's such a huge akward shaped machine - there must be easier instruments to learn on. The Blue Bishops used to call it the Viking Longship and were always afraid I was going to poke someones eye out with it!
Lovely to speak to you darling
Martin (29 May 2006)
As an American fan I am more than ecstatic to simply see you touring and playing the music we all love. But I can't help but wonder and hope: Are there any plans, currently, for Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash to come and tour in America? We are going insane over here!
Would love to come and do some gigs there. Just came back from there after nearly six weeks in USA. We have no plans at the moment but if there's anyone there who can help put something together, you can contact us here on this website. We seem to be going insane here as well - maybe its something astrological !
Kisses to you Megan
Martin (22 May 2006)
having played a handful of covers throughout your career - "Lean On Me", "Come On", "Vas Dis", "Baby What You Want Me To Do" - would you ever consider releasing an entire album of cover versions of your favourite songs by other artists, performed in a Wishbone-style? If so, are there any songs that spring to mind that you would like to put the Wishbone stamp on.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.
Hi James again,
I didn't realise we had done so many covers - well spotted!
Here's the thing: if you are going to do covers then you have to make the song belong to you too. A good example of this would be Nazareth with "Love hurts" - great version of a great song methinks. In days gone by I've had a go at Roy Orbison's "Pretty Women" also "Temptation" by the Everley Brothers, neither of which I was happy with because they were hard to do different if you know what I mean. Mick Ralphs of Mott the Hoople and Bad Company asked me if WA wanted to do "Ready for Love" way back before they recorded it. I loved the song and wanted to record it but nobody else in the band was up for it. I finally recorded it in the 80s - it sounded totally different to any other versions, faster and quite up. It should have gone on "Walking the Reeperbahn" but for some reason it got left off. I thought that the Chuck Berry song "Come On" that we recorded on the Just Testing sessions came out quite mad, we certainly made it belong to us in the sense that it was radically away from Chuck Berry's or the Stones recording of the song. Anyway enough of me reveiwing WA music - my job is to make it, you guys can review it.
There is an old 60s tune that I wanna have a crack at - if it works it'll be on the next album. Just thought of another: "Take me to the River" - been playing it with the Blue Bishops this last weekend. Their version of that song rocks.
OK gotta go cover up,
Martin (22 May 2006)
"Where Were You Tomorrow" on Pilgrimage was recorded live at De Montfort Hall in Leicester on June 14, 1971. I know I'm not the only fan who has (1) wondered if the rest of that gig was recorded and (2) fantasised that perhaps the tapes still exist and could someday be released. Can the man who played bass that night shed any light on this?
I was always rather fond of De Montfort Hall, quite a lot of small but significant WA things took place there including the recording you mention. I do still have a number of live multi-track recordings buried in the vaults but I'm not sure that they go back quite that far - problem is I would need a spare year to wade through 'em all. I know that I have some of the original Live Dates recordings which would probably contain whole gigs although the versions of songs that were used for the album were considered to be the best ones at the time. Considering the huge amount of work involved, would there be any point in doing a "slightly different" take of the songs used, just to get a "whole" gig ? I do tend towards wanting to get on with new recording projects myself, the technology is so interesting nowadays, so maybe I'll put the old tapes on ebay and someone else can mix em. Its all down to time really, isnt it ? Confused ? - me too, never mind, maybe sometime the world will pass me by again and I can catch up on all this stuff,
Martin (22 May 2006)
I was at the concert in the 1970's when WA played in Ocean City, Maryland. I was wondering what the date was, do you remember?
I have a very vague memory of playing Ocean City, but I do struggle to remember when the date was or what planet I was on at the time. I hope it was a good memory for you though and hope there will be more of a similar nature.
Love to you
Martin (22 May 2006)
I haven't witnessed any performances by your band yet (Southend was on the cards, but you know what I drive..?) but reports from those that have, suggest that everything is gelling together quite nicely and the band is getting tighter gig by gig, which is how it should be of course! It may still be early days, but have you (as a band) been working on any new ideas?
We have not had a chance to do much with new material as yet. I do have a bunch of songs I wanna run through with the new lads rather than bung them tapes to learn. I want it be "organic", so we all get a chance to react in a room together - have had no time to get into it but will do so soon.
Best wishes, Martin (26 May 2006)
I enjoyed the Measham and Birkenhead gigs; the music (of course) hearing the songs sung by yourself, the distinctive upfront bass and meeting some great characters along the way.
But what was it like for you? Could you give us some impressions; the highs and lows; how it felt overall and whether you are up for another outing?
The first couple of gigs were a bit nervy looking back on it and I do have things that I need to improve like being able to hear the vocal monitors which does vary from gig to gig. The main thing is that I do feel I have managed to reproduce the WA music accurately, and, with the spirit in the music that was originally there. Like many of us, I've been along to see various bands performing the music and I would always come away feeling something was lacking until one day the penny dropped. What was lacking was me, so since there was no chance of me performing alongside Andy again, I came to the conclusion that I needed to put together my own version of WA and since I can supply two elements - the bass and the vocal - and since we are talking about songs that I had written or been involved in writing and played on the original recordings anyway, the chances were always that I could make it sound half decent given a couple of good guitar players and a good drummer. Not rocket science is it? However, I had always imagined that putting together another WA band would be hard to accomplish, finding people who could just remember all the parts, and play with feel etc, especially as I'm a bit of a fussy sod with such things. As it turned out - first Keith and then Ray and Rob have been spot on in their understanding of what I am trying to do, and they have done a fantastic job because they are as fond of the music as are we all, and I've been very impressed with their musical talent but also by their attitude, which with any band is very important. Getting to know these guys last year had all the unmistakeable signs of what I call "my magic" - maybe that is just my fate, or finally connecting with what I am supposed to be doing but it has all come together in a mysteriously "easy" fashion, which I think is how it should be when the energy is flowing right.
It's not just for ten minutes, I intend to be here for the long haul. OK, I need to get back to my studio. This is starting to sound like an Oscar ceremony,
Martin (17 May 2006)
Hello Martin Turner,
I don't have a question. Just want to thank you for the music Wishbone Ash made the last 35 years. I listen to WA since 1978. So did my father. He died March 7, 2006. He was 81 years old, but listened to WA untill almost the last day. At the ceremony I played the track "Leaf and Stream". Also some Yes songs and Frank Sinatra. Thanks for the music for my father.. "Leaf and Stream" was the last song played before he was cremated.
Ray van Lier, The Netherlands
I'm sorry to hear of your father's passing, very sweet that you played WA music at his ceremony. My Dad also loved WA, he was very proud that his lad had done well in music and I owe him a debt for having bombarded me with music as a child. I used to sit for hours listening to classical music with him, mainly in front of a live fire in the winter with just the two of us, the fire and the music. We didnt say a lot, but it gave me something I will always value. When my Dad died it took me about a year before I could even bear to listen to Classical music, but when I did it helped my to get my grief out.
Best of luck,
Martin (17 May 2006)
I really love the Thunderbird bass guitar Martin. The sound is so distinctive and a real part of the Wishbone Ash sound. I believe you actually used a Fender Precision for some of the recording sessions, but it was usually the T'bird in concert we came to know and love. It's great to see you still using that white model you got from Pete Overend Watts (alongside the black Hamer)! If it ain't bust ... don't fix it!
As I remember the Pete Watts T'Bird was sunburst but was so badly smashed up that I got it rebuilt by Sam Li in the 70s and we decided to spray it Ivory to cover up the joins so to speak, so, there are photos of two seemingly different instruments that are actually one. I did have another slightly darker sunburst in mint condition that Miles Copeland bought me for a birthday present, bless him. That got stolen by Tom Hagen who worked for us and had a bad 'coke' habbit. When we fired him he went straight back to the store in Connecticut and grabbed my T'Bird. For years I was so angry that if I had ever bumped into him I would have ripped his head off and stuffed it up his arse. As I've mellowed with age, I just hope he had a good reason for doing that to me, like it stopped someone he owed money to from killing him or something. I cant remember what happened to the girls guitar (Rickenbacker). I just lost faith in it when it broke on me. I do still have one somewhere although that's a bit of a mess. Most recording was done with old trusty blue 1963 Fender Precision Bass, but as I've said before, no matter what instrument I play it always seems to come out sounding the same - aggressive, melodic, or some combination of, but wait, I shouldn't be reviewing me, thats you guys job. I have a strange relationship with instruments, they are like wimin. But I always seem to go back to the T'Bird - it just fits my body and I feel like I have to get it hold by the scruff of the neck and make love to it.
Hmmm, nuff said,
Martin (17 May 2006)
Slightly off topic here but over the years I've read that you take a keen interest in 'ye olde footer' but never found out who you support. At a guess I reckon Torquay United, if so have you put a rescue package together yet !! By the way I did have a kickabout with you once in a hotel car park (Auckland NZ 1975?)
You seem to have answered the question pretty well without me. I have always loved football, played it as a kid, I didnt have the pace to be a striker but played in midfield and kicked pretty good with both feet. I started out supporting Torquay United and I can even remember seeing them play Spurs in the FA cup with Jimmy Greaves up front. Predictably Spurs walked all over Torquay but they fought back to a 3 - 3 draw and it was a fantastic day at Plainmoor. They got stomped on in the replay at Spurs needless to say. In the 80s I found myself living in Southfields, SW18 and it was an easy trip up the district line to Stamford Bridge to watch Chelsea. I use to sit on the benches (the old west stand) with my two kids Tom and Grace who were fairly young at the time and had to respond to stuff like "Daddy, the referee is a what?" This was in the Hoddle days, then we cheered for Ruud Gullit to become manager and I was still going through Luca Vialli's time - I thought he was a real gentleman. I loved those days with my kids, the best of which was when little Dennis Wise lifted the FA cup at Wembley, I cried tears of joy at the match that day. I dont go often nowadays but I will always be fond of Chelsea, although I have admit to being a complete tart and will follow anyone who is doing well, Arsenal (lived up there for a while, used to go sometimes), W. Ham (my Dad's brother was a huge fan), Liverpool (they gave me free entry to watch them play Everton when we were on tour in 70s - at 4 hours notice), Newcastle (huge fan of Alan Shearer and Bobby Robson), Bolton (we need more men like big Sam) etc. On this subject: when I lived in the US during the 70s, we would see Brit stuff on TV and watch avidly. I remember seeing a match from Wembley and chastised myself for never having been during all those years in London. I swore I'd go when I got back and I did, for England v Poland (cried again) - I loved the old Stadium, those towers were like the breasts of the mother nation of football and whoever decreed their destruction belongs behind bars being forced to listen to football songs forever more IMHO. They should have re-fitted it, but they didnt and I hope I live long enough to go to a match at the new Wembley. Hmmm, you hit a passionate nerve there, AND its Arsenal v Barcelona tonight.
Later, Martin (17 May 2006)