We continue with the story of how the band refored after three decades:
ROY: So I started chasing everybody up and the strange thing was that while I was chasing the co-founder of the band, a guy called Paul Garrett, I was trying to locate him and I rang his ex-wife and she said, ‘Oh have you not heard? He died two days ago.’
JON: Oh wow
ROY: In Thailand. So all of a sudden, we had to do the gig for him. So we had a proper reason, and of course everybody ... we found the drummer who hadn’t actually touched a drum kit for 16 years, and we had a meeting and the drummer said ‘Look I can’t do this, I’ve not played for so long’, and we all said, look we’ll do it together, or we don’t do it. And we persuaded him to do it and we had a week and a half’s rehearsal before the first gig, and the first gig sold out at the Royal Hall, Harrogate and it was a mega success, so everybody wanted us to do another one the next year, so we did and in the meantime we made the new album, which was Montpelier, which was quite interesting because getting together to make that album made us realise why we all split up
JON: Yeah, I was actually going to ask you about that. I’ll come back to that in a moment.
ROY: So we made the album Montpelier and then we did the next gig which we recorded, which is the Live double album, but I have to say that the response worldwide is quite something. People from... I mean we’re not talking hundreds of thousands here by any means, but there are a lot of fans that have appeared out of the woodwork that really appreciated the band, and love the band, and love the music. We tried to make Montpelier true to the original sound of the band, but also move it forward slightly to have a bit more of what is going on now, and I think we’ve achieved that, and I think it’s had some very good reviews.
JON: The songs on Montepelier. Were they new ones that you had written?
ROY: A couple were taken – Sailor and Sister Moon – were written right back in those days. We’ve changed them slightly, but they were conceived back in the days of the original band. And all the rest is new material, but played – I mean we’re all just stuck in that zone really and the only person that’s actually working new music is Will Jackson who produced the album. He’s working with bands like the Kaiser Chiefs, Pigeon Detectives, Embrace...so he’s working with bands that are sort of happening now, and he tried to inject a few of those flavours and sounds but that’s where the conflict was, the drummer in particular wasn’t happy.
Overall, it’s like any album. You never want to stop because, you know, you record something you take it away and listen then you can always think of things you would like to change, but at some point you’ve got to stop. Otherwise you’d carry on forever. And we had to stop, you know we didn’t have a huge budget to make the album and we kept going back and changing things.
For me, I like to think that when you ... there was only two songs on the album that we were all in the same room at the same time recording it, the rest were done and sent over to Germany for the fiddle player to add his bit, then sent over to America for Nick to do his bit and then it would all come back, you know. So it’s not very organic. It’s a bit mechanical. There’s a song on the album called Giving, which is my favourite track, where we were all in the room playing at the same time, and it was basically one take – we got that in one take and there are just a couple of overdubs on that, so for me that’s very pure and I love it.
JON: Will there be another one?
ROY: Yes, I think so.
JON: Have you got more songs written?
ROY: Yes. Well I have another project. I write with a guy called Will Jackson.
JON: Oh I love that album, I think it’s smashing
ROY: Well, we’re working on a new album and it’s going so well. So I am working on that with Will, but the whole Wally thing, we’d all come together again to make it happen
JON: The sound of the two projects is very different. Do you find yourself, when you’re writing songs, do you find yourself thinking, ‘Right I’m going to sit down and write a Jackson Webber song’ rather than ‘I’m going to sit down and write a Wally song?’
ROY: Nope, I write the song, and I write the melody line, and I write the chord sequences, and if I sit down with Will it can become an acoustic track, if I sit down with the other guys it can become a monster
That’s just the way it goes. Sister Moon, which is a track on Montpelier, is – would you believe it – an acoustic song. And now when Wally get hold of it, they turn it into this great big epic, but that’s what Wally is all about, you know, it’s a massive sound. But the new Jackson Webber album is going to be very acoustic, very simple because a very, very good friend of mine, Bob Harris, you know the Whispering Bob, he’s very involved in everything I do, and he gives me advice ‘cos he’s involved in the whole Americana movement that goes on in America and his show, and he likes things very pure and very clean. So we’ll try and keep in clear and clean.
And so we reach the end of Part Two. We will be back tomorrow with the third and final part..