The last three months have been very disappointing to say the least, mainly due to the postponement of the South American Tour which has now been put back to January 1995.
This came as a massive blow to Rick and the band and the crew, especially at such late notice, but the reasons were understandable. Firstly there was the obvious one in as much as the World Cup was all they were really thinking about in South America (and High Wycombe, where WOP was heard to say that he could now watch the World Cup in peace) Secondly a decision very much on our part that it would have created much unwanted publicity had our tour overlapped with the prospective YES tour.
Rick has very much decided that he wants nothing to do at all with YES any more in it's present guise, and whilst he has nothing personal against any of the guys, management or record company; he is sick to death of being asked all the time what he thinks of the situation regarding the poor ticket sales of the tour and the poor sales of the album. he feels if people want to know those answers they should ask YES and the YES management and victory Records. He no longer wants to get into discussions as to what he thinks of the other members, past and present and whether he likes "Talk" (No prizes for guessing though)
Both YES festivals of fans and supporters in America kindly invited Rick over for their conventions, which for the reasons above he has graciously declined to attend. He is well aware that those concerned were inviting him over for the right reasons but obviously could have no control over questioning once there at the conventions. He also feels that it would create an uncomfortable tension with the current YES also being present.
We know that both Bill Bruford and Steve Howe have been invited and that Bill has also declined. We have heard that Steve has yet to make a decision.
This is not to say that Rick wouldn't work with YES members past or present again, it's just that at this moment in time he has had more than enough of the YES situation and the circumstance that have followed the Union tour.
Bygones has certainly raised Rick's profile, and not done his tailor any harm either! after a brief two week gap because of the World cup and Wimbledon it has returned with a vengeance on a Friday night although the BBC have moved it's viewing time to 1Opm. Rick is not sure that this is altogether a good move as he reckons a lot of youngsters will be in bed at that time and they have undoubtedly made up a considerable amount of the audience.
However the series was lots of fun to record, and Rick has his fingers crossed that if they do another run he will get invited back. The odds must be pretty good as the set cost a fortune and the BBC are unlikely to want to waste that cost for starters!
Danny Baker has a new series starting in September which he has invited Rick on as first guest. Keep your eyes open for the actual date. Again it will be scheduled for a Saturday night slot. Rick has not as yet decided what silly outfit to wear or what silly stories to tell.
The BBC had a certain amount of egg on their faces when they showed the Rick Wakeman weekend back in early June. Bygones on the Friday, Pop Quiz on the Saturday and Masterchef on the Sunday. Rick tried to get on as a news reader on the Monday but got turned down!
Rick is really hoping that this run of television luck continues as this really is the are he would like to work in more than any other.
Rick has also recorded a pilot quiz show for the BBC where he is the host. Talbot Television produced it and mutterings from hierarchies seem promising, so fingers crossed. The BBC have first option and a decision will be made within the next few weeks.
The dreaded Christmas Party has now got a venue! Please look at Candy's Corner for further details. Before you all start that it is in the Midlands again, this is purely because word has spread like wildfire around the country and it is almost impossible to get anywhere to take us. Finally we got a Moat House to accept us although Candy has used a certain amount of deception as regards the booking. We are down as friends of the Salvation Army Christmas Dinner.... which is a long way from the Back To School Christmas reunion.
Incidentally, those of you attended last year's party will recall that Rick was presented with a Victor Meldrew tee shirt by the band as they call him Victor, named after the character played by Richard Wilson in the television series One Foot in The Grave.
Well Rick had the undoubted pleasure of meeting Richard Wilson backstage at the Strand Theatre where he was appearing in Michael Palin's play "The Weekend". It has to be said that Richard found the story related in the above paragraph hilarious. (Who told him... Nina)
There will be a UK tour this year, it has to be said somewhat against Rick's better judgment. This is not because Rick does not enjoy playing, it's just that he does not enjoy paying to play and so he will be noting ticket sales with trepidation ( Tour Dates Listed)
The tour will just consist of Adam and Rick, with a small set of keyboards each. It will be considerably mellower than the last tour for obvious reasons and the pair of them will perform separately as well as duetting. They will have two keyboard set ups and hopefully a pair of Grand Pianos wherever possible. It has to be said that it saddens Rick to not be able to take Wop, Chrissie and Alan along as he really felt that the set Up was progressing tremendously and could have gone from strength to strength.
The fact of life is that it is no longer possible to take the band out on tour as last year lost the English tour had a deficit of £25,000 and Rick has run out of things to sell to cover future losses!
Having said all of that, Rick and Adam have already had long discussions over what sort of show to produce and how to make it different from those that have gone before. Whilst Adam is not at this moment too keen on Rick's "Dressing Up" ideas, the prospect of weekly payment is moving him around to Rick's way of thinking.
Two Gospels concerts have also been booked. These are new versions and also contain some new additional music. one concert will be performed in Edinburgh and the other in Liverpool. (See Candy's Corner for more details as regards actual dates and venues)
The performance in Liverpool at the Anglican Cathedral could well prove to be the best yet. It is in aid of the fund to build a cancer hospital in Liverpool which is fronted by Rick's great friend Roy Castle.
The concert has massive support and should sell out with consummate ease. Robert Powell has offered his services for this performance subject to his availability as he is also a supporter of the charity and a close friend of Roy's.
The other performance will be narrated by Ian Lavender or Garfield Morgan, subject to availability, as it gets awfully near to Panto at that time.
It is sad that there are only two performances of the Gospels this year, but thanks to the fiasco at one of the performances last year we have had to work on a whole new set of guidelines.
There has been a lot of activity in the studio over the last few months with various projects being started for both President Records and the Christian label "Hope".
At the times of going to press no details are available as to final titles or release dates. These will be available in the next Newsletter. Basically Adam and Rick have nearly completed a melodic, almost easy listening CD, with a fair amount of acoustic piano on board, enhanced with other keyboards. It should be completed before the end of July for release shortly before the UK tour.
"Return to the Centre of the Earth" is still just about alive. Pip Williams has now agreed to produce the record which Rick is very pleased about. Rick worked with Pip on the Jose Feliciano record which is due for release in a couple of months time and during the recording they struck up a really good relationship.
Connoisseurs of trivia will be interested to not that Pip, famed for producing Status Quo and the Moody Blues as well as legendary work with Barbara Streisand, also produced Nina's band Blonde on Blonde... Small World.
We are told that a deal for the record is literally just around the corner. (We know that this has been said before, but we are ever the optimists.) Rick feels it is crucial that it gets recorded this year and then maybe it can be tied in with the South American tour for it's initial live performance and filming... If it doesn't come off it will not be for the want of trying.
Should everything reach fruition, we will be trying to put special packages to go to the Brazilian event at the best knock down prices we can put together. Already we know of at least a dozen of you who are keen to go and we reckon there might be one or two more of you out there who fancy the idea.
There is a very strong chance that Rick and the full band will be appearing in a big festival in Japan in August. Contracts have been exchanged and we are just waiting with bated breath this end for final confirmation of all the arrangements... (bated breath, angst etc, they went to Japan but what a time we had, as the work permits arrived 012 the day they should have flown out!!!! see front page for explanation)
From what we can gather it will be quite an event. The particular evening Rick performs, he shares the bill with Rod Stewart and Boy George.
To Rick's obvious delight the full band will be performing and it may well give the opportunity to showcase themselves with a view to doing a full tour there sometime next year, so fingers crossed.
The Official Bootleg is now in the shops in the UK, most of Europe and America, as is Wakeman with Wakeman, we're not sure if anyone's buying any of them, but at least they're out there!
Reviews have been good and everybody seems impressed with the quality. The tape certainly caught the band in perhaps it's "Hottest" period and is certainly the strongest live performance on record to date. If you haven't got, then you should have!
Please beware of the CD "Classic Tracks". Rick was conned in a big way as regards this product and receives not one penny from it. In fact it owes him a small fortune which he is not likely to see.
Whilst not wanting to go into long drawn out paragraphs on the why and wherefores of the events leading up to the release of this CD, it is tragic that there still exists in this business people willing to bend rules and friendships in order to line their own pockets at the cost of others.
Rick continues to be asked to do after dinner speeches which he really quite enjoys. He is also doing corporate days for British Airways and most unusual of all, opened the show-house for Crest Homes in Farnborough back in June! This he says was great fun and would love to do some more so if you have any show houses you want opening, you know where to come!
The after dinner circuit is one of the fastest growing areas of the entertainment industry and over the next few months Rick has been invited to discuss whole "tours" of after dinner speech making to invited audiences with two of the major agencies who deal in this part of the business.
Adam continues to write for his new album as well as putting his own band together, which is now in rehearsal. Hopefully they should be performing before the year is out.
Adam hopes to start recording his new album in a few weeks in order for a release shortly before the UK tour. He intends the band to be of a much more progressive rock nature by contrast and wants to get some solid live performance under his belt before taking that line up into the studio.
Adam has also been invited along with his father to perform at the Henry cooper golf week in La Manga in October. It should be worth seeing the reaction of the La Manga Golf Club when they see Adam's hair!
Wop continues to perform regularly with Ruthless Blues and both Alan and Chrissie seem to have kept themselves busy on the music front. Alan has been touring in Europe for most of this year and we hear that Ruthless Blues have also headed into Europe defying decibel limits everywhere.
Sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused over the cancellation of the Light Up the Sky event. The promoter, Alan Hillary turned out to be not quite as genuine as he had made us believe and sadly we only found out at the last minute what "games" were being played. there is little doubt in our minds that with the advance sales at over a thousand with nearly three weeks still to go before the performance, that it was going to do well. However we were unaware of Mr. Hillary's situation with the council and following a call to Ian Barfoot from Alan Hillary, alarm bells started to ring this end, but by then it was too late. So once again, apologies to anyone who inconvenienced themselves... It's amazing that even after twenty five years in the business it's still easy to get caught out, and yet people still write to Rick asking for advice as to how to avoid the sharp exploiters.
Some of you may have been catching Rick's regular Monday morning spot on Virgin Radio. Known as "The Coach" Rick has been having the dubious honour of slagging off sport, sportsmen and sportswomen and various sporting authorities for about ten to fifteen minutes on the air. So far the writs have been slow in coming in which means either those concerned accept it as a bit of fun... Or no one's listening at 8.30 in the morning! This seems like it is going to be an on going thing, at least for the next few weeks, so tune in.
Also on the radio front, keep your ears open for Rick's interview with Bob Holness on Radio 2 and also Adam and Rick's appearance on Five Alive. Rick and Adam also appeared at a London music store in early July.
Rick and Adam had a wonderful evening recently as guests of Celestion at their 75th Anniversary. The lads performed for nearly an hour in front of some familiar friendly faces which included the legendary Jim Marshall, famed for Marshall amplification. Both Rick and Adam have a long and happy association with Celestion which will continue with their support on the upcoming UK tour.
Now to answer some of the questions that have been sent to us over the last few months...
Are White Rock and No Earthly Connection going to be released on CD?
We are trying really hard to negotiate with A&M and in fact in President Records have also joined in on the attack and they are trying too. It really is sad that a record company makes life so difficult for an artist to get his stuff released on new formats especially when the demand is there.
If Return to the Centre of the Earth comes off in Brazil, will it be performed in the UK?
Yes, providing a promoter will take it! We do feel that once it exists on CD it will make our life a lot less difficult.
Will there be another ABWH recording?
Rick's personal view is that a recording of "YES" related material will be made by the musicians that the fans would like to see make such an album within the next two years. He has no firm knowledge as to why he should make such a statement but he just feels that "YES" and all it's associations can certainly not be laid to rest with "Talk".
News has just reached us via pretty reliable sources that Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin have gone on record saying that this will be the last time that Yes will ever perform with it's present line up as it stands.
This seems a far cry from the euphoria that was floated around during the recording of "Talk" and subsequent announcement of touring, but without all the facts before us we are unable to give more information.
It does however leave considerable possibilities open for discussion as it rather brings the situation back to the same position it was in six years ago.
For starters, who owns the name? Legally it has to be the last line-up, Trevor, Alan, Chris and Tony, but if they split up, what's the legality then?
Brian Lane and Steve Howe own the Logo. Jon owns the ABWH rights... and Rick owns a 1962 Vauxhall Cresta Friary Estate.
What is Rick's idea of the perfect line up?... Well if the truth be known it has to be Alan White, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Jon Anderson and a keyboard player who drives around in a 1962 Vauxhall Cresta Friary Estate car! In the meantime, anything could happen and probably will.