Already in 2015 Fish had announced that he wanted to record one last album, this one was called "Weltschmerz" and that he would go into well-deserved retirement after a final tour. Due to numerous setbacks of health and family reasons, it took five years until the album could be released. But now the double album "Weltschmerz" is here and even provokes comparisons to Fish's masterful debut album "Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors", which celebrates its 30th birthday this year. We talked to the talkative Scot about both albums and round off our Fish special with a detailed shopping list commented by the master himself.
"I've started smoking again," excuses a still somewhat unsorted, coughing fish as we reach him in his Scottish home at 10 o'clock in the morning. "Coffee and cigarettes in the morning, well," he laughs, but immediately shows that despite the trouble about the resumed vice he is in a good mood, not only to give us information about his first as well as his last album, but also to discuss large parts of his catalogue in detail for our shopping list
eclipsed: Fish, you are certainly relieved that after so many setbacks your last album "Weltschmerz", which you have been planning for years, can finally be released, especially since it turned out very well and is a highlight in your catalogue ..
Fish: It's true, there have been a lot of negative things going on, the worst of which was certainly the death of my father. However, it all started on the "Farewell To Childhood" tour in 2015 and I had imagined it all so beautifully: One more album, one more tour and then retire. But then keyboarder John Beck broke his hand, I had problems with my shoulder, dates had to be pushed to 2016. Afterwards my father died, I had a back surgery, later my mother got sick and I took her in. In between I simply had no leisure time to write, I buried myself in gardening, but in the end it was good, because the inspiration came back slowly, so that we could start in 2018 gradually. But there was no end to it: I was in hospital twice more in 2019 with a dangerous blood poisoning, which by the way inspired the lyrics for the opener "Grace Of God". It was a long and painful process to make this record. To put it bluntly: I became aware of my mortality as well as the irreversible fact of aging and all the painful things that comes with it.
eclipsed: Anyway I got the impression that "Weltschmerz" is mainly an album about aging.
Fish: I would put it differently: It's an album about being a human being. And also about what it means to be a human being in exactly this world we live in now. I just mentioned that the conception of the project started in 2015; at that time I was still living partly with my current wife Simone in Karlsruhe. Before that, the Syrian war had broken out, and now the refugees came to Germany; it was shocking to see all the misery and the social debates that arose from it. You could no longer turn on the television without seeing so much suffering. But what can you as an individual do about it? I've recreated the pain that other people have experienced.
eclipsed: The result was a very dark record, maybe the darkest record you ever recorded.
Fish: I would rather say it's as dark as "Clutching At Straws". I knew from the beginning that it would be dark, that's why I chose the title. The title was at the beginning, album titles are generally very important to me, because they describe what is in the package. And I saw an interesting parallel between the last album of my career and the last one I recorded with Marillion. There are several thematic connections.