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LIVE DATES
2020
'Setting Sons' 40th Anniversary
UK(With From The Jam)
26 MarTown Hall, LoughboroughPOSTPONED
27 MarCheese & Grain, FromePOSTPONED
28 MarFactory, BarnstaplePOSTPONED
10 AprApex, Bury St EdmundsPOSTPONED
11 AprWhite Rock Theatre, HastingsPOSTPONED
18 AprCorn Exchange, BedfordPOSTPONED
23 AprButtermarket, ShrewsburyPOSTPONED
24 AprWilliam Aston Hall, WrexhamPOSTPONED
25 AprGrand Central, LiverpoolPOSTPONED
29 AprCorn Exchange, Kings Lynn (rescheduled)POSTPONED
2 MayMod's Mayday, LondonPOSTPONED
27 JunStone Valley North festival, Co DurhamPOSTPONED
'Setting Sons' 40th Anniversary
(With From The Jam)RESCHEDULED GIGS
2 JulCheese & Grain, FromeTickets
3 JulFactory, BarnstapleTickets
9 JulGrand Central, LiverpoolTickets
10 JulWilliam Aston Hall, WrexhamTickets
11 JulBarbican, YorkTickets
Lost 80s Live 2020
USA
31 JulyRavinia, Highland Park, ILTickets
14 AugMesa Ampitheatre, Mesa, AZTickets
15 AugHumphreys by the Bay, San Diego, CATickets
21 AugArena Theater, Houston, TXTickets
22 AugThe Theater at Grand Prairie, Grand Prairie, TXTickets
4 SepGreek Theatre, Los Angeles, CATickets
6 SepThunder Valley Outdoor Ampitheater, Lincoln, CATickets
'Setting Sons' 40th Anniversary
UK(With From The Jam)RESCHEDULED GIGS
23 SepTown Hall, Loughborough Tickets
'New Clear Days' 40th Anniversary
1 OctBrudenell Social Club, LeedsTickets
2 OctLiquid Room, EdinburghTickets
3 OctOran Mor, GlasgowTickets
8 OctConcorde 2, BrightonTickets
9 OctPortland House, CardiffTickets
10 OctGuildhall, GloucesterTickets
16 OctEpic Studios, NorwichTickets
17 OctArts Centre, ColchesterTickets
23 OctThe Brook, SouthamptonTickets
24 OctRescue Rooms, NottinghamTickets
30 OctThe Cluny, NewcastleTickets
31 OctGorilla, ManchesterTickets
6 NovJunction, CambridgeTickets
7 NovChinnerys, SouthendTickets
20 NovRoadmender, NorthamptonTickets
21 NovPublic Halls, HarpendenTickets
27 NovUnder The Bridge, LondonTickets
28 NovMick Jagger Centre, DartfordTickets
4 DecPhoenix, ExeterTickets
5 DecThekla, BristolTickets

Features

Steve interview Feb ’20

We caught up with the bass maestro during a lull in the tour with From The Jam and quizzed him on topics from football to changes in studio technology, plus we of course mentioned the forthcoming album. Over to Steve…

How did you enjoy being back in the studio last year recording your third album?

It was great to be back recording again and it was nice to be recording with such a renowned producer as Steve (Levine). It was cold and wet in Liverpool though! I’m not disparaging Liverpool, it’s a great place…

In our last band member interview, we asked Dave about how studio technology had changed since recording Magnets in ’81 and he suggested that you’d be better answering that. So here’s your opportunity…

The main thing is that they have got rid of tapes and analogue machines so now everything is digital. It means that you can have a virtual studio of unlimited capabilities and plug-ins in a computer. Before we did the album, I got a new computer program and we demoed about twenty songs. Even just doing that, the way that you can manipulate the sounds now is completely different now. In the studio, Dan said ‘I need to redo my guitar part as my B string was a little bit flat’. Steve Levine said ‘Hang on a minute’, went into his computer and, within fifteen minutes, had managed to tune up that one string on Dan’s guitar track. That’s the level of what you can do now. You could never do anything like that back in the day. You were constrained by how many channels you had, you were limited to 24, nowadays even my little computer has 72!

Without saying ‘The Vapors’, any hints as to what the finished album sounds like?

I think that it’s possibly a more varied sounding album this time. There’s almost a disco/house tune on there for instance. I think that we felt much more free to go where we wanted to with the music, without being constrained by ‘is this cool?’ like we were back in the day. I think that it’s a lot more varied and more than that, I don’t know what I can say…

After a 39 year hiatus, fans around the world are waiting with baited breath to hear the album. Do you know when the release is planned?

There should be some news on that coming very soon!

Has there been any particular reason for the delay?

We got a little bit distracted by America, we were completely away from everything for about a month and a half. Originally we were going to release it ourselves and sell it ourselves. But then a distributor became interested and we thought was that a better thing to do to give it a better chance. Then we got locked into negotiations with them and then they agreed to what we were asking for. It is so frustrating for us because it’s been ready for so long. We want to get it out and start promoting it so we can move on to the next one!

Nice to hear you talking about the next album already…

We’ve got 3 or 4 songs which we really like which didn’t make the cut for this album. I want to get those recorded…

How are you enjoying being on the road with From The Jam?

I like being a working band, I like the whole thing. They’re good lads, really good lads, we have a good laugh with them. Their crew are nice. The promoters are great and we get treated really well by them. And it’s a full house every night, loads of people, great fun. Also the symmetry of it being the Setting Sons tour was just irresistible. Bruce said to me ‘If I said to you in 1979, you’d be doing it again in 40 years, what would you have said?’ I said ‘I wish I had known as I would’ve looked forward to it for the last 40 years!’

During the FTJ set, you can often be seen singing along with the songs. How much of a Jam fan are you?

Very much a big Jam fan. I worked it out just after they split up that I’d been to over a hundred gigs. I loved them back in the day, it was a real privilege to tour with them and become friends.

Which is your favourite Jam album?

I find it really hard to choose. I love All Mod Cons, I love Setting Sons and, rather controversially, I actually really like The Gift! And Sound Affects too. There’s some cracking songs on The Gift, like Ghosts or Carnation. All Mod Cons, Setting Sons and Sound Affects are the peak for me.

Any interesting anecdotes that you’d care to share about your time touring with The Jam back in the seventies?

Well, it’s such a long time ago… The last gig of the tour, we came off stage and they had gaffer taped everything that we owned to the ceiling of the dressing room! ‘Where’s all of our stuff? Oh, it’s all on the ceiling!’ They’d emptied all of our bags out and got loads of gaffer. It took them our whole set to do it, while we were onstage, that’s when they did it, bastards!

In the summer, you head stateside for this year’s Lost 80s Live tour. How was last year?

Last year was an unbelievable thing to do, I felt blessed to be able to do it. To play to all those people and to make so many great friends with all the other bands. I went into it determined to enjoy every single day…and I did. Every day I woke up and went ‘yeah, another adventure, where are we going?’ We had a great time, it was really sunny. There was a lot of driving, a lot of travelling. When it’s sunny when you’re driving it’s totally different to when it’s raining. It was like a dream come true for me. If you said to me ‘what would you like to do?’, I’d say ‘I’d like to go around America in the sunshine playing open air gigs to about 5000 people with loads of other bands so we can have a party backstage!’ I’m not totally thrilled with being pigeon-holed as an Eighties band because I think that we’ve got a bit more to offer than that. It was such good fun and we made friends for life on that tour.

As your heads are now larger on the tour poster (!), are you hoping that means an increase in your set length this year for the shows?

Rob the promoter said last year, when he talked to us about it, ‘I’m going to put you further up the bill, you’ll get a soundcheck and you’ll get a longer set’. I’m looking at the poster and our heads are bigger so maybe we’ll get a soundcheck and a longer set this time…

Lost 80s Live tour, USA 2019

The autumn sees the band marking the 40th anniversary of New Clear Days with a mammoth tour around the UK. Are you looking forward to playing your first full headline tour with the band since 1981?

Yes, it’ll be nice to delve more deeply into the back catalogue and also to play some of the new stuff as well as obviously playing New Clear Days. America is only a short set and From The Jam is only 45 minutes so it’s nice to have enough space in the set to explore both the back catalogue and the new stuff a bit more.

How do you feel that those songs on New Clear Days have stood the test of time?

I always thought that they were timeless songs at the time… It’s an album full of great songs.

At recent FTJ gigs, Dave has mentioned that Cold War is just as relevant lyrically now as it was in 1980. Does it concern you that nothing seems to have changed with the world in those 40 years?

It has to concern everybody, nothing changes, it’s the same people in charge, you get fed the same shit. You feel powerless, all we can do is sing a song about it.

Do you have a personal favourite track from NCD?

I’ve always felt something really pure in Somehow, the sentiment of it. As will most people when their lives have been in that situation.

Who are your most influential/favourite bass players?

John Entwhistle, Bruce (Foxton), Paul McCartney, they’re the main three. They’re the ones that I have taken most from.

What’s your favourite Vapors bassline to play?

The easiest one! Letter From Hiro is a good one, it’s a fun one to play and I get to do my solo in it.

And how about with your covers band the Shakespearos?

God, there’s so many great ones. Should I Stay Or Should I Go, what a classic bassline that is, instantly recognisable. All The Jam ones, Down In The Tube Station, Going Underground, Strange Town, they’re all brilliant basslines…

You’re a big Chelsea Football Club fan. Do you still go to the games regularly?

I’ve still got a season ticket but, because we’ve been so busy this year, I haven’t been as much as I’d like but I’ve been to a few games. I’m not going as much as I used to but we’re so busy at weekends, if it’s not this (The Vapors), it’s The Shakespearos. It’s going to be the same next season, because August and half of September is America and then up to Christmas it’s our tour. That’s half the season gone already!

Any predictions on how they will do this season?

Scrape into the top 4!

Thanks to Steve for taking time out to talk to us… Cheers to OC, Sally & Kay for photos

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