Farewell Robert Fisher

Robert Fisher from the Willard Grant Conspiracy died of cancer this weekend just gone. This news is sad as fuck, basically.

I am going to be brief here as I didn’t in all truth know Robert all that well, so I don’t want to tread on the toes of people with deeper relationships with him, but he was incredibly nice to me at times when he didn’t have to be and his songs are on the next record we are releasing, so I didn’t feel I could let it pass without just adding a little.

With the Willard Grant Conspiracy I am not one of those stereotypical fundamentalist fans who was a fan from the start and dislikes their recent or their popular stuff. In fact I reckon their last album was their best – just an absolutely fantastic piece of work – and I only actually got into them with the release of Regard the End back in about 2003 or 2004 or so, before going back to explore their entire back catalogue. But once I found them, I absolutely loved them, and I threw myself instantly into digging out everything they’d released.

In 2008, a few years after starting the blog which grew into this label, Robert was the first person I ever interviewed.  I was a complete rookie, with no experience and no training, and I can only assume I must have made a pretty shitty fist of it, but he was so patient with my incoherent mumbling, taking the time to turn bad questions into good ones, and keeping the conversation ticking over in such a gentle, friendly way that to this day his graciousness and generosity stay with me.

I knew his music inside out of course, and was clearly a massive fan, so maybe that’s why he was so generous about the whole thing. But maybe he was just a really nice guy.

I went to every WGC show I could after that of course, as I would have anyway, from the Queen’s Hall to the Fringe to Sneaky Pete’s, and he always had time to say hello and shoot the breeze for a few minutes, no matter how busy he was.

Then a couple of years ago the band were coming through Scotland again – Robert with Jonah Sacks on cello and David Curry on viola – and I thought I would chance my arm and ask if they wanted to record some songs for a Split 12″. The band said yes, and for a couple of days they stayed with us, relaxed, ate nice food, and recorded eight incredible tracks in The Happiness Hotel in those gloriously sunny days you often get in September in Leith.

They didn’t need to do this, they just wanted to, and all three of them were such a pleasure to work with and we had such a nice time, talking about recording methods, about the music industry and just generally chattering about any old shit that it will forever remain one of my favourite memories of working in music, no matter what I go on to do in the future.

So that’s it, really. I loved his music, and he was always such a nice guy, generous with his time and attention, encouraging of everything I’ve tried to do with Song, by Toad… it’s just sad as fuck, really.

Thanks, Robert. I’ll miss you.

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