Last Great Dreamers Interview
The Last Great Dreamers will sadly be a band who many of you might be thinking great name, but who??? For the lucky few of us who saw them live and bought their debut album, the reaction is far more likely to be ‘they were awesome, I loved that band, whatever happened to them”. Whichever camp you fall in to, the brilliant news is that the band have reformed and have just released an awesome new CD. We got the chance to speak to founder member Slyder to find out why they are giving the music world a second chance:
• Last Great Dreamers were always one of those bands that should’ve been really huge but seemingly, despite some great press in Kerrang etc., didn’t hit the heights you deserved. Do you agree and if so why do you think that was?
Yes I do & I think it was because we didn’t have the right people working for us or the budget. A lot of the work was done by us, when we were signed we had no manager, we were still dealing with the press & booking our own gigs. We got a couple of support tours but with bands that were perhaps unsuitable but we just grabbed every opportunity right or wrong. We needed a single out, a video & better promotion but there was no budget for it.
• Do you look on that period with a sense of pride or regret? Or a bit of both!
Definitely both, we achieved a lot with getting signed, being nominated best new band in Kerrang! & being Kerrang’s Gaffer, Geoff Barton’s album of the year plus doing some great shows but looking back some of the decisions we made may have been in desperation or not in our control.
• You got tied in with the whole glam rock scene and whilst there was always a hint of 70’s glam you were million miles away from Sleaze metal, was that a help or hindrance?
Our influences that got the band together were Dogs D’Amour, Hanoi Rocks, Quireboys etc. so much more rock n roll that metal & although I was a fan of Guns & Roses, Poison etc. we were never Sleaze Metal or Hair Metal but I guess the scene we were part of encompassed all of that so it was ok but maybe a bit limiting when it came to trying to break out of the metal press and into the mainstream.
• I think you would have been closer to the Brit pop scene as you had that hint of t–Rex and Kinks about you, would that have been a better fit?
We thought the same and were very comfortable with that but I think as we’d been featured so heavily in the rock press it was hard to break out into the Britpop market.
• Your debut album was an absolute classic, have you listened to it lately and what do you think about it?
I have listened to it a lot lately; firstly when Marc & I 1st got back together to choose which songs we wanted to play live again and then we had re-learn to play a lot of them. We were always disappointed with the production; we had ideas of a classic retro sound but it didn’t translate, we didn’t have a proper producer after talk of names like Andy Scott, Ian Hunter, Chas Chandler we ended up co-producing with the house engineer of our record company’s studio. I still think the songs stand up today but there isn’t really any real production on there, we tried to locate the masters this year to remix and re-release it but they are long gone. It could have been a hell of a lot better.
• How close did you get to releasing a follow up?
We recorded 3 tracks for a single release including Ashtray Eyes & a version of George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun which we abandoned. We did it in London’s Alaska Studios where we had always rehearsed & recorded in on numerous occasions. We used Tony Harris at the controls who did the Silver Hearts demo that got us signed, most of the tracks on our new album are engineered & co-produced with Tony & were reunited with Tony when we re-mastered the tracks this year.
Sadly the single was never released, we mutually split with our record company Bleeding Hearts at this point & were very close to a new record deal with X Records with Ashtray Eyes/No1 Wonderboy planned to be the 1st single. The deal fell through at the eleventh hour.
• What was it that led to the demise of the band?
We’d been through the mill a bit by then and seemed so close to what we’d dreamed of & been working for. After the 2nd deal fell through we battled on for a bit but then our manager quit the music business & we were back in charge. Although we were arguably at our artistic peak we were also at our lowest ebb. We’d all been getting frustrated and tired of it all & then Marc announced he’d had enough which honestly we all had by that point.
• I seem to recall there was a splinter group by the name of Jet? What was the story there?
Jet was just an attempt at a reinvention of LGD, at the time we thought we could draw a line under our past & start a fresh page. It was ultimately the same band but with a tougher streamlined image and delivery, probably the way we felt at the time.
• Ok, enough of the reminiscing, let’s get up to date. How, why and when did you decide to reform?
Marc & I lost touch but I heard he was back in the UK after bumping into a mutual friend in London in August 2011. We spoke on the phone soon after but it wasn’t until the following year that I suggested a reunion. I hadn’t played in a band for almost 10 years at that point and was keen to get back into music. After listening to some of our stuff I felt there was unfinished business & that our songs deserved another airing. It took us until January 2014 until we finally managed to schedule a meeting both of us being very busy with business ventures & family etc. We spent a good couple of days together, jammed through some songs, chatted about old times & planned our comeback.
• Does the band consist of all the original members?
We had quite a few line-up changes over the years with Marc & I being the founder members and consistent throughout the course of the band. We managed to track down Paul & Steve from the final line-up of the Dreamers but with Steve busy with other commitments & Paul unable to commit for personal reasons we looked at other options. I had already been in touch socially with Ginge the original Silver Hearts drummer & Ian who actually auditioned for Silver Hearts when Boog left in 1991, he didn’t get in that time but we became firm friends, with Ian later coming to work with the band for many years on the road as guitar tech & roadie. So all the current members have their place in the band’s history and if we had of hired Ian at the time this would have been the line-up.
• You’ve got a comeback gig on 21st September at The Purple Turtle in London, how excited about that are you?
For Marc & I the prospect of being back on stage together is very exciting, the new line-up is gelling well, we get on well & have had a lot of fun in rehearsal so to finally take it on stage will be great. We’ve been working really hard all year on the songs and putting a set together for the show. It’s been tough remembering and re-learning them all which sounds it bit crap but you kind of expected to just pick up your guitar & out it would come but it wasn’t as easy as that. It’s coming together now though, we’ve got a set together and are rehearsing it as the show. We’re doing a tiny private gig to warm up at the end of August to get prepared for the big night.
• Are there any plans for a full tour?
Our initial plan was for one re-union show in London to make that special and have a real party and see how that went & take it from there. We have been invited to do other gigs and would love to do more. I guess it depends on how the London show goes and how well the new album is received.
• You’ve just released the new album “Crash Landing In Teenage Heaven”, tell us a bit about it?
Crash Landing is like the Last Great Dreamers lost album; it’s made up of previously unreleased and re-mastered recordings made in the mid to late 90s. Some tracks were recorded as singles that never got released. Most fans will have heard some of the tracks before either live or from demos from that period after the release of Retrosexual. It sounds fantastic and we’re very proud of it.
• Have you retained the Last Great Dreamers ‘sound’ or is going to be some sort of ‘re invention’?
I think our sound will be the same but perhaps a bit more mature. Our live sound was very different to the production of Retrosexual, this album sounds a lot more like the live band. Working on the live show we have slightly re-worked a few things added more harmonies here and there and brought back some old tracks from the Silver Hearts days.
• How do you think you will fit in to the current music scene? And do you even care?
Going into this my attitude was for us to please ourselves and not concern ourselves with the current music scene or what the music business wanted. We love what we do and want to share that but in the past were perhaps too concerned about what would get us signed or noticed. I think now there are a lot of more “mature” bands playing to people who just want to listen to great music, see a good show and have fun. To be honest I don’t really know much about what’s hot & what’s not in the music business and I’m kind of happy that way.
• Obviously, you already have a pre made dedicated fan base, but for those new to the band how would you describe the Last Great Dreamers?
British retro styled rock storytellers with melodic power pop anthems delivered with a cool urgency… how’s that?
That’s a pretty apt description of the band and hopefully should be enough to make sure you go out and buy the new album and see that special gig. We’ve already reviewed the album (https://thesoulofaclown.com/2014/08/31/last-great-dreamers-crash-landing-in-teenage-heaven/)and it’s fair to say it doesn’t disappoint. It is a sound that you can’t help but love. Rock N Roll always needs a bit of glitter and fun and The Last Great Dreamers have proven, once again, that they know how to deliver these ingredients by the bucket load.