A band that were once heralded as the next big thing by Kerrang (back when Kerrang used to have decent bands grace its pages) faded away then basked in the afterglow as a resurgence saw them tread the boards and release a few fantastic albums and the band got more column inches purely on merit and the strength of the albums they were writing and shows they were playing find themselves upon the crest of a wave and when Someone asks how would you fancy having a chat With one of two of the original members, of course, I was going to accept so here without further waffle from me ladies and Gents I give you slyder Smith from Last Of The Great Dreamers.
Firstly 2018 couldn’t have gone any better, could it? With the critically acclaimed album and some great shows, you must be pleased? We’ll get to the latest album but first a quick catch up of sorts, After the first album and the lengthy hiatus, you got together for a few shows take us back. Was there a great master plan?
Not initially, Marc & I got back in touch again over a few chance meetings back in 2012. We talked on the phone but didn’t discuss getting the band back together then. It wasn’t until a bit later I rediscovered the tracks on cassette we’d recorded after Retrosexual in the mid/late 90s & thought they were too good not to be released. There seemed to be a bit of a rejuvenated rock scene out there so when we did decide to put LGD back together it began to gather momentum then.
Firstly we decided to release those tracks as ‘Crash Landing in Teenage Heaven’ to coincide with our reunion show in London in September 2014.
Kerrang heralded us as ‘Glams great white hopes’, we were nominated for “best new band” at the Kerrang Awards 1995. It was an exciting time; we had the record deal, an agent, manager, all we’d been working for since forming in 1989. We did a few European tours with Bang Tango & Warrant & everything was happening. We got out of our deal with Bleeding Hearts Records & had lots of interest from labels through our new manager. We pursued one with a large independent, X Records. It was a 2 single deal with a sizable advance. Things were taking their course & at the 11th hour, the deal collapsed through funding so fell through.
Although we pushed on a bit after that I think the moment had passed, our manager quit the business completely & we were left trying to pick up the pieces & salvage something. Eventually, we decided to call it a day, sadly our creativity was at a peak at that point but we were just emotionally drained by the whole thing.
Since you got back together was there a plan? You seem to have worked harder and harder and played plenty of dates all over the place and if you don’t mind me saying got better and better as songwriters as well would that be fair? ‘Dope School’ and ‘Glitterball Apocalypse’ were two of the best songs you’ve written in my opinion. Great videos as well.
Once we’d done the comeback show & a handful of others we did a 12 date club tour in April 2015 still promoting the Crash Landing album. Marc & I had discussed new material & it was that summer we started writing together again. In actual fact Glitterball & Dope were probably the first two we worked on. It was a bit daunting at first as I stopped playing for about 10 years & hadn’t written anything since about 2002. As soon as we started though it kept flowing resulting in the Transmissions from Oblivion album released in 2016. We also set about trying to get onto festivals & tours. The first was with Cherie Currie(The Runaways) in November 2015. This was when we released our first ‘brand new’ single Dope School since reforming.
How did the business change for you or was it more you changing how you viewed the business?
It has changed massively since we were doing it before, obviously no internet back then, digital releases or social media. I think the product is devalued a lot because of that but it is very easy to get your product out there & connect with people but with that, the market place is flooded with bands so there’s a lot more competition.
‘Transmission From Oblivion’, was another advance in songs and a really strong album, you picked up some great tours with the likes of the Quireboys which would be fair to say is a great fit for the band, was having a steady line up a plus at the time with Denley on drums must have been a massive plus?
The Transmission album was the first new album proper since reforming. It was probably 75% brand new plus Marc & I had a few songs we had in our lockers that we’d written after LGD split that were rejuvenated. That was released in late 2016 & we secured the Quireboys tour just after for the following Spring. That tour was a great fit, we played to some brilliant audiences over about 20 dates & won over a lot of new fans.
Having a steady line-up is definitely very important, we do have a few different bass players that play with us live which isn’t ideal but we get by. It’s a big commitment at this level to do what we do; financially it’s a struggle plus juggling homelife is also difficult. Sadly after 3 years with us, Denley has had to take a step back from touring for this reason as the band gets busier & busier. We do have a new man in, also from South Wales, Rik Pratt, along with a new bass player Tim Emery who will be the number 1, you may see deps in every now & then but that’s just the nature of it at this level.
What about the songwriting. Do you work differently these days compared to the first time around? What motivates you? To keep the constant touring, writing and releasing records?
Things are slightly different this time around, especially Renegades which was pretty much written over a period of 3 or 4 months whereas the 1st two albums – the songs kind of accumulated over years. We collaborate on lyrics perhaps more now than we did but I guess the formula we have is that Marc & I will usually work on our own ideas & then bring them to the table each adding bits to each other’s songs. We would sometimes have a clear vision of how we thought a song would end up but also hear different things in each other’s ideas. We would then knock them into shape a bit before bringing in the rhythm section to fine-tune the arrangements & try out different feels & tempos.
I think having started writing again & realising we can still do this it has become very exciting, we are very proud of what we’ve done since reforming & feel each album we have made bettered the last so I guess that drives us to keep doing it. Also, we love playing live & want to reach more & more people & travel to different places. We’ve made a lot of friends & new fans on the road & really enjoy meeting & touring with other bands, it’s a great feeling & what it’s all about.
The last album, in my opinion, was the bands finest and a consistently strong record where the bands sounded really confident and you knew the songs were excellent. Is it something you notice when writing or recording?
I think we were feeling confident whilst writing & arranging in the rehearsal studio. We knew we had some real gems there. The songs all develop differently, some quicker than others, some easier than others. As you go along that journey adding harmonies & guitar parts they evolve & develop & quite often there will be moments when you think wow this is going to be amazing!
We have a lot of dates planned for the year, mostly during the Spring, we are on a European tour with Enuff Znuff in February & reaching a few new countries like Austria, Italy & Sweden, We return to both Norway & Spain this year & have a UK tour opening for the Electric Boys. Plus some other dates & festivals throughout the summer. We just want to keep reaching more people & getting our music heard as much as possible. Also November this year it will be 25 years since the release of our debut, Retrosexual so we may do something special for that, a one-off show maybe with an anniversary release on vinyl?
Finally how many new songs are written and are there plans to get back into a studio this year?
We’ve discussed album number five & both have some songs we’ve started working on individually. Hopefully, we will get together for a writing session together over the summer & at the moment we have some free time in the autumn to maybe start recording.
Live shots were taken by Tom Gold, Goldwood Images