Almost 20 years since he left Marillion, Fish returned to the town in which the band was formed for the second Hobble on the Cobbles festival organised by Aylesbury Showcase (in association with Jam Central Records). Music News caught up with Fish before he took to the stage.

MN: It’s been 14 years since you last played Aylesbury – how does it feel to be headlining here today?

Fish: It’s brilliant. It’s fantastic it’s in the market square because in ’81 we wanted to play it and Dave Stubbs was trying to get the Hobble on the Cobbles reinstated but the politics in southern England at that time were a bit fractious and there was fear of having a big civil disruption – and we never did it. We’d always wanted to do it and of course the first single was Market Square Heroes, which was written at that time.

MN: Market Square Heroes was written in here in Aylesbury wasn’t it?

Fish: I remember writing half of it down beside the clocktower and the other half was written up at St. Mary’s graveyard with my girlfriend Izzie, at the time. I remember sitting in the graveyard and obviously I was well, chemically enhanced. I was in the graveyard at about three in the morning on a summer’s night when suddenly these coppers just appeared from nowhere and they were trying to do busts for substance – it was a good place to start! The first house I ever bought was here in ’84 and I wrote a lot of the Misplaced Childhood stuff here and so I’ve got a lot of time for this place.

MN: You’ve recently revisited both Misplaced Childhood and Clutching at Straws – are there any other albums you want to revisit?

Fish: No, no. I think I’ve done all I wanted with them. I still play them because people want a show, they want to hear the hits that they know and to be entertained, and so that’s what I do. I entertain. They want to hear Clutching at Straws and Misplaced Childhood rather than just new stuff that you can say 'Yeah, I like that, but I don’t know it.' I mix them with Thirteen Star, the new album, which I think is the best stuff I’ve ever produced.

MN: Better than both your solo work and with Marillion?

Fish: I hope so. I think it’s the best thing I’ve made and hopefully makes up for some disappointments. I hope we’ve got a real hit on our hands.

MN: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Fish: Well, mostly introspectively, but events do have an effect. I just broke up with my girlfriend – we were getting married this August and then, shit. That gave me a lot for Thirtenth Star.

MN: Which artists have had the biggest influence on our career?

Fish: Too many over the years, but definitely Genesis earlier on. So many though,

MN: Do you still keep in touch with the guys from Marillion?

Fish: Yeah, I went and watched them in Glasgow this summer. We’re going to have some fun together today, going to play Market Square Heroes together. People seem to think there’s still some animosity, but that’s all gone. We wouldn’t be doing this if we weren’t all friends.

MN: Any chance of this being a regular thing?

Fish: No, no, we’ve all done our own thing since I left. It’s been almost twenty years since I left and we’ve gone in different directions, worlds apart now, so just some fun today.

MN: Do you have a message for your fans?

Fish: Hello?! No, really I want to say thank you for you patience, thank you for sticking with me through the shit and the lows, of which there have been a few. I hope Thirteenth Star will make it up to you, I think it’s the best thing I’ve made. The challenge now is not to drink too much before we’re on.