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The Marillion Interview part 1

"The most underrated and misunderstood band in the world, but for hordes of fans, they are the most important and forward-thinking group on the globe. One of these fans is 2-UpTop's Jim Powell......."






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Ian Mosley - Mark Kelly - Steve Rothery - Pete Trewavas - Steve 'H' Hogarth 





the marillion interview part one:








Firstly, I have to say that I have been a fan since 1983. I got ‘Script For A Jesters Tear' because I loved the cover and I'd heard you sounded like the old Genesis. I was hooked from that first listen onwards.

But I have to say, (though I never thought this was going to be possible when I heard the terrible news that Fish had left the band in 1988), that I prefer the band with Steve Hogarth.

Do you get as frustrated as I do, when singing the praises of the band to even old Marillion fans, and people still think of Steve as the NEW lead singer of the band, even though countless more albums have been made with Steve?

Ian - Yes we do - so much so that even talking about it now is frustrating.

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Was there any other possibilities to take over from Fish?

Pete - Quite a few people auditioned but Steve was the only real possibility.


I have to say, I was a bit worried after hearing the first post-Fish single ‘Hooks In You', but was thoroughly overjoyed when the album ‘Seasons End' came out and I gave it a listen. Was this a nervy time for the band and management?

Ian - It was an interesting time.  We knew we had some great music and were confident that we had found an amazing singer but it was still nervewracking waiting to see if the fans would get on board (Ian Mosley)


The next album ‘Holidays in Eden' had a few, shall I say poppy moments on there, which seemed to lose you a few fans.

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Then the next album was ‘Brave'; in title and boldness. All the years you tried to shake the prog-rock tag off and then you release a long concept album, but wow, what an album! It is personally my favourite album of all-time. I'm positive that if Radiohead or Muse would have made ‘Brave', then people would be raving about it.

How proud of you of that album?

Pete - It was an album that took many months of hard work but we made it through in the end and I think that Brave is one of our finest albums

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The next release ‘Afraid Of Sunlight' was another masterpiece and seemed to go down well with the mainstream press, but still EMI seemed to lose all faith in Marillion.

Was this a very frustrating time for the band?

Ian - Of course. You can always spend your life thinking ‘what if' and this is one of those moments that could have worked out so differently - but everything happens for a reason.

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You left EMI for the next release ‘This Strange Engine', but still there seemed to be a lack of promotion. I felt the album was a bit patchy, bar three classic Marillion tracks in ‘Man Of Thousand Faces', Estonia' and the epic title track.

Then came ‘Radiation' and the outstanding ‘.com', which seemed to have a fresh, eclectic and modern feel about them, and seemed to breath new life into the band.

Had you by this stage thought, sod it, we're going to make varied music that we like and not worry about marketing and sales etc?

Steve R - To be honest we have never worried about marketing and sales and have always made the music we want to make.

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Then came the decision to get the new album funded before it was made, by getting your fans to buy the album upfront.

It was a massive success financially and sonically, with the amazing ‘Anoraknaphobia', but were you wondering when you announced the idea, whether anyone was going to stump-up the dosh?

Mark - We thought maybe a couple of thousand would and we were blown away when over 12,000 did!


You did the same with ‘Marbles', with even better results. You even breached the singles chart three times, but still Radio 1 wouldn't play you, and ‘Top Of The Pops', wouldn't entertain the idea of having you on the show.

Did you wonder what more can we do?

H - We have always thought that but we won't go away or give up trying and making music whatever gets thrown at us - we've had years of practice


You could even consider yourselves pioneers in the internet/download field in the music business, and way before ‘In Rainbows'.

Do you feel that by going down this route has saved your careers?

Mark - For sure - if we hadn't become the ‘cottage industry' that everyone says we are there is no way we would still be able to be doing what we do to the level we still do it.


You have extremely loyal fans and return that loyalty by hosting the hugely popular annual ‘Marillion Weekends'.

How much do you enjoy these?

H - We love them - that's why we keep doing them. There is nothing like the feeling of being somewhere with 3000 fans from all over the world who are there to listen to the music and have fun with likeminded people.  


Things seem to be quite friendly with the Fish camp now, and there was some talk of some gigs, where the ‘new-Marillion' played one set, and the ‘old-Marillion' played one afterwards.

Was that a serious consideration?

Ian - I think it was for our Manager and our Agent but never for us!


The term prog-rock doesn't seem a dirty word anymore, with the likes of Porcupine Tree, Dream Theatre, Oceansize, Amplifier, and even Muse, The Klaxons and Radiohead, not being afraid to use the term.

Is it a genre that you mind being associated with nowadays?

Pete - I don't think we ever minded - people will call us what they want. (pete t)

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Two more impressive studio albums in ‘Somewhere Else' and ‘Happiness Is The Road', the 'Less Is More' re-working of old songs release, sold out tours, good marketing and management, and you finally seem in charge of your own destiny.

Is this how it feels for you now?

Steve R - Certainly - if something goes wrong it's our fault and no-one else!

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Can you remember the moment when you first wanted to be musicians??

H - Yup. Sheffield City Hall watching Deep Purple on the 'Machine Head' tour. I thought "Those guys are doing THIS for a living!..This is what I should be doing". The next day, it began..

Pete - Yes. I must have been 5 or 6 and I was watching the Beatles play Shea Stadium on TV.

Ian - I sat next to the drummer in the orchestra pit for the show Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand in London. Just loved all the energy and noise.

Mark - When I heard 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth' by Rick Wakeman.

Steve R - When I was 15 I decided it was the only thing I wanted to do in my life.

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Who are your main influences for your playing styles?

H - None whatsoever that I'm aware of.

Pete - Paul McCartney, John Entwhistle, Chris Squire and Mike Rutherford

Ian - There really are so many great drummers that have influenced me. Buddy Rich, Billy Cobham, Jack de Johnette, John Bonham, Tony Williams, Sam Woodyard, Christian Vander, The list is endless.......

Mark - nobody

Steve R - George Harrison, Tommy Tedesco, Dave Gilmour, Andy Latimer, Steve Hacket, Jeff Beck, Alan Holdsworth, Larry Carlton, Eddie Van Halen, Neil Finn.


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What are the your career highlights so far?

H - Getting to watch the sun set behind the little islands off Ipanema beach in RIo Getting to meet Neil Armstrong

Pete - Meeting Paul McCartney and Neil Armstrong. Playing 4 Wembley Arena shows in a row is up there as well.

Ian - Meeting Muhammad Ali and most of my drum heroes.

Mark - Not having to work for a living.

Steve R - Playing with Queen in the mid eighties. The Seasons End tour. Playing at the Hollywood Rocks festival in South America.

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First single ever bought?

H - 'She Loves You' by the Beatles. I was young....

Pete - 'Thank You Girl' by The Beatles.

Ian - 'I Cant Explain' - The Who

Mark - 'Goodbye 't Jane' - Slade

Steve R - Genesis - 'Spot the Pigeon'


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First album ever bought?

H - 'Please Please Me' by the Beatles

Pete - 'Help'. My Mum and Dad wouldn't let me buy albums when I was really young as they thought I was just copying my older sister.

Ian - Buddy Rich 'Big Swing Face'

Mark - 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth' by Rick Wakeman

Steve R - Pink Floyd - 'Saucerful of Secrets'


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Last album bought?

H - Robert Palmer Greatest Hits and Massive Attack 'Heligoland'

Pete - 'Veckatimest' by Grizzly Bear. An American band I saw playing in Switzerland while on tour....very psychedelic.

Ian - 'Toxicity' - System Of A Down

Mark - Arcade Fire - 'The Suburbs'

Steve R - Crowded House - 'Intriguer'



Are you vinyl, CD, iTunes or mp3 men?

H - Tunes and truth, man. Tunes and truth. The format is just the vehicle.

Pete - CD's and itunes. just for ease really.

Ian - These days it's CD,iTunes and mp3.

Mark - No vinyl, some Cds, mostly iTunes and Spotify.

Steve R - CD or Itunes.


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Desert Island/Isle Of Mann Discs - What 5 albums would you take?

H:  1 - 'Okay Computer' - Radiohead

2 - 'Court and Spark' - Joni Mitchell

3  - 'Seal 2' - Seal

4 - 'This Is The Sea' - The Waterboys

5 - 'Avalon' - Roxy Music (so I could watch the sunset to "Tara')

Pete:  1 - 'Revolver' - The Beatles

2 - 'Dark Side Of The Moon' - Pink Floyd

3 - 'Woodface' - Crowded House

4 - 'Court and Spark' - Joni Mitchell

5 - 'OK Computer' - Radiohead

Ian:  1 - Buddy Rich - 'Big Swing Face'

2 - Any Magma live album

3 - Led Zeppelin 1

4 - Cat Stevens - 'Tea For The Tiller Man'

5 - The Goons live from the BBC

Mark:  1 - 'Dark Side Of The Moon' - Pink Floyd

2 - 'Close To The Edge' - Yes

3 - 'Blue' - Joni Mitchell

4 - Led Zepplin 2

5 - 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth' - Rick Wakeman

Steve R:  1 - Joni Mitchell - 'Court and Spark'

2 - Pink Floyd - 'Wish You Were Here'

3 - The Beatles - 'Abbey Road'

4 - Crowded House - 'Woodface'

5 - Kate Bush - 'Hounds Of Love'


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What is your fantasy band?

H:  Lead Vocals - Jeff Buckley

Guitar - Neil Finn (yes, I'm quite serious - he's a great guitar player)

Bass - John Entwistle

Drums - John Bonham

Keyboards - Leon Russel

Pete:  Lead Vocals - Freddie Mercury

Guitar - Jeff Beck

Bass - John Entwhisle

Drums - Phil Collins

Keyboards - Rick Wakeman

Ian:  Lead Vocals - None

Guitar - Jeff Beck

Bass - Stanley clark

Drums - John Bonham

Keyboards - Herbie Hancock

Mark:  Lead Vocals - nobody (singers hog all the limelight)

Guitar - me (I've always wanted to be the guitarist)

Bass - John Paul Jones

Drums - Abe Laboriel Jr.

Keyboards - Rick Wakeman

Steve R:  Lead Vocals - Neil Finn

Guitar - Mike Campbell

Bass - John Entwhistle

Drums - Steve Gadd

Keyboards - Tori Amos