Catch Fish while you can as ‘final album’ approaches

Fish. Picture: Contributed

Fish. Picture: Contributed

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AS Fish prepares to perform at Midstock Festival at Dalkeith Country Park tonight, he says that he has plans to wind down his career

“Over the years I’ve done so much travelling, and I’ve been living in Haddington longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, but Dalkeith still is my hometown,” continues Fish.

The singer recently announced that his “final-ever” album will be released next year – but what many fans won’t be aware of is that he also has plans to stop playing live.

“In all likelihood, I’ll be calling it a day as a musician in 2018,” he reveals. “There’s other things I’ve always wanted to do that I’ve just never had the time to.

“Because of my music – because I’ve been so committed to it for 20-odd years – I’ve never found the time to just sit down and get on with it.

“That’s the plan – to stop in 2018,” he continues. “I’m not saying I’ll never ever play live again, but I’ll be 60 years old by then and I won’t be going out on these long tours.

“I love performing and making music and I’ll always be drawn to it, but if I continue to play live in the future it’ll be to do acoustic stuff – the odd show here and there.”

Fish, who joined prog-rockers Marillion in 1981 and enjoyed monster hits with classics like Kayleigh and Lavender, says he wants to use the years he has left to have a crack at writing.

“It’s not like I’m quitting because I’m really well off,” he says. “But I’m realistic. I’ve been selling out mid-sized venues in the last few years, but I know that my audience isn’t likely to grow much more now – I’m not going to be back to playing huge venues again.

“It’s just being realistic, and like I say, I’ve got so many other things I want to do. It’s my exit plan.

“I’ve planned on writing an autobiography for years now, and I want to crack on with that. I’ve also got lots of ideas for screenplays I want to write.”

The main reason for calling it quits in 2018, admits Fish, is age. “My back isn’t so great these days. It’s fine when you’re younger to be out on long tours, but after a few nights on a tour bus it can get a bit much.

“I was out doing some shows last year and I was thinking to myself, ‘Do I really still want to be doing this?’. It’s a young man’s game.”

He may be making plans to wind down his music career, but the veteran of 14 albums says he still gets a thrill from playing live.

“I still really enjoy it. It’s still a thrill, and I still get a wee bit nervous before I go on stage – you’d think that after all this time I wouldn’t, but I do.

“The gig at Dalkeith Country Park will be a strange one for me. It’s going to be weird playing to people in this place where I grew up. But it’s going to be a really special gig for me.

“There’s fans coming from all over the world for the gig, because they know it’s the last time they are going to hear me play [Marillion’s 1985 chart-topping album] Misplaced Childhood in full.”

So what else can fans expect from Fish tonight? “There’s going to be a good mix between the Marillion era and the solo stuff,” he says.

“Normally I play for over two hours, but with this being a festival I think it’s something like a 70-minute slot, so we’ll have to see what can be crammed in. It’s going to be fun, though.”

• Fish plays Midstock Festival, Dalkeith Country Park, tonight, 7.45pm, www.midstockfestival.com