Greetings to all Wishbone Ash fans worldwide,
And so we reach the end of another busy year for MTWA. The Life Begins period of touring was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for all concerned, as we marked the 40th anniversary of the formation of Wishbone Ash in suitable style. As always, my band did a tremendous job recreating the intricacies of a wide range of material from the classic years of Wishbone Ash, with a set list that developed and evolved across the year, including much material that had never been played on stage before.
The Life Begins tour was, of course, captured on the new DVD, which we are all very pleased with. Our thanks go to Gavin Crumpton and the crew at Effigy Music for filming, recording and editing the concert, Daniel Earnshaw at QEDG for co-ordinating the project and our roving reporter Gary Carter for supplying additional “fly on the wall” bonus footage. We believe we’ve put together a value for money package that takes the viewer closer to the MTWA experience and provides unprecedented access to the band both on and offstage.
Other highlights during 2010 included the band’s appearance at the inaugural High Voltage festival in London. This was a great opportunity to meet up with a lot of old friends and make some new ones as well. It was great to once again appear on the same bill as headliners ELP and ZZ Top – both of whom Wishbone appeared alongside in the early days.
It was also fitting that this experience be shared by my old mate Ted Turner. We had a wonderful few days rehearsing, socialising and performing with Ted, who flew in from Arizona especially for the festival. I’m delighted that Ted is performing and recording music once again and we both keep the door open as regards future collaboration. It was also lovely to see Laure Wisefield, John Wetton and Trevor Bolder backstage at High Voltage. Add to this regular communication with Steve Upton. I am thankful that all members of Wishbone Ash are alive and in good health and wish them all nothing but success, happiness and prosperity. This includes my old friend Mr Powell and his current chaps.
I would point out that there can be very few bands ever in the history of modern music who still have such a passionate following after 40 years. I think it demonstrates just how strong was the original melodic take on rock music created and delivered by the early Wishbone Ash band all around the world. We should all celebrate this fact, not bitch and carp about it!
As we move towards the new year, there is much activity going on behind the scenes. Our archivist Gary Carter and I have been hard at work compiling an autobiographical book, to be published later in 2011. These memoirs should make for a fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of Wishbone Ash and indeed the workings of the music business in general. The book will be packed with anecdotes charting the events which helped shape my career in music – from my early days as a fledgling musician in the West Country, through the classic Wishbone Ash years and right up to the present day with MTWA. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
2011 will also see the band finally moving forwards with new material. Much of this is already written and we will be getting together to rehearse and record early in the new year. Everyone is excited about getting creative with fresh music in the studio. We will also be back on the road in the Spring for our “Live Dates 2011” tour, which will no doubt see us delving further into the extensive WA catalogue. We are in discussions with promoters all round the world, and will be spreading the music wider and louder in 2011. It gives us all so much pleasure to meet with everybody who is passionate about Wishbone Ash music.
I close by thanking my immediate team – my band: Ray, Danny and Dave for being not only great musicians but also fantastic company on the road; our soundmen Mick Howlett and Mark “Hobbit” Emery; Martin Darvill, Maria Lundy, Patzi Cacchio, Nathan Parsons and Daniel Earnshaw at QEDG management; Don McKay at Rhino agency; Gary Carter, our webmaster, Ellie and Roland, our PR; Marcus Sollner and Kultopolis in Germany; also our legal advisers and our labels. Most of all my thanks to all our fans worldwide for continuing to support the band. We look forward to seeing you in 2011 and beyond.
Wishing everyone a very happy and successful new year.