The album originally released in 2007 has been completely remixed in 2023 by original producer Calum Malcolm (‘Weltschmerz’ and ‘Feast of Consequences’)
At the time ‘13th Star’ was seen as a huge return to form for Fish and acclaimed then as one of his finest works to date. This 2023 edition is a stunning and exciting rework of the original recordings that gives the songs an incredible dynamic new energy and a brand-new lease of life.
The standard version comes in a digipak with a 12 page colour booklet designed by Steve Vantsis and featuring artwork by Mark Wilkinson and the album lyrics
‘13th Star’ 2023 remix
1 Circle Line Dick, Vantsis 05.54
2 Square Go Dick , Vantsis 04.57
3 Miles De Besos Dick, Paterson 04.47
4 Zoe 25 Dick, Vantsis 05.10
5 Arc of the Curve Dick, Vantsis 05.23
6 Manchmal Dick, Vantsis 05.29
7 Open water Dick, Usher, Vantsis 05.09
8 Dark Star Dick, Vantsis 06.47
9 Where in the World Dick, Vantsis 06.00
10 13th Star Dick , Vantsis 05.57
Total duration 55.48
Originally recorded in 2007 and remixed by Calum Malcolm 2023
Published by Fishy Music Ltd, copyright control.
Fish – Lead Vocals Steve Vantsis bass Frank Usher, Chris Johnson guitars
Foss Paterson Keyboards Gavin Griffiths drums backing vocals Lorna Bannon
Recording copyright Derek Dick under license to Chocolate Frog Record Company Ltd 2023
Excerpts From the Fish’s sleeve notes taken from the deluxe hardback book edition
“I’ve been known throughout my career as someone who’s worn a broken heart on my sleeve and that my lyric writing has been dominated by inspiration from relationships that have been fracturing or tainted, regretted, or splintered or even sometimes celebrated. My openness makes some people feel uncomfortable and it’s often been questioned as to why I need to bring my personal life into a public setting. There are many reasons, and most of them can probably be answered by professionals, but the bottom line is I’ve always found solace and healing putting my feelings into words and getting a better understanding of myself in the process. The catharsis of those emotions is fundamental to my life and my music. I could indulge you in a long explanation, but I’ll reserve that for an autobiography as it’s way too complicated to expose my core here in what are essentially sleeve notes for an album.
At the time of creation it all makes perfect sense to me, but I often forget that in the passage of years I leave open baggage out on the highway for others to discover and perhaps interpret in a different way than was originally intended.
‘13th Star’ is an album born in a storm and shaped by chaos in my life at the time of conception. It’s often perceived as being solely about a relationship I was in during that period but in fact it had more to do with my own desperate search for something in my own life that I felt had been missing for a long time.”
“I ‘d been hiding out on the road for too long and I felt I’d lost direction. Gigs were becoming repetitive, and I was finding myself trapped in a the very thing I’d tried to avoid for most of my adult life – a ‘real job’. My career seemed to be going nowhere and I was feeling very alone with a confused personal life. I was adrift and needed something or someone to guide me out of the malaise and to a better place where I could shine again.
“Just another day on the circle line, losing myself as I follow signs
Beneath the surface underground I keep my feelings deep inside
I always depart but I never arrive, never a moment passes by when I feel I'm not treading water in a sea of drifting souls” - Circle Line
This was one of the earliest songs Steve and I put together from a series of loops he’d written and expanded upon. It nailed the front of the album to the proverbial mast and got us both excited at what we could achieve. I brought in my 70’s rock influences with a tip of the hat to ‘the Who’ in the chorus. It had a great groove and was an inspiring start point.
The ‘Circle Line’ on the London underground by its very definition is a line that goes nowhere but round and round as a hub feeding a maelstrom of commuters across the city. The closing lines of ‘navigator, need a navigator’ sets up our ‘hero’ lost in the rat race and searching for a new direction and meaning in life.
Conceptually and lyrically my own journey had begun.”
“After a couple of days the scenery on the riverbank became repetitive and the fast-descending nights riveting boredom only made bearable with goblets of nasty cognac.
The day trips were assaults on the senses. The endless demands for ‘baksheesh’ from swarming street vendors and the more subtle forms employed by our guides, who were on backhanders from various establishments with ‘local wares’ enroute to and from our intended destinations, became tedious.”
“For all the grief and hassle visiting the ancient ruins was breath taking and our guide, despite his dubious routing to visit his friendly perfume parlours and papyrus printers, was informative and knew his stuff inside and out. We got on well and I often shared his company on deck sinking a few cognacs and gleaning more information from him.
One of the tales spun was that of the turtle and the scorpion. I knew it from before but in the present location it took on a new magic.
A turtle, about to swim the Nile was approached by a scorpion asking for a ride over to the other bank, The turtle, dubious and recognising the danger, questioned the scorpion as to its intent and voiced his mistrust.
The scorpion answered “Why would I sting you when you are carrying me. If you die I would drown with you?”
The turtle acceded and carried the scorpion into the water.
Midway the scorpion stung the turtle and as they both began to sink in the waters the turtle asked, “why did you do this, you have killed us both?”
The scorpion answered, “Because it is in my nature”.
A many layered fable and the writer in me tucked the story away like a seed in my pocket. It would become the foundation to the lyric of ‘Manchmal’ , a German word meaning ‘sometimes’. On that night in Egypt it seemed to have a relevance to my current relationship, but I wasn’t sure which character in the story I identified with most.”
“Calum had to reel me in quite a few times as deliveries became too aggressive or emotional but on one of the takes at the beginning of ‘13th Star’ he let me go.
It was always going to be the toughest song to sing and was left till, late on in the sessions. I was out on the main studio floor, slightly out of the view of the control room window behind which Calum was on the desk. It gave me some privacy as I was choking a bit on the lyric as emotion got the better of me. I had to take a few breathers on the first takes as I tried to come to terms with what I needed to do in the performance. Calum was completely understanding and gave me my time to sometimes go for a short walk in the garden and come back to the microphone.
On about the 4th take I set up at the mike and just as the song began I turned round and looked up at the wooden beams in the ceiling above the adjoining floor space. Hanging there, dull and lifeless, and covered in dust was the bouquet of roses that I’d given Heather on Valentines Day in York when I had proposed. I quite simply cracked and by the second verse I couldn’t hold it together any longer and had to walk away.
Calum kept that take and used it in the final mix. I questioned it as being too raw and emotional and pointed out that the voice was breaking up in places. He said it was perfect and that you could never find a more honest and heartfelt performance if you tried. Listening back I eventually had to agree and even now that moment in the song still catches my breath.
The roses would find another life as on the cover of ‘Arc of the Curve’, the first single from the album, I was photographed in a one take shot by Tony Marsh with the said bouquet on fire in my hand. Despite rumour it wasn’t photo shopped and we had two test runs with other bunches of dried out roses and some lighter fuel before the main event. It worked an absolute treat and became the lead photo in all the promotion campaigns. The look on my face says it all.”
“I vividly remember coming off stage at the Buxton Opera House on the final show, directly exiting the stage door in tears and going outside into the dark cold November night on my own and just wanting to run away anywhere. I never wanted to go back out on a stage again and as far as I was concerned I was finished singing never mind touring.
“I'm just a dark star, inhabiting a silent void
I'm spinning in the darkness, orbiting a universe
I want to be a meteor, I want to travel at the speed of light
Another dead star, silhouette against a pale moon
I'm in another world” - Dark Star
It was done. I had completed that orbit and was about to take off on another trajectory into yet another dark space that I had to negotiate to get where I was meant to be. It would be a long and difficult journey, but I was following a star.”