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While browsing around on one of my new favorite sites,,  I came across an interview with Pete Trewavas -- bassist for my favorite band,  Marillion.  In fact,  the interview was posted less than a week before I saw the band play in Boulder last year  (I actually ran into Pete on the sidewalk several hours before showtime -- we talked briefly and then he asked me if I knew where the venue was!).

And,  so without further adieu,  here's the full interview  (during which Pete does mention Boulder):

Interview:  Marillion's Pete Trewavas

Posted by ZMethos on September 24, 2004 05:46 PM

Let me just say:  phone interviews are difficult.  Only because there is no good way to write down and record everything the person on the other end is saying.  I tried,  but I suspect my recorder didn't pick up as much as I would have liked.  So apologies to Mr. Trewavas if I misquote,  but I do believe I have the gist of our conversation!

Mr. Trewavas is the bass player for the UK band Marillion,  which has a long history of delighting their fans with their particular brand of music.  In May 2004,  Marillion released their latest album,  Marbles in two formats:  a 2-disc set for the discerning fans who would like to buy direct from them,  and an abbreviated retail UK version.  (The North American version will hit stores in this hemisphere on October 6.)

As Trewavas pointed out during our conversation,  Marillion is in a unique position.  Starting with 2001's Anoraknophobia,  the band's contract with its label had elapsed.  Marillion had a number of options:  (1) sign with another label  (and they had offers on the table);  (2) borrow money to do the album themselves;  or (3) ask the fans whether they'd pre-order the as-yet unrecorded album thus funding the album themselves!  When Marillion asked,  the fans answered,  and the band had the opportunity to make the album their way,  without worrying about a record label's interference or infulence.  Even better:  Marillion was able to use the money in ways a record label wouldn't--namely by promoting the band.

Now,  with Marbles,  Marillion has done it again,  selling direct to the fans.  Marbles was a long time in the making,  as Trewavas points out:  "We came off of Anoraknophobia with no break and went right back into the studio,"  he said.  "This time, I think we'll take a little time off."

The tour for Marbles is nearing its end.  Since Marillion is managing themselves,  I asked Trewavas how they decided where to play.  He said,  "We looked,  you know,  at where most of our fans live so we could play there.  And we chose Boulder because we like Boulder,  really."  He added,  "And we did LA and New York.  You have to do LA and New York,  don't you?  Otherwise no one knows you've even been to America."

Trewavas also notes that having such loyal fans pays off for the band,  not only because they'll pre-order albums,  but because they can offer other perks as well.  When I asked how they made their upcoming DVD  (Marbles on the Road,  to be released in October),  Trewavas said,  "We have some hardcore fans from South Africa,  and they just also happen to be filmakers,  and they came to us and said they had an idea to film us.  It wasn't going to cost us anything,  and they would get some of the profits and we would get some,  so it was good all around."

Making music and managing the band is hard work,  however.  "We did the single CD retail version of Marbles because we were told again and again that double albums don't sell and stores won't stock them.  But then everyone wanted the 2-disc set,  so doing a single disc almost came back to bite us.

"Record stores are having a hard time,"  said Trewavas.  "They're selling fewer and fewer records and more and more of everything else."

Blame the Internet,  maybe,  but Trewavas says the Internet has been good for the band,  enabling them to sell their CDs and DVDs and also to post updates on their progress for their fans.  Marillion is also looking forward to releasing their first download-only single in October.  Their song "The Damage" will only be available by download.  They're hoping for another hit.

I say "another" because Marbles has produced two singles that have done well in Europe--"You're Gone" was #7 in the UK and #8 in Holland,  and "Don't Hurt Yourself" made #14 in the UK.

Trewavas will remain busy after the tour wraps up in October.  "Our fans organize a lot of conventions,  and I'll be going to one in Barcelona,"  he said with relish.  "Much nicer weather than England,  out there on the Medeterranian."  He also plans to finish up some work with his other band Keno.

I then asked Trewavas the final question:  "What do you think people should know about Marillion but don't?"

His answer:

That's hard!  I think they should know they would like the music we play.  They may think they know what kind of music,  but they don't because they haven't really heard it.  We have so many people who finally hear one or two of our songs,  and then they go and buy everything we've ever done.  And they say,  "How is it that I've never heard of you?!"

You're hearing it now--these guys are good.  So good that in the past fans have actually raised money to help them tour,  just for the chance to see them live.  And all those fans can't be wrong.


Internet message boards breed strange microcosms of society.  These "virtual communities" have every segment you'd find in reality:  the patriarchs who lead the pack,  the innocent bystanders,  the bullies who seem intent to start as many fights as they can,  and many more.

Some members of these message boards take it all with a grain of salt -- they don't let the petty differences among the various participants bother them in the least.  Others take things way too seriously,  substituting the opinions of those writing anonymously on their keyboards for unquestioned truths.  On some of these forums,  just reading the topic headlines can alternately anger you or bring you intense joy.  More often than not,  one is left wondering why they even logged-on in the first place.

What's most amazing to me is how some members are so intent on disrupting the flow of the "community" that they will seize on any opportunity -- no matter how tenuous -- in order to discredit another member,  someone who they've never met and know only through online writing which may or may not be factual.  Even with the standard emoticons -- those sometimes annoying, sometimes cute "smilies" -- supposedly expressing the intent of the writer,  it's nonetheless almost impossible to "know" what kind of a person someone is in "real" life.

I write from experience.

A few months ago,  I was "excommunicated" from a popular Bruce Springsteen message board -- one that I'd been involved with since shortly after it's inception.  This was a community that I strove to only write positive things for -- I posted information about how to burn CD's,  how to trade live shows;  I wrote about music I enjoyed,  concerts I'd seen;  and I never participated in the "controversial" topics such as politics and religion.  My eventual "crime"?  Writing about some of the other things I cared about such as travel and my family.

A few troublemakers seized upon this information and when I took a very long haitus from the message board,  they created at least one alternate "identity" to try and discredit me.  When I belatedly found out about this,  I tried to correct the misinformation to no avail.  Members on the board didn't believe I was me!  Some members even Googled my name and delighted in ridiculing my other interests in life.  I suppose they couldn't figure out how the same person could have an interest in Bruce Springsteen and Chinese culture simultaneously.

I thought all of this had blown over at the end of January and beginning of February.  But I received an e-mail yesterday alterting me to a "resurrection" of sorts.  And this brings up my amazement at how people on some of these message boards grasp at the tiniest of things and think that one thing represents all there is to know about a person.

This latest "little thing" about me is that someone uncovered my name on Coin World's website.  Since I was a young child,  I've been a coin collector for much of my life -- although nowadays that consists of just keeping the spare change when I travel.  A section of this site was  (and probably still is -- I haven't checked it out in years)  a listing of new state quarters found in each state.  I happened to have been the first person to report in from New Mexico when the first quarter of 2000 was released.

Coin World happened to mention that I'd found the quarter while working a cash register at Wendy's.  Of course,  the post on the Springsteen message board that I was directed to yesterday said,  in huge bold-face letters,  "He works at Wendy's!!!"  Well,  that was true five years ago.  In fact,  I managed the restaurant  (which was the highest volume store in Albuquerque).  Of course,  the distinction would probably be lost on most of the people on that message board  (the old "retail worker" is not an important job mentality).  In fact,  I worked in retail food for many,  many years -- going back to the Pizza Hut in Shawnee,  Kansas,  and continuing on through Arby's  (THAT management position helped relocate me to New Mexico),  and KFC.  I pride myself on the customer service skills I learned working those positons -- those skills have helped me move on to bigger and better things.

Yes,  the online world can be strange at times.  And even if someone tries to write seemingly bad things about you,  in the end it doesn't really matter.  What matters is that you have friends and family who know you,  who know what you stand for,  and who can help you through the day to day stuff,  good and bad.  We know what's real,  what the past was like,  and what the present offers us.  You can't ask for anything more than that,  no matter what some "virtual" stranger may try to make us believe.



While doing some research for yet another project,  I stumbled across -- "A sinister cabal of superior bloggers on music,  books,  film,  popular culture,  technology,  and politics."

After just a few minutes of browsing,  I've found a few interesting articles,  such as "Everything In A Download,  But At What Cost?"  (about the collecting of live/rare music through downloads),  "Album Covers As An Art Form", and an interesting interview with Emmylou Harris.

This one's going in my bookmark folder for further browsing and reading.  And this brings up a recent trend:  I've found that I don't read a whole lot of articles on the computer screen even though I find all sorts of things online that I'd like to read.  I usually end up printing the articles,  putting them in a looseleaf notebook,  and then reading them away from the computer.  As a result,  I have a whole bookcase of these notebooks -- some read,  others remain unread.  It's a curse:  I never have enough time to read everything or write everything I would like.



In a rare case of my simply recommending an article rather than transcribing it,  I want to mention that the latest  (March 2005)  issue of National Geographic Adventure includes a lengthy article about New Mexico's Chaco Canyon.

The article provides a nice background and overview of the ruins and focuses on a theory that three prehistoric centers of civilization -- Aztec  (near Farmington in northern New Mexico,  which I've passed on the highway but never stopped at),  Chaco,  and Paquimé  (in northern Mexico) -- were all built by the same people.  Several nice photos  (this is National Geographic,  after all)  accompany the article.  Their website includes a short excerpt,  but I recommend seeking out the entire article.

It's nice to see that at least one major outdoors magazine recognizes there's more to our state than the Taos Ski Valley or shopping on Santa Fe's Plaza!