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: "Personal Halloween. Great title Mark!"
Andy: "You really started this track off with a guitar for sure."
Mark: "I came up with the riff, a kind of groove. I think I first played it when we were in a dressing room. We kind of started working on it right then."
Andy: "I immediately recognized that it was going to be a good groove."
Mark: "It's very groovy. Kind of New Orleans street band kind of feel, I think."
Andy: "Yeah. It's like a marching song."
Mark: "Marching. Yeah."
Andy: "It's kind of funk march, kind of... How the hey would you describe that groove, but you played it on a..."
Mark: "I played it on Gibson 335."
Andy: "Not the usual guitar for you."
Mark: "And I also used the middle position with an out of phase setting on the pickups."
Andy: "Great sound!"
Mark: "It's quite a unique sound. Very vocal sounding, actually."
Andy: "Yeah. It's such a great guitar sound. We made it right out in front of the track. It dictates the whole groove of the track. You could almost play it without any of us playing with you, but we did play with you."
Andy: "It inspired a great performance from the band, I think."
Mark: "And interesting that we included horns in there, which really helps. That's a real great sound.
Andy: "Yeah, we did. I had the idea, we'd done it a couple of times in the past. Not many times, but one that comes to mind is No Easy Road. We did one version of that song where we used the Midnight Horns, as they became. Which was Gary Moore's horn section. Guys like Nick Pentelow and so forth. Great British horn section. We used a horn section, again it was a UK based horn section. I didn't actually meet the guys. Tom Greenwood put the part together. I almost constructed the horn part as a guitar part, initially, so we had the notes figured out on guitar and he [Tom Greenwood] just embellished it. The section itself made it more horn like, which added to the New Orleans street band vibe. We've just actually come back from New Orleans, we've just been there. There on my 70th birthday, amazingly enough. A really big birthday party right down there. Yeah, the lyric: It's about being stalked on the Internet. Everyone's had this in one shape or form. You put a post on facebook or Twitter and somebody gets the wrong idea, or they get too much of an idea about you and you start getting messaged and you become involved in this person's life and they become involved in your life. You just try to be a nice guy; you just try to promote your band. Before you know it, you're into this weird world, somebody else's world, and I found myself in that situation a few times. You can never be Mr. Nice Guy on the Internet. You just have to be very... you're using social media to promote your band, but they're just looking for friendship. It gets you in deep water sometimes. It's about trying to escape from the clutches of a virtual relationship, which you have no control over. I think many people can relate to the idea of this, with the Internet and text thing and sex thing. Not that we were sexed in that case, but it's just something that that everyone gets this virtual life that we're all living. The irony is that social media is that we're all far more disconnected now because we live on computer screens or our phone screens and we don't actually interact as much with each other, unless you have to live in Yorkshire to go down a pub..."
Andy: "...then that still exists. But I thought that this track was a great song to end the album with, because it jams out at the end."
Mark: "Definitely. It's a kind of groovy riff that..."
Andy: "It's like walking off into the sunset."
Mark: "You just want to play over it. You got to play guitar to it. Your guitar tone on that was really, I love it, it was really dirty, almost fuzzy. A real wacky, noisy..."
Andy: "I wasn't sure about it, but a friend of mine, he runs a company called Analog Man. He makes pedals for guitars and he has this one pedal that's called Beano Boost, which I think was a reference to Eric Clapton on a Beano album. But it sounds nothing like that, it's just really filthy. I did the guitar parts and we set them back in the track. They command your attention, but they do not interfere with your part."
Mark: "Emptiness is space enough. There's some real big sounds in there. "
Andy: "A good example of a well-produced rock track. And a great song to end the album with. So, there you have it: Personal Halloween."
Transcribed/written by: Rainer Frilund - Last update: Apr, 2021