MERCH SHIPPING UPDATE

Due to it now costing twice as much to send an item to the US (£16 for a shirt now) we have had to make the decision to only sell items of a certain size within Europe.

This means that posters and vinyl are only available now in the UK and Europe. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but we can't be in a position where it costs us more to send the item than the item is actually worth.

Many of you have asked about new items of merchandise but, as it stands, there are no immediate plans to bring new stock in. A band like PQ makes most of it's sales at gigs and there won't be any of them until late 2022 at the earliest in our opinion.

Thanks for your understanding

Fish and Brexit and Touring

Legendary singer/song writer Fish has published a passionate and damning statement on the state of the music industry, via his Facebook page.

The former Marillion frontman, who recently released his final album ‘Weltschmerz’ (which MetalTalk called his finest album to date) talks about touring, streaming and how his album was not reflected in the ‘official’ charts, even though sales should have put it a Number Two.

Here is the text in full:

THE FIRST WHAMMY.

How Brexit Has Destroyed UK Artists’ Ability To Tour In The EU – by Fish (21 st Jan, 2021)

I’m still reeling from the new regulations revealed by the UK Government just over 2 weeks ago regarding touring in the European Union post Brexit. I’ve been trying to make sense of it all from all the sometimes contradictory and often vague information available on various websites that are constantly being updated and working out how this affects my own business and career. It’s quite frankly confounding.

I’ve grown tired of hearing “So what did musicians do before we joined the EU then?”.

In 1973 when the UK joined the EU I was 15 years old and the Global Music Industry revenues were around 5 billion US dollars.

By the turn of the century they were around $25 billion and today worth around $21 billion with the UK music industry generating $7.5 billion. That is a figure that doesn’t even take in the vast independent network or all the ancillary workers and bolt on industries that contribute hugely these days to the International music business.

As an example, my album sales don’t even count as I’m not officially chart ‘registered’ and on unofficial figures I had a Top 10 album in the UK with over 10 000 physical mail order sales of my 11 th solo album, ‘Weltschmerz’ in the first week of release in October 2020. A purely independent release. A tree in the forest. And there are a lot of trees out there.

It’s a huge industry generating nearly 4 times more than the UK fishing industry which despite a loud lobbying voice has its own valid frustrations at this time as we deal with all this weight of bureaucracy now foisted upon us by Brexit.

To put things a bit in perspective ‘The Who’ between 1963 and 1973 played only around 55 shows in the current EU countries. I have 27 EU shows and 5 in Scandinavia rescheduled from last year going out across 43 days in the Autumn of this year. That is more than half of the 90 out of 180 days I am allowed to be in the EU under the new rules. If these shows had gone ahead as planned in 2020 I would have been booking further shows in the early part of this year, if the new regulations allowed. Taking into account any

EU festivals which are normally a 3-day venture across a performance, plus any promotion trips which would also have to be added to my tally, as well as personal visits to my German family, and those 90 days in 180 fast disappear.

The visa/ permit situation has a major impact. From what I’ve discovered so far we now need permits for every country in the EU. In Holland for example the administration/ processing costs of a permit are around £250 per person not including the instigation and set up on our end. I carry a 10-person team; 6 musicians including myself, a back-line tech, a sound engineer, a lighting/projection tech and a production manager.

If the permits are for every individual country and of similar amounts then I have around £2500 in extra costs on permits alone for every EU country we perform in. This will rule out single shows in countries such as France and Belgium where I play medium club size gigs and put a lot of pressure on future shows in Spain and Italy where I normally have a brace of gigs of around 5-800 capacity.

These shows are already squeaky as we work to minimum guarantees that cover only costs from promoters and the visa/ permit charge represents nearly 50% of those guarantees. Some shows will quite simply become financially unfeasible on potential permit costs alone.

Compared to many artists I operate with a very tight crew and I have to keep it lean to make the figures work and keep us on the road and earning a living for everyone concerned. I have learned to manage myself – thus saving 20% of my gross income, which can be used to finance touring – and have ‘assassinated’ as many middle men as possible to enable me to continue making music and perform shows. It’s a lot of work for someone who just wants to be an artist but if I don’t take on these responsibilities myself I couldn’t make a living.

And I am an established artist! I’ve just been handed a live grenade with the pin pulled out.

My heart goes out to musicians starting out in small clubs and at the beginning of their careers who have to find that money in advance of tours. Artists signed to major labels have a better chance but for independents it’s a killer.

Crew members and session musicians have an added hit from the newly limited time allowed in the EU. Most techs and session musicians make a living by touring with a variety of artists throughout the year and they will now be unable, or find it very difficult, to juggle schedules to adhere to the new rules on travel. In short UK based touring personnel will be hamstrung and UK artists might have to consider taking on EU based crew and musicians to get around the restrictions – thus depriving their long-standing UK crew of being able to make a living.

We now have to have our passports stamped at every border crossing in order to officially document the time we spend in various countries as per the visas/ permits. At those crossings we must get a carnet stamped. This is a UK generated document that identifies and lists every piece of equipment carried out of the UK from guitars and amps to strings, drums and sticks and skins, keyboards etc. It is used to show that we take the equipment out and cross every border with the same manifest and return to the UK with exactly the same contents.

The carnet basically shows that we haven’t exported anything for sale to another country and haven’t imported anything out with the manifest. It has to be stamped going in and out of every country and miss a stamp and you walk into a nightmare of bureaucracy and potential heavy fines. (I’ve had to fly someone to Switzerland with supporting legal documents to have a carnet stamped that was missed as there was no one available at that time in the morning at the border as we were gig bound on a tight schedule).

At the border crossings the customs officers are totally within their rights to ask for an entire truck or trailer to be unloaded and examined to see if it matches the carnet documents. Protests on time constraints are a waste of energy and the tour-bus drivers just have to wait while the digital tachographs count down their drive time available. And the drivers’ operating and rest time in these potential circumstances has to be taken into consideration.

Being stopped for a couple of hours during the night at a border check could take a driver out of the legal time allowed at the wheel. In order to make sure we get to places we are supposed to be, the only solution now is to take on double drivers, who would normally only come on board for long hauls such as in Scandinavia or occasional big drives.

Having 2 drivers full time on an entire tour just keeps on adding to the costs with not only their wages but hotel rooms and catering. The risks of losing shows because a driver is out of hours aren’t worth taking.

Yes, carnets existed before Brexit but they were only needed up till now in Switzerland and Norway. It’s now across every European country and every border crossing where they will have to be stamped for the first time since 1973; 48 years ago, when amplifiers only had valves and ‘digital’ was a word in Science Fiction books.

Legal drive time didn’t exist in 1973.

We pay tax in all the countries we play in Europe. For example in Germany it’s about 19% on the gross fee received from the promoter and unless you are represented by a German based company who can reclaim some costs such as tour buses at around £1400 a day, hotels for any day off at over £1200 a night for the team, and various other production costs which include a contribution to crew wages, the tax is taken from the top.

When you pay those taxes you receive a credit note from the respective tax authority and that is provided to HMRC to put against your UK taxes. It’s called a reciprocal tax agreement. I paid over £25k in withholding tax in the EU in 2018 on one tour after allowances for costs because I had a German agent.

Up till now I have not had an answer as to whether that still applies.

Do we still get that allowance or will only a percentage of it apply if at all? At the moment my tax advisors don’t know. I’m supposed to be on tour in 8 months and don’t even know if it’s actually financially feasible. The contracts were signed in late 2019 and don’t take into consideration any post Brexit financial implications as no one knew what they were until 2 weeks ago.

We will now have to deal with the respective ‘national insurances’ in every country on top of the income tax. That applies to everyone in the band and crew and requires more paperwork and applications.

We will now also have to register for VAT in every EU country if we want to sell merchandise on the road and claim back VAT from costs. All taxes have to be paid in full before any merch leaves the UK and declarations could have to be made at every national border. If we are not registered then it’s near impossible to reclaim back the respective national VAT.

As an example the German nightliner tour bus on the next alleged tour has around £13,000 VAT we now become liable for. This means more accountancy bills, more middlemen, more bureaucracy.

Like most other artists, I need merchandise sales on tour to supplement my income and allow us to play shows in areas where the promoter’s guarantee from ticket sales falls short of the costs required to perform there. As an independent artist a large amount of my album sales are on the road at the merchandise stall.

Streaming changed the ball game and as a result, physical album sales in traditional record stores have collapsed compared to when I started in the music business 40 years ago, so playing live has become the principal source of income for many musicians and bands.

This comes through gig fees and direct-to-customer album and merchandise sales.

And I am a recognised artist with a loyal fanbase and playing decent size venues. I’ve managed through trial and error over time to find a model that works. I’m not in a new band making its first forays into Europe taking the big jump and betting on a chance to break into what is still the third biggest music market in the World, just a few miles on a ferry across the Channel.

How are they supposed to find visa fees especially if they are an independent outfit? How do they front costs for that valuable merch that could be their only wages on a gig? The wages that pay their rent and the rehearsal rooms and fuel in the tank?

How does the next young Iron Maiden, Simple Minds, The Cure or dare I say Marillion break into the EU market now?

From where is the UK government going to replace those potential future tax revenues from successful bands? Do they care? It certainly doesn’t appear so, especially for the non-corporate bands.

These are just some of the razor wire hurdles I’ve come across so far since the new Brexit rules were published just a couple of weeks ago. Prior to that I’ve been discussing probabilities with fellow professionals, tour and production managers, accountants, and advisors for well over 18 months trying to discover how this was all going to affect us – but the government left it so late, none of us have been able to prepare.

Tours are booked over a year in advance and there is a lot of detailed planning involved. I’m used to that. And still no one seems to be any clearer on what is happening.

Some have accused the live music industry of not facing reality after the Brexit vote was determined by the accumulative vote across the UK. That is most definitely not true. We have been trying to read the runes and the smoke for a very long time and being in an industry that has to continually adjust to outside factors on a sometimes-daily basis while on the road we are accustomed to extraneous demands.

Taking a double-barrelled shotgun to our feet was not anywhere in the equation.

I’m not an accountant, never wanted to be. I wanted to be a creative artist and performer who could ply my trade and earn a living across borders, and especially in Europe, our closest neighbours and as I said the third biggest music market in the world next to the USA and Japan.

It appears that the only sector benefitting from all these new regulations are accountants and advisors, and all those costs will percolate through to album and concert ticket prices.

And all of this during a pandemic that has crippled the music industry and put thousands out of work for an indefinite time. I always look for silver linings with regards to my own situation and the only thing I can grasp on to is that my own postponed tour gives me preparation time to take on these seemingly constantly changing regulations and find a way forward.

Some may say visa/permit costs, tax changes etc are negligible and part of the ‘cost’ of this current mess. For an arena level band, that may be so. It’s mostly an accountancy issue and they will usually have a wider organisation who can focus on paperwork, but for others at my level and below it’s the difference between having a tour and a career in the music business or not.

And now? Where am I?

A 32 date European and Scandinavian tour looming in September with rehearsals necessary in August; an increasingly raging virus, nationwide vaccinations still a long way off, no insurance for anything Covid related, promoters suggesting renegotiations of contracts for potential social distancing (impossible and refused), vastly increased merchandise commission of around 20% of the gross sales (plus VAT) expected as venues and corporate entities involved try to recover losses and all of the above previously mentioned.

Is it going to happen? I wouldn’t buy tickets and incur fees that are non-returnable until I knew for certain the tour was happening. I certainly can’t hold up my hand and say I will be on tour in September or at any point this year.

And now, take another step back on this and look from the other side. I am on tour, potentially unvaccinated. Our tour merchandiser faces the public every night. She contracts the virus and we have maybe 10 days before she shows symptoms, and we are all together on a bus every day. Meanwhile in 10 days we could be in 7 cities intermingling with house crews, journalists, promoters, members of the general public etc.

One band, one bus – one potential travelling super-spreading Covid generator.

The tour is scheduled to start in just over 8 months, and we are still in lockdown here for perhaps another month and beyond. We should be looking at applying for visas/ permits by the beginning of summer latest to ensure we are regulatory compliable?

And that means I will need to pay out £15k for work permits/visas we might not even need and in my opinion shouldn’t even be required in the first place?

The ‘bandwagon’ was already stalled by the pandemic and now bureaucracy has slashed the tyres and thrown sand in the engine while laying a minefield on the road with no maps to trust.

All the info I’ve related comes from current valid and credible sources. It’s not ‘fake news’ or ‘Remainer bullshit’.

This is what I have discovered so far and what is being revealed on a day-to-day basis – on government and official websites which are constantly updated – still remains vague and doesn’t address specific questions we genuinely need answers to. It’s all real and at the moment it’s all that we know now.

I genuinely despair at the current state of the music industry and the dreams that are being broken on these rocks. I’m 63 this year and immensely grateful for what the music industry and the fans of my music have given me over the last 40 years. I just can’t imagine what it’s like for a young artist in these present times. I planned to retire from live music in 2023 and have just lost 2 years on a road I seriously don’t know if I will ever revisit.

We, the music business, and industry of the UK are currently in a perilous state. After all we have given to the world over the last 50 years and more; the revenue and cultural recognition that has been provided to this country through the musicians and technicians and every ancillary member of the live music communities with their writing, creations, and performances.

We deserve better than this from our elected government.

We need a rethink and we need it sooner rather than later as our future is in jeopardy.

It was 20 years ago today......

January 2021

Happy New Year

A few words from PQ boss Steve Williams

Happy New Year one and all! As we all know only too well, 2020 was a challenging year and hopefully by the end of 2021 we will be in a much better place. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Stay safe and stay at home. If you want to see live shows again then stay at home now. In the meantime, please remember that “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. Any other course of action is just going to extend the duration of this pandemic and I, for one, am pretty sick of watching selfish, entitled people carry on with no regard for the greater good.

Due to the different rules relating to the Pandemic in the various countries that make up the UK, and having a member of the band based overseas, we haven’t actually met as a band since the last show in November 2019 and I can’t honestly see that changing in the next few months either I’m sorry to say.

It was 20 years ago today…..

It’s hard to believe that on January 20th 2001 myself and Steve Scott kicked Power Quest into life, shortly to be joined by Dr Adam Bickers. 20 years man! All those train journeys to London every couple of weeks to rehearse, many times also including Sam Totman, and write the material that would become the Wings of Forever album. Halcyon days indeed! The original Panic rehearsal rooms in North Acton were where we mainly rehearsed. I recall we even started getting some ideas for the Neverworld album together then as well, long before WOF was released. Edge of Time specifically springs to mind here.

It’s been a hell of a ride with many ups and downs along the way as many of you will know but I think back to when I was a 14 year old kid dreaming of being in a metal band and making records back in 1985. PQ may not have been the biggest commercial success in the world but if I could go back and tell the 14 year old me that eventually there would be 6 PQ albums, 2 EC albums and live shows as far afield as Japan and the US…..I think the 14 year old me probably would have thought that was incredible.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas guys! I know it's a little different this year for many but please stay safe and follow your local COVID related rules......Christmas comes every year so the sooner everyone behaves the sooner we can move on. I know it doesn't help having, quite frankly, useless leadership in some countries in this regard but we all have common sense so there's no excuse.

Here's to 2021 being a better year all-round for everyone.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Cheers

Steve W

The Story of 2017, Paul Finnie, Power Quest and me

In the chronicles of Power Quest 2017 was a year that stands out more than any other really. A year of unexpected opportunities that we thought had long since passed us by. The expression ‘good things come to those who wait’ was never more apt.

I’m actually going to start this story at the end of the year. I know, I know but please bear with me as it will make some sense as you read on.

Towards the end of 2017 Paul called me to let me know that he had decided to leave the band after the Hard Rock Hell show in Birmingham in March 2018. I wasn’t surprised as we had already had a few discussions along these lines. In fact we had the exact same discussion in late 2016/early 2017 as well. On that occasion I had convinced Paul that he really didn’t want to miss the trips to Sweden, Japan and USA as those were the dreams we had shared for so many years. I said at the time as well that if he felt the same way after these trips then of course I would support whatever decision he decided to make. There was also the small matter of a new album on the horizon as well which of course ended up being Paul’s final recording with the band and what a stellar job he did there.

It was becoming increasingly difficult for Paul to find the time to come down from Glasgow to Derby for rehearsals given that he wanted to spend as much time as possible with his family. I totally understood where he was coming from and having talked him out of leaving once I didn’t feel that I would be acting as a true friend by doing down that road again.

Meanwhile back in April/May 2017 we had started the process of recording the album that would become known as “Sixth Dimension”. We were recording in London so again lots of travelling for Paul. We found a weekend that worked for all parties and he duly came down. He also had to have his interview at the American embassy for our work visa applications. A very busy 3 days lay ahead for the big man. I was in the studio with him whilst he was recording his parts and we stayed at a hotel near Canary Wharf. Some of you may have seen the Facebook live broadcast we did from the hotel room.

Over the years I shared many a hotel room with Paul both in the UK and around the world and we always had so much fun, often in the company of the irrepressible Rich Smith as well. That’s three mighty snorers in the same room and it was often a race to get to sleep as it was bad news if we didn’t get to sleep first. Paul was particularly good at falling asleep really quickly (usually with his headphones in and the music bleeding out to compliment his snoring haha) and even better at not being able to get up very easily in the morning. I think I could write an essay just on that subject…..hotels we have known over the years ☺

Paul was on fine form in the studio and playing really well. Alessio Garavello, who was producing the album, and myself were suitably impressed at the speed he was getting through the work load but also with the quality of the bass lines he was playing. Paul loved working with other people around him as he was always offering ideas or looking for advice and suggestions as to how a particular part could be played. It was a really productive way of working without doubt. Of course we did not know at the time that it would be the last record Paul would make with PQ but we were all so thrilled with the end product that it stands as a fitting legacy for Paul along with the Blood Alliance album he played on back in 2011 and the Face the Raven EP in 2016.

Not long after completing the album we had a club show in Portsmouth and SOS Festival in Manchester in the diary. Unfortunately Paul wasn’t able to make it down for these shows so the next time we would meet would be for the rehearsals for the appearance at Sabaton Open Air Festival in Sweden in mid August. Missing these shows had come up in the conversation we had a few months earlier and I really wanted to make sure that he didn’t miss any of the major events we had that year. If a club show had to be missed then that was absolutely fine with me.

The trip to Sweden was the first festival Power Quest had played overseas since PPM Festival in Belgium in 2012 so to say we were all looking forward to it is somewhat of an understatement, It turned out to be a really well organized event and we were treated like Kings in all honesty. Nothing was too much trouble for them which was amazing considering we were and are hardly the biggest band in the world haha! We shared the bill with such names as Hammerfall and Freedom Call and even Steve Harris from Iron Maiden was there with his other band British Lion. It was wonderful to bump into so many old friends like Bill Hudson (NorthTale, UDO, Trans Siberian Orchestra) and Tommy Johansson (Sabaton/Majestica) as well. It was quite funny really because we had been friends with the guys in Freedom Call since we toured with them in 2012 and they were the very first people we met when we arrived at the hotel. Later that weekend as we were all preparing to leave and head home we saw the FC guys again and said “See you next time….in Tokyo” as they were headlining the festival we were playing there. There will be more on that in due course.

It was a wonderful show in Sweden. We were celebrating the 15th anniversary of our debut album “Wings of Forever” by playing it in its entirety as a world exclusive, never to be seen again. Even our place on the bill was awesome as half way through our performance the sun began to set and by the time we had finished it was dark out front with the place lit up by mobile phones and the floodlighting. It was truly a memory for the ages right there.

We returned to the UK and we had just about two weeks to prepare and get everything ready for what was going to be the most exciting couple of weeks. So after rehearsing at Abbey Lane Studios in Derby for a couple of days we took the National Express coach to Heathrow airport ready to catch out flight bound for Tokyo, Japan! Rich and Paul actually drove down as they needed to have the car available to get back to Derby once we were back from the second leg of this incredible mission. Paul’s travelling experience came in handy here as he was the only one of us who had ever done a long haul flight previously. The rest of us had no idea what to expect and it was certainly an eye opening experience that’s for sure. We had a brief stop over in Seoul for a few hours, which gave me and Rich the time to top up the nicotine levels before we undertook the last leg of the journey.

Arriving in Japan the first thing that struck us was the heat and humidity. It was quite a shock to the system to be honest. Those of you who know me well realize that really hot weather doesn’t particularly agree with me and I think it was a bit of battle for most of us but it was all far outweighed by the excitement of having made it to Japan. We played 3 shows there, two in Tokyo and one in Osaka. It was quite a crazy schedule as we played the day after we landed and then had a flight back to the UK the day after the last show as well which didn’t really leave time for any tourist type activities unfortunately. We did get to ride on the Bullet Train from Tokyo to Osaka which was a real thrill and something that I’d wanted to do but had never had the opportunity previously. It actually is possible for trains to run exactly on time, contrary to our experiences here in the UK.

Paul really soaked up the culture and we enjoyed the local cuisine and of course we had to find somewhere that we could have a curry too. Paul actually made friends with one of the guys working in the restaurant and invited him along to the show the following day. They remained in touch after that as well which shows again what a friendly and easy-going chap Paul was. It didn’t matter where in the world he went, this was always the case in my experience.

We were looked after very well by Yama, Meg and all the guys involved in Evoken Festival. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them and we all appreciated the fact that they had given us the opportunity to visit Japan. Wonderful hotels, top notch transport and great company. What more can you want or need? I should also thank Ken and Yukko Saito who acted as our guides when we had some free time and took us to Tokyo City Centre and showed us around and took us for dinner. Happy days!

From what I recall, the flight back from Japan to the UK was somewhat more challenging. Maybe because this time we knew what was coming but after about 4 hours I was starting to get restless and fidgety and this pretty much lasted the whole flight. The seating arrangements meant I was isolated from the rest of the guys but it seemed like everyone was having fun. Paul and Andy K were amusing themselves with trying to guess what some of the inflight food actually was and coming up with alternative names for some things.

When we arrived back at Heathrow we said farewell to Glyn and Andy as they had joined the band too late to make the next leg of the journey which was to play at PPUSA Festival in Atlanta. So Paul, Rich, Ash and myself had a night in a hotel at the airport before boarding our flight to Atlanta the following day. Filling in for Andy and Glyn on this occasion were Bill Hudson and Chris Petersen and we are grateful to this day for the hard work they put in to make sure that the show would go on successfully.

The flight itself seemed relatively short in comparison to the trek to Japan, which was good news of course. As we came to land in Atlanta Paul reminded me that we still had a few shirts from Japan in the luggage and we needed to declare these at customs. This was another example of his travelling experience coming to the fore at an important time. We did end up getting a bit of an interrogation at customs but when they realized we only had 17 shirts they sent us on our way with a smile saying that this really wasn’t anything to be concerned about.

We were picked up by the festival organisers in a luxurious bus fitted with all the mod cons and this took us to our hotel where we were met by my good friend and promoter of the event Nathan Block. Once we had checked into the fantastic hotel (complete with pool) Nathan took us out for a fabulous dinner that evening. It was almost as hot and humid in Atlanta as it had been in Japan so again it was a bit of battle on that side of things but a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things given that for most of us it was our first venture onto US soil.

The following day was the first of the four days that make up the PPUSA event. We were actually the first band on Day 1 so it was a real opportunity to go out there and make an early impression. This was no ordinary show of course. As I mentioned a little earlier, we had two stand in guitarists for this show in Bill Hudson and Chris Petersen but we had no time to rehearse with them at all other than an unplugged run through backstage before the show. Chris had been in Japan with his band Cellador at the same time we were there so there just wasn’t room in the schedule for anything other than the show. First US show, two stand in guitarists and no rehearsals? It can’t end well surely?

Fortunately for all concerned someone must have been smiling on us somewhere that day as the show was wonderful. Everyone clicked into gear and gelled from the get go and it seemed that no sooner had we started then we had to finish. I remember Paul making good use of the drum riser during this show and at least a couple of flying leaps were detected from my side of the stage haha! I also remember us all being on such a high backstage after the adrenalin of the whole thing, probably more so than any other occasion.

We were extremely fortunate in that we were able to stay in Atlanta for the whole 4 days of the festival, which meant we had a chance to hang out as well, watch the other bands and chat to all the amazing people there. There were also a few opportunities to look around the city and one such thing was going to watch a baseball game for the first time. It was certainly an interesting experience. Ash and Alessio were particularly entering into the spirit of things and I could tell Paul was enjoying it too. Paul turned to me at one point and said “I’m glad someone here knows the rules of this game”. It was interesting to see the difference between how sports like baseball are presented compared to something like cricket.

Each night there was a huge party in the courtyard of one of the hotels near the venue once the bands had finished for the day. It was at one of these that Paul really saved my bacon. Let’s just say that I over indulged to the extent that I couldn’t walk in a straight line and my vision had gone somewhat blurry. I’d already tried to find my way through the crowds once and that had been an unmitigated disaster to be fair. On this occasion, Paul happened to be sat right next to me and noticed I was in a bad way and he helped me through the crowds to the sanctuary of the roadside. It was like the parting of the Red Sea as he guided me through the assembled throng of festival fans. I’m not sure I would have made it out in one piece if it was not for Paul’s assistance. He sat me down, rolled me a cigarette and chatted to me for about 10 minutes to make sure I was ok and fit enough to find my way back to the hotel. That walk in itself turned into another saga, but I’ll save that one for another time.

We had so much fun hanging out with the fans in Atlanta, many of whom had travelled from all over the world to attend what is clearly one of the most well organized and community orientated events in the whole touring calendar. I was thrilled to be able to share the experience with the guys and Paul especially as we had talked about this type of thing for most of the time we were friends.

A huge thank you to Nathan Block and Milton Mendonca for making this trip possible for us and to Bill and Chris for enabling us to perform by standing in for Andy and Glyn. It meant the world to us all, a dream come true if you will, and I know Paul especially appreciated every single thing about this trip.

A major storm was brewing down in Florida a couple of days before we were due to leave, such that people were being evacuated from there. Bill Hudson was caught up in this and his wife had to drive up to Atlanta to meet us. Fortunately for us our flights were still on track but I think if we had left it a day later then there may well have been issues there. As we flew out of Atlanta it was quite crazy to think that in the space of a week we had flown from London to Japan and back again and immediately flown from London to Atlanta and back. Talk about cramming as much into a window of time as possible.

Landing back in good old Blighty was quite a strange experience. Once we had landed it was quite hard to fathom exactly what we had done for the past couple of weeks. I guess the thrill of something special that you never thought would happen really hit us all at that point as Paul and Rich headed for Derby and Ash and myself headed home to Southampton.

We had about a month to get back to reality before the next item on the agenda which was a UK tour as special guests of my old mates and former bandmates Dragonforce. There were 11 shows up and down the UK, from Glasgow to Dover. This was split up into 2 sections with a few days break in between and in effect was the northern shows first and then the southern shows. On this occasion Paul was able to do the first run of dates which included Glasgow, Newcastle, York, Sheffield and Manchester but work commitments prevented him being able to participate in the second leg. His schedule was so tight here that he had to run to catch a train home pretty much as soon as we had finished our set. A very good job that the evening ran to time to be honest.

While we were in Newcastle, Paul and Ash took the opportunity to visit the Newcastle United football ground for a guided tour. Ash is a big Newcastle fan. I dropped them off at the ground and then wandered around and grabbed some coffee whilst they were otherwise engaged. I remember in York we all had a Yorkshire Pudding wrap with a roast dinner inside. That was awesome and I remember trying to eat that without wearing it at the same time haha!

The shows on the DF run were all sold out and it was a thrill to play with those guys again after almost 20 years for me. I think it was something the fans had been wanting to see for years so it was nice that the stars aligned for this one.

Just a few days after this run of shows we were out again for what would be Paul’s last tour with the band. This time a few headline UK shows taking in Newcastle, Grimsby, Cardiff and London. Another great run of shows culminating in a fantastic night in London at our spiritual home, Camden Underworld. As always lots of laughs and good times on the road and hanging out into the small hours at our overnight stays which, as always, were powered by Travel Lodge (other hotel chains are available of course haha!)

As we headed our respective ways home after this UK tour, we didn’t know for certain that this would be the last one we would do together. Of course it wasn’t the last time we played with Paul. This would be at HRH Metal Festival in Birmingham in early 2018 as I mentioned earlier on.

When the band re-activated in 2016 I don’t think any of us would have thought that by the end of the following year we would have visited Sweden, Japan and the US and undertaken a tour with Dragonforce. For a band that was and is almost entirely self financed we made the most of these chances that came along and at the same time fulfilled some dreams that were over 25 years in the making if not a bit longer.

I have so many wonderful memories over the years with Power Quest that will stay with me forever but this particular year, 2017, was without doubt the pinnacle and I think will remain that way no matter what we do in the future. Now that Paul is no longer with us I will treasure these memories even more than I already did and this is what prompted me to put pen to paper now and write these words about our adventures together.

I just happened to re-read the thanks list Paul had written in the Sixth Dimension album booklet again yesterday and noticed that he had thanked me for making the dreams real. It all seems somehow so poignant now given what has happened but it was my pleasure my old friend and I’m so glad that I got to share these incredible times with you. Times that, no matter what the future brings, will remain with me forever as the very best of times.

You made your mark big fella. You touched people’s lives with your music but more so with your character and the way you had with people. From Japan to the US and everywhere in between there are fans and friends who will recall the time they spent with you with great affection and respect.

Whatever your beliefs are, please remember my friend Paul Wilson Finnie and think kindly of him. He was the very best of men and a true legend. The PQ legend.

Steve Williams

August 30th 2019

Stock Update

Just single figure stick levels on the following items now. These will not be made again so once they are gone.....they are gone.

Tote Bags Beanies Baseball Caps Patches T-Shirts

ANATHEMA - Indefinite hiatus

It saddened me today to read the news that Anathema have been forced into an indefinite hiatus due to the impact of COVID 19. An incredible band, making interesting, thought provoking music with true emotion and meaning. I hope this is only a temporary thing for the guys and that we will hear from them again sometime soon.

The reality is that I suspect this will be commonplace over the next few months but what can we do? Well one thing we all can do is fucking behave properly in these strangest of times. So many selfish people out there with very little upstairs, who can all keep the fuck away from me for starters.

The more we ignore the situation and pretend that it's something that won't happen to us, then the longer we will be without real live shows and genuinely talented bands.

Steve

BOGOF

We are now offering BOGOF (BUY ONE GET ONE FREE) on certain items in the store whilst stocks last

September 2020 Update

Hi guys

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe in these strange times that we live in.

Here in the UK it seems we are heading backwards rather than forwards unfortunately. It's a shame more people don't understand the bigger picture rather than continuing on in a selfish manner. It is a pandemic after all and these things don't just vanish overnight.

As with so many bands we won't have any shows this year but as we head into Autumn there have to be some serious question marks hanging over 2021 as well. Some observers have suggested that it will be 2022 before we can return to live shows in anything like a normal way. At this moment I'll not even be setting foot in a rehearsal room for the remainder of 2020.

I'll be keeping a close eye on developments and, on a personal level, I will be taking no risks or chances as I have elderly parents who are not in the best of health. Family comes first every time.

Our only source of income now is the online store. This income funds recording and touring activities for the band and unfortunately things have been somewhat slow of late. It's a difficult time for everyone right now so it's totally right that everyone looks after themselves and their families. The time for touring and new albums will come in due course.

Take care of yourselves, stay safe and think of the big picture.

Cheers

Steve

Shop Open

Just to let you know we now have access to a local post office again and we have re-opened the online store. We will be shipping once per week to minimise the strain on the local office.

Upcoming Live Shows
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Lords of Tomorrow Music Video
The Sixth Dimension
Kings and Glory live in London
Far Away live in London featuring Sam Totman (Dragonforce)
Kings and Glory Lyric Video
Far Away live in Tokyo
Temple of Fire live in Japan
Power Quest + guests live in Atlanta!