I would like to extend my very best wishes for 2015 to all supporters of Wishbone Ash and its music. This last year has proved very challenging for me both personally and professionally and I am extremely grateful for all the encouragement and support that I have received from everyone - my family, band members (former and current), management, legal people and especially those who have made the effort to contact me or speak to me at gigs.
A couple of months ago we finally released the "Garden Party" CD. Despite some technical issues on the day that could have rendered the recording a write-off, I felt the event needed to be commemorated, it having featured Ted and Laurie as well as a rare personal appearance of Steve Upton. Much of the feedback we’ve received comments on how well the CD captures the wonderful atmosphere on the day, which was really very special and unique, as well as reflecting the affection for the music of the original band and so all was well in the end.
We are now in the process of recording a new studio album (“Written in the Stars”) which should be finished early in 2015 for release during the Spring of 2015. My lads - Danny, Tim and Ray - have been doing an excellent job creatively and Mr Hobbit (Mark Emery) – the original Wishbone Ash soundman, who had been with me since the Empty Vessels days of the late sixties - has been working with us again both live and in the studio. Their enthusiasm and talent has been stimulating and together we have re-discovered the joy of creating original music after a few years of focussing on celebrating the classic Wishbone Ash catalogue. I don’t like to review my own music – that’s for the people who buy the albums – but I am pleased with the direction the music is taking, as well as the quality of the sound we are achieving in the studio. The new album certainly has the melodic content that Wishbone Ash was known for and I view it very much as an addition to the wider “WA” catalogue irrespective of under what banner it is packaged . Whether it’s from the 70s or today, melodic rock music seems to endure. I believe I now have the right combination of musicians and collaborators to achieve some really strong results, so I can see a more creative band making more music in the future on a regular basis.
Christmas joke:- The other day at a Christmas bash I met a chap who said he was dyslexic, like me. He also claimed to be a Satanist, and then told me he had accidentally sold his soul to Santa....
I could go on and say a lot about the state of the world today but I will content myself with just once again thanking you all for your continued support and hoping that you and your loved ones experience health and happiness for the future.
Much love to everyone,
Bankrupt For My Art
20 AUG 2014
Since Mr Powell has decided to use his blog to share some more personal details of our well documented legal dispute, I feel compelled to set the record straight on matters which he has chosen to misrepresent. Mr Powell has crossed the line by bringing wives and family into this.
I had to double take my Facebook last night when I heard that Mr Powell’s wife Pauline has been posting onto my Facebook page that she has discovered the value of my wife's house. She even refers to her own 'stalking'. Crossing the line? It is beyond mere words. Beyond Belief as we wrote on There's The Rub.
The pro AP trolls, both on our FB page and the US site, are not independent fans voicing opinions but obsessive, cultish followers of AP. Attentive readers will spot that these are few in number, same old names repeating the same tired mantras, only thing new here is they are on our own page, where we discourage such anti social behaviour and they include Mrs. Powell, a development which adds no style or grace to Mr Powell's cause.
Unfortunately her actions like those of others have gone beyond harassment, beyond British values, and worthy of reporting to the police. Internet trolling and harassment are criminal actions."
He wouldn’t like it if the roles were reversed, so I suggest to him yet again that he should retain some dignity in public; or at least try to. I say to Mr Powell, let’s keep our personal skeletons in our personal cupboards. Ironically, I lost money due to WA becoming insolvent after they replaced me in 1980, but I did not gloat. More of this later…
But as he has brought my family into this, I reply for the record.
When I first met Susie I was captivated by her energy and positivity and as I got to know her family I recognised that these were generous and intelligent people with a work ethic that I admired hugely.
She had her own home and worked with her brother, a successful media company director. After parting from my first wife I moved into Susie's home, where we raised our merged family. She has always worked (apart from maternity breaks) and that is something that I love about her, it is not threatening to me as I am not one of those old school aggressive alpha male types.
Fast forward to the present and Susie owns a successful franchise of a global brand of natural health and skincare (Neal’s Yard Remedies), while her brother owns a world renowned winery.
There has never been a time when I was a ‘beneficial’ owner of her home, I have always been her partner, father to all her kids - this home is their home too - I am not a gold digging materialist, I don't need to own stuff to feel good about myself. Our lawyers have all the historic paperwork on this.
I may not be materialistic, but I do own the truth about the founding and inspiration for Wishbone Ash, I own the knowledge that I was the main creative contributor, who chose the band's name and harmony guitar trademark style, not to mention generating song writing royalties which the other band members received on an equal basis. This represented the “all for one, one for all” ethos that WA was well known for and which was the backdrop to a proposed re-union of the Mark 2 band in 1998. Mr Powell rejected that reunion, seemingly unable to subscribe any longer to the ethos on which WA was based and soon after secretly registered the name as a trademark owned solely by himself, a fact which only emerged 7 years later during his unsuccessful Nominet case against me.
In 1980 when the band left me, as I phrase it, I did ask for my share of the funds in the band’s bank account (in excess of $100,000) which was promised to me but never paid. When I chased it, I was informed (by the band’s then manager) that I couldn’t have it as the money had gone and he had advised the band to go bankrupt. I had to move on.
It’s a band I never quit, as the judge accepted in explicitly clear terms in his judgment. So why do I continue to have to listen to the much repeated mantra that I “quit the band”? – This statement is a lie, but if Mr Powell chooses to re-write history for his own gratification, that’s his sad and bitter affair. Fans of Wishbone Ash know who Wishbone Ash really were; and are; and it is their view that counts. That integrally includes Andy Powell, but not only Andy Powell. This is why the others – Steve, Ted and Laurie - stood by me…
I own my dignity and the love of a very good woman who will always provide and care for my family. Susie and I did not sign away anything to each other but our hearts. She opened her home to me - I have felt safe there ever since, through the trials and tribulations wrought by Mr Powell.
His comments about the family home reveal a speculative interest in it, yet he was warned repeatedly that if he forced me to defend this case there was no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. My advisers understand this and knew that there was little chance of being fully paid, even if the case was won. They knew there was no pot of gold to pay even our own side’s costs. They knew this and so did Mr Powell and his team.
Mr Powell filed and aggressively pursued the case to stop the use of the name Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash, whereas we never tried to stop him touring as he was, in fact, we only ever wanted to share the trademark certificate of the band name we had all worked long and hard to make famous, which he then trades off today.
The stance of Mr Powell and his representatives made both sides’ suggestion of mediation seem inevitably one-sided – they made it perfectly clear they were not prepared to negotiate and that they had a totalitarian agenda. Well...almost. There was one notable offer on the table from Mr Powell – an unsolicited offer to sell the WA brand to me for the tidy little sum of £1million.
This surely emphasises what Mr Powell is all about. His hostile takeover of the band that Steve and I invited him to join, the recordings I played on, the name Wishbone Ash that I created, the re-unions that never happened, the court case against my recent activities, eyeing up “my” million pound house as he sees it…all of these issues boil down to what is wrong in the world today, namely money and greed.
Despite his ability to appear as “Mr Nice Guy”, I would suggest that Mr Powell’s actions demonstrate that he regards “Wishbone Ash” as little more than a cash cow and I am once again reminded of the time that, while clutching a fist full of £££s, he boastfully described touring in the UK as a “bank raid” during a conversation with me when we attempted to work together circa 1995/96. Even as a hard travelling R + Roll dude I was saddened and disappointed by his cynical attitude to the people who come to gigs and pay money to see him perform. He might more honestly brand his discordant endeavour “Wishbone Cash”.
The recent court case was billed as a trademark dispute, but as it has unfolded, it is clear that it is an unsuccessful attempt to put me out of business so his band is the only band playing the music I put so much creativity, time and love into. This will not happen. Andy was partly successful and of course I accept the court has made a judgment about the trademark, but, as I say, neither Andy nor, with respect, the court can rewrite history. Do WA fans really see WA as being just Mr Powell? Is Argus going to be reissued with the rest of us removed from the cover and the credits?
We now realise we should have objected to Mr Powell’s secret registration earlier, but we had a trusting belief in him, that members hold the flame for the other core members, as happened in the 1980s + 1990s when he accepted that returning core members still owned their share of the goodwill and name.
OK. We have had our say. Time to put it behind and move on.
We attempted a reunion a few years back, to say thanks for all the support that people had given us but also to afford an opportunity to meet face to face and discuss the grievances between the original band members which could have produced a settlement and benefitted all concerned, but once again Mr Powell chose to avoid that scenario and impose his own selfish agenda. Look where it has taken us – “war” as his people described it and all that has been achieved is huge financial loss and bad feeling all around. Utterly predictable; and a million light years from the "one for all" ethos of the real WA; but I guess true to the "all for one", that one being Andrew Powell.
His representatives were warned but they didn’t listen, or Mr Powell didn’t listen, or maybe didn’t care. And so, yes, I am now financially bankrupt – "bankrupt for my art". But that doesn’t make any big difference to me though I can’t now follow Screaming Lord Sutch and become an MP I'm told; but you know, I can live with that. I don’t have any assets; never have since my divorce, when I gave pretty much everything I had to my former wife and children, willingly. Mr Powell knows this.
Nowadays, my only possessions have been the tools of my trade; my legacy and a lovely wife and family. What more does one really need? Well, seemingly Mr Powell needs more – much more – "It’s all mine…mine …mine", but moral bankruptcy is a much bleaker, darker place in my view. In terms of my conscience I have wealth beyond measure.
Now I intend to channel my creative energy into writing, including new songs. I will also be performing with my band albeit with a rather expensive additional few descriptive words on the advertising, which still contains the words “Wishbone Ash” despite his pleading with the Judge that I should not be able to use the words. The Judge threw out his plea and I can still use the words “Wishbone Ash”. I cannot use the apostrophe. What an expensive apostrophe.
But to those who know my spirit, it should come as no surprise that the man who once wrote “A slave I’ll never be” and is now a “bankrupt pauper”, finds great irony in the fact that the man who took away my apostrophe continues to interpret my lyrics and tunes on stage. I am undeterred and will be on the road providing some musical entertainment near you soon.
Peace and love to everyone as always,
PS – there are still several pages of unpaid royalty, sampling and copyright issues that Mr.Powell has yet to account for, several years on from our request...