Last Great Dreamers were seemingly destined to be “the next big thing” in the mid 1990’s. As so often is the case, they didn’t quite get the success they deserved and the band disbanded shortly after the turn of the century after the death of the band’s tour manager. Fast forward to 2014 and Last Great Dreamers decided to reform, and are now firing on all cylinders as strong as they ever were back in the 1990’s. Rock Sins has been able to catch up with Dreamers founding member and guitarist Slyder Smith to compare the music industry past and present, the current tour and more!
Is it good to be back as LGD?
It’s great yeah, after it all ended I had other bands so at that point I never considered LGD would ever get back together. After that I gave up music altogether so getting the Dreamers back together probably was the only thing that could really motivate me to play seriously again; the songs we had written towards the end of the band, that now make up the Crash Landing in Teenage Heaven album, were the best we had done to date but had hardly been heard so to be able to play them again live & to release them & crucially to find there were fans out there who wanted to hear them was fantastic.
What made you decide to reunite the band?
I guess it was many years of inactivity as a musician after that, that allowed me to think of it as viable, maybe subconsciously I was aware of other bands of that era doing the same but I guess stumbling across some old demo cassettes of tracks I hadn’t heard in years ignited the spark. I felt so excited listening to them & it took me back & I realised we had to do this again. I had recently heard that Marc (Valentine) was back in the UK & also found a LGD fan site on the internet & got in touch with a lot of people from that time so it felt the time was right…it was synchronicity.
Do you feel like there’s more pressure on you this time, given the success you had in the 90’s?
Not really, we didn’t know what we were going to do; it may have been one rehearsal, one gig or maybe more. I knew whatever we did I just wanted to enjoy it without the pressures we had before that had ultimately led to the bands demise. We love playing live, writing & recording & before we knew it we had a line-up together & were planning a new album, a London come-back show plus a few more live dates. That doesn’t mean we’re not serious about pursuing it, we just don’t want to get bogged down with stress of working in the music industry.
You’re a couple of dates into the UK tour now – what’s the response been like so far?
It’s been great, audiences have varied in size but response so far has been fantastic, we’ve met up with a lot of old fans but are also very happy to have made some new fans along the way. Fans are telling us we’re putting on the best shows we ever have now with even more passion & energy so we’re really happy about that!
You’ve got Steve Grainger back for most of this tour – what’s it like working with him again?
Steve was the last & longest serving drummer in LGD but at the time we got back together he was busy playing in several other bands so couldn’t commit to anything, I don’t think he thought we were that serious about doing it then either? When he came to see us at out London comeback show last September, reading between the lines it seemed like he’d wished he had said yes. We knew Ginge couldn’t commit to playing too many shows so approached Steve again about the tour and he was up for it. We all share the same sense of humour & although Steve can be a handful, which he will admit, we’ve all had a great time so far. Steve has never stopped playing drums & living the rock n roll lifestyle to the full unlike Marc & I who left the business & settled down.
Following the recent story about Eurovision winner’s pop band Bucks Fizz & how 3 of them packed it in but singer Bobby Gee never stopped; now the others have re-formed & want to play under the name & he’s not happy, it made us think in a way Steve is like the Bobby Gee of sleaze… to quote Vim Fuego “he never turned traitor on his music”.
Are there any places you’d liked to have been able to play on this tour, but couldn’t make it to?
We wanted to do about 10-12 gigs & try & cover the UK so people could fairly easily travel to a show wherever they lived. Unfortunately we struggled logistically getting to the North west & north east & to Scotland and also I wanted to get to my old hometown of Portsmouth but it didn’t work out. We may do a small run of dates in the Autumn though to play only places we haven’t got to this time.
What was it like promoting the new album, compared to when you released albums back in the 1990’s?
The latest album is on our own label ray records, everything has changed since our last album, there was no buying CDs online for a start so I guess it’s more accessible if not all shops were stocking our last album which was a problem for some people having to order it in. Also I think the CD has a different worth now what with downloads & streaming. We have the ability now to sell our own album at gigs now which we weren’t able to do before so we have a lot more control over many things.
How do you feel the music industry’s changed in that time?
I think there’s probably less value in the product so maybe live is what sells; personally I think streaming music especially for small artists de-values it. There seems to be a lot more commercial bands that all seem to fit a formula & less innovation. One of the mistakes we made in our early days was to try & second guess what we thought the record companies wanted & to try & be that so we were either a step behind or not creating music from the heart. Often I hear music from all genres & feel I’m listening to the same thing just in different packaging. There seems to be less middle ground now, more huge commercial overproduced formulaic artists & lots of good original bands who can’t get a look in. Personally I just want to be creative, make music that I enjoy & feel passionate about & if others do too then that’s great. I want to be in the moment enjoying every minute, you’ve got to put yourself out there for the opportunities but if you are too busy desperately chasing something maybe you will miss the thing you should find.
April 17 Bournemouth – Anvil
April 18 Wellington – Beambridge
April 24 Kidderminster – Secret garden
April 25 Abertillery – Doll’s House (FREE ENTRY)
April 26 Oxford – Wheatsheaf
Details of how to obtain tickets are available via the Last Great Dreamers Facebook page.