May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year for 2009 and may all your crimes go unpunished. (An English joke).
2009 is a very special year for me as it will be 30 years since I released my first record (yes, we called them records in those pre-digital days). I still remember the thrill of expectation the day I entered a recording studio for the first time (July 1979) and I am pleased to say I have never lost that pleasant frisson of anticipation at the start of a new project. Some people get their kicks from the smell of a brand new car, some from hanging on the end of a very large elastic band and several ancestors of mine delighted in planning the perfect crime (poor Aunty). Me, I like nothing better than that exquisite moment when the drummer finally collapses behind his kit after 3 hours of torturing his tom toms and the engineer admits that the drum sound has been sorted to his satisfaction and that he is now ready for the first take. I chose to spend many happy birthdays in a studio (that’s where a lot of the ‘radio sessions’ originated) because that was the most enjoyable way I could imagine to spend the day (and at the same time avoid having to listen to Great Uncle Baldersnoot’s elephant hunting stories for the umpteenth time). I expect I’ll have my ashes scattered at Abbey Road when I go to the great audition in the sky. But I digress.
Demo Album and DVD
The reason I am mentioning all this is that I thought I should mark the occasion with some special projects this year. The first will be a double CD of demos (44 near-studio quality tracks and all of them previously unreleased - including many ‘new’ songs that have never been and never will be recorded for an official album). It will be another Limited Edition PRAS release which means it will only be available via this website for a short time and for download on www.CDbaby.net
after that. If you wish, you can reserve a copy (or copies) now but it will not be available until April or May. (see ‘How To Order’ below)
I also hope to announce the release of my first film soundtrack which I have been working on very intensely with my German friends, but I will say no more until we have secured a definite release and then I can tell you all about it. It is a particularly important project for me as I hope it will be the first in a series of similar projects.
If all goes well I hope to end this special 30th anniversary year with a DVD featuring virtual promos which will combine my music and concert footage with suitable scenes edited from old movies. Pleae let me know if you like the idea.
Reaction to ‘Nevermore’
‘Nevermore’ was very well received indeed, to my surprise. I say that not because I didn’t have confidence in the album, but because I had been told that the market for indie artists had all but disappeared and that even major acts were selling far fewer albums than they had been two or three years ago. Well fortunately, I found a very good promotion agency in Germany and they got a lot of great reviews and radio play for the CD in that country. I don’t know how the album has faired elsewhere as I only have a German label at the moment (although Black Widow have asked to release ‘Nevermore’ on vinyl in Italy later this year), but it was very gratifying to see such appreciative reviews (even though I can’t read them as I don’t speak German!) and to see how many radio stations have played it. It is true that the music business has changed, that indie labels and fanzines are a phenomenon of the past and that the major labels, mainstream magazines and radio stations are only interested in mass market music, but there are now on-line music magazines created by enthusiastic music lovers willing to review less well known artists and there are culture and art shows on the radio which consider ‘mature’ artists like me worthy of serious consideration. So I see that as a very healthy state of affairs as I would rather be respected and make music that lasts, than sell a lot of CDs to an audience who only bought it because they were told it was this month’s hot wotsit.
The next re-issue will be ‘A Cabinet Of Curiosities’/’Happy Families’ in March. It comes with a whole slew of acoustic radio sessions from 1986-1988 as bonus tracks (almost all of those featured on the ‘Acoustic Radio Sessions’ LP which came free with the German pressing of ‘Duel’ in 1989). My re-issue creator Ralf Schuessler, who also designed the very tasteful booklet, managed to re-master the bonus tracks on the same CD with no loss of quality so it will be a single CD after all and that means we can keep the price down. Again I have written some biographical notes to give some background into the making of the albums and we have included some nice colour photos of the sessions together with all the lyrics from the main albums (not the bonus tracks obviously) as the lyrics for these mini albums were particularly important). There were no retouches to the tracks this time as I didn’t feel that was necessary, but anyone who owns the original bonus vinyl LP of the acoustic radio sessions should notice a big improvement in the quality of those tracks as they have now been mastered from the original DAT tape at the correct speed!
After that the next release will be a straight re-issue of the improved ‘Duel’ CD released some years ago by the Greek label Haunted Forrest, but I hope to be able to package it with my unpublished novel ‘The Magician of Grimm’ which was written a couple of years later and is set in the same crumbling kingdom as the songs, ‘Knights’ and ‘The King Must Die’. I imagine that album will be ready for release in the summer.
And finally, I have been working hard on a NEW album and am delighted to say that I have an embarrassing wealth of goodies to choose from. I never count my chickens until they’re hatched (as we English say) but I can tell you that it will be an acoustic album in a similar style to ‘Pavane’ but with a darker theme and all the songs will be based on a single idea. So it will be a concept album in all but name. I am aiming to have it finished for September 6th as that will be 30 years since my first record was released and it is also my birthday, but I’m not going to tell you how old I will be!
and with that I bid you adieu - for now.
Note from the PRAS - Ordering CDs
As Paul hasn’t mentioned it we thought we ought to add that the price for the ‘Danse Macabre’/’Burnt Orchids’ and ‘A Cabinet of Curiosities’/’Happy Families’ re-issues will be 15 euros (£10 to UK customers) postage free.
Price of the double ‘Demos’ CD will be 20 euros (£15 in the UK) postage free.
Special Offer: If you order more than one copy of each CD all extra copies will be half price and there will be no extra postage [eg One reissue CD for 15 euros, Two CDs for 22 euros, Three CDs for 30 euros etc] so maybe you want to buy one for a friend, but these must be multiple copies of the same title.
Payment can be made with a credit card via paypal using the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
on the UK paypal website or to email@example.com
on the German paypal website.
OR by sending euros/cash by post to the <u>NEW PRAS ADDRESS</u>
in Germany which is – PRAS, Postfach 111064, D-76060 Karlsruhe, Germany.
Please note - There are no copies left of ‘The Werewolf of London’ CD, ‘Re-animator’ or ‘Nevermore’ CDs. All are SOLD OUT. The only CD currently available from the PRAS is the ‘Burnt Orchids’/’Danse Macabre’ reissue and we only have a few copies of that release at the moment.