Founded in October 1969 by Martin Turner and Steve Upton and guitarists Ted Turner and Andy Powell, who had joined them through an advertisement, WISHBONE ASH became one of the driving forces of the British rock scene in the early 70s. Their trademark, the double lead guitar sound, rarely encountered at the time, quickly made them a live attraction. In the 51st year of their existence, eclipsed spoke with the only remaining original member Andy Powell about the band's history and the new album "Coat Of Arms".
At first glance, it's not exactly the best timing: When the album "Coat Of Arms" is released on February 28th, Wishbone Ash's German tour will be long gone. In January they were on tour as part of "Music & Stories 2020" together with Uriah Heep and Nazareth, who are about the same age, and until February 8th they played some more club gigs. On the other hand, a new Wishbone Ash album nowadays attracts the attention of a dedicated fan base anyway. The fan goes to the concerts of the usually yearly tours anyway, no matter if something new is on the shelf or not. By the way, Wishbone Ash had the tempting idea to join Heep and Nazareth on stage in a bigger location and present themselves to the fans of other bands they hadn't discovered yet. Andy Powell, whom I contacted by phone in the USA before the tour, justifies the order of tour and album release simply with tradition.
eclipsed: The album won't come out until after the tour this time. Why?
Powell: That's what happened. I would say we are always on tour in Germany in January and February. That's also the case in 2020. Okay, because of "Music & Stories" some of the regular clubs are cancelled. In your city Dortmund we therefore play in a bigger hall. But next year we'll probably play the piano again. And most likely in January or February.
eclipsed: "Music & Stories" with Uriah Heep and Nazareth - three British bands who are in it together. This reminds us of the time when these bands started their careers almost simultaneously about 50 years ago.
Andy Powell: You're right, there could have been such a combination in 1971 or 1972. Maybe it already existed in this or a similar way at some festivals. I don't really remember it, but in the last decades you haven't run into each other just once. Of course, especially in Europe, we often play or have played in similar venues shortly before or after them. My respect for Mick Box and his guys and Pete Agnew's troupe is and has always been immense.
eclipsed: Another common feature is that there is only one band member from the original line-up at a time.
Powell: More than 150 years of band history at one event, my ass. (laughs) This is a cheat package. Only Mick, Pete and me own the credit. But even though every group has gone through a different development, all three are still standing there 50 years later as functioning bands. And each of them produces new music on a regular basis.