There’s a genuine buzz in the Quireboys’ camp as the veteran rock and rollers ready their most ambitious album to date and go on the road with a tour that comes to Wakefield next week.
“It’s never been black and white where The Quireboys are concerned,” said frontman Spike.
“There have always been shades of the blues. And now we’ve got the perfect chance to put a new twist on some old classics.”
But why now? After a successful foray into the world of Americana and the release of their most raucous album to date (2016’s Twisted Love), the decision to record a raft of iconic blues tunes might seem like a surprise – almost sideways – move. Far from it.
“When Spike and I met Chris Ingham from Ramblin’ Man Fair he floated the idea of doing a blues set at this year’s festival and we loved the idea,” said guitarist Guy Griffin.
“Why not do something different to the norm? And at that point we sensed an opportunity to make a blues record. All of the guys are great musicians – as a band we can play anything. I suppose the trick was giving these blues classics a unique twist and that’s what we’ve tried to do.”
And on White Trash Blues the genre’s legends come thick and fast. Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry and Billy Boy Arnold are all afforded a unique Quireboys makeover. Never has Spike sounded so authentic and the band so audibly confident
“The album came together very organically but they are songs everyone has played at different times over the years and they feel like they’re part of our history,” said guitarist Paul Guerin. “There are a few leftfield choices and we love that but it’s always great to give the classics a go. We’re naturally suited to playing the blues but let’s be honest – once Spike starts singing they all sound like they could be Quireboys songs. And they can be!”
In the summer of 1984 singer Steve Overland and his brother, guitarist Chris (both formerly of Wildlife) teamed up with drummer Pete Jupp (ex Wildlife and Samson) and bassist Merv Goldsworthy (ex Diamond Head and Samson) to form FM. Joined by the keyboard talents of Didge Digital, by December that year they had secured a recording contract with CBS/Portrait and the band headed to Germany for a run of dates with Meat Loaf.
Further tours with Tina Turner, Foreigner and Gary Moore built up the momentum. On September 8 1986 FM released their debut album Indiscreet (featuring the hugely popular single Frozen Heart) to great critical acclaim and the year ended on a high with FM supporting the white-hot Bon Jovi on their Slippery When Wet tour.
For the next nine years FM consolidated their position at the forefront of British melodic rock, touring extensively as headliners and also joining bands such as Status Quo and Whitesnake on tours to promote releases such as 1989’s Tough It Out album; Takin’ It To The Street released in 1991 (with Andy Barnett on guitar replacing the now-departed Chris Overland); Aphrodisiac in 1992 (featuring Tony ‘Slim’ Mitman of Romeo’s Daughter on keyboards) and what was to be their ‘final’ album, 1995’s Dead Man’s Shoes with new recruit Jem Davis (Tobruk, UFO) on keyboards.
In 2007 – after a 12 year sabbatical – FM were persuaded to return to the stage for a ‘one-off’ headline performance at a sold-out Firefest IV at Nottingham Rock City.
The rapturous reception from the fans at Firefest led to FM quickly making the decision to record a new album and following a return to Firefest in 2009, in March 2010 FM released their much-anticipated sixth studio album Metropolis with Jim Kirkpatrick replacing Andy Barnett on lead guitar.
And FM haven’t stopped since...headline tours both in the UK and overseas, special guest slots touring with Foreigner, Journey, Thin Lizzy and Heart; festival appearances including Download, Planet Rockstock, Sweden Rock, Graspop, Steelhouse Festival, Frontiers Rock Festival, HRH and HRH AOR, Cambridge Rock Festival and in 2018 their first-ever live show in the US at Melodic Rock Fest 5.
When not touring, FM have been busy in the studio and since their 2010 ‘comeback’ album they have released 2013’s double helping of Rockville and Rockville II (with two songs playlisted by BBC Radio 2 – Story Of My Life and Better Late Than Never); Heroes and Villains in 2015 and Indiscreet 30 – a new 2016 recording of FM’s classic debut album to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its release.
Released on March 30, the latest album by FM is Atomic Generation featuring the lead track Black Magic and radio single Killed By Love.
The Quireboys and FM play Warehouse 23 in Wakefield on April 4. For ticket details go to www.warehouse23.co.uk