Last month, British rockers Last Great Dreamers embarked upon their first full UK tour in almost two decades. This was the culmination of a comeback that started in 2014, with the excellent album Crash Landing In Teenage Heaven being released in the Autumn of last year. Towards the end of the tour Scribes Of Metal caught up with Last Great Dreamers guitarist Slyder Smith for a debrief on how the tour had gone thus far, the band's future plans and various other things.
You're about three quarters of the way through your first full tour since reforming the band. How have you found it?
Initially I was working really hard getting it all together & after months of planning we finally had these 11 dates to do. After the feeling of accomplishment I panicked, thinking we’ve got to go out there & do this now! In the old days on the road was home for me but now I have something & someone to leave behind so it was slightly scary.
Prior to reforming Last Great Dreamers, had you considered starting up another band or was it only reforming the Dreamers that was something that interested you?
Straight after LGD I started a new project, I wrote a load of songs, did some recording & eventually formed a 3-piece called Toy Eye & later Plan9 taking on the lead vocal role myself. We played a lot in & around London & did a fair bit of recording with LGD producer Tony Harris. We had some airplay on XFM & Radio 1 but it didn’t really take off. It lasted about 3-4 years with a couple of line-up changes but it never really had the same vibe as LGD. I left London after that & had one more attempt at a band but it came to nothing & playing music kind of got left behind at that point. Marc also formed a band in L.A. & did some recording but didn’t do any live work. I think it was inevitable that we would eventually get back together even if we didn’t realise it for some years!
Is the thrill of performing in front of a live crowd as strong as it was when you had your first taste of success twenty years ago?
Yes definitely, it is a big thrill & I think we are more relaxed about it now & dare I say, better than we ever were! However big or small the crowd, to have people in front of you getting off on what you are doing on stage is a great feeling. For me I kind of enter a different reality & become the rock star in me, it’s always remained with me but now I can go onstage & allow that part of me to come out legitimately!
Your recent album, Crash Landing In Teenage Heaven, had its roots in material that was written prior to the band's breakup in the early 00's. How much of it was resurrecting old material and how much was freshly written after getting back together?
Everything on the album was written prior to the break-up. Developing the live set for this tour we have altered a few songs here & there & also revisited some songs that were pre-Retrosexual (our 1st album). Also personally having re-learnt the songs from the recordings rather than the memory of playing them years ago I have made a conscious effort to try & reproduce some of the sounds & effects used in the studio rather than how I may have played them live before.
Do you feel that you have quite a unique sound at the moment as far as the UK rock scene goes(even if some might describe it as being somewhat retro)?
I think we always were fairly unique & I feel that even more now. Our music definitely still stands up today but we probably sound retro to some, our influences come from glam rock, punk, new wave, rock & metal but ultimately we write pop songs & play them with honesty, passion & attitude.
Do you have any plans for the rest of the year beyond the end of the current tour?
We’ve got a couple of small festival dates in the summer but are mainly going to be working on writing new material. We are hoping to at least have a couple of new tracks to release as a single or EP in the Autumn & that will probably coincide with some live dates, hopefully in towns & cities we’ve missed on this tour.
Are there any plans in the pipeline for a 100% new album?
Very much so, Marc & I have already had a few writing sessions & have at least an album’s worth of new material between us. Realistically I can’t see it being ready this year so we have kind of pencilled in Spring 2016 for a potential release target.
The music industry has changed a lot since the 90's as we're sure you've noticed. If you did a new album would you think about using a fan funded tool platform such as Pledge Music?
Yeah, I’ve been looking into that today actually. We have previously discussed it & have some great ideas already so I’m sure we will be going that route & for the fans to be involved is a great opportunity for both parties, with their help we get to produce an album for them that may not have been possible without them, done right it has to be a win win situation.
Lastly, are there any bands or old friends from your original incarnation, or any current bands that you would like to hit the road with given the right opportunities?
Well we’ve played with our two main drummers Ginge & Steve from the old band now & with Ian being a permanent fixture on bass I think things will probably stay much the same with the drummer job kind of shared. If Ian couldn’t make something I’m sure Paul Harrison (the last LGD bass player) would step in, we met him up in Doncaster & a few weeks back.
With current bands I’m a bit out of touch, it might be good for us to go out on tour with the likes of Quireboys, Terrorvision, Skunk Anansie, Baby Chaos, all bands we had associations with in the 90s. the Godfathers are out on tour in June, that would have been ideal for us! For me personally though opening for the Manics would be perfect.