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  STAMPEDE: HOLD YOUR HORSES!
Pippa Lang

9th June 2011
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Stampede singer Reuben Archer chats to Pippa Lang about the band's new lease of life, the thirty-year break between albums, the nightmare behind the recording of 'A Sudden Impulse'... plus: The Archer Empire, mods, plastic macs, Eric Clapton, Welsh rarebit... Are you sitting comfortably? (There could be a book in this).

Reuben and I are munching Welsh Rarebit in the Bishop by Kingston Bridge. He, Head of the Archer Empire, looks curiously at his food and then waves his arm in the direction of the river. Memories, it appears, are stirring:

"Me and Eric used to hang around here," he remarks casually. Reuben and Eric – yes – Clapton both went to Kingston School of Art, when Reuben's dad was Principal. It turns out he didn't do much painting until after Clapton had left:

Article continues below...

   


"That's when I got into the guitar, because of Eric, and it wasn't until he left that I actually got down to doing what I was supposed to be doing - studying art!"

It is recollections like this that make me realise exactly how many lifetimes Stampede's singer has lived. "Five or six", he shrugs nonchalantly, and then laughs, as if he thinks it sounds like he's boasting. It doesn't – nor does it make him sound like Old Father Time (something he's conscious of!). Reuben is a lovely man who speaks (and sings) with the voice of experience, but never to preach or gloat; and it isn't the quantity but the quality of those years that counts.

Reuben believes in grabbing the bull by the horns, and as with all eternal optimists, is always eager to plunge into each new adventure life throws his way. Stampede's new lease of life, for example, and the praise poured upon 'A Sudden Impulse', their first album for nearly thirty years, has Reuben positively beside himself:

"I'm quite overwhelmed, I never expected this to happen. We've had so much good press I feel like my head might explode!"

It comes as no surprise, then, that Stampede are already well into recording the next album. Considering the huge gap between 'Hurricane Town', the first album in 1983, and 'A Sudden Impulse', their creative honeypot is overflowing. But this doesn't mean they've been sitting around gathering dust and inspiration for three decades – au contraire (Rodney). The concept of exploiting the past for the benefit of the future has always been Reuben's mantra, and it seems his kids, Lauren, Frankie and stepson Laurence, have inherited that attitude to life. ("I love the lot of 'em, I'm very lucky.")

THE BREAK-UP

Last time I saw Reuben (apart from Stampede's comeback gig two years ago) was in 1996 on a little island called Platts Eyot near Sunbury On Thames. Both of us had left our respective roles in the music business, pretty much for the same reasons: disenchantment with the swings and roundabouts of an industry built on corporate rules and regulations. More to the point, Reuben had broken his hip running with Bruce Dickinson. This is all history, but for those who don't know:

"I did Reading and Mildenhall on crutches in 1982. We were sitting round doing the second album for Polydor, and the doctor said 'if you're going to carry on jumping around on drumrisers, I'm gonna take those plates out of your leg. You land badly, you're gonna bend them and then you'll be a cripple.'

"When I went in for the op, they told me they couldn't do it coz someone'd nicked the forceps! So I had to get back in my car, stoned out of my head. Went back a week later, they took the plates out, but when I got home, I suddenly felt really ill. My wife called the doctor, and he said I'd caught an infection from the operating theatre, and if I hadn't called, I'd have been dead! Great! After that I just didn't wanna do anything musically anymore, wasn't interested."

So Reuben packed in the band. Knowing that experience is a gift not to be sniffed at, he soon turned his past as an art student into a successful design company, Craven-Archer Design, initially based on the island in Sunbury. Now that Stampede are back in the saddle, what'll happen to the business?:

"My son Frankie, who's 20, is doing his degree in Computer Visualization, so he can take the business over. Well, that's what I want him to do. He's not gonna get a job in this recession is he?"

The Head of the Family has spoken! Daughter Lauren, meanwhile, is now Stampede's extremely efficient manager and PR ("She's doing a blinding job for us, I am so grateful!"), and stepson Laurence is not only their prodigious lead guitarist, but runs his own film company, a commitment that demands a lot of his attention. Indeed, when Reuben decided to reform Stampede, it proved a little harder than expected to gather everybody together. The reunion, incidentally, was not a conscious decision – more of a snowball effect - and certainly nothing to do with money:

"We're not one of those bands who have to get back together because of money (naming no names). With us, it's never been about that, but about playing."

Considering Craven-Archer now count Harrods amongst their clients, there's no disputing this. In fact, by 1999, the business was doing so well that Reuben decided to take a backseat and take on more of a consultancy role. Moving off the island, he and his wife bought a house in the Midlands, the idea being to retire. But Reuben's past decided to follow him - to Molineux football ground:

"I went to a party there in 2000 - I'd never been to a football ground at night, and this was an opportunity to see what it looked like all lit up. This guy came up to me and said 'I know your name', but he couldn't remember where he'd seen me before.

"The evening wore on, we got more and more drunk, and eventually he remembered he'd seen me with Stampede at Birmingham Odeon and Wolverhampton Civic bloody years ago. So he asked if I'd do a gig for his cancer charity. Well, I had to say 'no' because I hadn't done anything for fifteen years. But he kept phoning me.

"So I ended up saying if I could find some musicians, I'd do the gig, but it'd be bluesy stuff. So I called the ex-guitarist of a band called Whirly Blues I'd managed when I'd first moved to Wolverhampton after Stampede split. I'd actually got them a record deal, and then they broke up! Anyway, he sorted out a band and we called ourselves The Boogeymen for a laugh, did the gig - and ended up staying together for five years til 2006!"

reuben archer

THE REUNION AND A VERY DIFFICULT ALBUM

By now, the music bug had bitten Reuben again, and he formed a blues band with his wife - The Archer Marriott Band (who are still gigging regularly, and will continue to do so, Stampede's success permitting). So, Reuben was buzzing. Just after New Year 2008, he picked up the phone and called Stampede's original bassist Colin 'Boggy' Bond:

"Boggy was by now in a very successful Beach Boys tribute band – amazing coz he'd never sung in Stampede, and here he was fronting this lot! Anyway, I thought if I could get Boggy interested in reforming Stampede, then maybe Laurence would go for it – I knew he'd be the big stumbling block. In fact, he went for it straightaway. We couldn't find Eddie, our original drummer, but I phoned Clive Edwards (ex-UFO), who'd been playing in a blues band with Laurence, to see if he wanted to do some gigs, and he said yes."

A few rehearsals later and Stampede were playing their first gig in twenty-five years at Krusher's Embassy Club in London in 2009. The outstanding reaction confirmed Reuben's decision to record an album. This, however, would not be so easy to organise. It turned out to be a logistical nightmare, a case of 'Relocation! Relocation! Relocation!' First stop Weston-Super-Mare. Reuben grimaces:

"It was the most traumatic recording process I've ever been involved with! First, we went down to Weston-Super-Mare, where a friend of Colin's had a studio. We had four tracks ready for me to do guide vocals over, so I went down there. But Clive wasn't happy with the drums, he didn't think they had the rock 'n' roll element - and I said 'well, you're the drummer!' – but he thought they were too neat and tidy. Anyway, we had four tracks that nobody seemed to like."

Next stop Dartford College:

"We knew the guys who ran the studios there (they have ten). We had all our gear with us and we were going to record everything live, like apparently Van Halen did. So we went in, set up - it was like a bloody gymnasium – and then went off to the complex we were staying in, very nice, and got wrecked - and the next morning, the playing wasn't very good!"

...and Wolverhampton:

"I thought 'God, I'm paying for this!', so I lugged all the equipment and the recordings we'd done all the way up to Wolverhampton to Mark Stuart, Magnum's producer, who runs Madhat Studios, about two miles from where I live.

"There's a girl there called Sheena Sear, who was amazing; she retrieved everything that was any good, and reformatted it all. It wasn't rubbish or anything, but the band hadn't played for years, so it was just badly-played pissed stuff basically! And some of the tracks were in the wrong key, so Laurence came up and rerecorded the guitar. He was only supposed to come up for two days, but he's a workaholic, once he's started on something, he has to finish it, so he stayed all week. And at the end of it, he said he didn't know if he could cope with the pressure, he had too much film work, he was gonna sell his guitars! I've known Laurence all his life, I know what he's like, he's difficult to argue with.

"So there was a period of no contact for six weeks, he had a lotta pressure with the film he was doing. Eventually, I emailed him and said 'look we've got all this stuff, what're we gonna do with it?', and he said he just didn't have the time. On top of all this was the fact that Magnum were about to come in and do their album, we were using down time, so there was a lotta pressure. Mark said he'd phone us when the studio was free here and there.

"Now I don't wanna slag these guys off, but the prospect of phoning them up and saying 'oh we've got three hours here and there, can you make it' and they're coming back to me and saying they're playing golf or whatever, was just not that appealing."

But Reuben was determined to finish the album:

"Finally, I asked Laurence if he'd mind me getting another guitarist in, even though I hadn't got a clue who at the time, and he said fine. My son Frankie had a little band when he was fourteen, and I used to do the sound for them. There was a little kid called Rob Wolverson who played guitar, and I helped him buy his first guitar. So I asked Frankie what Rob was doing these days, and he said still playing guitar, and really good. So I got him in. He's absolutely fantastic, looks great – dreadlocks down to his knees – no ego at all, fucking great. So he finished the rest of the album with us, and now he stands in for Laurence when he can't play."

With second guitarist Chris Clowsley and drummer Steve Graystone, Stampede, and the album, was complete. After receiving outstanding praise for 'A Sudden Impulse', the band played a gig at The Peel in Kingston with Praying Mantis in May, to rapturous applause - both bands proving that, contrary to popular myth, most musicians improve with age, like a fine wine.
stampede

ERIC... WHO?


Reuben and I continue munching and looking out over the river, which brings us back to Reuben's halcyon days, and EC. Did he ever see Eric again?

"I tried to get him for the Bristol International Festival that I helped organise in 1976. I spoke to his manager Roger, but he just messed us about. Didn't know why then, but it was coz he was being a recluse at the time. Roger said 'no he's not doing anything, no album or anything', so we didn't get him.

"I used to tell Laurence all these stories, and he never believed me! I had a pass for Eric's first gig at The Rainbow when he came back, and I couldn't go, so I gave it to Laurence. He was standing in this doorway as Eric came offstage, and Eric said 'do I know you?' Laurence replied, 'you know my Dad, Reuben', and Eric said 'who the fuck is that?'!

"But I've got proof now! Neil Murray came up to me in Southampton when I was on the Whitesnake tour with Lionheart, and he said 'I didn't realise your age Reuben!' 'Whaddya mean?' He told me he'd just bought The Yardbirds' autobiography and in the second or third chapter it reads 'Eric Clapton and Reuben Archer frequented Richmond with bouffant hair and plastic macs'. Nobody believes any of this – so Jimmy McCarthy, the Yardbirds' drummer, is sending me a copy of the book, so I can prove it!"

Plastic macs? These, it appears, were Mod de rigeuer before parkas. I think we'll just leave that one there. Another story for another day methinks.

We finish munching, and Reuben says:

"That Welsh rarebit was nice. What is it anyway?"

"Cheese on toast, mate."

Some things, like Welsh rarebit, may've passed Reuben by, but Life has certainly not. As he said in his email a few days after our chat:

"It's like I said 'This Road Is Hard', but at the end of it you just can't get enough..."

Rock 'n' roll. Life. Welsh rarebit. Niiice.

THE END




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Blackwolf join The Vintage Caravan as support to Blues Pills in November. New single 'Kiss The Fire' is out now...

hammerfall HAMMERFALL ANNOUNCE LINE-UP CHANGES
"Life in a Heavy Metal band is indeed filled with twists and turns, highs and lows, ups and downs..."

metal all stars METAL ALL STARS SCHEDULE EXCLUSIVE LONDON GIG IN DECEMBER
A special one-off concert by the Metal All Stars featuring members of Megadeth, Dream Theater, Anthrax, Testament and many more is not to be missed...

voodoo vegas VOODOO VEGAS RELEASE LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'NO MORE'
This is the last release from the debut album as Bournemouth's finest prepare to return to the studio to record the follow-up...

enter shikari ENTER SHIKARI ANNOUNCE THE MINDSWEEP ALBUM DETAILS, PLUS 2015 EURO & UK TOUR DATES
"We pushed ourselves vocally with some of the rawest angriest vocals we've ever done as well as some of the most dulcet and delicate..."

black label society BLACK LABEL SOCIETY ANNOUNCE 2015 UK TOUR DATES
Zakk Wylde and co are bringing their explosive swagger to Europe in support of 'Catacombs Of The Black Vatican'...

evile EVILE ARE BACK WITH A NEW GUITARIST AND NEW TOUR DATES FOR 2015
"We finally get the chance to tour in support of our last album 'Skull'...we plan on playing that album in full at shows next year as we're really proud of what we put together..."

the temperance movement THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT 2 DISC DELUXE EDITION OUT NOW WITH BONUS LIVE TRACKS
Catch five stunning tracks recorded on the recent European tour. Fans who have already purchased the album can get these for free...

wildfire WILDFIRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCE SEVEN NEW BANDS
Seven more red hot bands join headliners Tygers Of Pan Tang in what promises to be a scorching festival...

rival sons RIVAL SONS CONFIRMED FOR LATER WITH JOOLS HOLLAND
The band will preview their next single 'Good Things'. A further UK tour is planned for December this year...

ac/dc AC/DC REVEAL FIRST TRACK, ARTWORK AND TRACKLISTING FOR NEW ALBUM 'ROCK OR BUST'
'Rock Or Bust' is AC/DC's first studio album for six years and their first ever not to feature their founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young

manowar MANOWAR GIVE STUDENT MUSICIANS FROM ESSEN, GERMANY A NEW STAGE
Manowar will perform with the Bredeneyer Schulorchester. "We have offered them the opportunity to reach an audience that we know understands the tremendous power of music, and that they have more in common with than they may imagine..."

steel panther STEEL PANTHER UNLEASH VIDEO FOR 'PUSSYWHIPPED'
Biggest ever UK tour kicks off in March 2015, including a night at Wembley Arena...

texas flood THE TEXAS FLOOD SIGN LONG TERM DEAL WITH OFF YER ROCKA RECORDINGS
The powerhouse trio are ready to showcase their own brand of vintage rock to the world...

pythia PYTHIA ANNOUNCE RELEASE DATE, ARTWORK AND TRACKLISTING FOR NEW ALBUM 'SHADOWS OF A BROKEN PAST'
The band have also released the first song, 'The Key', which you can hear as part of the promo video here...

acdc AC/DC SHOOT NEW PROMO VIDEOS IN LONDON
Once inside Brian Johnson explained that Malcolm Young gave his blessing for the band to continue without him...

sanctuary SANCTUARY RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'FROZEN'
Seattle Thrash luminaries Sanctuary return with a new album and video, their first for twenty five years...

guns n roses GUNS N' ROSES TO RELEASE 3D CONCERT 'APPETITE FOR DEMOCRACY 3D: LIVE AT THE HARD ROCK CASINO - LAS VEGAS' INTERNATIONALLY
This is the first official Guns N' Roses live concert film since 1992's 'Use Your Illusion' concert video and features brand new live performances of classic GN'R tracks...

blues pills BLUES PILLS KICK OFF THEIR HEADLINING EUROPEAN TOUR
The three month tour takes in seven UK dates, including an upgraded venue in Manchester...

tesseract TESSERACT SIGN TO KSCOPE
The band have a new creative energy after reuniting with singer Dan Tompkins and have already written half of their third album, the follow up to 'Altered State', slated for a 2015 release...

primordial PRIMORDIAL TO RELEASE NEW FULL-LENGTH THIS NOVEMBER VIA METAL BLADE RECORDS
"We feel revitalized, the hunger never left and we are ready for another chapter to be written in our history..."

ill nino ILL NIÑO PREMIERE NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR 'I'M NOT THE ENEMY'
The video tells a bold story of youthful injustice, overcoming social stereotypes and the dreams of constructing a better life...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND LAUNCHES ZTV AND NEW ZILTOID SITE
"I'm really excited to present to you the new Ziltoid website, and the first of three ZTV episodes leading up to the album release..."

judas priest JUDAS PRIEST OPEN US TOUR WITH NEW SONGS AND CLASSICS: SPOILER ALERT - FULL SETLIST HERE
The legendary British Metallers are touring in support of of their new 'Redeemer Of Souls' album...

tony wright TONY WRIGHT RELEASES FIRST SOLO ALBUM 'THOUGHTS 'N' ALL' ON 17TH NOVEMBER
The Terrorvision frontman has made a personal, heartfelt and passionate reflection of his journey...

off PUNK/HARDCORE LUMINARIES OFF! RETURN TO THE ROAD
There will be six UK dates before the band head off to mainland Europe...

queensryche BREAKING NEWS: QUEENSRYCHE ANNOUNCED AS HARD ROCK HELL VIII HEADLINERS
Following the official cancellation of W.A.S.P., Hard Rock Hell are pleased to announce that Queensryche will be stepping up to the top slot...

motorhead LEMMY TALKS TO FULL METAL JACKIE ABOUT HIS HEALTH, THE NEXT ALBUM AND THE MOTORBOAT CRUISE
Lemmy Kilmister was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show this weekend...

hellion HELLION ANNOUNCE NEW 'KARMA'S A BITCH' MINI ALBUM & SINGLE
Hellion's strongest line-up to date unleash first new material in over a decade...

blaze bayley BLAZE BAYLEY RELEASES 'SOUNDTRACKS OF MY LIFE' DVD
Blaze and backing band Absolva are captured in a performance celebrating 30 years in the business for Blaze...

black sabbath BREAKING NEWS: BLACK SABBATH TO RECORD NEW ALBUM AND DO ONE FINAL TOUR
Just as we told you back in May, Black Sabbath's Hyde Park performance on 4th July was not the last ever Sabbath gig...

def leppard DEF LEPPARD ROCK THE NFL AT WEMBLEY
A stage was set up on the pitch with the band performing in front of beautiful cheerleaders...

slipknot SLIPKNOT RELEASE 'THE DEVIL IN I' OFFICIAL VIDEO
Find out more about the new masks as the build up to the release of '.5:The Gray Chapter' continues...

sy keeler ONSLAUGHT'S SY KEELER TO SIT OUT FORTHCOMING US/CANADA/SOUTH AMERICA TOUR
Ex Anthrax legend Neil Turbin steps into the breach as the health issues of Sy Keeler's son mean he is needed at home...

vivian cambell VIV CAMPBELL TO UNDERGO STEM CELL TREATMENT
Trixter guitarist Steve Brown will fill in for Def Leppard's autumn dates...

haken HAKEN LAUNCH 'DARKEST LIGHT' VIDEO
"We've managed to chop the old song in half, cut away all the excess fat and produce a 6 minute rowdy riff roller-coaster that will surely find a home in the heavier side of our live show..."

the dead daisies THE DEAD DAISIES RELEASE 'THE FACE I LOVE' VIDEO
Get a look at the title track of the new EP here. A new album will follow in 2015...

primordial PRIMORDIAL ANNOUNCE UK DATES IN FEBRUARY 2015
There will also be an album launch in Dublin in November for 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen'...

protokult SING ALONG TO 'GET ME A BEER!' LYRIC VIDEO BY PROG FOLK METALLERS PROTOKUL
"For those of you who can't understand what the hell Martin is spewing, now is your chance to sing along! Get yourself a cold one and enjoy!"...

whitesnake WHITESNAKE ANNOUNCE NEW LIVE DVD/CD WITH CLASSIC AND RARE PERFORMANCES
"It's still hard for me to find the words when remembering that half the incredible band who originally recorded the 'Slide It In' album with me have passed away," says Coverdale...

metal church VOCALIST RONNY MUNROE QUITS METAL CHURCH
The band posted a statement on their official Facebook page assuring fans that the band is alive and well and that "big announcements" are expected soon...

bloodbath BLOODBATH STREAM FIRST NEW TRACK FEATURING NICK HOLMES AND REVEAL ALBUM TRACKLISTING
Sweden's masters of horror Bloodbath are set to release their fourth album of supreme death Metal, 'Grand Morbid Funeral', on 17th November 2014...

ac/dc AC/DC ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, 'ROCK OR BUST', AND CONFIRM DEPARTURE OF MALCOLM YOUNG
AC/DC have announced details of their 17th studio album, their first for six years and their first ever not to feature Malcolm...

lordi LORDI RELEASE FIRST SINGLE FROM NEW ALBUM 'SCARE FORCE ONE'
Tour dates to follow for the Finnish sensations. "The overall sound of the band is more modern this time, and we've tried out some new tricks here and there..."

bloodstock CANNIBAL CORPSE WILL PLAY AN EXCLUSIVE UK SHOW AT BLOODSTOCK 2015
Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura and Ihsahn join the line-up that also includes Within Temptation and Opeth...

helix HELIX ANNOUNCE TOUR OF EUROPE
This will be the first Euro tour for Helix since heading out with Kiss and Ian Gillan in the 1980s...

threshold THRESHOLD DISCUSS HOW THEY FOUND THE NEW ALBUM ARTWORK ON THE INTERNET
Damian Wilson and Richard West discuss Threshold's new album 'For The Journey', out today...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS RELEASE 'THIS IS ROCK N ROLL II' IN ADVANCE OF NOVEMBER TOUR
Re-packaged, re-styled and with 4 bonus tracks, the rare 2001 classic from The Quireboys will be available on 23rd October...

gwar GWAR REVEAL TWO NEW MEMBERS - BLÓTHAR AND VULVATRON
Meet the latest warriors to don the latex and styrofoam and join the intergalactic crew for Gwar's "Eternal" tour...

fear factory FEAR FACTORY SIGN TO NUCLEAR BLAST ENTERTAINMENT
The journey continues for one of the groundbreaking Metal bands of our time, with new material to be released in 2015...

tank TANK BEGIN WORK ON NEW ALBUM; BAND CONFIRMED FOR BANG YOUR HEAD
The band are scheduled to enter the studio in November with a release planned for early February...

blitzallica DIAMOND HEAD TO HEADLINE COUNTY DURHAM'S BLITZALLICA IN OCTOBER
Plus legendary Metal party band Dumpy's Rusty Nuts and old favorites Holosade who are reforming especially for this headbanging estravaganza...

saille SAILLE COMMENT ON FORTHCOMING THIRD ALBUM
"'Eldritch' differs quite a bit from our two previous albums," keyboardist Dries Gaerdelen says...

winger WINGER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'BETTER DAYS COMIN'
Winger have released a new music video - the title track from their Billboard chart breaking album...

voodoo six VOODOO SIX ANNOUNCE SIX HEADLINE SHOWS IN EUROPE
This Autumn, Voodoo Six will play six headline shows in Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER ANNOUNCES DECEMBER UK TOUR
Schenker will perform songs from the new album, which features the new single, 'Lord Of The Lost And Lonely' plus all the classics...

johnny thunders LOOKING FOR JOHNNY: THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY THUNDERS MOVIE TO BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH
When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery...

metallica METALLICA TO RELEASE 27 LIVE ALBUMS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR AND APPEAR IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS
To commemorate the anniversary of the LiveMetallica.com site, the band are offering CDs and LPs of every gig they played in 2014...

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS AND THE TREATMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOURS
Kobra And The Lotus will be kicking off their Headline Tour on 24th September in support of their latest record 'High Priestess'...

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