What an amazing five months! It's almost impossible to know where to start, but we'll do our best..
Firstly the Michael Caine films. All the music was finally delivered in early April and "Bullet to Beijing" was premiered at the film festival in Cannes in May. This is due for major cinematic release a little later this year. The other film, which was made for television and entitled "Midnight in St Petersburg", has yet to be given a viewing spot although it is unlikely that it will be shown until at least three months after "Bullet to Beijing " has been shown.
Producing the music was not without it's difficulties and much was written before it was delivered to the satisfaction of the producers and directors. This is not an uncommon situation although there was a stage during the recording when Rick and Stuart were considering never to go to the cinema again!
The final outcome was very pleasing though and Rick is very pleased with the music. his only regret is that he never got to meet Michael Caine!
After all the keyboards and percussion were recorded in Rick's studio, the tapes were taken to CTS Studios in Wembley where a string section was added with arrangements done by Les Williams around Rick's original score.
There has been talk of a sound track album to accompany the films but as yet nothing has been firmed up.
Cirque Surreal opened in Brighton to rave reviews. The music was completed just four weeks before the first performance and the band rehearsed for just one week before opening night!
Rick is more than happy with the music and Adam has done a fabulous job in rehearsing the banding and acting has musical director throughout the entire run at Brighton. He will also be running the band at Cheltenham and Edinburgh during July and August. Rick will be performing at the first three days at Cheltenham and the first four at Edinburgh. It is then hoped that the production will move into London.
A five piece band performed throughout the Brighton run with Kevin Earle taking over when Rick left to return to the Isle of Man to record the album of the music from Cirque Surreal. Also in the "Circus band" are Tony Fernandez on drums, Phil Laughlin on bass and Fraser Thorney-croft Smith on guitar.
Cirque Surreal moved to Bath for the beginning of June, it had always
been agreed that the band would not play live but tapes would be used
during this particular stay and also at Bradford. This was done for an
economy reason as neither Bath no the week in Bradford which followed
was expected to do any more than break even. On the second weekend in
June Rick received a call to say that literally every local newspaper
in Bath had headlines for the week that read...
"Circus music making our lives a misery"
In a nutshell all the residents living nearby the Park where the Circus Big Top had been erected were complaining bitterly about the noise that allegedly upset them at nights during the performances. Rick's immediate reaction was that he was glad that the band weren't down there as he rather suspected that they wouldn't particularly get on well with the Bath people! It will be interesting to see how other towns and cities react.
Brighton residents were fantastic. (Some even asked for the music to
be turned up) Anyway, the moral of the story is quite simple
"Steer clear of Bath" but shower regularly!
The album which was released on July 1st on D Sharp Records, (a subsidiary of Pinnacle Records). A launch was scheduled for the first two days of July at the Circus in Cheltenham. Four tracks were digitally edited at CTS Studios,in Wembley. Two of the tracks are vocal and the other two being extremely Celtic in nature.
In order to give the recording more interest, four of the pieces were adapted into songs and Chrissie Hammond flew in to perform the vocals in her usual tremendous way. The final result is a very different style of recording for Rick and one that Wakeman supporters should find very interesting and enjoyable.
We obviously hope that record stores everywhere will stock it but if things are as Normal then obviously call, write or fax Candy who will sort things out by mail order.
It has to be said that the Circus was one of the most enjoyable projects that Rick has ever been involved with. Everybody involved with the circus, whether a s performers or involvement behind the scenes, have been fabulous and many new friendships struck up. It is certainly an area that Rick would like to continue to be involved with. Just to put minds at rest for anybody who knows nothing about Cirque Surreal, there are no animals involved and it is an evening of unadulterated superb- family entertainment. Many RWCC have already been to see it and will testify to it's value for money. Rick was amazed at some of the distances a lot of you travelled in order to see the first week in Brighton.
Amongst the celebrities that showed up at Brighton were Robert Powell, Roger Dean, Jimmy Hill, Adam Faith and Jess Conrad.
There was one worrying moment during a performance when Donimo ( who has one of the funniest acts we have ever seen) pulls an unsuspecting victim out of the audience who eventually ends up getting extremely wet. I suppose in retrospect Donimo was not to know that the gentleman he chose on the first Saturday evening in Brighton was the President of Pinnacle Records, Steve Mason! Luckily Steve took it well and the release of the record stayed intact!
The Seven Wonders of the World was finally completed with some superb introductory narrative by Garfield Morgan who seems to have become a very welcome member of "the family".
Each tracks has it's own introduction and the master cut is really good. In spite of the fact it took an incredibly long time to do the end result was certainly worth it and the outcome is a sort of 1990's version of "Criminal Record"
Usual routine by the way. If record shops claim that it is not yet released, doesn't exist, can't be obtained, has been deleted or have never heard of it... then phone Candy!
The Piano Album that was recorded in America during Rick's charity tour for ASSIST has finally found a home. We cannot yet reveal the name of the record company that is releasing it as believe it or not, we don't know as the recording was sold via an agent and although we have confirmation that a deal has been struck and contracts signed, we know no more at this moment in time. Profits go to the Assist Charity and Rick hopes for that reason it will sell a few. It certainly is different. Releases have been obtained for Europe and South America, once again in the USA, where it was recorded, is proving a difficult market.
The book "Say Yes" finally appeared during the first week of May and amazingly enough seems to be selling I Admittedly not exactly in the Barbara Cartland sense of the word but nevertheless "Its shifting"! In fact by the end of may it had reached number 45 in the best sellers list for the month. Not bad we suppose when considering that it is up against the Len Deightons and Stephen Kings of this world.
Rick did the dreaded rounds of book interviews which actually would have been a lot of fun if it hadn't been for every interviewer asking him about his drink problem and heart attacks.
The obligatory book signing took place at HMV in Oxford Street and it has to be said, could have been a lot worse. About a hundred people filed by the table at which Rick was sat feeling suitably embarrassed. He was even more embarrassed when heckled by Danny Baker and Dave Cousins
The other book signing took place on the Isle of Man during TT Motorcycle Week. We have learned from this that bikers are not really Rick's audience. Fifty thousand bikers came to the Isle of Man for the TT. Twenty four of them came to the Lexicon Book Shop, sixteen of them to get a book signed for a friend, six to actually get the book signed for themselves and two to ask if they could use the toilet. Luckily a few people from the Island showed up to swell the numbers a little.
Distribution seems to be very good and most major booksellers have it in stock.
Its a pity that they don't distribute Rick's records!.
Adam has been very busy as well as looking after the band at the circus he has produced a track for Magna Carta Records in the USA for release on a tribute album. Guess what its a Yes tribute album! The track that Adam's band produced was Starship Trooper and by all accounts is one monster version. Please don't inundate us with enquiries as to where it can be obtained as, as yet we don't know any details.
The track was recorded under the name of Jeronimo Road which is the name of the band that Adam has jointly formed with the guitarist Fraser Thorney-Croft Smith.
The band were meant to have recorded some demos for a major record company throughout April and May but pressure of work (circus), prevented this happening and so this is more likely to take place in August.
Rick was actually so impressed with the band at the circus in Brighton that he decided there and then to steal it lock stock and barrel for the prospected tour of South and Central America at the end of the year. this would mean that the new line up would be: Rick and Adam on keyboards Fraser Thorney- Croft Smith on guitar Phil Laughlin on Bass Tony "Greasy Wop" Fernandez on drums Chrissie Hammond on vocals.
The tour looks like covering a lot of new territories and would be a double header with Jose Feliciano who Rick knows well.
Jose is a big star in central America which is a territory Rick has never been to and so to support him there guarantees large audiences. Strangely enough Rick is bigger in south America than Jose and so Jose would support Rick in these areas. The tour has been scheduled for November/December/ January and early February.
The band would rehearse for ten days prior to the start of the tour and it could well be the one and only time that Rick is able to appear with a six piece line up.
Just prior to this tour, four days in Dubai with which could well open up Rick has been offered just a four piece band doors in this region.
For just three days in May Rick travelled to New York to perform as a guest on Ozzy Osbourne's new album. Ozzy and Rick have been friends for years and just to show you how incestuous this business is, Ozzy's children are taught guitar by none other than Fraser Thorney-Croft Smith!
Some of you may know that this is not the first time that Rick and Ozzy have worked together, as Rick played on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath back in the early seventies.
This new album of Ozzy's though, is in Rick's own words, an absolute cracker, great material and Ozzy is in sensational voice. Rick feels that this could well be Ozzy's biggest album to date. Epic Records are releasing it and with the backing of Sony who own Epic it really should make an impact.
For the record, Rick played Mellotron, (yes Mellotron!), the Korg O1W ProX, and an old ARP string machine.
And now the YES saga!!!!!
There are more rumours about Yes floating around than ever and most of them are founded upon gossip containing only minute fragments of truth. All we can really do this end is supply you with known facts from Rick's side.
The line up now seems to be Rick, Chris, Jon, Steve and Alan, which we know will please a lot of the diehards fans of the band. Trevor resigned in May and Rick and he spent over an hour on the telephone discussing various areas which will remain confidential. (Sorry) Rick and Trevor however have made tentative arrangements to work together on a project in the not too distant future as Rick and Trevor are both disappointed that they never had the chance to work together and off of one another within Yes. We will obviously keep you informed of any developments as regards this.
Everybody appears to be managing Yes, or at least they think do. At this moment in time individual members may well have representation but the band certainly does not have overall management. Sadly some USA lawyers have been instructed to write letters on behalf of the band by persons who have yet to own up and "representation" has been made at various record companies by various parties without Rick's knowledge.
Rick has spoken to Chris, Jon and Alan on a regular basis and has voiced his dismay at the amount of people trying to cash in on the reformation and a meeting is scheduled with the five members, in a place yet to be chosen, to determine management and direction. It has to be said that in spite of rumours, ranging from the band appearing at the Reading Festival through to signing for Giant Records, no schedule has been set for recording or touring. At the time of going to press Rick still hadn't had a chance to speak to Steve.
Rick thinks it will happen but that all the rumours that float about just prolong the outcome as so much time is wasted clearing the air after these rumours appear that it stops any forward progressive motion.
By the next Newsletter all should be clear and we will hopefully be able to give you lots of accurate and pleasing news as regards this long running soap Saga! (Quick update, Rick went to LA last week and had very productive meetings with all the band members, coming back sounding very positive. Watch this space!)
The New Gospels has moved ahead in leaps and bounds. The new recording was finished in mid June and it is hoped that there would be copies available by the end of the first week in July although this pushing it somewhat (Certainly was, as we are still waiting for them to be delivered).
The initial backtracks were recorded on the Isle of Man and then Stuart and Rick went to Scotland to record the twenty four piece choir who sang so magnificently at Edinburgh and Liverpool. They were recorded in an acoustically friendly church hall just outside Livingstone near Edinburgh which took virtually an entire day. Davy Paton travelled the short journey from Edinburgh to spend a day recording all the Bass parts. ( For those of you interested in the Insular events of Wakeman Associates, Davy has completed the demos for a new "Pilot" album and hopes very much for a release later this year) Just prior to going to Scotland, Garfield Morgan flew to the Isle of Man to add all the narration and shortly afterwards Ramon flew in from Amsterdam to add his unique talent. (A few days later he flew in again to redo some of that talent that had recorded incorrectly) This just left Rick's overdubs and the extremely delicate task of mixing. The final result is of an extremely high quality and Rick is delighted that it has finally been recorded the way he always wanted.
One mix of the recording was then presented to Border Television in order that they could work out their timings in order to prepare for the filming of the Christmas two hour special, part of which was scheduled to take place in late June ( as we go to press with the Newsletter, so a full report in the next Bulletin)
Border Television have also flown to the Holy Land to shoot tons of footage to intersperse in the film which looks like ending up as a very classy production on their part. Certainly a video will see the light of day although whether or not this will happen before the televised broadcast is anybody's guess.
The 700 club from America are due on the Isle of Man at the same time to film Rick and Nina and also film the filming of the New Gospels by Border Television. The 700 club are the biggest Christian network television in America and have shown a great deal of interest in this production and are genuinely looking at taking it for American viewing. (Fingers crossed everywhere please).
With the recording completed and Rick's overdraft depleted to such an extent that the fiscal survival of the Isle of Man must be seriously in doubt, Rick has decided to take the Bull by the Horns and bring Hope Records to Reality. The New Gospels will be sold by mail order through magazine advertising via the Isle of Man. Rick has tried non stop over the last few years to try and get both understanding and finance from record companies and distributors for Hope Records but has got neither, so he's decided to go it alone.
The first performance of the New Gospels this year is at Peel Cathedral on the Isle of Man. It will boast a one hundred piece choir to augment the band, Ramon and Garfield, and looks set to sell out well before the performance date of July 6th.
Still on the recording side of things there is an awful lot in the pipeline, but much will depend on the "whens" that are hanging overhead, the main one being "when" Yes decides to start it's engines. In the meantime though life goes on and the mortgages grow and so plans continue regardless. Rick and Adam have been approached by an American label to produce a progressive classical rock album together. The same label have also expressed an interest in a solo album from Rick and one from Jeronimo Road. Finding time to record looks like being the main problem as this year is pretty crammed at the moment as is the first half of next year.
Some of you may have deduced that all the above means there will be no UK tour this year from Rick. This is a shame as last years actually managed to break even! If Yes manage to perform in the UK next year it is likely that it will only be a couple of shows and so Rick will look towards doing a tour towards the end of 1996 providing it looks like it will end up breaking even.
There will however be a Christmas Party this year. Where and when will be down to Candy(!?!?!) It will however not be at the Stoke Moat House who were about as sympathetic to the plight of Rick's Mother sudden serious illness as Eric Cantona is to Crystal Palace supporters.
Rick thanks everybody who sent him Birthday cards. He is not overwhelmed at reaching forty six although quite a few people are amazed that he actually managed to get that far!
Finally little snippets of information that are always handy to bring up in conversation!
Stuart Sawney has finally admitted to the fact that he spends at least half the year on the Isle of Man and has joined the Anglin Buttimore Band on guitar! At least three times a week now Rick has to finish early in the studio so that Stuart can race off to gigs. Stuart now earns more from Performing live than Rick does!
Adam continues to play with Fraser in a wine bar in Marlow on Thursday evenings. The pair of them also continue to drink their wages on the same evening.
I'm afraid we have now current news on Adam's current love life as he now refuses to say anything to anybody as he claims it will only end up in the Newsletter... perish the thought. We will do our best to get what information we can for future publications. We were all hoping for a circus romance but Adam let the side down ( and two female gymnasts, a girl on the trapeze and three young ladies from Worthing who turned up to see him every night!)
Tony Fernandez spent June working with Ruthless Blues but rejoins the Circus in July in order to recuperate.
Rick will be performing at the Isle of Man's Last night of the Proms at the Gaiety Theatre on the Isle of Man. Adam will also be performing with him. This takes place in October. They will also be doing a complete show a few days later with all the proceeds going to the blind association on the Island. For anybody interested it will almost certainly be the only two performances that they will do this year and so anybody wishing to make the trip to see them should contact Candy who will ass.ist in making the necessary arrangements (?)
Finally Rick would like to say how disappointed he has been at not even winning a tenner on the lottery, (Candy's won £10 twice!!) He has also given up the football pools after twelve years of barren results. It set us wondering as to if any of you out there had won...If so please let us know so that we can send you begging letters!ll
Rick's Mum continues to hang on in there much to the Doctors and specialists amazement and we thank everybody who has sent kind wishes to her via Rick. Sadly we hear that Chrissie Hammond's father is also seriously ill in Hospital and we all wish him a speedy recovery. Candy has also been poorly and undergoing hospital tests. She is convinced it is an ulcer brought about by the pressure heaped upon her by Rick.
Everybody else seems to agree with her.
We all wish her a speedy recovery as she is a most valuable part of the team ..(Candy did not write this bit!)