First of all sincere apologies for the late arrival of this newsletter, but as we mentioned in the last issue we very much wanted to get a report in of the Japanese tour, plus as much news as possible regarding future plans for both Rick's solo career and of course YES. The major delay has to be truthful all to do with YES as it was hoped to be able to give you all an accurate report of what is to become of the band. It now looks very much as if decisions rest very much with various companies and a final decision is in fact imminent. Sadly we dare not hold the newsletter off any more, and we have done our best to update you on the situation. Similarly, we had hoped to print the first of Rick's Classical Connection dates for May and June. Regardless of all these unfinished points, we hope you enjoy the newsletter and once again accept our sincere apologies for it's late arrival. One thing is pretty much for sure and that is the May issue will almost certainly carry some pretty 'heavy' exclusives.
YES in JapanThe only major disappointment in Japan was that there were just five shows. It did seem an awful long way to go just for this but the receptions were tremendous and to a lot of respect it didn't seem like a gap of six months or more between the last American concert and the first in Japan.
Rehearsals were a little fraught with Bill only arriving on the day of the first show as he had prior commitments with Earthworks in Germany right up to the last minute.
Luckily all the equipment arrived on time although in typical fashion at the time of this newsletter going to press, none of it had returned back to the UK, making life somewhat difficult for Rick who is currently in the studio recording. (More about that later)
For any of you who saw a YES concert last year then you missed nothing in Japan as it was the same show, completing the tour with this particular line up of eight people.
The future is very much in the balance for YES at present although it must be said that it will continue in some form or other possibly even as the eight piece although this does appear unlikely if looked at as a financial viability.
Recording in any form would not be a problem although completing a YES recording to the standard required by the musicians would obviously be limited to the finance available which highlights the one of the main problems which is geographical because the band live in such diverse locations such as California, UK and Barbados - the problems are pretty obvious.
The possibilities other than the eight piece are that of one smaller YES emerging and recording a new album.
It may be possible then that the remaining ex-members would form a separate unit or maybe go their separate ways.
Rick has mixed views on this. His main concern is that if it stays as a unit with his participation, it progresses musically and produces YES music of the nineties as against trying to churn out single after single for the American market.
The next few weeks will undoubtedly be crucial and we think by the beginning of May, if not sooner, decisions will be made as to the future line up and the band's musical future both as a recording and performing entity.
To continue putting things into perspective, there are also too many hangers on as regards YES especially in the administration areas which also create numerous problems. These would also have to be ironed out before the band in any form has a chance of good progression.
The next newsletter will undoubtedly reveal all!
Rick and Jon
Jon Anderson has at last made it to the Isle of Man!
Considering he was born and bred directly across the water in Lancashire, it is amazing really that his first sojourn should be in March 1992 but as the old saying goes..."Better late than never".
Rick and Jon spent four days putting together the basis of a joint album based on piano and voice mostly made up of other peoples songs and material.
A demo was put together for their own reference and the final result should see the light of day prior to the end of 1992.
The opportunity was also taken to discuss future YES music and also the points mentioned in the YES section of this newsletter.
Digressing slightly, for all you Jon Anderson fans, he is at present completing an album with Kitaro which you should see in the shops shortly.
Hellos and Goodbyes
As reported in the last newsletter Suzie has returned to Wales and the RWCC has been taken over by Karen whom some of you have already spoken or written to.
Frank Fallows is now gainfully employed at Beckman Video but Rick also hopes he will be able to join him as tour and merchandising controller on forthcoming tour dates, as he feels life on the road just wouldn't be the same without Frank.
We also welcome Chris Hobdall to the fold who is the new financial consultant for all areas concerning Rick's music and associated businesses.
'Prayers' is now well under way, in spite of a few setbacks during the first weeks of recording.
For new members, 'Prayers' is the album being made for the ASSIST charity, but now being distributed by Word Records worldwide.
From a small project this has got what can only be described as 'way out of hand'!
It started as a small venture with prayer readings with accompanying music. Now we have almost an hours worth of songs as well as readings, with full orchestrations, Chrissie Hammond doing vocals, the Manx Girls Choir under the direction of Alan Pickard doing two solos as well as appearing on the four songs sung by Chrissie, readings over music narrated by Nina Wakeman, Mary Hobdall and would you believe the Bishop of Sodor and Man on the Isle of Man.
Recording will have taken over six weeks by its completion and it will be delivered to Word Records during the first week in May.
As soon as we know their plans for release we will of course let you know.
If possible we will try and get some pre-release copies especially for members of the RWCC who "can't wait"!
Once again Stuart Sawney has been engineering in rick's studio. He seems to spend so much time on the island he's now considered a local. And has already been done for speeding!
The Rick Wakeman Golf Classic
Now before the groans start, this section is not totally about golf!
Rick's golf classic was held in Penrith on the 29th of March with a host of celebrities who turned up to play.
On the Saturday night Rick re-united himself with Davy Paton and they performed a cabaret style set in aid of the telethon appeal.
On the Sunday night following the tournament Davy again joined Rick to finish the evenings' entertainment and the two of them played Eleanor Rigby to a standing ovation.
The whole event was televised by Border Television and will be shown at some date in the future but sadly in the border region only.
Ian Barfoot who many of you know as the other largish gentleman, (apart from Frank), who has the dubious honour of travelling around with Rick doing his sound, very kindly put the PA system together and in true 'trooper' fashion stayed up during the early hours of the morning with some of the celebrities who are hardened drinkers so as they wouldn't get lonely.
For those of you interested in a small amount of name dropping, here is a list of some of the celebrities that very kindly supported Rick during his charity weekend.
Eric Sykes, Paul Squires, Renato, Tony Scannell (The Bill), Tim Healy (Boys from the Blackstuff), footballers included Duncan Mackenzie, Ron Yeates, Tony Hatley, Willie Morgan, Mark Hughes, Clayton Blackmore and Niall Quinn, Willie Thorne, Peter Alexander (All Creatures Great and Small and Emmerdale Farm), Clive Hornsby (Emmerdale Farm), Bernie Flint, Brian Close, Johnny McGee, Vince Earl (Brookside), Johnny Leese (Coronation Street), Stan Boardman, Trevor Bannister (Are You Being Served), The Houghton Weavers, Dougie Brown, Malcolm Mcfee (Please Sir), Dave Becket (Coronation Street), Franklin James, Lenny Bennett... The list seriously goes on and on.
To complete this story you'll all be pleased to know that the weekend's events made over £20,000 for Telethon.
Yanomamo is a musical based on a tribe of the same name who emulate from brazil. The world wildlife association commissioned a children's musical about eight years ago in order to educate people on the plight of the rain forests, way before pop stars got in on the act, and it was first performed some time back at the Edinburgh Festival.
The headmaster at the Buchan School on the Isle of Man chose to perform this work with 7-11 year old children at the opera house with orchestra, special effects and narrator.
Guess who was narrator!
Returning to his second childhood (some say he never left it), Rick performed with 149 children in front of capacity audiences made up mainly of mums and dads, grandmas and grand-dads, aunts and uncles, all looking for their son/daughter/niece/nephew/grandson/granddaughter and somewhat puzzled by the six foot three 'child' who kept standing up amongst them and doing the narration!
Rick was also in charge of the smoke machine. Apart from setting the fire alarm off during rehearsal and slightly going over the top with the amount of smoke (you could not actually see the stage at all for a full ten minutes after the 'fire song' in which Rick inadvertently choked half the second year) it is unlikely that in future performances he will be allowed to work the smoke machine.
Silly... But True
The art master at Rick's daughter's school (Jemma is 9) told Rick this wonderful story that we felt should be shared amongst "friends".
Apparently during art lessons the art master plays music usually of a soft classical nature, to put the children in the right mood for their artistic work. On this particular occasion he was playing Classical Connection II, and he asked the class of 9 year olds if any one knew who's music he was playing?
A little boy called Anthony put his hand up and said 'Rick Wakeman'.
The art master was somewhat surprised that the young boy knew and said, "That's right anthony, how did you know?" to which the little boy replied, "Well he's too old to play rock and roll now!!!!!!"
Bits and Pieces
Rick was treated to lunch with Sir Michael Bishop, chairman of British Midland as a thank-you for the new music which Rick wrote for them. Also at the table was the island's prime minister. Inevitably the conversation took on a political role. And wouldn't you have liked to have been flies on the wall!
Rick's second eldest son Adam has passed, his final music exam (grade eight) and has just to complete his A-level music to complete his musical education in that field before embarking on a joint album venture with his dad. Now to be entitled...."Wakemen"
Rick's next synth related album is to be called "The Artist Strikes Back" and will be recorded during the next three months. Release date will be up to the new distributors of Ambient, but we will of course further update you with information as it becomes available to us.
Rick and Adam have been offered tours working together in both Japan and the United States for later on this year.
More Classical Connection dates are already confirmed for May and June and a full scale tour of the Classical Connection is also planned for October/November please call BDA for further information.
Rick will shortly be appearing in a documentary about stress on BBC1. A part that requires no acting ability on his behalf whatsoever!
Rochester Council want Rick to put on The Gospels in Rochester Cathedral on july 24th. This looks pretty certain to go ahead.
An independent classical promoter has commissioned 'A Suite of Gods" with Ramon Remedios for Cardiff and two other venues in the same locale for this November.
A Japanese company are to make a video with Rick on keyboard playing. This will be done in the next month and should be available by summer.
Apologies for not pricing the keyboards mentioned in the last newsletter, but they are still being serviced, and until they are returned and given the stamp of 'full working order' we cannot put price tags on them. Hopefully we'll get there by the May issue.
There is a possibility of a performance of King Arthur without orchestra, but with choir, on the Isle of Wight on August Bank Holiday Monday. Negotiations are well down the line and confirmation one way or another will be in the next newsletter.
The Gaiety Theatre on the Isle of Man has been booked for two Xmas shows by Rick for December.
Rick has been invited to play on Brian May's upcoming solo album, which will be some time after the Wembley tribute to Freddie Mercury.
We understand from our new distributors that The Private Collection will be released any day now and hopefully this will be the start of better distribution in the record shops for product past and present.
- Dates confirmed for May/June
- 22nd May - Cornwall coliseum (St. Austell)
- 4th June - Buxton Opera House
- 5th June - Oswaldtwistle Town Hall
- 6th June - Workington Civic Hall
- 7th June - Llandudno Arcadia Theatre
- 14th June - Key Theatre Peterborough
- To be confirmed
- 23rd May - Gladstone Theatre Port Sunlight
- 24th May - Dalkeith Leisure Centre
- 12th June - Chester Gateway Theatre
- 22nd June - Aylesbury Civic Hall
- 23rd June - Croydon Fairfield Halls
We are obviously hoping to fill as many dates as possible in the gaps. Please phone Phil Mcguiver or Brian Durkin at BDA.
Ten dates have already been confirmed for November, again more details from BDA.
Finally once again we apologise for the late arrival of this newsletter and hope you accept the reasons why. At worst it will keep you on tenterhooks waiting for the May issue with the latest chapter in the YES scenario!