Colin H on Andy Powell
On March 1, I interviewed Wishbone Ash bandleader, scholar and gentleman Andy Powell for an Afterword exclusive – me in snowy Belfast, Andy in sunny Connecticut. In a couple of weeks, the Madfish imprint of UK label Snapper releases the colossal 30 CD + book/posters/etc set ‘Wishbone Ash: The Vintage Years 1970-91’. Cherry Red have also just released expanded 2CD editions of the band’s two mid-80s albums ‘Raw To The Bone’ and ‘Twin Barrels Burning’.
In 2015 I had the great pleasure of helping Andy with his autobiography ‘Eyes Wide Open: True Tales of a Wishbone Ash Warrior’. I’d recommend it to anyone interested not only in the glory days of British rock but in the nuts and bolts of how a band from that era has been kept alive in the changing times and circumstances since then, to the point of becoming the central cog in a kind of giant fan family around the world – a robust cottage industry thriving outside of the mainstream of what remains of the music business.
It’s well-documented that five years ago Andy Powell and Martin Turner, co-founder of Wishbone Ash, met in court to address ownership of the band’s name. This interview isn’t about re-running that episode. Everything Andy has to say about it, and in some detail, can be found in the book.
Happily, for both fans and the musicians concerned, the new box set marks a positive step forward for all of the 1970s members of Wishbone Ash. Their common interest around celebrating and curating the band’s ‘vintage years’ legacy, along with the driving force of a third-party label/project manager, has meant that the otherwise estranged parties could come together in an amicable, professional way to create a terrific looking product that everyone can enjoy. With a fair wind in the marketplace, there is every chance that all concerned may deliver a future set collecting together the band’s substantial canon of BBC recordings – most previously unissued.
Wishbone Ash – Andy Powell (guitar/vocal), Mark Abrahams (guitar), Bob Skeat (bass), Joe Crabtree (drums) – are currently on tour in Europe, with a US tour to follow and a UK tour (as ever) in October-November. Martin Turner’s band (‘Martin Turner ex-Wishbone Ash’) are currently touring the UK into April, performing the WA album ‘There’s The Rub’ in full.
The interview follows below…