Welcome to the This is the Sea Page. This Page contains interviews with band members, and a round-up of various Vinyl/CD pressings, tapes, memorabilia and also other pieces relating to the This is the Sea album.
This is the Sea was released in the UK and Europe on September 16th 1985 to critical acclaim. The iconic album artwork photos were taken by Lynn Goldsmith.
This album was a slow burner but sold well and made its way into many a twenty-something's record collection.
Thank you to Mike Scott, Anto Thistlethwaite, Steve Wickham, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Sharon Shannon, David Lappin, Jack Vervoort, Dag Reinert Johansen, Andy Pritchatt, Harry Schets, Allan Smith, Flattop, Javi Morant, Stephen Charlton, Seán Miller, Linda Ten Hove and Ferry for contributing items to this web page.
* If you happen to have a piece of 'This is the Sea' memorabilia that is not included here, please send a photo on and it shall be added. *
The newest and best Facebook group The Waterboys & Mick Puck was created by two genuine lifelong admirers of the band.
This group was created for YOU the fan as a place of friendships where your opinion and input are greatly valued.
You will find all the latest news, photos, videos, memorabilia, Exclusive Group Competitions and much more besides. The page is already laden with previously unseen treasures that will not be found anywhere else online, with much more to come.
So why not join us and be a part of something truly special? All Aboard! The Waterboys & Mick Puck - Facebook Group - Click Here!
Mike writes: "Patreon is a way for us to share with fans the music that might not make it onto the records: jams, demos, strange songs, experiments. We also have a lot of great live recordings that have never been made public. We'll be posting these too. I also have ideas for video content and other stuff. It's gonna be a lot of fun."
An ever-growing hoard of unreleased gems, stories and great chat await within! To join please
Click Here - The Waterboys - Patreon Page
This extensive Page is split into several sections for quick and easy access.
**Click on the heading title below to go to that section** .....
A brief overview on the album's creation.
Interview with Anto Thistlethwaite - Coming Soon!
An interview with Steve Wickham.
A personal retrospective by Liam Ó'Maonlaí.
Here you will find acetates, test pressings, promo LP's, worldwide releases and related vinyl.
Worldwide releases, promos and related releases.
A varied selection of worldwide releases, promos and test pressings.
A varied selection of worldwide releases, test pressings and promos.
A selection of rare acetates, rare pressings and promos.
A selection of worldwide releases and promos.
Various releases of the This Is The Sea film starring Samantha Morten, the late Richard Harris and Gabriel Byrne which features a soundtrack with several songs by Mike & The Waterboys..
Most of the songs for This is the Sea were written by Mike towards the end of 1984 with the exception of three songs. The first of these, Trumpets, received its live debut at the Escape Club in Brighton on April 10th 1984 while Old England was first performed in Goldsmith College in London on October 29th 1984. Lastly, the title track This is the Sea was given its first public airing on the US/Canadian Tour at Worcester Centrum in Massachusetts on December 2nd 1984. The main recording sessions for the album took place at Park Gates Studio in Hastings throughout the spring and early summer of 1985 with other sessions taking place at Karl's home studio, Livingston Studios in London, Amazon in Liverpool and at a number of other studios.
The finished album, containing nine songs, was released on September 16th 1985 nationwide.
Mike writes: 'The songs were written, as far as I can remember, in these periods:'
Thank you Mike.
The Black Book contents page listing the song titles Mike wrote for the This is The Sea recording sessions.
Thank you Mike.
An Exclusive interview with Anto on the making of the This is the Sea album and stories from the resulting tour will be coming soon...So, watch this space!
A rare photo (taken by Anto) of Karl, Steve and Mike together somewhere on the road in 1985.
Thank you Anto.
It is always great to have a chat with Steve whenever I am fortunate enough to meet up with him. This time the subject of our conversation is the This is the Sea album and tour.
J: So Steve, how did you get involved in the recording of the album?
Steve: 'I played violin on Sinead O'Connor's first demo which she made for Ensign Records. The demos were recorded by Karl Wallinger at his home studio in London. Mike heard the demo either at Karl's or the Ensign office and liked the violin playing. I was still playing with In Tua Nua at the time. So I flew over to London. Then I went to Mike's flat in Ladbroke Grove and he played me some of the early mixes as he cooked us up some tomato soup. I remember being really impressed with Old England.'
J: Sinead guested with the band in the Town & Club in London in October 1985, which I believe was her first time appearing on stage in the UK. How did that come about?
Steve: 'Sinead and I are longtime pals. Sinead sang on the first In Tua Nua demos which we made in Eamonn Andrew's studios in 1982/3 and in fact she wrote a song for us called Take My Hand, which was our first or second single for Island records. Back then, Sinead lived close by me in Rathmines and her best friend was my flatmate. And as I said, she had signed to Ensign Records which was the recording home of The Waterboys in 1985. I think Mike had a lot of respect for Sinead's work and they had already met in London.'
J: Going back to 1985, did you go to the Park Gates Studio in Hastings for the recording?
Steve: 'I'm not sure where the studio was for the session, it might have been a place called RG Jones?'
J: Were the band at the studio too?
Steve: 'Nope the band weren't there. It was just me and Mike. My fiddle was an overdub, the final touch to the song 'The Pan Within'.'
J: Oh I didn't know that... You recorded a live video version of The Whole of the Moon, was that soon afterwards?
Steve: 'I think so, it was later that summer. The director was Meiert Avis, who'd also made In Tua Nua's first video the previous year. I went into a studio to record a fiddle line addition to The Whole of the Moon, That way I would have a genuine part to play on the video.'
J: You played a lot of songs from the This is the Sea album on the autumn 1985 UK tour including a lot of the earlier songs from the first two Waterboys records, and also a pile of Bob Dylan songs plus a few Stones and Van covers, which I'm sure you knew from your busking days. Was there much rehearsal beforehand or did you 'wing' it to a certain extent and just go for it?
Steve: 'There were an intense few days rehearsal in John Henry's rehearsal studios in North London. I was struck by how professional it was, everybody on time and ready to go, up a notch from my previous rehearsal experiences. There was a great crew.'
J: And of course you had met all of the band members by then?
Steve: 'Yes. They were all great musicians and all round nice blokes. Karl is a really funny guy and we hit it off, we shared a love of Flann O'Brien. Karl is a natural surrealist. Anto and I started a lifelong friendship, we both played mandolin and shared a similar history having busked in the same street in Paris a few years earlier, even though we had never met in France. Roddy the trumpeter is a great musician and also a very funny man too. By the time we made it to the first gig after the rehearsals we were all buddies.'
J: You played your first gig with the band on October 2nd in Nottingham Rock City. Do you remember that show?
Steve: 'Well yes as a matter of fact I do. The Waterboys were an exciting band to join. The sound we made was Big. Along with Mike's various guitars and great voice, Roddy Lorimer and Anto had a section going and I added to that. Karl's keyboards were expansive then add to that the driving Chris Whitten on Drums and also a New York punk rocker bassman Marco Sinn, we really powered along. The bouncers at Rock city at the time were all burly and scary looking (friendly) bikers and there was a real crush up front of the stage. I remember hoping that it wouldn't get out of control. It didn't and the first night was a great one.
J: By the time the UK tour finished the album sales were looking good and it was very well received by critics and fans alike. The buzz must have been incredible?
Steve: 'You know strangely that didn't effect me much. The buzz was already there for me playing in a rock band with a great singer and great songs. I remember Mike was dealing with the manager and the record company who were asking/demanding that he and us go back to the UK (we were on tour in the US at the time) to appear on Top Of The Pops where the single had charted. Of course it was a buzz that there were lots of people coming to the shows and it seemed natural to me that it would be successful as the music we were making was great.'
J: Within a fortnight of the UK tour finishing you then did an extensive US tour with a gig up in Toronto too. Did the tour take you to new cities and places?
Steve: 'It's a long time ago James! (laughs) I was holding on as tight as I could to the magic carpet of my dreams as we zipped around the States. I'd been to the states a few years earlier on holidays, mostly on the east coast. This was different, I had a great reason to be there. I wasn't a tourist.'
J: Is there any memorable gig on that tour that comes to mind?
Steve: 'We had an amazing show in Berkeley, California [November 11th 1985], we were all in the zone, the audience and the band. Mike departed from the script and went into a freeform stream of consciousness, changing lines of lyrics and the band went with him, nobody dropped the ball and we went all the way to the highest high, at least that's how I recall it.'
J: Wow! That sounds like a very special show indeed. And I'd say you have fond memories off stage too?
Steve: 'Well Karl and myself were roomies for some of the tour and I remember one night in a motel, the pair of us waking up to the the sound of high pitched scratching. And when I turned on the light the bedside table was crawling with cockroaches. Karl had the right idea and went out to sleep on the tour bus. I don't know how I managed to get to sleep.'
'In San Diego a few of us slipped over the border into Mexico for an adventure on the day off. I remember drinking in a cantina in Tijuana and the Mexican telly station was playing a video by the Mama's Boys. Some mariachi musicians came in and played too. Anto and I had a bottle of Tequila with the worm bobbing about at the bottom. We also had a gig in LA where it was rumoured that Bob Dylan was due to show up. He never came.'
J: Speaking of Bob, I saw you on stage with him in front of about 50,000 at Slane Castle in 1984. But in 1986 you did a stadium tour with Simple Minds in front of 50 or 60,000 at every show. What did you make of the huge stadium crowds?
Steve: 'Were the Simple Minds crowds that big? It's mostly about the music James. How many people see the show is a kind of Guinness Book of Records thing. Among us, Ralph holds that one for his participation in the London Olympics opening ceremony... 900 million viewers!'
J: Yeah I think so... I saw you in Croke Park in June '86 and it was jammed!
So finally Steve, let's fast forward to today, the crowd goes absolutely mental when you play The Whole of the Moon at any show... It must be a real blast for you and the band on stage to feel that energy and reaction?
Steve: 'Yes of course!... These days I like the way it sometimes morphs into a Sly and the Family Stone groove. Funky Aongus Ralston on bass! Mike sometimes sings 'Everyday People' on the outro.'
J: Indeed... It is always a joy to hear it live. Well thank you Steve for the great chat and for sharing your memories on what can only be described as a truly fantastic album.
Steve: 'Cheers James... See you down the road someplace.'
A 12 x 12-inch display flat and a set of window decal stickers for promotion in record shops.
'It was 1986.... I was 21 years old. I was in a band and had found a voice and a road in music. I was in love. I was also feeling disappointment in the business. I was feeling it deeply but music was moving through me and was brewing up what would be my life. We were about to tour Ireland for the first time. We were to open for John Martyn.
Robbie, who was driving the van, put a tape in the player as we set out for Cork. The opening sequence of Don't Bang The Drum is like the heralding of a prophecy. Roddy Lorimer plays trumpet over a musical movement that evokes something akin to a heavenly flamenco. This has Duende!
The following collection of songs touched me so deeply. It spoke for me to me. The lyrics and the pure glass-like quality of the vocal were that of a poet with the anger and energy of my time. My generation. An evolution from the earth shaking power of punk rock ten years earlier.
There is a saying in Irish 'Ní neart go cuir le chéile' which translates into the power of collaboration. Working together. There are three people on the cover of this album. Mike Scott, Anthony Thistlethwaite and Karl Wallinger. Three powerful energies in the creating of a world of sound and soul. That is what makes a band. That is what makes 'This Is The Sea.' When one person channels something it is beautiful. When a group of people channel something it is beyond words and beyond beautiful.
This Is The Sea moves me still today. The enormity of the sound. The darkness that defines a blinding light. The playfulness and simplicity. The power of the saxophone as a counterpoint to the passionate vocal. This record shook me to the core. It showed me love. It blew my mind.'
Thank you Liam.
An extremely rare four-track acetate containing different versions of Don't Bang the Drum, The Whole Of the moon, The Pan within and This is the Sea (slow) than the official releases. This is the only known pressing to have survived.
A very scarce BBC Transcription disc from the Glastonbury Festival 1986 featuring one hour of the legendary performance by the band on the Pyramid stage. A reliable source (and ex BBC employee) says only twenty four of these vinyls were originally pressed for broadcast on BBC stations overseas, then the vinyls were either returned to BBC HQ or destroyed afterwards. The number of these special pressings that still survive today is not known.
Melody Maker magazine covers from October 5th 1985 and June 21st 1986 with interviews and extensive content within. Both photos taken by Tom Sheehan.
A stellar album review from 1985.
The extensive lyrics Mike wrote for This is The Sea from his Black Book collection of songs.
Thank you Mike.
A USA Test Pressing of This is the Sea with cover note.
A scarce UK Advance Listening album with the 'The Stars Are Alive' clearly visible in photo inset. Thank you Harry.
A first press Japanese vinyl of This Is The Sea with Lyric sheet and OBI strip.
A white label promotional Japanese vinyl of This Is The Sea with Promo Tag, OBI strip, gatefold Lyric Sheet and two page Press Release.
A promo gold-stamped Direct Metal Master (DMM) album with band bio and promo photo included. (Cover: see photo inset).
Original New Zealand pressing of This is the Sea with distinctive labels.
This Is The Sea got a belated release in Brazil in 1987.
A pair of Tour Laminates from 1985 and 1986.
An original and rare poster for The Waterboys in The Poly, Leicester - 11th October 1985.
Thank you Andy.
A 1985 concert ticket stubb from Toronto and a selection of original vintage badges.
A scarce double vinyl 'Greece Only'release of the 'Secret Life' album in a gatefold sleeve. This album contains a number of different versions of a few songs songs from the 'This is the Sea' album on side one and two.
Thank you Allan.
Only 2000 copies of this triple vinyl album were pressed worldwide. The content is culled from four 1986 shows, (Dublin, Glastonbury, Glasgow Barrowland and the PinkPop Festival in the Netherlands).
The vinyl contains an extra song, a superb outing of Medicine Jack which is not on the double CD. This album is now long deleted and it commands a decent price whenever it appears for sale but it is a good purchase, especially if you desire having that extra track.
Thank you David.
Full Page (A3-size) press promotion in the New Musical Express (NME) and the Melody Maker music magazines. Both magazine adverts are dated 21st September 1985.
A very scarce first press CD of This Is The Sea with lyric sheet and elusive OBI strip intact.
A reissue celebrating 25 years of Chrysalis records. The CD came housed in a blue case with a small cover photo.
This fantastic double disc was released in 2004 and it contains a full disc of extra songs and early versions. It is an absolutely essential album for any Waterboys fan to have.
Japanese release of the 2-CD remaster in 2004.
This is a Taiwan import CD of the double album for the domestic and Chinese market.
A promo CD of the first disc of the 2004 remaster.
A promo CD of the bonus disc of the 2004 remaster.
This gem of an album was released in 1994 and it contains outtakes, demos, radio sessions and some b-sides from the 1981-1985 period, including several early versions of songs from the 'Sea' recording sessions. It is an essential album for any Waterboys fan to have.
This double live disc, culled from four 1986 shows, (Dublin, Glastonbury, Glasgow Barrowland and the PinkPop Festival in the Netherlands), and it was released in 1998. It contains a good cross-section of the many different setlists of the day. An absolutely essential purchase.
This 2-track CD featuring Sharon Shannon with Mike, Anto and Steve was released in 2009. It features an edit and a remix of Saints and Angels and it was also produced by Mike Scott.
Thank you Sharon.
This album contain early Piano Demos of the This is the Sea songs. A vital acquisition!
A promo CD of the Piano Demos album.
A trio of original promotional postcards.
The lyrics Mike wrote for The Whole Of The Moon from his Black Book collection of songs.
Thank you Mike.
Gatefold sheet music for The Whole Of The Moon released in 1985.
A UK DJ promo of 'The Whole of the Moon' (full length) b/w 'The Whole of the Moon' (radio edit) with press release.
A Spanish promo white label of The Whole Of The Moon in a full colour satin finish sleeve.
A German issue of The Whole Of The Moon in a stars sleeve.
A Portuguese issue of The Whole Of The Moon b/w Medicine Bow with large logo and titles on sleeve.
A Canadian issue of the The Whole of the Moon 7-inch single, uniquely b/w Trumpets.
A South African 7-inch single of 'The Whole of the Moon' b/w 'Medicine Jack'.
An extremely rare Zimbabwe issue of the The Whole of the Moon 7-inch single, b/w Medicine Jack. This single came from local Zimbabwe 'Steam' radio station. Thank you Andy.
A very rare Zimbabwe issue of the The Whole of the Moon 7-inch single, b/w Medicine Jack in a record company sleeve.
A Jukebox Only version of the The Whole of the Moon 7-inch single, b/w Medicine Bow.
Mike graces the cover of the superbly produced fanzine Jamming! on the July 1985 issue.
Thank you Chris.
The lyrics Mike wrote for Medicine Bow from his Black Book collection of songs.
Thank you Mike.
An original A2 sized Press Promotion for the forthcoming album release and tour, with Medicine Bow lyric.
Two one-sided test pressings for the planned follow-up single to The Whole Of The Moon.
Thank you Dag.
An Australian issue of the Medicine Bow 7-inch single, b/w a live version.
A New Zealand issue of the Medicine Bow 7-inch single, again b/w a live version.
Thank you Andy.
Irish music magazine Hot Press cover from 22nd May 1986 with extensive interviews and concert reviews within.
A German only release of Don't Bang the Drum b/w the previously unreleased The Ways of Men with single title printed on both sides of sleeve.
A cover variation of the German only release with The Ways of Men printed on cover and no Don't Bang the Drum title on reverse.
Large size concert poster from Chippenham Goldiggers on the 4th May 1986.
Thank you Javi.
A UK four-track 12-inch of 'The Whole Of The Moon' with colour photo sleeve.
An antipodean four-track 'Limited Edition' 12-inch of 'The Whole Of The Moon' with 'stars' sleeve.
An antipodean four-track 'Limited Edition' 12-inch of 'Medicine Bow' b/w a live version.
A very scarce four-track 'Mini-LP' of 'The Whole Of The Moon' from The Philippines. Pressed in low quantities in a Special Limited Edition for the American armed forces and Ex-Pats, these records are rarely found in pristine condition, as they usually succumb to humidity or water damage during the Typhoon season. Thank You Ferry.
A very rare four-track South African 12-inch of 'The Whole Of The Moon' released under licence by Priority Records in South Africa and with uniquely centred titles on a 'stars' sleeve.
Thank you Flattop.
Thank you Flattop.
Thank you Dag.
Thank you Flattop.
Thank you Flattop.
A beautiful and very rare large poster for the Israel Tour in late May 1986.
Thank you Stephen.
A very unique German Sonopress pressing of Medicine Bow b/w Don't Bang the Drum made to promote the headline appearance by the band at the Pink Pop Festival on the 19th May 1986. This is believed to be the only copy pressed.
Thank you Jack.
Canadian 12-inch white label promo of 'This is the Sea'. b/w Medicine Jack in a generic sleeve.
A Canadian 12-inch Promo Sampler of 'The Whole of the Moon' b/w 'Don't Bang the Drum'.
A USA white label promo two-track 12-inch of 'Don't Bang the Drum' b/w same song.
A USA white label promo 12-inch of 'The Whole Of The Moon' with same song on both sides.
Promo publicity shot from 1985 and another promo photo of Mike that was used on the album artwork and on a Press Bio. Photos by Lynn Goldsmith.
Thank you Dag.
A very scarce Sound Clinic cassette of the album dated 15th August 1985 and titled 'New Cut'.
An Australian cassette of the album with slightly different artwork.
An Canadian cassette of the album on a Dolby HX Pro tape.
A Greek cassette of the album with seal.
An Indonesian cassette of the album with unique artwork, housed in a heat proof sleeve with a different track running order and with three extra songs.
A rare cassette of the album from the Philippines with a lyric booklet included within.
A very unique version from Sweden with the cassette housed in a very distinctive pink sleeve.
A cassette of the album from Saudi Arabia with portrait style artwork.
A cassette manufactured in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with superb sound. These Thomsun tapes are highly sought after.
A very scarce promotional Chrysalis USA cassette from 1986 that features four Waterboys songs The Big Music, A Girl Called Johnny, The Whole Of the Moon and This Is The Sea.
A scarce VHS version of the This is The Sea movie which features seven Mike Scott - The Waterboys songs. Thank you Seán.
A Netherlands DVD version of the This is The Sea movie which features several Mike Scott - The Waterboys songs. Thank you Linda.
A Japanese DVD version of the This is The Sea movie which features seven Mike Scott - The Waterboys songs. Thank you Andy.
A press promotion of the band saying Thanks to their Irish fans in Irish music magazine Hot Press at the end of 1986. Thank you Anto. Photo: BP Fallon.