A R T I C L E S
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"Ask Martin" Q&As - www.wishboneash.co.uk
I wanted to ask whether you have any plans to film a complete MTWA gig and release the performance as a DVD to be made available for fans to buy at gigs and through your online store?
Hiya Mole Man,
No plans as yet but I believe my manager is speaking to people about the idea. We will tell more when and if something is firmed up.
Martin (31 Dec 2007)
Regarding putting the band together, I was wondering if you considered or even asked any former Mk 1 - Mk 2 WA members namely Ted, Steve and Laurie if they'd be up for it? Now theres a line up!!
I would love to play on a stage again with my old mates but that was not practical for a variety of reasons, and I needed to find out if I was prepared to shlepp around playing in a rock band again at my somewhat senior age of life. As it's turned out I get on very well with my fellow band members, I enjoy driving to gigs and suprisingly I even quite enjoy moving gear in and out of gigs - "excercise" we call that. The only thing I have found to be a problem on occasion is hearing monitors for vocals owing to the pretty severe volume in some of the smaller venues. I don't think that my old mates Steve, Ted and Laurie would be keen to play some of the grimey little hovels that we have been performing in but I do actually enjoy it myself - it is rock 'n' roll in the raw. Hey, who knows maybe they can be persuaded to come out and play one day soon - I have suggested it to them, Andy also, but it remains to be seen if we can make it happen. Whatever the case, it is not very scientific and probably won't involve too many rockets.
Watch this pace maker
Martin (29 Dec 2007)
Not so much a question, but a bit of information further to one of your replies in the Q&A section. In your reply you mentioned that someone mentioned that you and Supertramp played a gig together, but you couldn't recall. The gig in question might have been the Reading Festival in 1975, albeit Supertramp were the penultimate act on the Saturday (just before Yes) and your good selves headlined and closed the event on the Sunday. I recall this because I and two mates travelled 1200 miles (round trip) from the north of Scotland just to see yourselves and the aforementioned bands. Happy days. By the way, great to see you playing WA stuff live again....might have to make another 1200 mile round trip soon I think ;-)
Thanks for the info. When you are at some of these gigs there are sometimes a lot of things going on backstage with managers, agents, fan club, etc and you don't always have the chance to watch other acts perform. I do remember Supertramp being on some shows here in the UK and in the US but I never actually got chance to watch them. Bear in mind we played alongside a hell of a lot of acts back then, some of 'em you get to enjoy, others not. Supertramp - lovely band, but I never got to find out.
Cheers, Martin (29 Dec 2007)
Come on Martin,
When are you going to do a gig in Glasgow? Get a move on man, I am getting decrepit and can't travel all over the UK anymore. The sooner you make it to Glasgow the better.
Hi Blue Nose,
I have great memories of Glasgow in particular, even on the street at 1am on a Sat night/Sunday morn. The Apollo was always a fantastic gig for us in the 70s but my agent tells me that the main gigs there are reluctant to book my band because they have always done business with Andy's band and his agent has intimated that they would no longer play there if he books me. I don't know how true or accurate this is, but people are naturally conservative when faced with a new risk - they tend to stick with the devil they know. If you get a chance, speak to the promoters up there and suggest that they give my band a whirl - we would be only too happy to come up and play for you.
In the early 80s Ray Weston played with my band as did Stuart McKenzie from East Kilbride and I have always loved playing with Glasgow musicians. We also had little Tam (originally with Alex Harvey) work with us for a long time. What more can I say except I need to go pour a wee glass of Ardbeg and then get horizontal.
Martin (13 Nov 2007)
We all know that "Rock 'n Roll Widow" is about a real-life event that occurred at a US gig. I am interested in knowing a bit more about what happened, why the guy was killed, what the band did (if the lyrics are accurate you carried on playing) and whether you ever met the widow. I have been a fan for something like forever (actually more like 35 years). The last time I saw you was about 1980 in a Mk II line-up at the Sunderland Mecca. So many thanks for some great music over years and for keeping the true spirit of WA alive!
This was a very long time ago in a field in Texas and looking back through that window it's hard to see and remember exactly what went down but I'm pretty sure the hot dog dude had got involved with someone else's ol lady and the guy found out and decided to turn up and shoot him for it. This all took place quite close to the stage but we use to make a fair old noise in them days and to be honest I did not even hear the gunshots. I did come off stage that night with a strange parting in my hair though, hmmm, had not considered that one before. I'm sure most everyone has a moment where they feel intense anger, and if there are as many weapons to hand as they tend to have laying around over there, then the chances are that these tragic events are bound to happen. Not a criticism merely an observation.
Martin (12 Nov 2007)
Looking back over your long varied musical career, with I'm sure lots of ups and downs, spanning from the early seventies to the present day, which year do you look back on with fond memories, (from a musical point of view) and think to yourself THAT was my finest hour. I would guess you might say 1972, but maybe I'm wrong.
72 was good - how could it not be? There have been many good times - the early 70s were obviously very exciting because the progress was fast, but although people tend to see the glamour and success they don't always see the sheer hard work, heart break, and exhaustion it can produce. Once you are a "happening band" managers and agents (in order to capitalise) map out your life for the next 18 months and it is possible to end up feeling like a performing monkey having to jump through hoops. Clearly during 1973 we reached a point where we needed a break - re-charge batteries etc - this is the time that Ted quit - he was younger than the rest of us and somewhat in at the deep end. He needed time off, which resulted in him leaving. Later on, with Laurie, we moved to the USA (I didn't want to live there but got out-voted). I felt we lost our musical identity for a while and strangely ended up recording "Locked In" with Tom Dowd who was going through a nasty divorce then and not in great shape either. The result speaks for itself really, but do you remember when we called albums "records" - makes sense in that each recording is a "record" of what was going down at the time and place. To be honest you have to embrace madness in order to be a performing musician, all the best folks I ever came across were pretty crazy and thrived on making it up as they went along. Things are a bit less crazy nowadays - we live in a fairly corporate age. I haven’t reached the slippers and hot water bottle stage yet though, I’m rocking on. To be a wandering minstrel you are always on the fringe of society, hopefully reflecting back what you observe and experience, it's a strange and unpredictable way of life with great highs and lows, I was born to it, have tried to escape and live a "normal" life, but I know I have to submit to my fate.
Martin (7 Nov 2007)
Firstly, thanks for another great gig at the Boom Boom Club in February. It was particularly good to hear "Sorrel" - I've seen Wishbone in various formats over 40 times, and have never heard this played live. I particularly like the fact that you and the band replicate the studio recordings to the very last note and chord. My question: Do you have any plans to write and record new material with Rob, Ray, and Keith?
All the best, and keep touring, because we'll keep coming to see you.
Yes of course we would love to get working on new material but this years priorities have been to finish the NLD2 album, (this has finally been on sale on the current tour), as well as working on a re-recorded Argus album which is still ongoing. This one is being recorded at my manager's studio which has a new Pro Tools set up and although I am familiar with this way of working it is somewhat different to the system I normally record on. It has also involved quite a lot of "to and fro-ing" with gear from my place up to his studio, but the signs are that it will be worth it. Hopefully next year we can get down to a brand new project. With any new band it takes a while to get to know each other, both on stage (which we have done) and also in the studio which the Argus project has given us a chance to do.
I appreciate your comments, all good,
Martin (7 Nov 2007)
I managed to get along to see you with the Wolfgang back in 1982 (I think) and I remember a song you played that night. Am I right in thinking it was called "The Golden One" or something similar?
Yes I do remember the gig complete with the stroppy scotsman behind the bar - must have been having a bad day! The song you mention "The Golden One" was written about a chap called Billy who was a fencing champion in the British Olympic team - he is now with Virgin Atlantic I believe. The tune was recorded as an instrumental on Nouveau Calls - it was titled "Flags of Convenience". Someday I would like to re-record it as a song - as was originally intended.
Martin (6 Nov 2007)
It was really interesting reading your reply about the Argus DVD - especially about Steve Upton's initial response to participating on the DVD. Although he did decline to be interviewed, are his feelings towards Wishbone becoming more open again after many years of being away? Do you still talk to Steve regularly and if so how does he feel about Wishbone these days? I think it is safe to say (for the fans) that having had Ted on the scene recently, just hearing from Steve would be amazing!
I speak to Steve from time to time. He is living in the Dordoigne managing a Chateau for our old manager Miles Copeland. I must find out when he is going to be in the UK again, we had a good evening together last time he was here. I do see his son Ben some times - he lives quite close to me in Guildford. It is difficult for me to sum up Steve's feelings with regard to the band but, like the rest of us, he has not been happy with some of the behind the scenes stuff that has gone on in recent years. I would love him to agree to come on stage with me and play a few tunes but who knows if it will ever happen !
Best wishes, Martin
Can I ask why you have made the decision to re record the Argus album rather than record some new material. Apart from the obvious improvements in recording studios and an uncracked high hat how can you possibly better the original??
Now about the other Argus, as you probably know 2007 marked 35 years since the album went out and became arguably the most popular WA album ever. We therefore decided that we would like to perform the whole of the album on stage and wanted to do it this year. Life however dictated that we could not put an Argustour on until next year. We did manage to get together in August at my manager’s studio in order to rehearse the project and in some respects to see how it would all fit together. So since we were there rehearsing – why not record? - so it was recorded in 12 days over a three week period – pretty much the same pace as the original. We do however need to mix it yet, and I’m hopeful that we can bring in a few “guests” for cameo appearances.
There is no attempt to make the album “better”, its just: “our version sounds lovely so we want to share it with you”. When I think of some of the music that has been released bearing the name “Wishbone Ash” over the last twenty five years or so, I think you will find that this recording will be worthy of the name and hopefully restore some credibility and kudos/class that was once associated with the band. As the writer of the bulk of the Argus material, I suppose I am fairly well placed to perform it again, which I’ll be doing next year, live and on CD – hope you like it when it arrives. Oh, and please don’t worry about bad taste i.e: the artwork with me complete with spear and helmet facing the camera, naked under red cape – we won’t be doing anything sacrilegious.
New Album - I would love to record one, but that would take maybe three months to work up from scratch as opposed to Argus, which we all know and love, taking three weeks – not a problem. Three months – not this year, but I’m sure we will get there given time.
All the best,
Martin Turner (6 Oct 2007)
Have you heard of Line 6 Variax guitars? One instrument is all you would ever need!!! Someone in our office (a fellow string-plucker) just introduced me to them. They really are very impressive and very reasonably priced. They also do Acoustic and Bass Guitar versions. Amazing things...
As M.T. I’m pretty sure has never been near a Variax, I’m going to have a stab at this one if you don’t mind. First off I have to say I’m a huge fan of most of the Line six gear I’ve ever owned or tried out right back to the original kidney bean which took the world and me by storm some ten years ago. In fact at a conservative estimate I’ve probably done some two thousand plus Line six gigs over the last ten years, first with the kidney bean and for the last three or four with the excellent XT live. Reliability has been great with only one power supply failure and it’s always done what I expected of it, I also use a line six delay pedal in the Mesa Boogie FX loop for band gigs and that also is superb.
The secret with amp modelling for me seems to be in finding an amp model that you like and also works for your guitar and sticking with it. For example if your playing rhythm with a Fender amp model then it tends to sound unnatural if the solo pedal takes you to a Boogie or something else, it’s far better to just imagine you have one amp on stage and treat it accordingly. HOW DOES IT SOUND?? In bold in case you dozed off back there. Modelling of amps, FX and guitars is always a trade off with convenience against sound and feel. If they get much closer and I think they’re about eighty percent there at the moment, perhaps seventy percent with acoustics then I think you’ll see more Variax guitars or maybe the next generation being used. Until then I think it’s fairly unlikely you’ll pop along to a Ralph McTell gig and see him using a Variax.
Ray Hatfield (13 Aug 2007)