By Danielle Partis
Some of us remember it like it was yesterday, and some of us don’t remember it at all, however one certifiable fact is that the 80s did happen and boy were they a blast. In the fall of 1986 however, one British band were about to release an album that would become the soundtrack to every rocker during that era. That album was ‘Indiscreet’, and the band, was FM. 25 years after the release of this album, the band are still touring and going strong, and we at Denim & Leather were lucky enough to catch them backstage for an exclusive interview during their ‘Indiscreet 25Live’ tour, a series of small shows celebrating 25 years of their timeless debut album.
Denim & Leather: Hey there guys, thanks for your time. Could you introduce yourself for our readers please?
Steve: Hi. Yep sure, I’m Steve (Overland), vocalist in FM.
Jim: I’m Jim (Kirkpatrick), guitarist in FM.
Jem: And I’m Jem (Davis), keyboard player in FM.
D&L: Cool. Okay, so the first thing, could you describe FM to us in a single sentence?
Steve: Ooh, got me with the first question there!
Jem: A good pop rock band.
Steve: Yeah. A good melodic pop rock band!
D&L: Awesome. Right, who would class as your main musical influences?
Steve: Well there’s a lot actually! There’s the bluesy side, with bands like Free, Bad Company…
Jem: The Eagles, Journey, all that/
Steve: Yeah, there’s so many!
D&L: All good stuff! Could you describe to us the realities of being in a band?
Steve: Reality? Well the truth is there’s not much reality being in a band really; it’s a strange lifestyle. We’ve done it now for a long time, touring and stuff, and it’s all great fun, but it’s not a normal way to live. It’s important that you all get on though, as it’s your band you’re sharing it all with, and you’re spending your life with them. It’s good fun, but it’s not as easy as people might think it is.
D&L: Nothing ever is! But good points. What kind of crowds do you tend to see/would like to see at your shows?
Steve: Well, because we’ve been around for so long we have a brilliant loyal following, so we tend to see the same people over and over, which is great! Most of them know the songs better than we do, and that’s fantastic. It’s more like playing to a huge family rather than a room of strangers!
Jim: We’d quite like to see a younger crowd though too!
D&L: We’ll see if we can entice our young readers then eh! Okay, let’s take it back to September 1986, and you’ve just released ‘Indiscreet’. What were your feelings back then?
Steve: We felt very lucky actually; when we released ‘Indiscreet’ we did a whole load of tours with some brilliant bands, Tina Turner, Bon Jovi, and we got all the great support slots for huge bands, so it was all looking very good for us. The album went great, we signed to Epic Records, didn’t stop touring, so we were very much on the up back then! And the best thing is we had a fantastic time doing it.
D&L: I can imagine! Did you expect the album to do as well as it did?
Steve: Well, you never do really, because you’re so busy touring and focusing on that, once you’ve made the record and put it out there - it’s out of your hands. We knew it was going great because of the tours we were doing and the momentum of them, though when you’re on the road you don’t pay attention to it, you’re too busy having fun!
D&L: It all does sound good fun. What do you think about the UK rock scene now compared to 25 years ago? Do you think it’s any better?
Steve: I think it’s different! Y’know, there’s a place for all the new stuff; I love a lot of that, but I think there’s definitely a resurgence with bands that play live too. Stuff like The X Factor is definitely influencing the element of live music again I think.
Jem: There’s definitely resurgence with all the classic bands too; a lot of 80s bands reforming and touring again.
Steve: Or we hope there is, or we’re out of work! *laughs*
D&L: Very true. Right, we’ll bring it back up to date to your new album ‘Desolation Station’. Could you give us a little information on that?
Steve: Yeah, well it’s still being recorded actually, we’re back in the studio in April when this has finished (Indiscreet Anniversary tour), we’re nearly ¾ of the way there it, so it should be finished within the next couple of months. Then they’ll inevitably be a tour to back that up.
D&L: Brilliant, I’ll be looking forward to that. What would you say was the biggest show you’ve ever played?
Steve: Corr blimey, well we did a few massive ones last year…
Jem: Yeah, we did Graspop in Belgium, to about 90,000 people…
Steve: Yeah that, we’ve done Download twice, Sweden Rock, Reading, we’ve done them all really. I think main stage at Download is the biggest gig you can do really.
Jim: The Download gig was huge, but I think with any festival you’re looking at up to 100,000 people.
D&L: That’s pretty exciting stuff! Even at this point in your career after doing so many massive shows, do you still get pre-gig nerves? If so, how do you conquer them?
Steve: By signing these. (600 DVD sleeves)
Steve: Yeah or that! *laughs* Yeah we still do get pre-gig nerves; you’ll never conquer them, it’s just one of those things. Hopefully when you get out there, they turn in to adrenaline. You’ve got to have a bit of that about you to give it an edge; if you’re not nervous you’d just go out and stand there, being a bit nonchalant about the whole thing, and that doesn’t look fun.
D&L: Yeah, stage presence is just as important as the music sometimes. What would you consider the highlight of your career so far?
Steve: Well for me it was the Bon Jovi tour in ’86. That was great because they sort of became huge while we were on tour with them. ‘Slippery When Wet’ and ‘Livin’ on A Prayer’ were going to number 1 all over the world, and we were with them when it all happened! They weren’t a massive band up until that point, and during that tour everything just went mad really. It was a great experience.
D&L: That must have been amazing! Concerning new bands that are looking to achieve what you have – do you have any advice you could give to them?
Jim: Don’t sign DVD booklets.
Steve: *laughs* Well yeah there’s that, but you have to believe in yourself; you’re the only ones that will to start with, and it’s not easy.
Jem: It’s all different now though. The way to do it is all Youtube. Record companies don’t mean anything now really.
Jim: Yeah, the power is definitely with Facebook and Youtube. That’s the way to get your name out there now.
Steve: Self-promotion is a big thing now, you can become a world famous band without even landing a record deal now. Which is fantastic, but you still have to believe and put the work in if you want it to be a success.
D&L: Definitely. Alright, last question guys. You die, which 3 albums do you take to heaven?
Steve: Blimey, that would have to be..
Jim: Not ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’.
Steve: Definitely not! *laughs* Well for me it would be ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ by Stevie Wonder, the first Bad Company album, and ‘Rock On’ by Humble Pie. That’s my three.
D&L: Not bad at all! Well guys, thanks a lot for speaking to us, enjoy tonight’s show and we’ll catch up with you again soon.
Steve: Thanks for talking to us, we appreciate it. It’d be nice if you could forge signatures and help us sign these DVD sleeves thought too. *laughs*
FM’s ‘Indiscreet 25Live’ tour has ended, however the band are set to release their 9th studio album ‘Desolation Station’ later this year.
You can also follow the ramblings of FM drummer and founding member Pete Jupp on Facebook to keep up with the latest news and announcements.