Marillion’s Steve Rothery reflects on “difficult” Clutching At Straws sessions

Marillion in 1987
Marillion in 1987: Fish, Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly, Ian Mosley and Pete Trewavas (Image credit: Frans Schellekens/Redfern - Getty)

Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has reflected on the band’s 1987 album Clutching At Straws and recalls the difficulty in making the record.

It was the band’s last with frontman Fish and Rothery was speaking about the tensions in the group at the time with eonMusic after Clutching At Straws scooped the Reissue Of The Year accolade at last month’s Progressive Music Awards

Rothery says: "I think it’s probably my favourite album from the Fish years. I think we’ve created a great version of it, and the way the Ultimate Version turned out, all the hard work, and Avril Mackintosh’s remixes, I think are outstanding.

“You try and make it as good as you can make it really, because this will be how the album is remembered for a long time.”

As for the recording process, Rothery recalls: “It was a very difficult album. I left the band for 24 hours during the recording of it. There was a big argument between Fish and myself. I was out of the band as far as I was concerned. 

“It kind of blew over, but it was a difficult album. It’s ancient history, but it was difference of opinion fuelled by maybe too much partying.”

The second single from the album Sugar Mice remains a much-loved track from the band’s Fish era – and Rothery says criticism of his playing spurred him on to record the song's searing guitar solo.

He explains: “Well, that was actually part of the argument! As I say it’s ancient history, but I didn’t like the engineer that producer Chris Kimsey had chosen to work with for the second stage of the album, and I sort of said as much. 

“Then he criticised my guitar playing on the record and then I went out and played the Sugar Mice solo.”

Marillion have just released their new studio album With Friends From The Orchestra which sees them team up once again with string quartet In Praise Of Folly, who have previously toured with the group.

Marillion will head out on the road with them once again in November, while a deluxe edition of their 1995 album Afraid Of Sunlight will also be released on November 1 on 4CD/Blu-ray and as a 5LP box set.

Marillion:  Clutching At Staws Deluxe Edition

Marillion:  Clutching At Staws Deluxe Edition
Marillion's much loved fourth studio album has been updated for this deluxe package. The five-disc collection features remixes, live cuts, demos and promotional videos.

Marillion: Afraid Of Sunlight Deluxe Edition

Marillion: Afraid Of Sunlight Deluxe Edition
Marillion's 1995 album Afraid Of Sunlight will be reissued on 4CD/Blu-ray and as a 5LP box set in November and will include remixes, demos, live tracks and a documentary.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.