Old Habits Die Hard / FM Celebrates 40 Years At Dingwalls

Compared to new wave electronica pioneer turned Goth Industrial Metal God Gary Numan, who is playing down the road from them at the Roundhouse tonight, melodic rock quintet FM are spring chickens. But celebrating forty years since forming, they have got a lot to shout about.

FM

Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024

Words: Paul Monkhouse

Photography: Manuela Langotsch

With a great new album, Old Habits Die Hard, now unleashed, the outfit are back on the road and reminding everyone, if ever that was necessary, why they were contenders for the crown of supremely crafted hard rock that Bon Jovi gained in those halcyon days.

FM - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
FM – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

With original members singer Steve Overland, drummer Pete Jupp and bass player Merv Goldsworthy still pushing the band forward, guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick and long-term keys player Jem Davis have added their own particular magic to the band, this line-up together and stable since 2008.

FM - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
FM – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

Masters of their craft, the London-based outfit may have had their initial rise halted by both grunge and record company politics, but their rebirth in 2007 was a very welcome return after an eleven-year hiatus, and they’ve not looked back since.

Always more Bad Company than Bon Jovi, there has always been a very British grit that backed up the smooth harmonies of their material, the hooks huge and imbued with a bluesy warmth that set them ahead of the field.

FM - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
FM – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

It’s been a tough time for FM of late, the passing of original guitarist Chris Overland affecting not just brother Steve but the whole of the band and the cancer battle fought and hard won by Davis both mountains to climb.

Used to adversity and dealing with it the only way they know how, the quintet has returned with some of their finest material yet and the tour is a career spanning celebration of past, present and future.

FM - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
FM – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

Digging Up The Dirt is a cocksure opener, its drive and punch played over a skittering keys pattern, and the soulful voice of Overland still sounds like a thing of wonder, the mighty riff of Tough It Out something of a mantra for the veterans.

Latest singles Don’t Need Another Heartache and Out Of The Blue brings things bang up to date. These live versions add an extra fire and crackle of electricity to the shimmering album cuts, and it’s all played with the same amount of passion, the band confident in the cherry-picked set.

FM - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
FM – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

The singer may joke that it seems that it’s another long bout of touring, but they’re obviously loving every minute, the smiles onstage infectious as they play their hearts out, the joy of the music still there.

This is all part of FM’s continued longevity, though. The chemistry between the five gives it all a feeling that this is five mates on the road together and making exactly the music they’ve always wanted to.

FM - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
FM – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

Jupp and Goldsworthy are the perfect team, their engine room providing the drive to the train, the partnership stretching back to their time together in Samson having provided an almost psychic between them.

Tucked at the side of the stage, somewhat hidden, Davis has always been something of a secret weapon for the band, his playing and songwriting having added yet more layers to their sound that’s helped push them ever forward and the input of Kirkpatrick equally important to their drive ever onwards.

FM - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
FM – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

Highlights are many, and with numbers as strong as Closer To Heaven, Bad Luck, and Turn This Car Around, it proves that the band have never lost the mojo that launched them so solidly onto the scene in the first place.

Indiscreet classics That Girl, Hot Wired and set closer, Other Side Of Midnight, get an airing too, still sounding as fresh as ever and played like they were written yesterday. This is proof that good songs will always last.

FM - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
FM – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

Nirvana and their ilk may have put an end to FM the first time round but their phoenix-like rise from the ashes continues to be one of the greatest comeback stories in rock.

Long may they continue.

FM - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
FM – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk
FM - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
FM – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk
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