Band Member Journal :
Can you believe it, I've been in the band 21 years. This got me thinking about my time in the band, and all the good and bad things that have gone along with it.
I started with the band before we were signed, but for me those first few months were a roller coaster of events. For me it was playing at Reading Festival and the slow acceptance into the fold that held real importance. Signing the record deal actually seemed like an anticlimax when it finally happened, because I think it had been discussed and was on the cards for what seemed like a long time. Suddenly there it was, signed - it was over. Really it was all just starting...
We have had some incredibly positive moments this whole time we've been together. I'll never forget all being crowded around a car stereo at the back of the old Marquee listening to Garden Party on Radio 1 for the first time. Then the success of Script and it's subsequent tour.
The next really big thing was Misplaced and the huge success of Kayleigh. I'll never forget being flown around every European city at random to do press and promotion. In one particular hotel I got a call from John Arnison asking me to come down to the bar because he had some news of the UK singles charts. I turned up and everyone was looking a bit glum, and John said, "Bad news I'm afraid. Kayleigh went down." (this would have been from No. 4 to 5). I replied, "Well it's had a good run." It had at the time been in the charts for several weeks slowly climbing up from the the mid-teens. Suddenly everyone started to giggle and John said, "Only joking, it's gone to No. 2!" At this point champagne appeared and we all celebrated in the usual manner.
Fish leaving was obviously a difficult time, but one of the turning points that made us stronger and more determined. Finding Steve and writing Seasons End was a real high point. EMI's reluctance to sign us at first seemed strange but made us believe even more in ourselves. Seasons End was being recorded (during one of the hottest summers in England for years) in the lovely Hook End Manner recording studio near Henley was really a magical time. Who can forget the Crooked Billet show... one of those rare moments that falls between the to categories of Daft, and Huge Amounts of Fun. To top all that was Playing in Rio, Brazil, at the huge Hollywood Rocks festival. Amazing.
The next few months became difficult - not really surprising though when you look back. Trying to write Holidays In Eden, was probably the most frustrating time I can think of. I feel we learned a lot from that experience, which eventually made Brave the thing it became. This was where another magical thing happened we met up and started working with Dave Meegan (who is now a familiar name on most of what we do). His great musical taste and his incredible attention to detail make him just perfect as the person we can trust with our ideas and dreams.
It is great to be in the position we find ourselves in - of being in control of how we write and record, who we work with, and when and where we get to release what we feel happy with. I think we are seeing one of the most positive and creative stages that Marillion has ever had. With Anoraknophobia and Anorak Live, and all our fans' trust, good will, and confidence over the last couple of years, I feel we can do anything! Standing on stage playing the new songs at the Marillion Weekend 2003 and seeing the reactions made me really believe something I already knew. The new album and it's tour are going to be special.
After 21 years in the same band I think that is pretty amazing.