March 15th, 2002 I first met
Rob Fisher when we were both students at the University of Bath in 1977.
At that time,
he played keyboards (and occasionally sang) in a band called Whitewing, alongside Doug Quinn
(guitar, flute, vocals), Mark Rowland (drums), and Pete Gamble (bass). Whitewing evolved out
of a band called Carcassonne (but that was before my time, and I'm not sure whether Rob was
involved at that early stage). They later added Rich Backhouse (vocals and occasional guitar).
They were clearly heavily influenced by Camel, though as time passed their music developed more
of an edge. The band played numerous gigs along the M4 corridor between Bristol and Reading.
I came to know the band personally through a mutual friend of mine and Doug's (a guy called Pete
Barrett), and was entranced by their music. Although they were essentially a small-time local band,
their music 'connected' in a way that was true of very few artists - it got right through to your soul.
Rob composed most (but not all) of the music, and he was the leading player in arranging the material.
He was clearly a major talent even at that early stage, and not only in the sphere of music (he graduated
with a first class honours degree). Memorable songs of this time include Shore to Shore (set opening
instrumental), Summer Girl, Now You're Gone, and Delusion.
At this time, I was also singing and playing guitar around the contemporary
folk clubs in the Bath area
- 70s singer-songwriter stuff. I formed a variety of ad hoc duos, but was never sufficiently determined
to put together a full band. I played several gigs with Pete Laity (later of the traditional folk outfit
Aardvark), with Doug Quinn, and on at least on occasion with Rob. I had written a song called 'More
Than You Know', and thought it would sound god with a keyboard accompaniment. Rob and I worked
on the arrangement together, and we certainly played it together at a gig in December 1977 where I was
playing support to Whitewing. There may have been other occasions, because I often played support for
them, and also often helped out as a roadie - but I can't remember. Anyway, that gig in December 1977
also included on the line-up a band called Power Cut, fronted by Simon Cowl who had previously been
a member of Whitewing.
In 1978, the members of Whitewing left university. Pete, Rich and Mark
decided not to pursue a full-time
musical career, but Rob and Doug wanted to carry on. The new line-up comprised Tim Benke (on bass),
a new singer (called, I think, Yvonne something or other - she had previously sung with a moderately
successful band whose name I forget), and a new drummer. I only got to see this line-up play live on one
occasion, as by now I was living in another part of the country. On that occasion I did the lights for them.
The new line-up of the band was awesome, with Yvonne providing a considerable up-front personality.
Memorable songs of this time included Third light (an instrumental that still ranks as one of my half dozen
all time favourites), and Sometimes Always. This band recorded some studio demos which must still exist
somewhere, but I no longer have a copy. After a year, Tim Benke left the band (stories differ about why),
and shortly after that, Rob left. I think he felt frustrated that the band was not going places. I lost touch
with Rob at this stage. Whitewing replaced Rob with a saxophonist and continued to function, playing one
gig at Newton Park before changing their name to Gadgets.
What can I say about Rob as a guy that hasn't been said before? He was
a true gentleman with a quiet
ambition, endless patience, modesty, loyalty, and a wry sense of humour. Of the members of Whitewing
that I knew, he and Doug both wanted to be professional musicians - the difference between them was
that Rob *knew* that he would be one, while Doug was never so secure. By the time Naked Eyes made
it, I had lost touch with who was doing what in music, and it is only very recently that I discovered that
Rob had become so successful. I'm not in the least bit surprised. I am so sad to hear of his untimely death,
though. Rob was a star as a person as well as being a star as a musician of the highest calibre.
July 29, 2000
I was a big Climie Fisher fan back in the 80ies. I tried to get all their
records, and I was sad, when
their concerts in Germany were cancelled. I met Simon and Rob a few times when they were here for
promotional gigs. Some of the other fans I met then became good friends, and - although Climie Fisher
have left the center of our attention a long time ago - we still keep in touch. One of them called me just
before Christmas to tell me that Rob had passed away. We both felt deeply depressed - he was like a
friend to us although we didn't know him very well in person. He was a pleasant chap, inobstrusive and
fame never spoilt him. This "Climie Fisher time" was possibly the best time in my life. Thank you Simon,
Thank you Rob, wherever you are now. You are not forgotten. In your music you will live forever.
Heike Duerr, Germany
Hi,Could I request these two items be posted on the CF Guestbook. I am
from Northern Ireland.
Hopefully they will be of interest to fans. Both are 12" UK pressed vinyl singles ; They are ; 1. "It's Not
Supposed To Be That Way." Advance DJ Promo Copy.Unplayed.Backed with Megamix. Comes in
plain black slv,as is customary with Promos. £5.00 including postage to anywhere in the world.
2. "Love Changes Everything". Standard 12" in Picslv. Ex/Ex condition. £3.00. Also 3 U.K. 7" singles ,
"Rise To The Occassion" Picslv,EX/Mint £1.80, "Love Like A River" Picslv,EX/Mint £1.80and "This Is
Me",EM58,no picslv, £1.00 EX. Prices in U.K. £s but will accept equivelant in U.S. dollars/IMO's etc.
August 31, 1999
I was very upset to hear that Rob had passed away. He was a quiet,unassuming
man with a dry wit
and a close group of friends. We will miss him.
Alex - on behalf of all his friends in Richmond, Surrey
April 2, 2000 I was saddened to hear that Rob passed away so young.. he had a great talent that you could tell
from his days at school, blasting out the organ solo from various Deep Purple records in the main
assembly hall. I hadn't even realised that he had 'made it' until I bumped into Ray, his first band's bass
player in Sandwich (UK) who filled me in with hissuccess. A great talent lost. Dave Walsh
April 18, 2000 I was shocked and saddened to learn only today whilst surfing the net of Rob's death last year.
I was the singer in a band called Whitewing which we formed together at Bath University in 1975/76.
After university our paths only crossed a couple of times in the late 80's and early 90's, and I was of
course delighted with his successful musical ventures. I've still got some fairly crude tapes from those
days which I still listen to occasionally.
My condolences to Elaine, and everyone else who knew him.
Me and I will post
your Guest Book entry so fans can get in touch with each other to discuss
the band and trade records and cds.