Interview by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
One day Laurence Archer will write a book of his life: the hits, the near misses and of a career lived as one of most sought after and quietly confident musicians on the scene.
From his first gig playing in front of his schoolmates, the young guitar hero was soon sharing stages with his stepfather Reuben in Lautrec and then Stampede, each gaining increasing attention as their reputations grew as they extensively toured the UK, appearing on national television, playing major festivals and opening for Saxon and Gary Moore amongst others.
The industry being a fickle mistress, Stampede were subject to a number of misfortunes and never really saw the breakthrough that they truly deserved but all was not lost as Laurence had caught the eye of a certain Mr. Philip Lynott who recruited the guitarist for his solo album and ‘supergroup’ Grandslam with Magnum’s Mark Stanway.
Again, things just didn’t work out and the band split but the material written and recorded was just too good to be lost and, after a thirty-or-so-year break, Archer relaunched with a new line-up. Garnering rave reviews for their recently released ‘Hit The Ground’ album on Marshall Records, the band have once again proven themselves to be a potent force both in the studio and in the live arena. We caught up with the talented six stringer to find out what he and the band had been up to during the lockdown.
First off, and most importantly: How are you doing?
I’m doing fine I think! I’ve been lucky as I’ve been in lockdown in Spain in the hills and it’s been very strict but meant a fast and effective turnaround.
How have you been keeping yourself busy?
Writing, and playing, walking dogs and sorting the new house stuff.
Have you been doing any online live shows or seen any good ones?
I did a Q&A on the Grandslam Facebook and the guys are now doing one each, I liked some of the stuff out there, the Sammy Hagar, Jason etc. was fun.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySRJdHW0cyw&w=560&h=315]
Have you had to change your way of writing material?
No, I have my way of writing and I haven’t found it necessary to change in anyway really.
Do you keep in touch with your fellow bandmates / other musicians much?
We speak regularly as we’ve been sorting USA management and release dates etc.
What plans have you had to change this year?
All touring and festivals have been cancelled from April till December so it’s been awful not being out there playing live which I live for, I can’t wait to get back out there and start promo in the Album all over again.
What do you think of the social distancing gigs (like the one that happened in Kansas recently – 229 people in a 1,100-seat venue) or the thought of drive-in gigs as has just been announced by Live Nation?
The chance to play live would be great, but I don’t know how that can sustained financially for all concerned.
How do you think the music industry will have changed after this period of lockdown?
Well there no way to deny it will change and lots of sides of the industry would change or maybe disappear, but I’m hoping when we come out of this situation on the other side it will be a stronger live scene and people will be eager to get back out to see live acts again.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6SApRAu4tg&w=560&h=315]
What plans have you got for when the isolation finishes and gigs start back up again?
So far all gigs this year have been cancelled apart from a festival in Belgium in October and our UK tour in December and we have loads booked and rescheduled festivals for next year all being well.
How can people support you during this time?
Grandslam Facebook (Grandslamrocks) and we are putting out the lyric vids for the acoustic jam stuff,
‘Sisters of Mercy’, ‘Long Road’ and ‘Crime Rate’ on the site and YouTube etc.
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