During Covid lockdowns some musicians took time out to reboot ideas and produced new music, guitarist Alan Fish was no different.
‘Against all odds I managed to produce a new collection of songs. It’s been quite a journey. This pandemic has reminded us how fragile and precious life is and it’s in this spirit of gratitude that we are releasing a new album which is a tribute to my home town Newcastle upon Tyne’.
‘We’ are a collection of musicians trading under the moniker The Attention Seekers who went into Newcastle Cluny studio and with engineering skills of Tony Davis, recorded new album Seven Bridges – also the name of a track with its infectious chorus…
‘It’s a beautiful city I know, from the steps to the quayside, and I can still see Seven bridges to carry me home, to the streets of Newcastle tonight’.
The album is Tyne soaked in a positive acoustic feel with vocals on the eleven tracks shared between Jesse Terry, Romaana Shakir, Sam Blewitt and Alan who had different plans back in 2020.
‘Everything stopped in March 2020. The world as we know it ground to a halt. Covid made the future uncertain. The plan had been to return to the USA to promote the previous album A Song for Tomorrow. We had promo in place but gigs and radio interviews had to be put on hold’.
‘Fast forward to 2022 and some semblance of normality is gradually returning, most importantly my family, friends, bandmates and I have our health intact. There are too many who have not been so fortunate’.
When did you start putting the Seven Bridges ideas together ?
‘I travelled back in time to revisit songs from my days in North East rock bands White Heat and The Loud Guitars in Do Me A Favour, Chain Reaction and Is it Too Late? Keeping in that frame of mind I wrote a letter to my younger self in Daydreaming’.
‘Romaana Shakir provides great vocals on the track Mr Coastguard which is a letter of thanks to The Turkish Coastguard Service. What happened was my wife Viv and I spent a night in a tiny speedboat lost in rough seas and with no fuel. An experience Viv and I will not be repeating’.
‘And there is a ‘what if’ song called Money In His Pocket. The lyrics covered the story of a musician trying to ‘make it’ in the music biz’…
‘He put some money in his pocket, grabbed a bag and picked up his guitar. He took off in the middle of the night in his beat up car. He left behind the prettiest girl, to find his way in the big wide world’
‘That’s about walking away from ‘the deal’ which was one of the best decisions I ever made. In 1989 White Heat reformed for a one-off festival appearance alongside Aswaad and Nick Hayward.
After our set we were approached by Don Arden ‘notorious’ owner of Jet Records, manager of ELO, Dio and Black Sabbath, father of Sharon Osbourne, and father in law of Ozzy’.
‘He expressed an interest in managing us (White Heat), although I had long put aside any thoughts of a full time career in the music business, I was interested in what he had to say and I agreed to meet with Don the next day’.
‘His plan was to put us out on tour after tour in the states supporting his bands – ELO, Black Sabbath to name but two, until we ‘broke the market’. He was aware I was married with a young family and said “you have a decision to make”. I kindly declined the offer, ‘Money In His Pocket’ is a fictitious story where in a parallel universe I accepted the deal’.
A full interview with Alan was posted on 13 September 2019. (Link below)
A track on the new album was originally by a band with its roots firmly in the North East – Lindisfarne.
‘The Alan Hull (Lindisfarne) track Winter Song was suggested to me by New York radio presenter Charlie Backfish, many thanks Charlie! Both Sam Blewitt and Jesse Terry share lead vocals and I think their voices work incredibly well together, I am planning to repeat this combination in the future’.
‘Passing Ships is a dip into the murky waters of Greek Mythology and The Girl with the Jukebox Mind was after a chance encounter with someone in New York, she definitely had the Woodstock look, she described herself as having a ‘Jukebox mind’ – a brilliant title for a song!’
‘And on the next track who is Alison Jones ? well everybody loves a mystery’.
Have you plans to take Seven Bridges out on tour ?
‘Firstly a huge thanks to all the talented musicians who have joined me in this venture and yes there was a mini tour in October finishing at The Cluny in Newcastle’.
‘Our next gig is at Birmingham Central Art Space on the 30th October supporting Dan Whitehouse, and more gigs to be announced soon so keep a look out on our social media page or check the official website’.
‘Seven Bridges’ is available to stream/download via all the usual platforms.
NO ORDINARY JOE – in conversation with Alan Fish former guitarist with WHITE HEAT | ALIKIVI : NORTH EAST UK (garyalikivi.com)
Alikivi October 2022