Mark Abrahams and Andy Powell talked through the whole album, track by track. It was published as an audio file in late 2020.
Yours truly transcribed the whole story and was allowed to publish it here. Thanks Andy and Mark!
Andy: "Hello this is Andy Powell and..."
Mark: "... This is Mark Abrahams..."
Andy: "... of Wishbone Ash. We're going to give you a track-by-track breakdown of the new album Coat of Arms."
Select which track's story to read from the tabs below.
Andy: "Floreana, it's a mellow track. We thought after the first couple of raucous tracks we should just take the listener down a little bit. I mean constructing an album is a little like constructing a live set list you might play on stage. Because it has to work as a whole. You can't ear bash everyone for 45 minutes. You got to give them a little reprieve. So Floreana is a reprieve, it's an interesting idea that actually I was working with my son Aynsley. We brought it to the band, and we brought it to Mark. It was quite a workout getting the parts together."
Mark: "There's some interesting chords in there."
Andy: "Almost like keyboard chords."
Mark: "Keyboard parts on a guitar."
Andy: "Exactly, yeah. So, that took quite a process to learn the piece. But he and I had been working on it beforehand. Again, Aynsley played a big role in this song because he watched a documentary about this German couple back in the day. In the 30's. The guy was a doctor and he got himself a bride and he'd been in the first world war. It's a true story. He decided that war was futile and being a doctor was kind of futile and he just wanted to disappear somewhere very very remote which often happened with normal people. But they went off to one of the Galapagos islands and they set up a home there. The island was called Floreana. You can see the documentary on Netflix. It was going to be their paradise, but as with all things, your wonderful story became corrupt because a woman, I think she was a duchess or a countess. Well, she pretended to be a countess. She came also from Germany. Word got out that this couple had set up a home in this remote idyllic, supposedly, island. The lady came, she had two lovers with her, to the island. They decided they are going to take part of it. So immediately corruption entered the story. And then a third couple came. It was a young son, and the good doctor was mortified about this. The story becomes really mysterious in the end because murder takes place. People disappear. There's a lot of mystery to it. So that's the basis of the song, which kind of fitted with the plaintive aspect of the music. But he and I had done a fair bit of work on this for a period of three years, so it was really quite straight forward to make it into a song. Yeah, I guess we put the Wishbone Ash feel to it in the end. I mean basically, by you coming in, getting involved with the second guitar part and then presenting it to the band."
Mark: "A ready one, really."
Andy: "But again, Aynsley had quite a lot to do with the writing of that song. As with Mark, I mean, you grew up with our music. He grew up with our music. You're both in the same age bracket. It's really interesting to me, that we as a band are influencing younger generations of people in bands like yourself and musicians. I think you probably agree that it's got a Wishbone Ash flavour to it."
Mark: "Absolutely. I think it would fit in somewhere around Wishbone Four. It's got that kind of sound to it."
Andy: "It has actually. Yes."
Andy: "Minor chords. Folky. Things that we're known for."
Andy: "Also a very rewarding track to work on."
Transcribed/written by: Rainer Frilund - Last update: Apr, 2021