The albums finally arrived yesterday and I’ve been scrawling away as you can see from the photo. We’re moving the first load out tomorrow and I’m sitting here in the control room waiting for the ‘cages’ from the post office that allow us to get big loads out on special collections.
It’s been a long haul to get here and unfortunately full of disappointments and let downs. The CAS deluxe editions were originally scheduled for a June 2018 release but by October the same year it had moved to September 2018. It was at this point my agent began booking the European to follow the release which would enable me to have product on my merchandise stall and avoid hefty postage costs to fans in Europe as well as promote the new remaster around the tour dates. Although Steve Rothery was playing the album with his solo outfit at a few select dates Marillion were obviously more focused on their recent project and I looked on my own tour as an ideal opportunity to promote and sell the back catalogue as well as introduce my own new material. I informed Warner’s about my plans and they were positive about my involvement and extra coverage on the release.
In January 2018 everything was still on track but over the next few months the wheels came off the tour bus for reasons I don’t really want to go into here and the release dates were moved firstly to mid-October and then November as more setbacks and obstacles annoyingly appeared.
It became obvious I would not have the CAS album on the tour. The original release date in November was when I was on the road and as I had promised to autograph the albums I asked Warners to drift the date back as another 2 weeks wouldn’t matter. It would give me a chance in the window between the European and UK tours to deal with the signing when I got home. Warner, Marillion and I mutually agreed a release date of 23rd November.
It wasn’t ideal by any stretch of the imagination and I’d lost a great opportunity in Europe but I accepted the compromise. The deluxe editions would be waiting for me when I got home and we would be fully prepared for posting signed albums out on the 23rd November before my UK tour.
On my return I was surprised and disappointed to discover that Marillion had already received their consignment and had gone ahead with an early release of which I wasn’t given a heads up on. If I had known this I could have picked up albums in Germany and at least had them on the last couple of weeks on the tour saving at least some fans the hefty expense of postage from the UK and dealing with the mail order signings when I got back to the Studio.
As such there are more than a few disappointed fans who bought the CAS deluxe editions from my mail order service who are hearing about others already enjoying the new releases. I can only apologise as I was badly informed by various entities and due to matters out with my control throughout the entire CAS project I feel that it has spectacularly misfired and some glorious opportunities have been lost. We will be doing our very best to get our pre orders out to you at the earliest opportunity and I hope to have at least 500 albums out in the post by tomorrow afternoon with the rest cleared by early next week.
Although we have all our mechanisms and organisation in place to deliver I’m sad to have to inform my Canadian fans that you’re frustrations will last a bit longer. A dispute between the Canadian Postal services and the Royal Mail has meant that there are no packages heading over to you just now. A backlog has developed which is estimated to take at least another 30 days to clear and rather than risk albums being damaged or lost in the chaos I have decided to hold them back until I know the flow is clear and I am sure they will get through. We will be monitoring the situation and as soon as I am confident in deliveries we will send them out.
We still have stock of the CAS deluxes available but please be aware they are limited editions and once they are gone I will not be restocked. I’ll be carrying albums on the UK tour next week to sell on the merch stall at venues and there will be stock retained here at the Studio to service mail order customers.
It’s not the end of the World and worse things happen at sea. My disappointment is buoyed by the reaction and reviews from the European tour and by the reception to the new songs in particular. ‘Man with a Stick’ is currently the most played track on Planet Rock this week (53 plays) and is picking up airplay all over the place in Europe and the UK. Saturday in London and Glasgow are sold out and tickets are going well in all the rest of the venues with more sell out announcements due. The numbers and the response to the European shows were the best for a long time and I have to say I’m proud to have racked up the longest tour for many a year with 40 dates followed through with no mishaps and finishing with a strong voice. There’s a lot of interest being generated around ‘Weltschmerz’ and the recent review in Prog Magazine for ‘Parley with Angels’ was glowing (Thanks Dave L) It all bodes well for the future and there’s a very happy and confident circus waiting to hit the road again. Onward and upward.