Hallo Mark and Rich. First of all, a big thanks to you for being available for an interview at such a short notice. Unfortunately, this time the reason for it is not a new release but Neilís retirement. For me, it came all of a sudden. Did you feel the same? Or was there already a small process happening in the background?

Rich: Yes it did come all of a sudden. What people donít realize is this is a very stressful business at this level and we have spent years working really hard behind the scenes. This does put a lot of pressure on your social life and life in general. From what I know Neil said he felt burnt out and needed to stop. I felt disappointed in his decision as we had planned to tour again at the end of the year to finish the promotion of "We Collide" but I also respect his decision if he canít handle it anymore.

Mark: Iím surprised he felt the need to leave. There were other options Ė weíre his friends and we would have done anything for him to make life easier, as would the people we work with. He decided to draw a line of no return under everything and in many ways I respect his decision. This isnít an easy occupation Ė it eats away at you Ė you have to really want it to continue to subject yourself to the constant highs and lows. You have to love the music above almost everything. Iíll miss him being involved.

Does Neilís retirement have any effects on the band? Do both of you carry on and work on a new album as planned?

Rich: Yes and No, obviously there are things that Neil used to take care of that has to be done by Mark and I now. He was responsible for the majority of business related jobs, and the spokes person for the band. Creatively he used to do the artwork for CDís and the visuals for the live shows.
The writing side of things was/is pretty much Mark and I. So nothing should change from a musical point of view.
At the moment we have a few tracks in demo form for a new album but we are still concentrating on the promotion of the current album.

Mark: Weíll carry on writing Ė no question. Rich and I have a special writing relationship that hasnít changed.

So far when buying one of your CDs, fans could be sure that it was 100% MESH. Up to now, Neil has been responsible for the artwork and live-projections amongst others. Will you take on his tasks in the future?

Rich: I think we will always have some kind of involvement in the way we present the artwork and visuals but maybe we will get some outside help. I donít think either of us have the aptitude or the skills to take these on as well as all the other things that need doing.

Mark: Iíd tend to agree with Rich on this, but we are not completely without talent in this area. Itís early days yet Ė Iím hoping weíll have a significant input into this part of our work.

Does Neilís retirement have any impacts on the live-performance? When you are on tour this December, will it be as a duo with a guest drummer?

Rich: At the moment we are thinking about the best way to resolve this problem. With the last tour we work hard at getting a live feel to the shows which meant playing a lot more. The fact that Neil isnít going to be around leaves us with the problem of either programming his performance or finding someone and teaching him the songs and the part he has to play. Quite a task.
Gary our drummer will still be with us on the tour. We felt he brought a new edge to the songs and fitted in really well, he is a great musician and friend.

Mark: Itís not going to be easy finding someone with glasses and a large collection of Elvis shirts to replace him, especially in Bristol. In Memphis maybe...

Will there be any changes in the set list for the December-tour? Maybe fans can hope for a ballad?

Rich: Iím sure there will be some changes, we canít do the same set again. Hmm... Ballads, weíll see.

What are your plans for the future? What is the next thing fans could expect from you?

Rich: To be completely honest we donít know just yet. The forthcoming tour is our concern at the moment and then when we have finished that we can start thinking of the next album.
Also we have been doing a few remixes for people so we will let you know when they are being released.
Iíd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for there support and reassure them that this maybe a new era in the life of Mesh but we know that we have plenty more to give.

Mark: The next album is going to be great Ė I can already feel it all coming together. The songs we have done already are very cool, even in demo form. Iíve got a good feeling about the future of Mesh...

Many thanks for this interview and good luck for your future!

Mark & Rich: Thank you very much.

Claus Wöhrle, mesh Fanclub