DURING the mid to late 1980’s, many of us found ourselves frequent visitors to Bargates in Burton to rock the night away to some great live acts at what was then known as Central Park.
The club built a reputation for hosting some of the UK’s finest rock acts and probably the most popular of them all to visit regularly was the British AOR group FM.
FM held court in Central Park three or four times a year – specialising in headlining the Christmas nights and culminating in being the first act to play live in the redesigned concert room.
They worked hard through the late 80’s to promote their Indiscreet and Tough it Out albums with headlining tours, along with supporting the likes of Tina Turner, Meatloaf, Status Quo and most famously, a new and upcoming band from the USA called Bon Jovi – right at the point when they ‘broke’ with the worldwide hit You Give Love A Bad Name.
FM’s original line up consisted of Steve Overland on vocals/guitars, his brother Chris Overland on lead guitar, Pete Jupp on drums, Merv Goldsworthy on bass and the mysterious Didge Digital on keyboards.
In 1995 they sadly decided to go their separate ways to concentrate on other projects.
However, in 2007, a suggestion was put to the band to reform for a one-off show at Firefest at Nottingham’s Rock City venue.
The response was overwhelming and it was obvious to the band that people were still very keen to hear their work.
The band went on to enlist the services of Jim Kirkpatrick on guitar and the new line up went in to the studio to record Metropolis, once again showcasing their AOR roots but with a modern take on the style.
The album was a great success, producing ep’s such as Hollow, Wildside and Bring Back Yesterday, two of which found their way on to Radio Two’s playlist – FM were back!
Since then, the band have once again firmly established themselves as a driving force in British rock music.
A great new pair of albums Rockville and Rockville 2 were launched simultaneously this month and are currently being promoted with a headline tour around the UK.
Saturday saw the guys perform to a sell-out crowd at Wolverhampton’s Slade Rooms giving the fans a reminder of some of their classic tracks, alongside a taste of the new album.
They still sound great, with Steve Overland’s silky, soulful voice cutting through the tight, melodic backbone of the music supplied by the rest of the band.
As they struck up the chords to some old favourites, I was instantly transported back to 1986 and memories of great evenings at the aforementioned Central Park.
This band are true stalwarts of the British music industry and while they never had the fortune of that elusive chart hit in their younger years, something tells me that their hard work, commitment and true passion may just yet yield the desired result.
And if you want to hear them live, you can catch the band at Nuneaton Queen’s Hall tonight. More information is available at www.fmofficial.co.uk
Bargates and Central Park may now be long gone but this week, the memories have been flooding back – just don’t get me started on the sticky floors.