To all of my dedicated fans worldwide,
I really can't begin to tell you how I felt when I came across Willy's site and found the page that he had made for me. I was even more amazed when I began reading the letters and the questions from all of you people out there.
I had been giving some input to another friend of mine, Jyrki Ollinen from Finland, and he would ask me a lot of the time if I was ready to go out on tour yet and if the new album was finished, but I kept getting involved with this or that and it seems that weeks and months were going by pretty quickly.
But when I saw what Willy had done, it occured to me that first Jyrki and then Willy, two guys whom I didn't know at all until then, had gone to great lengths to help people know about my music. Well, I really seriously thought about going back on the road again, but I still hesitated a bit because I've been basically kicking back for a couple of years now, just recording......playing with a few friends......and getting my new record together.
Now, when I read the guestbook and saw the comments from all of you people, I knew that there could be no other decision except to go out and play again. I guess it's fair to say that I've really missed all you people quite a bit and I'm really moved by all of the things that I've read in your comments. I hope that my new record is accepted by everyone and that it lives up to some of the great things that some of you have said about my other stuff.
I really don't know exactly when or on which label the new record will come out, nor do I know as of this date exactly where or when we'll be on the road, but I'm talking to all of the music people these days about putting together over 120 shows and hopefully, God willing, we can get it all together sooner rather than later.
I'd just like to say once again how much your comments have meant to me and I want you all to know that if things progress to the point where I find myself back out there with you all, it'll be because of Willy, Jyrki and, mostly all of you fans and the way you've made me feel this past while, through your comments and letters.
I can't thank you all enough, but I'll try through my music, and I want you all to know that even though things sometimes seem dark to me, I'll keep on tryin' anyway.
God bless you all,
To all of my loyal fans,
It's been awhile since I wrote to you people, and I thought I'd like to get into it about now. First, I really want to thank all of you fans for keeping up this most tremendous support. You can't imagine how it makes me feel...it's really better than anything I've had in my career. Some people think that when you're in a band, the one thing that you want to have happen is that you become rich and famous and sell alot of records. That's probably true for alot of bands, but in my case it was never really the reason I did what I did. My main reason for wanting to continue making music was always so that I could somehow connect with people...a sort of long distance friendship with people who I didn't know personally but could get to know through the music and the shows and the letters.
Well, by and large, it became harder and harder to actually accomplish this as my career went on through the seventies because I was becoming more and more stifled by the record labels and managers and the supposed "rules" of the industry. Well, I said screw the rules, and I tried more and more to just do things the way I wanted to do them, much to the dismay of the business people who worked with us, and a real interesting thing happened. The more I became rebellious to the industry, the less records I sold but the more supporters (fans) I gained. It became almost commonplace to expect that we could do a huge gig to thousands of fans, who would then not be able to find our records in stores. The support of the industry just wasn't there, and some members of the press, who usually get behind those groups who are popular by means of pure numbers, jumped all over us at every chance they got in order to trivialize the real support we had from the fans. But you know what? I really didn't care after awhile about the press. In the beginning when I was 17 or 18 or so, it really did hurt when I'd read the kind of put-downs we had to endure, but it became alot easier to take when I realized that the fans weren't going away, but were actually increasing greatly in an underground sort of way, cause I always admired the underground musicians anyway since the late sixties.
In a sense, I feel that God did in fact give me the opportunity to achieve what I really wanted, which was the respect and friendship of people who started as music fans. To this day, almost every single personal friend I have was once a fan who I met and became friends with through gigs or letters. If you talk to alot of those friends of mine if you should ever meet them or E-Mail them, they'll tell you that it's true. Now, after awhile, I slowed down on the touring cause it gets harder and harder to buck the industry and still get work.
But now, thanks to the internet, I've finally found a way to go one on one with the fans, and to start re-cultivating those friendships that I always wanted. And so, here we are. We're finally communicating again in a bigger way than before, and the promise of the future is realer and more attainable than ever. For this I thank God as well as the many people and fans who helped make it happen, but none more than Willy Parsons. He gave us all the ability to really get together and do all this stuff. I suppose that if I had tried this myself, I might have succeeded a little, but you should all know about the tremendous amount of work and dedication that this man put into this. I could have never done it as well or as interestingly. And, once again, I didn't even know him personally beyond the fact that I had met him at a gig. And, once again, a fan has become a personal friend.
Let me say to all of you that I read every letter, watch the page alot, and try to answer as many as I can. If there's anyone out there that feels that they've been ignored, please believe me when I say that it is only because the odd time, I either have so much to do or I get lost in the shuffle. But words can't express my gratitude to you people. You've given me a new life. When I see the voting on some sites...when I see the guestbook comments...when Willy sends me some of the more personal mail which I try to answer...I feel happier than if someone would tell me that I've sold thousands of records.
Now I know that I've been working on this new album for an incredibly long time and that some of you would like me to finish as soon as possible. Well, I will do that as soon as I can. The problem is that life sometimes gets in the way. I want to do a good job and I want to do it right, but at the same time I'm trying to get the touring together and find the support for the completion of the record, as well as juggling my schedule with my children. But sooner or later I'll finish this thing, and as soon as I do I'll post it on the page. Once again, thanks for the continuing support. Don't stop prodding me and bugging me at every opportunity. It's the only way we'll get it done. And don't feel shy about dropping me a personal note or question. It may not be answered 100% of the time but certainly most of the time, and if not right away, then soon afterwards. I truly welcome the interaction, and I appreciate the friendship, and that's what I consider all of you to be...not just fans, but friends.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all
Greetings to all...
Well, the moment is finally upon me. Thanks in extremely large part to you people and, most importantly, Willy. I really want to express my thanks to all the people who have continually supported this group. I've been through a great many things in my life and been to a great many places, but I have never seen the kind of support for anyone that I have seen here. A possible equal would be The Deadheads, but the Grateful Dead have been around far longer than me and reached far greater heights in the music world. But to see the level of support from you people, for a band and that has largely been invisible in the music industry for such a long time and one that never approached the heights of fame and fortune that some of the other bands have is, to me, the most astounding phenomenon I have witnessed, and I'm very thankful for it. So, without further ado, I'll try to bring you all up to date on what the "plan" is.
The new Album is called "Eye Of The Storm". It features nine tracks. (what?..only nine, you say?...LOL). As usual, I ended up doing such long tunes that we could only fit nine on the record. Believe me, the CD is FULL from start to finish. Now, I know that some radio people are gonna say..."Which song can we play?...They're all too long for our programming", but hey, I never let a little thing like that stop me before. :-)
Anyway, we all know what the music's been about since the beginning, and it certainly wasn't ever commercial radio. Now, the song titles are as follows: (not in any particular order)
We will release the CD sometime before the show in Montreal. Hopefully, that will happen about 4-6 weeks before June, but it depends to some degree on whether or not a record company is interested in it. If not, we'll release it ourselves through this page in any event. And even if a suitable company comes through, I will insist that fans on this page be able to get our stuff directly here, should they so choose.
As for touring, I'm currently talking quite a bit to some agents about a touring situation in the U.S., and possibly Europe. Now, you and I know that I've been down this road before and that it hasn't materialized for whatever reason, but I'm rather a bit more hopeful this time, so keep up the prayers...LOL
We're not sure about the T-Shirt situation yet for this particular June show, but we're working on it and it is a possibility. If it doesn't happen there due to time constraints, we'll get it done a bit later through the page.
Now, I really do not know what set list is going to be the one we do. I'm hoping to do some of the new CD, as well as some of the very old stuff that we never really played alot of before, with some of the standards we've done up till now. I'm only meeting up with Dave and Peter about two weeks before the date, so we'll cram like hell and try to get as much in as possible. But hey, you probably never knew that rehearsal was one of the things we rarely ever did. It's always been a bit more spontaneous (although on some nights I clearly wished I had rehearsed when I saw how rusty I was....this time I'll try to be a good boy and do my homework, I promise).....:-)
Willy and I would like to do a chat or two in the near future...I'm sure he'll get in touch with you soon, I expect.
Finally, I was floored when I saw the list of fans who are coming to see us in Montreal. People from all parts of the U.S., Canada, Sweden, Scotland, Italy, and more,...it boggles my mind. I mean, you people aren't just shelling out a couple of bucks for a ticket to the local concert! Air fares, hotels, expenses, not to mention going to the trouble of traveling great distances and taking the time out of your lives to do so...just to see us! I can only say that I'll try my best to live up to it, and I hope the CD lives up to the expectations as well.
Once again, thanks to all for the amazing support. See you in the chat room...