Thirty three shows and a Christmas party later and it's all over! In retrospect the tour probably lived up to all the expectations, both good and bad, but here is Rick's view, completely unedited and at times, extremely biased!
There is no doubt that this was the best "small" show that I have ever been involved with. Ever since the initial Classical Connections tour began it has been difficult to really come up with a winning formula that has fully satisfied my musical needs for live performance. The "Alone at Last" tour came very close but I'm delighted to say that "The Wots on TV Tonite" tour actually achieved this aim.
I would be telling fibs if I said that I did not miss having the Greasy Wop with us on drums and Phil Laughlin on bass as well as the dulcet voice of Chrissie Hammond, but that's a different show altogether and one that I'm determined will happen sometime in the not too distant future. Where, is anybody's guess, but it will happen!
In keeping with the standard he has set himself, Adam played brilliantly throughout the tour and it was a very proud father who stood on stage with him. "Summers End" is really a tremendous piano piece.
Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith was outstanding and won himself a whole new set of supporters with both his ensemble playing and his two solos. (It is hoped that these two solo pieces will appear on a live album based on the tour).
The tour as a whole was promoted with the zest of a dead slug. This will not happen again as to put it bluntly, the reins have been drawn in and in future we will be moving into the are of self promotion for upcoming tours and one offs.
It was really nice to do our annual sojourn to Rotherham, the home of the CLASSIC ROCK SOCIETY of whom Rick is honorary president. As usual we were given a very warm welcome and I received a great photograph of my two eldest sons taken at a previous Classic Rock Gig. (They have some great shows coming up, so if you're not far from Rotherham you should check them out).
There were some very memorable shows, the best probably being Buxton, Mold, Port Sunlight and Camberley. These were undoubtedly helped by the fact that we were playing to full houses. Other well attended shows such as Colchester and Darlington, (which did well given such short notice), Potters Bar, Bolton and even Leicester made for enjoyable evenings, but as ever there were a handful of what lovingly can be called "Disasters".
There are so many reasons for such disappointment, I like to be philosophical and just make life easy by saying that nobody wanted to come, but it has to be said that Hayes, Worcester, Preston and Leeds were a total waste of time.
At Hayes we managed to have nearly two hundred pounds worth of equipment stolen which belonged to Stuart Sawney. For obvious reasons we can't print any accusations in this newsletter but I will say that if anybody from the Beck Theatre reads this, then we know exactly who stole the stuff. On top of this the date was not promoted, not attended and not worth doing.
Worcester is a lovely city. Lovely people and beautiful countryside. It also has a theatre which the local residents are trying to close down. I wish them luck and if they want my support on a petition, then they can have it. The management of the theatre couldn't even be bothered to introduce themselves and suffice to say we won't be going back!
(We wont be going back there either).
And finally... Preston.
This was probably the ultimate embarrassment as the theatre not only had no posters up advertising the show outside the theatre but also omitted us from the main poster outside showing the month's entertainment. I was met in the main street outside the entrance to the theatre by two couples who asked for my autograph and asked what I was doing in Preston, to which I should have replied.."Coming here for the last time".
Well that the gripes over! On the whole the tour was great fun and well attended and well received. We met a lot of old friends and hope we made some new ones. It is hoped as well that some extra dates can be put in for later in the year. Candy is working on it.
The Piano Tour
Plans are quite well advanced as regards a piano tour along the same lines as the one Rick did in America and from which the Piano Album was recorded. It is being structured by Christians in Entertainment and will be mainly held in churches or church halls.
As UK churches do not all have great pianos as in America, in fact I don't know one in the UK that has, Rick will be compromising and taking a small keyboard set up out.
December is the chosen month at the moment and there may well be some "Wots on TV Tonite" dates mixed in around the piano tour. It is also possible that one or two New Gospels concerts can be fitted in.
Further information on these event will appear in the next Newsletter.
There was an element of surprise for the audience at Buxton on the UK tour when Chris Squire turned up to catch the last half of the performance with YES manager Jon Brewer. Chris was in the UK visiting his parents who were celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary. After the show Rick, Jon Brewer and Chris held a "meeting" in the Old Hall Hotel where many areas of Yes were discussed and guess what, they're not appearing in this newsletter!
The new Yes album is liable to be called "Keys to Ascensions' although Rick reckons it should be subtitled "The Political Nightmare continues".
Tom Fletcher has left the production team and Kevin Dickey has taken over the reigns. Kevin is a very talented and super guy and Rick hopes he hangs around as he could prove to be a very stable effect on the recording.
Castle, the record company, were expecting delivery of the album at the end of April. (In their dreams. Rick was expecting to get paid last November)!
Castle are not overly happy at not receiving anything. Mind you Rick hasn't heard anything either so why should they get upset!
Rest assured though, it will come out. Our guess is around September .(Please note that we haven't mentioned a year here.)
Touring is not on the cards for this year and unless the new studio album, (scheduled for recording later this year going into 1997) is successful, then touring will always remain a difficult area.
Two record companies are vying for the signature of YES as regards a studio album and it will certainly be finalised by the time the next Newsletter goes to press.
The Christmas Party
Probably the most ridiculous yet.
Held on May 25th in Kidderminster at a hotel who are now convinced that all those attending should be committed.
Amazingly enough the general feedback from those attending is that mid year is a great time for the Christmas Party and should be kept at this time of year. Also a substantial amount of people requested the "back to school" dress code that Candy was putting together a couple of years ago. This was a bit of a worry as a lot of the men wanted to dress in girls uniform and already had their own hockey sticks. If you're still keen on this idea please let Candy know. Obviously the date and venue for next year's Christmas Party will depend very much on where and when the lads tour and with what line up.
There were some astonishing highlights, one in particular when good friend Bob decided to join in the fun by tapping his foot on the table along to the music. This would not have normally been unusual except that Bob removed his leg in order to do this.
The Christmas Tree looked beautiful for May and the singing of Auld Lang Syne at midnight to bring in May 26th was also a little unusual. Everybody joined in the revelry though with crackers and party hats. The evening was based very much on "One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest"
If you missed it this year and have a warped mind and sense of humour, then don't miss next years.
Pam and Brian Towler were awarded the Pat Litherland RWCC Supporter of the Year Award. Previous recipients of this honour have been: Malcolm Welch, Phil Silver and Frank Fallows.
A lot is planned for June, July and August and this should culminate with the formation of Rick's new record label which will handle the majority of his secular music in the UK.
The first release on the label will be "Fields of Green" which was released in the USA earlier this year and has already started appearing here on import.
Various other titles will also be returning to Rick's ownership this year which include the Official Live Bootleg and Almost Live in Europe. Both of these will be set for release on the new label as soon as they return to our ownership.
Also for immediate release will be the two trilogies that Rick recorded just before the tour. They are entitled "Art in Music" and "The Natural World". Each CD in each trilogy has it's own title and if you want to hear a sneak preview of what some of the music sounds like then check out a new video entitled "Tai Chi". This is a health video (that rules a lot of you out), and is released by Talking Pictures. If you can't find it in your local video store then further information can be obtained from David Broscombe at PO Box 77 Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5YN.
For Hope Records "Prayers" becomes "Can You Hear Me?" and "In the Beginning" gets retitled "The Word and Music".
The video of the Piano album entitled "Simply Acoustic" will be released on Rick's newly formed label and will be available on Hope within a couple of months. Also the New Gospels full length video taken from the Border Television production will be released on the Hope label.
A professional video from the Alone At Last tour was produced late last year on the Isle of Man at the Gaiety Theatre. Rick will be viewing this over the next few weeks and a decision will be made as to whether or no it is good enough to release on the new label. If the quality is satisfactory then it is a distinct possibility that the same company will be used to produce a video of the Wots on TV Tonite tour, once again at the Gaiety Theatre.
Whilst recording is taking place on the Isle of Man, a full vocal production of "Morning has Broken" will be undertaken due to the popularity of the version performed on the last tour with Adam on vocals.
This will be added to "Welcome a Star" and one other new track for a Christmas single to be released in November.
Whilst on the last tour, Rick met up with Dave Bainbridge from Iona. For those of you not aware, Iona is far and away Rick's favourite band and has all their recordings. Basic discussions took place with the outcome being a possibility that the band, or at least some of the individuals within it and Rick could well work together in the not too distant future.
Rick will also be starting work on an out and out progressive rock album. This may take time as it will be self funded, but Rick is determined to return to producing stuff he feels the most comfortable with alongside all the other productions that are going on.
He has also been commissioned to produce an album of Beatles songs. All instrumental and all in different styles which will of course include Eleanor Rigby in the style of Prokofiev. This will be completed by early August and should be out late summer on the RPM label which is distributed by BMG. We will also have copies here if you experience the usual difficulties in finding Rick's CDs.
The new recording of the main King Arthur theme for the BBC for use for the upcoming general election is also high on the priority list. There will also be some new incidental music produced for use through the various broadcasts.
Finally this year, Rick intends to produce an album with his piano versions of well know classical pieces. This will be done in a similar vein to that of Clair de Lune from the Tapestries album and also Berceuse which was performed on the Wot's on TV Tonite tour.
Basically it looks Rick's going to be locked away in Bajonor studios for months!
Bits and Pieces
Tony Fernandez (The Greasy Wop), spent the first two weeks of June on the Isle of Man playing with Ruthless Blues throughout TT fortnight. The band are making quite a name for themselves here and could well be returning for non TT performances.
Rick spent two days in jail on the Isle of Wight. ( see the press cutting following). it is very possible that Rick and the lads will be performing in the Prison in aid of the same charity later in the year.
Confirmation is due any moment for the six piece to travel to the Ukraine to do a series of concerts for the hire and promotion company, Sensible Music.
Impact, "Yes" management company are looking into a possible South American tour for the six piece band for January and February 1997.
Any further derogatory remarks about Manchester City will be met with physical violence. (Rick's devastation over their relegation was not particularly helped by the fact that Fraser supports Leicester. Fraser took Rick to the play off where Rick suffered the final ignominy by watching Leicester win and replace his beloved City in the Premier League. The day was not exactly helped by the fact that, that evening the lads played at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester! They did deserve to win though and had a wonderful set of supporters who behaved themselves magnificently.
There is a genuine excitement in the air as regards the two upcoming Jeronimo Road concerts. Those of you who witnessed the Wots on TV Tonite tour will have realised that with Fraser and Adam as the nucleus of Jeronimo Road they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.
They have two shows booked for July. On the 20th they appear at the Classic Rock Society in Rotherham and on the 27th at the Orange Club in Kensington. If you are within one hundred miles of either of these venues then try and get there, we're convinced you won't be disappointed.
Other gigs are hoped to be added around this period so keep your eyes peeled.
Television and Radio
Just a lot of possibilities at the moment although Rick is hosting a new series of the Comedy Store for Sky in July and August. AS. yet the broadcast dates are unknown.
There is the possibility of Rick hosting a new BBC 2 television series on music and also appearing on Jimmy Tarbuck's new golf series. Rick was in fact meant to be on the first programme but unfortunately it couldn't be fitted in around the tour. Also Rick had to turn down an appearance on the new series of "Call my Bluff" for the same reason.
Following the success of the in flight recording that Rick did for British Caledonian, where he hosted a rock show for the Audio Channel on board, he has been asked to do a monthly programme for British Airways of a similar nature. Hopefully this will be confirmed over the next few weeks and we will be able to give you more details in the next Newsletter.
It's really pleasing to report that unlike most "supporter clubs", the RWCC is still growing. Membership is constantly rising (Aaaagggh!) and especially following tours a good half century always seem to join up. You'd think they'd learn by now!
Rick would very much like to thank all the support he has had from RWCC members and hope that they continue to find it a worthwhile "club" to be a part of.
As an additional service, news on Rick and the lads will shortly be available on the internet. This service will not though be printing up the newsletter as we feel it is important that the RWCC members get the news firsthand and before everybody else. However it will be a useful service for interim news such as concerts that come in at the last minute or television and radio appearances that get booked up between Newsletters. We shall also use the Internet as a teaser to entice more lunatics to join the RWCC as well!
Well that's about it for this newsletter. A lot more music to be produced in the next few months although Rick sadly doesn't think he'll reach the one hundred release mark by the millennium.
Having got a spare page this issue! I can print a couple of contributions which have been languishing on the RWCC desk for a while waiting for some space:
Why is Rick to blame?I met my wife (Christina) while at college studying for A levels. To relieve the monotony of A level study I joined the college theatre group and got a part in a play as a soldier. After a few weeks the lighting and sound person kept playing a couple of records during the lunch breaks which I liked very much. One day I decided to find out what they were so I climbed up to the sound box. On entry to the sound room I saw a small young lady with long hair and copies of Journey and Arthur clutched under her arm. I inquired if they were the records that were played during the break Yes was the answer. I duly noted the titles and went and got my own copies. About two weeks later we met again at a college party and found that she was a biology student like me. After this a relationship started up leading to marriage three years later. We had our first child (Emma) after thirteen years of marriage. If it was a boy it might have been Rick. So as you can see this is all Rick's fault in a way. Both our lives were changed by his music in a most dramatic way.