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Grand Slam Interview

22 June 2020 No Comment

Grsnd Slam CoverGrand Slam is a super group based out of England that has it’s roots in classic rock and it’s designs on the future.  Originally formed by the iconic Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy and UFO’s Laurence Archer Grand Slam was never given a chance to reach its full worldwide potential due to the untimely passing of Phil Lynott.  The current lineup of Grand Slam is Laurence Archer, Mike Dyer, Dave Boyce and Benji Reid.  Grand Slam have released a phenomenal new album called Hit the Ground available everywhere.

First off, please tell us about the players in Grand Slam.  How they were assembled and what special something they bring to the table.

Laurence: I’ve known the guys for a while, some longer than others. But I assembled the guys to do a 3G guitar show in 2018 where we played some of my UFO, Grand Slam, Stampede and some Gary Moore songs, it was obvious to me that mike Dyer Vox  and the boys Dave Boyce Bass, Benji Reid Drums were the guys for the Job. Great players but more importantly for me they are all individuals and have great personality in their playing, Mike is a singer that sounds like Mike and nobody else.

Mike:  I first met Laurence some 30 years ago. We worked in a band called Rhode Island Red together. Crazy fun times we were both managed by Colin Johnson who looked after status quo and the Stranglers. I have to say our management seemed to party harder then we did at the time. It was financially tough, moving down to London from Liverpool but Laurence and I lived together for a year or so. Despite a few minor differences we are very similar beasts in many many ways. Obsessive perfectionists, sensitive and sometimes stubborn. And if you’re good at what you do then you have to be stubborn The sound and feel he gets from his magical sausage fingers is off the scale. He is a guitarists guitarist, but like other guitarists I’ve worked with from Scott Gorham, Alvin Lee, Dominic Miller his playing style is like their own unique signature. Can’t be replicated and it’s very moving at times. Boycee, is that solid driving bass, I say simple at times, but all genius things are simple. No widdly diddly just in the bag with Benjy driving the Grand Slam engine room at the heart. When the band fires up I have to say it does sound almost as if our two toxic twins on bass n’ drums are almost telepathic. You need that holy “Young brother”tightness and I believe taskmaster Philo would be proud.

GS agreed band shotWho are the main writers?

Laurence: I’m the main writer, also Mike sharing lyrics, all the guys have Input in the final process of the tracks arrangement and feel.

Dave:  Laurence brings great riffs and songs, new and old to the table and Mike brings the bulk of the lyrics and vocal ideas. Benjy and I then bring our energy and groove to the table adding the the odd lyric and music to the tracks – it becomes a band effort everyone brings a lot to the creative table. I have to say it great music to play live and I love the energy we create.

Hit the Ground is an exceptional album.  A modern day masterpiece with a classic rock sound.  What was the writing, recording and producing like on the album?

First of all Thank you, for me it has evolved the way I imagined, I had most of the song ideas in place and we went into pre-production rehearsals and knocked through them as we would, nothing forced and it sounds naturally as it does on the Album. I would say the live sound is almost exactly as the album production as it’s all as we play and sound naturally and individually. As far as production elements on the album I wanted it to be true to the original way the songs were written and with the same intention and feel.

Are there any songs that were left on the floor to be picked up later and reworked?

I have many ideas that didn’t go on the first album due to wanting a 50/50 split of old and new on the first release. I have been writing and arranging tracks in the isolation and We will be working on the other new tracks and maybe a couple of old for the next Album. Very excited about the new stuff.

Which songs are your favorite to play live?

xxLaurence: All of them, they all go towards a great show and it makes them all exciting to play.

Benji: Now, that is a great question!  There are many timeless rock songs that are most enjoyable things to listen; but then, as a player, there are fewer still that retain that same when playing along with…..and even fewer still that can do both – tantalise the ear of the listener and soul of the muse whilst performing his/her craft.  Hands down, full stop, this album does both from start to finish!

What equipment is everyone using on the album? Do you use different instruments for studio and live?

I would say we play everything as is on album same as live, maybe a few amp options but nothing to far from guitar, bass and drums with usual backline as expected, we don’t trigger or have any backing, on the album I’ve doubled some guitars and I play a stereo rig on stage.

Speaking of live, once the world opens back up, where will you be touring first?

At this point I’m unsure, hoping for Ireland, USA and then U.K. and Europe, but presently nobody knows what’s still happening and what’s being cancelled or re scheduled

Your lyric video for the song “Sisters of Mercy” was just released. Excellent song and video.  Why did you choose to go the lyric route and what other videos can we expect from this album?

The lyric video was for the acoustic version of “Sisters of Mercy”, we felt it was the easiest way to tell the story, we hope to do a full band video for the next single release. Keep your ears to the ground!

During this worldwide lockdown I would imagine the band practiced by Zoom or something similar.  What was that like and what was the learning curve on that. Any amusing stories?

We haven’t done any practicing by zoom, we are live junkies and will wait till we can jump about together in a room somewhere

Laurence you’ve been in Spain this whole time so I’m sure you have had an experience that differs from the rest of us.  What was it like being in Spain during the lockdown?

It’s been very strict lockdown here, but we have pulled it round to be in a good place with Covid etc , I’ve been using the time to write a bit , we still have some restrictions and people are being very careful here, I live in the hills or on a big rock really so it’s quiet anyway and we don’t many folk

Also Laurence you’re a motorcycle enthusiast.  How is it riding around Spain? The views have to be amazing.

It’s my passion 2nd to music, I love riding and racing, I’m lucky that the scenery around here in Spain is amazing and amazing roads, a Sunday blast certainly helps you forget all the troubles with the world and this awful virus situation

x (2)So what are some of the bands favorite brews and cuisine from your respective areas?

Laurence: For me:  JD and Coke Zero, Mex veg Chilli and Thai food.

Dave: Black Russian – Bloody Mary –  G&T and Jd on the rocks – and I love all cuisine so looking forward to traveling/ Touring ASAP..

Benji: For me, I have to BBQ 24/7/52/12…..everyday of every week, of every month of every year…but seriously, eat very healthily avoiding wheat whenever possible and loads and loads of salads…..always hop(e) a decent salad is on the menu wherever we are in the world.

Mike:  Adams Ale and I have to have a Guinness or two in the holy land.

Lastly, what are the goals and plans for the rest of the year and next? New music? Videos? Tours?

Laurence: All of the above and as soon as possible.  Playing live is what I want, to get out in front of the people and fans, can’t wait! New music and recording the 2nd album will be a way off yet but every excited by the prospect of that day to come.





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