Pete Trewavas far from done with Marillion

Photo (c) René Obdeijn

As part of the “Light at the end of the tunnel” tour, Marillion’s planned concerts have unfortunately been postponed until 2022. Yet there is no real reason necessary to make an appointment with Pete Trewavas, who has been playing bass in the progressive rock band since 1982. So we met Pete over a cup of coffee.

‘We still don’t really know where we are, considering the Covid-era. I hope there isn’t another wave coming. We may be able to do shows in the UK, but it’s not feasible on the mainland. We can’t actually insure the shows. In addition, there was the problem that, since Brexit, we had to apply for a visa for every country as well’, says Pete. Fortunately, that has now changed. It seems that an agreement has been reached for this and that there will now be visas for Europe for 90 days. “Let’s not keep complaining about that for now; for next year it all looks a lot better.’

The new Marillion album

When the band goes on tour, it’s usually to promote a new album. The fans have been waiting for new material for a long time. The band has announced via social media that it is working on a new album, but not much is known about it yet. Could the long-awaited new album be ready before the band hits the road with the new tour? ‘Probably it is,’ Pete responds meaningfully. Before he can continue, a ringing phone forces him to turn it off. ‘It looks good,’ he continues, ‘I think the album will be all set this year. Do you know what the big problem is? The actual production of the physical album. There is a shortage of cardboard! That may sound very strange, but a combination of Brexit, Covid Lockdown, the Ever Given that blocked the Suez Canal for a long time and the increase in online shopping means that the cardboard we need for the album covers just isn’t there.’

‘So we are dealing with the Butterfly Effect, an accumulation of events that have an unexpected effect, in this case on our album production’, he continues after a sip of his coffee. ‘In addition to that, the production of vinyl in good quality is a long process. We hope to have the album completely finished in September so that it can be released in early 2022. Look, putting material online via streaming services is all simple, making CDs too, but making beautiful booklets, covers and vinyl, that just takes time.’

Of course, we are curious what the fans can expect on the album, in terms of concept or type of material. Pete doesn’t hesitate for a second: ‘It’s going to be a fantastic album.’, and we both laugh, because that is of course the only correct answer. ‘You do understand that I cannot and may not say anything about that? If I did tell you that, the rest of the band would shoot me! We have agreed not to tell anything about it yet, not even to Maxazine, and that when the time is right, we will share more about it together, probably via the Marillion website.’

The influence of Covid on the new album

We see that the corona pandemic is having a major impact on the way bands produce their music. Covid has acted as a catalyst for the maturing of home recording and hybrid recording integrating home recordings and studio work. ‘There are artists who have become very lazy because of this, but there are also bands that have become immensely creative because of covid. There have been beautiful collaborations that you would never see otherwise, but that is not the case for a band like Marillion. We really are still a band that benefits from sitting in a room and jamming together. We really grow by playing together, and for us, that is very different from sending files to each other to build on, we still miss that instant musical feedback.’

‘Another disadvantage is that the production will then take much longer’, Pete continues after some thought, ‘The fact that people keep experimenting endlessly on an idea, you lose the magic of playing in a band. I would also miss the companionship with the other guys.’ It is not without reason that Marillion has been in the same line-up for decades. However, this new hybrid way of producing music seems to be here to stay. It is, therefore, a bit strange that a band like Marillion, who are always at the forefront of innovation and known as early adopters when we look at crowdfunding, for example, let this pass. ‘Of course, we also use these new techniques’, says Trewavas, ‘the world has changed, but let me guarantee you that at Marillion it is still the case that the most beautiful songs are made when we all play music together in a room. to make. I can’t put my finger on that as to why, but that’s still where the golden ideas come after all these years. Only when we have a complete roadmap of an album, only then can you break up and work on things separately. Conversely, it doesn’t work for us. Lyrics can gradually change, guitar parts can be invented or re-recorded later, of course we do that too, but basically it is and remains a band album.’

(c) Hans Kreutzer,

Another try

Having said that, we can at least conclude that the new album will sound like a familiar Marillion album, there will be no major change in sound. There is silence on Pete’s side and it takes a while before, pointing his finger, he says ‘Now are you fishing for answers, I told you we weren’t going to say anything about it.’, he laughs a bit mischievously, enjoying the persistent. ‘But o.k., let me tell you this: the new album is quite uptempo compared to earlier work’, he admits, ‘We have already made most of the songs as a band before there was a lockdown, so before we got into our house were locked up. As a musician, working from home is not really an option.’

Despite just experiencing the real beginnings of Marillion, Pete has been in the band for over 40 years. ‘Yes, indeed, that’s fantastic, isn’t it? I’m still amazed that we’re still here and that we did it. As a small child it was my dream to become a musician. I saw the Beatles live at Shea stadium on television. Then I knew that was what I wanted to do. I never had the idea of ​​becoming a police officer or conductor or anything. I wanted to play in a band. Yet there came a period when I doubted when I thought I wasn’t good enough. I thought I could play the guitar reasonably well, but not very well. I grew into it, started playing live more and more and those shows got bigger. I had to go further and further from home. So that was actually a continuous growth process until I started to believe in it myself. I consider myself a lucky person and I still pinch my arm regularly. We are still far from done with Marillion, the energy is still there. I can’t wait to go on tour again.’

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