What a strange year!!
Full of "nearlys".
It's weird to think that the year has passed so quickly and yet so much of what Rick has been involved in has moved at the astounding pace of a snail on a Valium overdose.
It has been a year of speculation and not a particularly satisfying one with no UK tour and so many other disappointments, but nevertheless a lot has been learnt and all of us here are confident that 1996 will be a real turn around year and one to enjoy.
We still have lots to report though since the last newsletter and so where better to start than with a full YES report.
Last newsletter we promised you a comprehensive update and a full report on the rehearsal in California.
Brace yourself. It's a cracker...
There was a rehearsal in California, but Rick wasn't there and so we can't tell you how it went. Reports have hit us that it was sounding great and that the lads are looking forward to Rick joining them in the New Year. (More about that a little later on.)
Why wasn't Rick there? We hear you cry.
Purely and simply because even at the time of going to press no recording deal had been finalised and no fixed dates for the live recording or the video shoot had been confirmed and sadly Rick is not in a financial position that he can just troll off to America for a month and a-half with no income coming in.
Having said all that, good communication was kept up with full understanding and sympathy for Rick's situation. It also has to be said that nobody expected the contractual side of things to drag on for quite as long as they have.
Allowing for the fact that the contracts are signed sealed and delivered then the plan is for the famous five to rehearse during January at a yet unchosen venue and then to do a few selected dates, probably in America during which the video will be shot of an entire performance and also a live album recorded.
It looks like being a semi unplugged with some pieces being very acoustic, some half and half and some with the full works.
Material wise it looks like being a mixture of pieces from various recordings scattered over most of the life of the band. There are one or two on the list that Rick personally would not have chosen, but of course everybody else in the band has one or two pieces that they would not have picked as well, so it all evens out.
As usual the last few weeks have had more than their fair share of charitable performances and appearances.
The first performance took place at the Gaiety Theatre on the Isle of Man and was as part of the Isle of Man "Last Night of the Proms".
It was a fabulous night and Rick was joined by Adam and Fraser on classical guitar and their twenty minute spot was extremely well received which was not surprising as Rick played golf with half the audience.
Two nights later and they were back on the Gaiety stage this time bringing the "Alone at Last" concert back to life in aid of the blind association.
The packed house raised £6,700 for the well deserving charity and once again Fraser joined Rick and Adam throughout the performance.
Considering he had less than two days to learn all the music Fraser deserved a medal. He didn't get one, but he did deserve on nevertheless.
The final charity performance came in Wakefield on November the 10th for Children in Need.
This was a fabulous evening put together by Empire Catalogues and the Royal Mall. Rick and Adam were sort of the "star turn" in a cabaret that included Paul Squires and Barnaby, two extremely funny men and old friends of Rick.
The evening was a roaring success which also saw Adam win a television in the raffle. (Rick won an umbrella. (Rick won an umbrella. (Rick was not thrilled that Adam won the television and he only won a 50p umbrella and so he kindly gave Adam the umbrella. He gave it to him whilst he was holding the television with both his hands. Adam said it hurt).
The evening raised in excess of £25,000 for Children in Need which was fantastic.
Next year we have decided to launch "Wakemans' in Need". Please start thinking of fund raising ideas. We'd love to hear from you and will print the best suggestions.
Some of our initial fundraising ideas include sacking all the management and crossing Sting's accountant off of our Christmas card list.
Watch out for a BBC World Service series entitled " Man, Machine and Music. It's a really good series tracing back forty or so years to the beginning of technical innovations in the music industry moving right up to the present day.
It's full of rare and interesting interviews from people like Dr Robert Moog, Keith Emersont Tangerine Dream, Pete Townsend, The Queen Mother and Kraftwerk. (We've deliberately thrown a "wrong un" in amongst the names in the previous paragraph. If you spot it, don't write in though as it's just for fun)
The whole series is linked by a presenter who just happens to be Rick, who just happened to really enjoy the programme and wished there had been more than the five programmes that make up the series. Starting on 30th December at 17.15
Keep an eye out as well in your local paper for a special on BBC local radio that Rick has done with Ashley Franklin.
Recorded at BBC Radio Derby, this hour special mainly features The New Gospels but if you can receive Radio Derby then you'll get a lot more information about other things that are going on in Rick' musical life.
Rick and Ashley are old friends and subsequently Rick was absolutely delighted with the way the interview went and is looking forward very much to hearing the edited broadcast.
It is hoped that Rick will be making a few "Christmas TV" appearances, but unfortunately even though there are a few irons in the fire, nothing has been confirmed so all we can say is keep your eyes peeled.
Rick has also been asked to appear on a new lunatic quiz programme hosted by Keith Chegwin on Sky Television.
It is called "Roll with It" and the synopsis that has been sent to Rick looks so totally over the top that Rick has said it is tailor made for him.
We have no transmission date so again its up to you to spot it.
Probably the biggest TV coup for us has been the fact that a one hour version of The New Gospels will be shown on Border Television on December 17th at 10.15pm.
All the other ITV networks will be showing it on December the 30th at around 2am.
This means that we hope none of you will be getting to bed particularly early that night!
The follow up to "Romance of a Victorian Age" was finally finished in mid October and the result is a serious,step on from Romance and will be entitled "Tapestries".
Whilst retaining the semi acoustic approach, the addition of Phil Laughlin on bass and Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith on classical guitar on selected tracks added a new dimension which really blended well.
President Records have informed us that it will be released early in the New Year. we will give you more details when we have them.
At the same time as Tapestries was being recorded, a vocal synthesizer was also produced. Entitled "Fields of Green" it has not yet got a release date here in the UK although it has been licensed to Griffin in the USA who intend to release it early in the New Year.
It has not yet been licensed in any other territories yet although we expect to have the UK and Europe and possibly Japan sorted out early in the New Year.
The Piano Album should be in the shops by the time you receive this newsletter, but it's release date has been put back more times than Reggie Kray's and so we can only hope that the Information we have been given is correct.
As yet we have not found a home for the accompanying video but hope to put that situation to rights early in the New Year.
One interesting note.. Rick is of the opinion that the CD sleeve for the Piano Album is possibly the most original sleeve he has seen for a very long time.
Rick is currently working on some relaxation music in large quantities which hopefully will be aimed at the European market.
Adam is also recording some music in this field and hopes to have his finished by early in the New Year. Rick does not expect to start recording his until around Easter time.
The reason for doing this will be made apparent when you read the section entitled "South America".
Adam has also been in the studio recording high quality demos with Jeronimo Road which we hope will speed up the process of finding the right deal for them and getting a high quality first production released sometime in 1996.
Rick's sporting attributes are mainly confined to the golf course these days, and in spite of him falling to reach his end of season target of getting his handicap down to 12, ( he only made it down to 13.4), he did win a turkey in the Peel Golf Club turkey shoot competition.
Don't believe you! we hear you cry, and so for dlsbelievers everywhere, somewhere in this Newsletter we have reprinted the newspaper article extolling the virtues and superb performance of our keyboard hero.
(groans all round).
The football side of things has also been quite interesting with Rick's name being linked to a consortium £10,000,000 take-over of Manchester City.
Let's get a few facts straight just for the record!
1. Rick would be hard pushed to find £10 let alone £10,000,000!
2. Rick can only afford to buy the Subbuteo team one at a tlme!
3. As far as raising money is concerned, Rick is to Barclays Bank what Nick Leeson is to Barings .
Having said all that, Rick, Nina, Jemma and Oscar remain staunch supporters of city and will cheer them on to safety at every opportunity. (No sarcastic comments thank you) In fact Rick tips them to win a major trophy within five seasons.
Rick has been asked to be a guest on Sky Sports, this time on Super Sunday. Prov December 17th, Rick is really looking forward to it as he really enjoyed the last appearance.
As you have probably gathered from what you have already read, the South American tour was cancelled during the first week of November. Unfortunately we cannot give you all the reasons as to why the tour was cancelled as litigation may follow the tours sad collapse.
We can tell you though that Rick was, and still is seething. He believes it'8 failure to take place was a mixture of bad management, planning and some unbelievable calculating intervention from third parties.
This tour was very important for all concerned, not just financially but musically as well. It was to be the first time that the six piece would have performed and everybody was really looking forward to getting together and playing in South America.
At such short notice it is now virtually impossible for all the lads and of course Chrissie to find alternative work for the end of the year. This also sickens Rick and he has vowed that it will never happen again. He intends to push ahead and get the tour happening sometime in the New Year but will organise it without the use of management.
Well quite simply there was no UK tour and no Christmas party and what's annoying is the fact that there could have been.
The sad demise of the South American tour has meant that the usual fun jaunt around the UK tour was never even considered for this year and also the party was again thrown toward a strange un-Christmassy month in 1996.
This also will not happen again. There will be a UK tour in 1996 although at what time of year we cannot say. Hopefully it will be at least a three piece this time with Fraser on board and if things look more promising then a full six piece band cannot be ruled out.
It is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs and we apologise to everybody who normally braves the elements to come and see us. We hope that we can make it up to you with the 1996 tour.
As for the party, well that's Candy's domain. I'm sure somewhere in this newsletter you will find a suggested venue and time of year. Ob;ect to it openly with Candy at your own risk!
Hope Records has really shot forward in leaps and bounds since the last newsletter.
November the 14th saw the official release of The New Gospels in the UK and the 20th saw the release of the edited single, Welcome A Star. Full time label management was taken on board with The Product Exchange who have been well on the case and have done a fantastic job. ABN were appointed as exclusive distributors in the secular marketplace to work alongside STL who have exclusivity in the Christian marketplace.
Between the two companies they have twelve full time reps on the road trying to "push" The New Gospels and the single into a variety of outlets. So far they have had a tremendous response.
We have also taken on an independent radio and television plugger for the secular market whilst Nina is handling all the publicity within the Christian sector.
We are thrilled with the video for Welcome A Star that Ian Fisher at Border Television produced for us which was taken from the special that he produced on the Isle of Man. Licensees for the New Gospels have been found for the USA and Canada and at the time of going to press were just days away from a European deal. Griffin Records have taken it for across the other side of the Atlantic and it looks like Sattva Arts, who have done such a tremendous job with the Aspirant Series will be releasing it all over Europe.
Both the USA and Europe were expecting to release the New Gospels around about March of 1996.
Both the Welcome A Star single and the full length recording of the New Gospels are available on both CD and Cassette.
The team have all been working very hard to give both the album and single as much visibility as possible and so it is hoped to secure quite a few radio and television appearances on top of what has already been secured and mentioned earlier in this newsletter.
Performances are already being confirmed for the New year and it is hoped that if the profile of The New Gospels can grow over Christmas then more performances can be undertaken throughout 1996.
Mario Fasciano in Italy has invited Adam and Rick out to Italy on December 26 to perform with him live on Italian television.
Some of you will recall that Rick and Mario produced an album together some years ago entitled Black Knights in the Court of King Ferdinand IV.
As yet Rick and Adam have not been told what they are likely to be playing, but it has to be said that one or two things need to be sorted out before the lads leave the warmth of a Boxing Day fireside to trundle off on Alitalia to Naples!
As far as Adam is concerned, he does not want to be parted from Abbie. (Remember in the last Newsletter Rick forecasted romance in the Adam camp. Well it's happened and her name's Abbie and she's lovely by all accounts. We say by all accounts because Adam refuses to introduce her to his daddy as he has told her that his daddy is embarrassing and has not yet grown up. Rick vehemently refuted this on being told about these statements and after throwing a tantrum threw his Meccano set down the lavatory.)
Rick has made attempts to see her. He parked outside Adam's house for quite a considerable time but unfortunately fell asleep and when he woke up discovered that Abbie had in fact left to go home and he'd missed her.
It also took him four hours to wash the dove droppings off of the roof, bonnet and boot of his car.
All this means that Adam wants to take her to Italy.
Flash little git.
Adam's daddy has different reservations about the proposed trip.
Adam's daddy will need paying enough to compensate his family for missing Boxing Day!
William Hill's will be taking bets very soon as to whether or not they will be going!
Rick would like to thank everybody who has so kindly written to him sending his mother their very best wishes. She is still very poorly, but has surprised medical science by-hanging in there. This has been a bonus beyond belief for Rick and that has been the one real successful part of this year he will remember forever.
The year started well enough with a live performance with the five piece band in Switzerland. Little did they all realise that, that would be the only five piece appearance for the entire year. In fact the only other time that they played as a four piece was at the Frankfurt Music Fair. On the musical side of things Rick was of course thrilled to get Hope Records and The New Gospels up and running and was very pleased with the Seven Wonders of the World. With Adam he was delighted with Tapestries and it was great to see Jeronimo Road appear in their own light on the YES tribute album.
Cirque Surreal brought the live element to the year and we welcomed Phil Laughlin and Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith on board for the circus band and future live events. The two Michael Caine films added the visual element to the year and Rick looks forward to seeing Bullet to Beijing on its release around about Easter. (He's not too sure about Midnight in St Petersburg though).
Television appearances were thin on the ground although Sky sports, Masterchef and a few repeats from the previous year just about made it look acceptable.
Whilst YES continued to prove to everybody that it is undoubtedly still bogged down in its own politics, Rick flew to New York to perform on Ozzy Osbourne's new album.
Candy found out she had an ulcer. Nina and Candy are convinced Rick caused it.
We're not too good at predictions as previous years have shown, but here goes anyway!