STEVE GRANTLEY INTERVIEW
Thanks go to Steve for taking the time out to conduct this interview, and to Katrina Copping for conducting and transcibing it.
I start by asking you how you got into playing the drums.
I started banging bongos when I was four years old. I got my first drum kit when I was 11. My parents bought it for me after I had driven them insane going on & on about wanting to get some drums. I was then able to drive all the neighbours insane. Result! ! ! My father was a drum fan & I suppose I must have got the bug from him.
Who were your earliest Drum influences?
One of my earliest drum influences was a British jazz drummer called Ronnie Verrel. He played with The Ted Heath Big Band & he was incredible.
The next guy was also a Jazz drummer & his name was Buddy Rich. Known as the Greatest Drummer of all time, Buddy was the "Daddy" of them all. I�m a huge fan & I still watch & learn from him now.
Then I saw this geezer on Tele with loads of drums around him going crazy. He looked like a complete nutter & I thought to myself, now that�s a proper drummer. It was Mr Keith Moon of The Who & I was dead impressed by him.
Cozy Powell came out with "Dance with the Devil" & I loved that. I also liked what he did when he joined Rainbow.
My favourite drummer though is John Bonham from Zeppelin. As far as I�m concerned he wrote the book on "Rock" drumming!
There are so many other Drummers that I like & whom I�ve learnt from but these are the people I was listening to when I first started playing!
How did you join SLF?
Well, I have to go back a bit. In 1983 I answered an ad in Melody Maker for a drummer & ended up joining Jake, in Jake Burns & the Big Wheel. That was after he had originally split up SLF in the early 80s, so we go way back. Once Dolphin Taylor had announced that he was leaving SLF in 95 Jake immediately phoned me. I didn�t audition, I just turned up, started playing & that was it.
Were you nervous at the prospect of joining the well-established SLF?
No, not really because I had already been in a band with Jake & I had worked with him & Bruce on other projects as well, so I felt O.K. I had been in the Big Wheel and I thought that some of the fans would know who I was! However, when Jake said do you want a "warm up gig" just to settle in, me being a flash git, I said no. Jake said that our first show was at Barrowlands but I still declined the offer. We had done the usual rehearsals, so I felt OK about it. I suddenly got very nervous when we were standing at the side of the stage with the intro tape "Go for it " playing & 2500 Scotsmen singing along at the top of their voices. Jake turned to me & said, "Bet you wish you�d done a warm up now "Knobhead!" & of course he was right.
Do you think SLF will ever cover Abba�s Dancing Queen as recently mentioned on the SLF chat pages?
That was my idea & it got a big thumbs down from the rest of the band but I think we could do a "TOP" version of it. I can just see Jake & Bruce in tight silver suits doing the dance routine to it now!
What did you know of Mike Peters and/or The Alarm before you started playing drums with them?
I knew the earlier Alarm stuff well because Jake & I had been to some of their smaller London gigs. Then Jake Burns & the Big Wheel supported The Alarm on 4 shows when Declaration came out. I enjoyed the shows & I always kept my eye out for them after that. I really liked "Rain in the Summertime". Mikes solo stuff escaped me until Rise came out & in my opinion it�s the best thing he�s ever done.
Is life on the road with The Alarm different to life on the road with SLF?
Yes, The Alarm drinks a lot more than SLF.
Do you ever go on stage and forget the song and what band you are in?
No, I�m always in complete control & I never get confused & if you believe that you�ll believe anything! "Alternative 68 Suspect Guns"!
Have you seen Heath Row lately and how is his pink fluffy drum kit?
I�ve not seen Heath for a while but I believe there�s a Rev gig happening around Xmas time so I will definitely be there for that! The Pink Fluffy kit is amazing, I would love to own it but it cost a fortune. It�s the most famous kit in rock!.
Any band you wish you could have played for?
Yes, three. The Sex Pistols. The Who & Led Zeppelin!
Were you instrumental (no pun intended) in accelerating the tempo
The Alarm songs played with The Alarm 2000 to just this side of Light Speed?
The songs that are faster are like that because they felt good faster. "Sold me down the river" is one of them.
Do you have a favourite Alarm /Mike Peters/ or Coloursound song?
Yes, my favourite Alarm songs are Howlin� wind, Spirit of 76 & Walk forever by my side. Mikes solo songs would be You are to me, Breathe, In Circles. & my favourite Coloursound songs are Under the sun, Where do you wanna go & Alive.
Steve Grantley has a side project called RTZGLOBAL & they have recently put out a limited independent pre release album called Return to Zero. It will have a "Full Release" sometime next year.
Tell us how you started RTZ?
I just wanted to express myself; I didn�t particularly want to make a record. I had a lot of ideas flying around in my head, so I decided to go into my friend John Magna�s studio & lay some tracks down. John wasn�t sure what was going on at first but once he had "got it" he started to contribute as well. Then we decided to make an album. A year & a half later we finally finished the damn thing.
What does the name Return to Zero mean?
In my opinion, that�s what happens, we go back to nothing. Happy stuff eh�
How did you met up with John Magna, your musical partner in RTZ?
We met at a studio complex called "Westar" years ago. John was the best Engineer there & we worked together on various projects. We have been friends ever since. John is a great Guitar player & was perfect for RTZ.
What influenced RTZ musically?
There was all this stuff in my head & it all came spewing out! I mixed up all my favourite sounds, old & new! So, there�s a bit of The Pistols, Led Zep, Suicide, lots of Suicide. Marilyn Manson, Tangerine Dream & Rob Zombie.
What is the future plans for RTZ, will it include touring?
Live gigs will happen sometime but not just yet! There would only be the two of us, so we have to work out a way of doing it.
Some of your lyrics on RTZ Global are very dark and mysterious; perhaps you could explain the stories behind them. For example:
I Was ‘I was the beginning and I’ll be your end, cos that’s the way of all flesh’.
I Was is a song about power, hate & revenge.
Prey seems to be written about stalkers and includes the lyrics ‘I follow you around you’re such a wonderful find’. Could you explain the story behind this too?
Prey IS about a stalker. It�s about actually being the Stalker! It�s a love song. The stalker is in love with his prey. She is his "Wonderful find".
What is Tabula Rasa?
Tabula Rasa is Latin for Blank Slate. It�s about someone who wants to Return To Zero.
What is Mike really like away from the stage?
What you see is what you get! Mike is the same off stage as he is on! There is no other side to him. Totally positive. The most patient man I ever met. Also, I�ve never seen him get nervous about going on stage. It�s totally natural for him.
Do you think ColourSound will go high volume/be a hit?
I think all artists have high hopes for anything they record. All you can do is put music out & see what happens!
How was the USA Tour?
I really enjoyed it. We were playing really well & I had a blast. It was good to meet everyone after the gigs."Hello" to everyone who came along & made it one of the best tours I�ve done! There�s a lot of interest in The Alarm 2000 in America & I�m very much looking forward to going back. I had a right laugh!
What have been some of your favourite gigs over the last couple of years?
SLF at Barrowlands is always a real thrill. The last two Gatherings have been "TOP". & recently I saw some footage of Coloursound at LA2 last summer & that was a truly great gig, we were on fire that night!
Where can we get the RTZ record?
Well, you can hear snippets on the RTZGLOBAL Website & you can order it off there as well. The address is http://go.to/rtzglobal. You can also order it & pay by credit card by calling the MPO.
Thanks for your questions & I�ll see you all on the British Tour.