Fish (singer)

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Fish performing at Rockefeller Music hall, Oslo in 2018
Fish performing at Rockefeller Music hall, Oslo in 2018
Background information
Birth nameDerek William Dick
Also known asFish
Born (1958-04-25) 25 April 1958 (age 64)
Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter, actor
Instrument(s)Vocals, percussion
Years active1981–present
LabelsChocolate Frog, EMI, Polydor, Roadrunner, Voiceprint, Dick Bros., Snapper, Lightyear

Derek William Dick (born 25 April 1958), better known by his stage name Fish, is a Scottish singer-songwriter and occasional actor.[3]

Fish became widely known as the lead singer and lyricist of the neo-progressive rock band Marillion from 1981 until 1988.[3] He released 11 UK Top 40 singles with the band, including the Top Ten singles "Kayleigh", "Lavender" and "Incommunicado", and five Top Ten albums, including a number-one with Misplaced Childhood.[4] In his solo career, Fish has explored contemporary pop and traditional folk,[2] and released a further five Top 40 singles and a Top 10 album.[5]

Fish's voice has been described as both "distinct" and a "conflation of Roger Daltrey and Peter Gabriel",[6][7] while his lyrics have been praised as "poetic prose".[6] In 2004, Classic Rock ranked Fish at number 49 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Frontmen", describing his "theatrical delivery" as "a major factor in Marillion's spectacular rise, and he masterminded some uniquely ornate lyrical concepts."[8] In 2009, Fish was voted at number 37 in a poll of the greatest voices in rock music by Planet Rock listeners.[1]

In 2020, Fish released his final studio album Weltschmerz (German for "world-weariness"), to positive reviews and commercial success.[9]

Early life[edit]

Derek William Dick was born on 25 April 1958 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and grew up in Dalkeith.[3] The son of Robert and Isabella, Fish was educated at King's Park primary school and then Dalkeith High School. He was inspired by the music of many of the rock artists of the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Genesis, Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues, the Kinks, T. Rex, David Bowie, Argent and the Alex Harvey Band (Fish would later pay tribute to these early influences on his covers album Songs from the Mirror). Fish has also cited Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell as "one of the biggest influences on me because of her approach to lyrics".[10] The first band he saw live was Yes at Usher Hall, Edinburgh, in 1974. As well as his love for music, he was also a voracious reader, and his literary inspirations included Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote, Robert Burns and Dylan Thomas (all of whom would later be depicted on the sleeve of Marillion's Clutching at Straws).

Fish worked as a petrol pump attendant, gardener, and from 1977 until 1980 worked in forestry at the Bowhill Estate in Selkirk.[11] While living in Fochabers, Moray[12] he adopted the nickname of Fish, which originated from a landlord who lamented the amount of time he spent in the bath.[3] Fish has been quoted: "With a real name of Derek William Dick, it became very necessary to find a nickname as quickly as possible."[13]

He first performed as a singer in 1980: "The very first gig I ever did as a singer was in Gala [Galashiels] in the Golden Lion pub."[14] He moved to Church Laneham, Notts in mid 1980 following a successful audition for the Stone Dome Band, and then to Aylesbury at the start of 1981 in the process of joining Marillion. [15]


Fish with Marillion (Mannheim, Germany, 1986)

Fish joined Marillion in 1981.[3] The band gained popularity over the next couple of years, leading to the release of their top-ten debut album Script for a Jester's Tear in 1983. They achieved further chart success in the UK, attaining top-ten hit singles in 1985 with "Kayleigh" and "Lavender", and again in 1987 with "Incommunicado". In 1988, due to the stress of touring and the detrimental effect it was having on his health, as well as having a falling out with bandmate Steve Rothery,[16] Fish left Marillion to pursue a solo career.[3] Lyrics from the song "Kayleigh" were etched into paving stones in Market Square in Galashiels in 2012. The lines "stilettoes in the snow", and "moon-washed college halls" were inspired by Fish's girlfriend of the time, who was at the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels in the 1980s.

Solo career[edit]

Fish’s debut solo album Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors was released in January 1990. Several well known musicians contributed to the album, including former Dire Straits guitarist Hal Lindes, who played guitar on most tracks and also contributed to the writing of three of the album’s songs. Frank Usher, a Fish companion from pre-Marillion times, also contributed. Drums were played by Mark Brzezicki (Big Country) and John Keeble (Spandau Ballet), John Giblin contributed bass and Luís Jardim contributed additional percussion. Backing vocals came from Tessa Niles, who had appeared on Clutching at Straws.[17][18] Fish also composed the theme music for the 1990s BBC TV series Between the Lines.[19]

Fish during a concert in Poland, 2007

Many of Fish's later works contain lengthy spoken-word lyrics, shorter examples of which can be heard on earlier Marillion albums. Fish has collaborated with Genesis founder Tony Banks on his Still and Soundtracks albums, singing on the tracks "Shortcut to Somewhere", "Angel Face" and "Another Murder of a Day", co-writing the latter.

Fish appeared at World Bowl XI, 14 June 2003, Hampden Park, Glasgow. His performance included a rousing rendition of "Caledonia" before kick-off.

On 26 August 2007, Fish performed at the 'Hobble on The Cobbles' show at the Market Square in Aylesbury. He was accompanied on stage by his four former Marillion bandmates from the classic line-up (Mark Kelly, Steve Rothery, Ian Mosley and Pete Trewavas) for one song: 'Market Square Heroes'. This was the first time they had performed together in nearly two decades. In a press interview following the event, Fish denied this would lead to a full reunion, claiming that "Hogarth does a great job with the band ... We forged different paths over the 19 years."[20]

His album 13th Star was released on 12 September 2007 as a specially packaged pre-release version available to order from his website. A UK tour for this album commenced in March 2008, supported by Glyder. In February 2008, Fish was confirmed to be the Friday-night headline act at NEARFest X. He also appeared with BBC Radio 2's Bob Harris on GMTV to promote Childline Rocks, a charity concert.

In 2008, Fish presented a Friday evening radio show, Fish on Friday, for digital radio station Planet Rock. When the station was faced with closure, Malcolm Bluemel (with the help of Fish, Tony Iommi, Ian Anderson and Gary Moore) helped save Planet Rock by buying the station.[21]

On 9 June 2008, Fish embarked on his first full North American tour in eleven years. At each stop, he hosted a pre-show meet-and-greet with his fans. Two days prior, he was interviewed by Vince Font of the progressive rock podcast Prog'opolis, which was aired a week later on The Dividing Line Broadcast Network (DLBN) as "My Lunch With Fish".[22]

In 2005, Fish won a Celebrity Music edition of The Weakest Link, beating Eggsy of Goldie Lookin Chain in the final round, sharing £18,750 with Eggsy's charity and his own.

On 20 and 21 October 2012, Fish hosted Fish Convention 2012 in Leamington Spa. He performed two acoustic sets and two electric sets, including material from his upcoming release, Feast of Consequences. He also performed "Grendel", a fan-favourite Marillion B-side, twice.

In September 2020, Fish released Weltschmerz, his final studio album. The album was supported by the singles 'Weltschmerz', 'Garden of Remembrance' and 'This Party's Over'. The album received positive reviews[23] and was very commercially successful, having sold over 60,000 copies to date.[9]

Musical style[edit]

Fish has sometimes been compared to Peter Gabriel, original lead singer of Genesis in the early 1970s, and his voice has even been described as "uncannily close".[24] Music journalist David Hepworth described his voice as a "conflation of Roger Daltrey and Peter Gabriel".[7] Fish has acknowledged Gabriel's influence on him and some vocal similarities, but has rejected accusations from some critics during his career that he does not have a unique voice of his own.[2] Peter Hammill of Van der Graaf Generator was also a major influence on his songwriting and vocal delivery, which is especially notable on the first two Marillion albums.[3]

Record labels[edit]

Following a legal dispute with EMI Records and an unsuccessful contract with Polydor, Fish established the Dick Bros Record Company in Haddington in 1993. The studio recorded In Amber by Dream Disciples (1994) and Man Dancin by Tam White in (1996). He released a number of "official bootleg" albums to finance the company before selling it to Roadrunner Records. Another financially unsuccessful period followed before he re-established his own Chocolate Frog Records label in 2001. He signed with Snapper Music in 2005, but later returned to Chocolate Frog Records.

After having his own independent record company in the 1990s which charted a number of releases in the chart, Fish decided not to sign up to the Official Chart Company when he released Weltschmerz, an album self-funded, marketed and distributed from his home in Scotland. As Fish did not partner with a record label as per chart rules and regulations, he missed out on a Top Ten chart placing when early sales revealed that he would have been number 2 on the UK midweek charts behind that week's chart topper, the independent band IDLES.[25][26][27][28]


In May 2008, Fish's Planet Rock show Fish on Friday won the Silver award in the Music Broadcaster of the Year category at the UK Sony Radio Academy Awards 2008.[29] In June 2008, at the New York Festivals Radio Broadcasting Awards, he and Gary Moore jointly received the Gold World Medal in the Regularly Scheduled Music Programme category for their respective shows on Planet Rock.[30]


Fish was offered and accepted a part in the 1986 film Highlander (for which Marillion were also offered the soundtrack) but he eventually had to turn it down, owing to his tour commitments with the band.[31] Fish first appeared on terrestrial television as himself in the "More Bad News" episode of the series The Comic Strip Presents... in 1988.

His first acting role was as a guest star in an episode of Zorro called "The Newcomers" (aired 10 February 1991) but a more prominent role was as the thug Ferguson alongside John Sessions in Jute City, a four-part 1991 BBC drama based on a group of Masonic ruffians.

In 1994, he appeared in Chasing the Deer, a film set during the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, as Angus Cameron. He also missed out on a role in Braveheart. He spent two days with Mel Gibson in London who kept asking him to be involved but he was committed to touring his Suits album instead.[32]

In 1998, he appeared as David Lawson in series 14, episode 44 of the ITV series The Bill, titled "Manhunt" and was aired on 16 April.

He played Derek Trout, a record producer in the 1998 series, The Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Rock Star.

He appeared as Barry Judd in a 2000 episode of the TV detective series Rebus alongside John Hannah.

Later in 2000, Fish would go on to act this time in the popular Scottish detective television programme Taggart episode number 48, "Skin Deep".

In 2001, he auditioned (unsuccessfully) for the James Bond film Die Another Day. He then went on to appear in two episodes of Snoddy, a short-lived Scottish television sitcom.

In 2004, Fish played Finlay Price in the TV movie Quite Ugly One Morning alongside James Nesbitt, Eddie Marsan and Annette Crosbie.

Fish appeared as Old Nick, a camp homosexual in the 2002 crime comedy film 9 Dead Gay Guys.

In the 2005 film, The Jacket, Fish appeared alongside Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley as a patient in a mental institution, Jimmy Fleischer, and he played Uncle Jimmy in the 2012 comedy drama Electric Man.

Personal life[edit]

On 25 July 1987, Fish married his first wife, Tamara Nowy, a German model who appeared in the music videos for "Kayleigh", "Lady Nina", and "A Gentleman's Excuse Me". They divorced in 2003. The marriage produced one daughter, Tara Rowena (Taz), who was born on 1 January 1991. In 2012, she was nominated for Scottish Model of the Year, but she lost to Annie Lennox's daughter.

Following the divorce, Fish entered into a relationship with Mostly Autumn singer Heather Findlay.[33] In April 2009, he married his second wife, Katie Webb. The couple divorced after less than a year.[34] On 14 October 2017, he married his third wife, Simone Rosler, at Aberlady Church, East Lothian, Scotland.[35]

In 2008, Fish stated that he would be taking at least six months off from singing due to an "irregular cell growth" in his throat.[36] It was later determined not to be cancerous.[37]

Fish is a lifelong fan of Edinburgh football club Hibernian.[38] He also has a keen interest in marine science.[39]


On politics, Fish said in 1993, "I've got a lot of socialist trends, but I work in a capitalist industry. Getting involved in politics can be very dangerous. There are a lot of doors that can shut when you get involved in politics."[2] He is a supporter of Scottish independence because he is "dismayed" by the UK's anti-European stance and does not believe a "London-based government" is "beneficial to the UK as a whole". Fish argued that independence could "shake up British politics" to ensure a more "fair distribution of wealth" throughout the UK. However, he declined to actively campaign in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum because he believed it would be "hypocritical" as he was planning to leave Scotland for Germany to live with his partner and her young son.[40]

Current live band[edit]

  • Fish – Lead vocals
  • John Mitchell – Electric & acoustic guitars
  • Steve Vantsis – Bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Spencer Cozens – Keyboards, backing vocals
  • Gavin Griffiths – Drums, percussion
  • Doris Brendel – backing vocals and whistles

Discography with Marillion[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Video albums[edit]

  • 1983: Recital of the Script (Reissued on DVD in 2003 includes Grendel / The Web EP)
  • 1984: Grendel / The Web EP
  • 1986: The Videos 1982–1986
  • 1987: Incommunicado / Sugar Mice
  • 1987: Live from Loreley (Reissued on VHS / CD package in 1995 and on DVD in 2004).


Solo discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Robert Plant voted rock's greatest voice". MusicRadar. 4 January 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Prasad, Anil. "Fish: Mirroring influences". Innerviews. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 464/5. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  4. ^ David Roberts, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles and Albums. Guinness World Records Limited. p. 349. ISBN 978-1904994107.
  5. ^ David Roberts, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles and Albums. Guinness World Records Limited. p. 201. ISBN 978-1904994107.
  6. ^ a b Montesano, Jeri. "Seasons End". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  7. ^ a b David Hepworth's review of Clutching at Straws. Q magazine. July 1987.
  8. ^ Classic Rock UK issue #68/2004
  9. ^ a b "The retiring Scots rock star who has claimed a 'phantom' number two best selling LP of the week, ahead of Prince". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  10. ^ "This Must Be The Plaice: Fish's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Official Fish site: Biographies – Fish". Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  12. ^ Beech, Mark (2009). The Dictionary of Rock & Pop Names. Pen and Sword. p. 181. ISBN 978-1844689095.
  13. ^ "Fish – December 1999 Interview". Retrieved 6 June 2008.
  14. ^ "Rock star Fish 'humbled' by lyrics carved into new Gala stonework". Archived from the original on 13 July 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  15. ^ "A trip down memory lane «". 26 February 2013. Archived from the original on 18 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Clutching at Straws sleeve notes". Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  17. ^ "Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors - Fish | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors - Fish | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  19. ^ "Between the Lines Theme - Hal Lindes | Song Info | AllMusic". Retrieved 21 April 2021. Composed by Hal Lindes
  20. ^ "Singer Fish and Marillion Reunite". BBC News. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2008.
  21. ^ "Fish – Planet Rock radio station saved". Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2008.
  22. ^ "Podcast interview "My Lunch With Fish" June 7, 2008". Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  23. ^ "Fish - Weltschmerz". Album of The Year. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  24. ^ Borthwick, Stuart (2004). Popular Music Genres: An Introduction. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-1745-6. "Their vocalist Fish (Derek Dick) had a voice uncannily close to Peter Gabriel's"
  25. ^ "FISH – WELTSCHMERZ Album Review". 21 September 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  26. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50 | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  27. ^ "ALBUM REVIEW: Weltschmerz - Fish". 24 September 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  28. ^ Jerry Ewing (29 September 2020). "Fish denied No 2 chart placing for Weltschmerz". Prog Magazine. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  29. ^ "Fish wins Silver in 2008 Sony Radio Academy Awards". Archived from the original on 14 April 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2008.
  30. ^ "" (PDF). Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  31. ^ Wall, Mick (2010). Appetite for Destruction: Legendary Encounters with Mick Wall. Orion. ISBN 978-1-4091-2169-5.
  32. ^ Ritchie, Jason. "Interview: FISH". Get Ready to Rock!. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  33. ^ "Heather a good catch for fish . ". Edinburgh Evening News. 1 August 2006. Archived from the original on 22 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  34. ^ "Years of immense personal and professional difficulty for the singer and musician, Fish". Penny Black Music. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  35. ^ "Mr and Mrs Dick - "Just Married"". FISH. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  36. ^ "EX MARILLION SINGER FISH QUITS MUSIC AFTER CANCER SCARE". Gigwise. 22 December 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  37. ^ "Marillion's Fish feared he would lose voice". Wales Online. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  38. ^ "Hearts Administration: Hibby Fish in benefit gig". Edinburgh Evening News. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  39. ^ "Brighton university scientists to showcase marine research at Sea Life Centre". Brighton and Hove News. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  40. ^ "Fish turns down Yes role over Germany move". Edinburgh Evening News. 17 July 2014. Archived from the original on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.

External links[edit]

  • Official website (as of 2017) –
  • Fish at IMDb provides information on Fish and his acting career.