Camel Hero ~ Mickey Simmonds

Picture adapted from the Dust and Dreams, 20th Anniversary tour programme
sent in by Shane "Camel" Carlson
edited by Rajaz

Mickey Simmonds ~ Camel Reflections

So, my Camel memoirs.

So many stories . . . . . . . . .

Try this one.

To put the Dust & Dreams set together involved weeks of programming. (Originally Andy planned to take out 6 or 8 musicians until I introduced him to my mate MIDI) So I was staying with Andy & Hoov in Mountain View, & one evening were all sat watching the telly, desperately trying to find something remotely English, & ended up watching an interview with an old English actor who used to be in hundreds of black & white films. Someone like Sir John Mills, it could have been him, I don't remember.
He told the story of a film he was in, which was about a Japanese PoW camp. You know the sort of film, "Bridge across The River Kwai" or something along those lines. Anyway. It was shot in USA at a time when the Japanese population of America was severely depleted as so many had returned to Japan due to the hostilities of WW2.
Apparently the director of the film asked the "Japanese officer" to bark out some orders in Japanese to his underling, who in turn was asked to bark back some reply. The "officer" humbly apologised, but having been raised in America knew no Japanese. The "underling" returned the same reply. Indeed the dozen or so Japanese actors that were hired were all born & bred US citizens with no savvy of the Japanese lingo. Dilemma for the director, as he quickly needs some script. The director wanders off smoking his pipe in contemplation, returns to the fold with the solution. To the officer & underling; "Could you try using these phrases, "I tie your shoe" or "you tie my shoe", & bark them with a bit of an accent?" At this point they rolled the clip from the film, & there it was. Shouted with beautiful Japanese accents "I tie your shoe" & the reply " Ahh, you tie my shoe". Wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

That was programming time.

Then came rehearsing time.

Then came warm-up shows time.

Then we set off for the first dates of the Dust & Dreams World Tour, guess where? Yup, Japan. We arrive in Tokyo at the hotel, grubby, sweaty, smelly, but it was all we could afford. No, seriously, the hotel was beautiful, we stank, so headed straight for the shower. Andy & I were sharing a room (calm down, separate beds). I showered, Andy preferred to bathe. Bathing took a while, so I headed for the bar. (I am a musician). As I left the room Andy prepared for his bath. I got to the lift, but realised I had forgotten my room card, needed for bunging booze on the bill. So I returned to the room. As I put my key in the door I hear a shy English voice "No sorry, can you come back later, I'm having a bath". Andy thinks I'm the maid come to clean the room!

Brilliant! Time for a wind-up!

So with my best Japanese accent, & highest feasible voice I raise the question
"I tie your shoe?" Back comes a hurried reply
"No, sorry, don't come in, I'm having a bath".
"Ah, you tie my shoe?" slowly entering the room,
"No, no, please, don't come in the bathroom, I'm naked!"
"Ah, I tie your shoe?" opening the bathroom door,
"NO! NO! I'm in the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . you bastard Mickey!"


Additional information


Mickey's Solo Work
Available from

'The Shape of Rain' is the first solo album from Mickey Simmonds, originally released in 1996 on Cymbeline and reissued on the Resurgence label in 1998, latest release date June 2001.

It is not a collection of solos to show off Mickey's keyboard prowess, it is an articulate musical journey, the vehicle being his skill as a composer. The music is free of format; you will not find verses, choruses or middle eights on this album. What you will find is fluid composition, the form of which is dictated by the progression of the music itself. Each mood and atmosphere is a carefully crafted extension of it's predecessor, creating a seamless flow of movements from the delicate, yet intricate opening, through to the powerful emotive climax. Note that although there are 10 tracks listed, the album has no stops from beginning to end. The storyline is provided by a mysterious character called "The Prophet", and is beautifully sung by Martin Sunley. All the instruments are played by Mickey himself.

Although this is Mickey's first album, it is not his first venture into writing. Many people will know of his work with Fish. Mickey co-wrote "Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors", the first solo album fish recorded after leaving Marillion. Mickey started his career as a composer for dance and theatre companies and has also written for films and TV. As a seasoned session musician, Mickey has worked with a long impressive list of artists. The Shape of Rain was written out of a desire to produce a work that was not dictated by trend or commerciality. It is an attempt to fill the chasm created by the distinct lack of true albums, as opposed to collections of unrelated songs.

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