This is probably the newsletter most of you have been waiting for in the hope that it will confirm or at least explain the multitude of rumours that have been circulating over the last few weeks especially on the dreaded internet which Rick now loathes!
Sadly, the internet allows anybody to spread stories however incorrect and even purport to be written by people other than themselves. Therefore we can highly recommend the RWCC newsletter as being accurate in every way! (our website is also 100% accurate so between these two outlets you should be able to get an accurate account of the situation at all times.)
Yes, Rick has left YES. He is sad about this but feels that there are too many problems as far as he is concerned to enable him to continue working with the band. He is refusing to get drawn into arguments or discussions as to the whys and wherefores of why the situation has arisen as he still has a very fond love for both the band and all the guys. The internet has already been littered with various surmising from all quarters and everything we have seen so far is inaccurate, some wildly!
Rick wishes to wish the band much success with whatever line up they choose to tour and record with and hopes that "KEYS II" does get released as it is a fitting tribute to the work they did together over the last year. He also hopes that a lot of missing material will also see the light of day. This includes video and audio recordings of the UNION tour which Rick still considers to be a very important statement of YES history.
Rick will not go as far as to say that they will never work together again with this line up, or with any of the guys individually as strange things have happened, but at this juncture it does seem unlikely.
As regards the tour scheduled for June onwards Rick has no news as to what YES plans are, it should be noted that Rick never signed the agency contract as he was unhappy about certain areas and consistently stated that he would not agree to the tour unless certain political elements were put right. These areas are private to the band and management and Rick will not expand any more except to say that the tour should never have been put on sale using his name without his name being on the contract. As those of you who read Rick's interview with Mike Tiano will know, Rick had high hopes that things would get sorted out as he felt there really was a good future for the band, but sadly this was not to be.
Finally, please don't write to Rick about the situation or send emails, as Rick will not reply even if goaded by false accusations. He feels that Yes should be allowed to get on with their future without any hassle and so should he.
So what has happened so far this year?
Rick started off the year doing so many television's that they may as well have given him his own programme!
Another series of the Alphabet Game at the BBC in Manchester and a promise of more later on in the year. "Pull the Other one" for Carlton Select came next (B programmes), followed by a couple of Call My Bluffs.
Live at Jongleurs re appeared with Rick hosting another fifteen programmes and we have just been informed that they are going to be shown on ITV as against UK Gold who hosted the last series.
Other televisions are coming in thick and fast, including Songs of Praise, a hosting number for Paramount Television, and some more quiz programmes. Talks are also well advanced for Rick to host his own music based programme later this summer. More news about this in the next newsletter.
Both Rick's eldest boys have been busy and Rick and Nina journeyed down to Bideford in Devon in April to attend the launch of Oliver's first CD entitled Heaven's Isle.
It's a lovely instrumental album that has been extremely well received and well reviewed. The launch was quite a high profile event on the Lundy island boat which cruised up the river serving drinks and food through to the early hours. The CD is available by mail order if you wish to purchase it at £9.50 plus p&p;. It is highly recommended and is beautifully packaged with a booklet not dissimilar to that of the Heritage Suite. Like father like son huh!
Adam meanwhile is about to put pen to paper with President Records for both Jeronimo Road and himself as a solo artist. This would mean that the first Jeronimo Road album should see the light of day as early as this summer. Also Adam's trilogy, "The Real World" should also be out very shortly, this is a beautifully played three CD set of top class instrumental music of the "new age" style.
Whilst on the subject of trilogies, both of Rick's trilogies, The Natural World and Art in Music, seem destined to be placed with Sattva Arts in Germany for world wide distribution. Rick is very happy about this as they have done a tremendous job with the Aspirant trilogy and Rick hopes that they have the same success with both of these new releases. As yet no actual release date has been announced but we should have firm news on this in the next newsletter.
The really fabulous news is that it very much looks as if Rick has negotiated successfully for the release of No Earthly Connection , White Rock and Criminal Record for CD release later this year. Many thanks to Al Cafaro who is the president of A&M; Records who has been instrumental in helping this to actually happen. With luck each product will have the original artwork as well and will be remastered without losing any of the original analogue quality which really gives album of that era their uniqueness.
Fields of Green is to be released in the next few months on Rick's own label, Music Fusion. This was previously only available on import but the company who released it in America, Griffin have sadly gone into liquidation.
This means that negotiations are taking place in order to get back other recordings that are licensed through agreements with Griffin and their UK subsidiaries.
Negotiations are also going on as regards The Piano Album and its return to Rick in order to get it released on Hope Records or Music Fusion. Again details of the outcome of these talks will be in the next newsletter.
Hope Records continues in leaps and bounds and the label is proud to officially announce three new signings although one is not "official" as we go to print. From Modesto in California the label is thrilled to have the highly talented band Widow's Mite on board and their first release is scheduled for September. They are an extremely successful and busy band in California and it is hoped that they will be as successful here in Europe.
The second signing is that of a very talented female singer/songwriter by the name of Marianne Velvart. Both Frank Rodgers and Rick met with Marianne after being very impressed with the tapes that she sent the label and hopefully her debut album for Hope should be ready by the summer.
Nite Lite are a New York based hand that are quite stunning in musicality and Rick has no hesitation in inviting them to join the fold. Although details are yet to be finalised, Rick is confident that discussions will culminate in a "happy ending".
Ajalon should be back in the studio at the end of the year to record their second album and it is hoped that in 1998 all of the artists on the label will be seen in the UK in a live situation.
As regards Rick and his recordings for the label, Origins is his big project that will have on board the English Chamber Choir as well as at least two guest vocalists one of which is likely to be Ramon Remedios.
Hope is also launching a publication and television arm to go alongside the video set up. First books to be released are likely to be "He Intends Victory" by Dan Wooding and a re-release of Rick's own "Say Yes" of which the rights return to him in a few months.
The television production company is not far off and more details of this will be in the next newsletter, this will be to produce both secular and Christian programmes for both television and radio.
Distribution is now set up in America on both the secular and Christian level. Nic Caciappo has been instrumental in putting all of this together and for that we are all extremely grateful. Nic is very much our USA arm of Hope and we look forward to it's continued expansion with Nic very much on board.
A distribution deal is almost complete with Japan which is really exciting and also negotiations are way down the line as regards Germany.
Jeronimo Road played two performances in London. At the Orange in October and at The Mean Fiddler in November. Both were well attended by representatives from various record labels and some sort of decision as regards their recording career is expected to be firmed up by early 1997.
Rick and Nina flew in for the Mean Fiddler show and the Greasy Wop and Chrissie Hammond also turned up to give moral support. The band were on fine form and played a very tight and controlled set that was very well received.
Very important to get some golf news in!
Rick had his golf day at Stockley Park on the 24th of April and nearly £14,000 was raised for the Sparks charity. All the credit must go to Graham Slocombe who organised the day fantastically and also to Evans Halshaw, the Volkswagen dealership, who sponsored the day.
For the record, Rick played pretty well although his team were not in the frame for the prizes. Thanks must also go to Adam and Fraser who turned up after the event to join Rick in performing for the teams who had so kindly paid large sums of money in order to take part.
Next year it has been decided to hold a gala dinner afterwards and tickets will be available to RWCC members and their guests in a limited number according to availability . The evening should be outrageous with Rick hoping to have his full band available plus other guests performing. The date is liable to be around the beginning of May and the cost is as yet unknown but rest assured, as soon as we know we'll let you know.
The Piano Tour
Part two of the Piano Tour was undertaken throughout April and early May and was met with full houses almost everywhere and excellent reviews. It was lovely that so many of you turned up and said hello to Rick and the crew especially those he hadn't seen for years.
Apart from RWCC members, old friends from school showed up as well as footballers from Rick's past and even the minister who baptised him. The son of the Sunday school teacher that Rick locked in a wardrobe once, also showed up, (mainly to inform Rick that his father had been let out), and Rick also collected numerous tapes to listen to from potential Hope recording artists! ( Hope now receives over 50 tapes and CDs each month now, most, it has to be said are high on enthusiasm and low on potential!)
It is expected that a few more of these evenings will be performed before the end of the year, and once again we'll give you details as soon as we have them.
The Christmas Party
Everybody (?) seems to like our Christmas Party in the summer and so this year we are looking at late September in order to coincide with a possible Wakey tour. If you are interested just let Candy know and she can start to making a list of those who wish to take part in the lunacy and Candy can then fix a date and venue. (most of the previous venues don't seem too overwhelmed in having us return for some reason.)
Not exactly a tour, but it looks possible that Rick and some of the band could be off to Japan in early December to take part in a big festival. Details are sketchy at the moment but it does look very likely. If this were to be the case then Rick would try and add further dates whilst he was out there.
Candy is currently booking a Wakey Wakey tour for the end of September into October. This will have at least Adam and Fraser on board. Rick would dearly like to repeat the six piece show that he did at Ronnie Scotts but sadly this is just not viable possibly as attendances are just not high enough to merit this.
Having said this , if advance tickets sales look to be higher than normal then Rick has said that he will keep his options open and so you may see the Ronnie Scott show in your area. For the record, Rick claims that the Saturday night was the finest performance by any band he has ever played with. From the amount of mail we've received, a lot of you felt the same as well.
At the end of October there are three very special New Gospels concerts booked. The venues are provisionally Lincoln Cathedral, Guildford Cathedral and quite possibly St Pauls Cathedral.
The reason that they are special is that for the first time the performance will include The English Chamber Choir at all three concerts. There should be close to ninety in the choir and this is very exciting for the production.
There was talk at some stage of Rick doing pantomime this year but that has now been put on ice. (No this doesn't mean he's doing a panto on ice....... although it sounds like something he would do.)
Instead now, it looks as if Rick will try to continue the Wakey Wakey tour and do a part two in late November into December with Japan coming as a "works outing" in the middle!
The New Gospels in America
Once again speculation is rife on the internet as regards what actually happened in California and so we'll put the record straight in as simple a way as possible.
First of all, as regards the performances, Rick felt that they were sensational and possible the best so far. The choir were absolutely brilliant although the number of singers was far less than had been hoped for as the venues were quite large.
The total number of people who saw the five performances was just below the 14000 mark which everybody was thrilled with and each performance was met with a standing ovation at the end. This was particularly pleasing as virtually nobody in the audience had ever heard the music before. Ramon became quite a cult hero out there and was in fact brilliantly impersonated by one of the tenors in the choir before most performances. The only way to tell them apart was that Ramon's impersonator was in fact black! Mind you, so was Ramon after five days by the pool.
So what's with the speculation about the financial aspects of the shows? Well quite simply Rick was led to believe that the performances were all underwritten. This turned out to be not correct. There were no charges to see the performances but people were asked to make an offering which would cover the expenses and all further profits would go to Assist. Rick was making no charge, just his expenses were to be covered.
If everybody who had attended had given just $5 then the performances would have broken even. To everybody's amazement the offerings fell way short of this figure. The underwriters failed to materialise and sadly Rick has been left in an extremely difficult financial predicament.
Rick feels that the trip has to be looked at in a positive manner, It was successful musically and we now know that it works as a concert performance in the USA. If it is ever to be done again though, it would have to be done as a ticketed event and not linked in any way to any outside charity or fund raising. This means in essence that unless a promoter appears who fancies putting the production on, it has probably been seen in the USA for the last time. This is pretty sad for Rick and the rest of the crew but neither Rick nor Hope is in a position to be caught short financially as another set back such as has just happened would probably render both Rick and Hope in a non recoverable position.
Does Rick want to do it again in America though?......... only very much!
Noah is a 23 minute piece of music that Rick wrote especially for The English Chamber Choir. It had it's premiere on the 3rd May at Southwark Cathedral and has other performances planned in other areas of the country.
It is part of a trilogy that Rick hopes to record later in the year with them on a single CD. The other tracks are David and Goliath and Jonah. The performance at Southwark included a large orchestra and Rick as well.
For the ladies amongst you, Nina is going out on a tour of the churches for about three weeks in September and October. She does an evening entitled Beauty From Within and her first few evenings last month were tremendously well received. Be warned though, its not an evening for men unless you are interested in makeup and beauty!!
Well that's about it for this issue. Lots happening and lots more going to happen we suspect. Look out for tour dates in the next issue and also details of the Christmas party (bah humbug!), let's make it the biggest attended party yet!
Finally we hear that Chrissie Hammond fell off the stage during Smokey Joe's Cafe and broke her leg. We are saying nothing about her eyesight but wish her well again very soon!