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: "So this first track We Stand as One. We decided to go to France, the town of Saint-Étienne where our sound man, Daniel Vetter, procured for us a fantastic rehearsal space and demo studio. So, that's where we composed all the songs to the album. It was myself and Mark and actually my son Aynsley and Daniel. So it was that little team that got the compositions together. And this song, well I let Mark explain how we started the process. We just basically threw ideas on the table."
Mark: "We did, yes. Actually, when we came to start the recording of this song we were working on a different song on the album. I presented the riff which became the riff to this song, which was almost the solo part to a different song on the album. The riff for this one came about to me as I was kind of working at home. This was mainly a kind of finger exercise for me. I'd play it and forget about it and play it again and eventually I just made a memo of it on my iPhone and didn't even think to present it to the band, really, until we were working on this song Drive. We ended up making a song of it, which was pretty cool."
Andy: "Yes, we made this song. I mean, when you're working with each other you tend to sort of produce each other. So, somebody might come up with an idea they might just throw it out in passing and not think it's that remarkable. But the listener, in my case me, I started thinking: Wow, that's a separate song. That is a strong enough hook, that it could be the basis of a song. And then Aynsley, my son, came in on the drums and came up with a great drum part. And then he also came up with the heavy riff right underneath it."
Mark: "Well I had the kind of the first chord to the heavy riff and as soon as I played that, you came up with the entire chordy riff in the background, I think."
Andy: "Did I?"
Mark: "I kind of started it and you just took over with the full..."
Andy: "Yes, I think I came up with the Chorus chords."
Mark: "Definitely, you did."
Andy: "Which gave it the lift. And then I was inspired... I think was just singing anything into the microphone. I'd been reading about the Amazon forest fires and that was on my mind. So, I just kept coming up with the ideas of fires and all laid bare. The forest laid bare. I was just thinking random words. And it was Aynsley actually that... We went home after rehearsals and were really excited about putting the basic format of the song together. The next morning, he wrote down the first four lines of the first verse, actually, which gave us the verse and the story. So, I came up with the chorus idea and he literally was thinking about it, I guess in a dream or at night on those, kind of, waking moments. He wrote down four lines and it was complete."
Mark: "We had the kind of anthem thing in mind right from the start. From the riff and the riff behind the riff."
Andy: "The song is kind of really, the rest of the song is just really... I was watching the fact that the indigenous people, the natives there were actually organizing themselves against the government forces and the illegal loggers. And so the idea is 'We Stand as One'. They were going to the capital of Brazil and they were presenting their case that this was their homeland, and this was a kind of genocide that was going on. These are big, big things and it needed a powerful song to get that across and be the first song on the album. I think it's a great start for the project."
Transcribed/written by: Rainer Frilund - Last update: Apr, 2021