We couldn’t do what we do without the support of these wonderful people
In the summer of 1984, over a few drinks in a London pub, FM was formed. Comprising
the ex-Samson pair of bassist Merv Goldsworthy and drummer Pete Jupp, the formidable
Overland brothers – vocalist/guitarist Steve and lead guitarist Chris (both formerly
of Wildlife) - plus the keyboard talents of Philip Manchester (better known as sci-fi
nutcase Didge Digital), the band wrote six songs. By December of that same year
FM had secured a recording contract with the CBS/Portrait label and the band set
off to join Meat Loaf for some shows in Germany.
The first public appearance of FM in the UK was on Valentine’s Day of 1985, attracting rave reviews. The début album INDISCREET wasn't far behind. A fully-fledged masterpiece, every track hit the spot and the mega-ballad ‘Frozen Heart’ caused lips to quiver and tear ducts to moisten whenever it was played.
"Frozen Heart" was heard in many venues during 1986 and FM hit the road in Europe supporting Tina Turner, Foreigner, Gary Moore, Status Quo and Magnum, also opening for REO Speedwagon at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. At the year’s end they were delighted to accept a spot with the white-hot Bon Jovi on the ‘Slippery When Wet’ tour.
It seemed that the roadwork was paying off handsomely. When CBS folded the Portrait label FM switched to Epic. The Overland brothers were flown to America to write with hitmaker Desmond Child, returning with a few great stories and the awesome hard rock anthem ‘Bad Luck’. Completing the jigsaw, Queensrÿche / Dokken producer Neil Kernon was engaged to oversee 1989’s TOUGH IT OUT, a harder-edged second album that saw FM at last realising the sound they had envisaged all along.
FM Line-up l-r: Jem Davis – keyboards / Pete Jupp – drums / Steve Overland – vocals & guitar
Jim Kirkpatrick – guitar / Merv Goldsworthy – bass
To promote TOUGH IT OUT the band set out on a gruelling 42-date UK tour that would
see them returning to Hammersmith Odeon, this time as headliners (Romeo’s Daughter
were the trek’s special guests). Soon afterwards, however, Chris Overland decided
to leave FM, his final performance taking place at the sold-out Town & Country Club.
In his place, FM recruited Andy Barnett, a guitarist who had already been in a prototype line-up of the group (indeed, if you look closely, Barnett scored a co-writing credit for the INDISCREET song ‘That Girl’). The impish Londoner brought with him a harder guitar sound and his influence upon FM’s musical direction soon became evident. His début with the group, 1991’s TAKIN’ IT TO THE STREETS album, was a more than creditable achievement.
FM had moved on. There was a new record label, the well-regarded independent Music
For Nations. The loud suits, flowing cloaks and bouffant hairstyles of the past were
all conspicuous by their absence, likewise the fluffy keyboards (Didge Digital would
parp his last with the band in late 1991). The quality of the songs more than compensated,
and their reworking of Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ deserved
to have been a hit single.
But TAKIN' IT TO THE STREETS didn’t prepare anyone for the following year’s APHRODISIAC, a collection of heart-wrenching ballads (‘Closer To Heaven’) and balls-out rockers (‘Breathe Fire’, ‘Blood And Gasoline’).
In undertaking a gigantic string of acoustic dates in the winter of 1992, FM would prove their rock ‘n’ roll credentials beyond all reasonable doubt. Combining an organic musical sound and the band’s unstoppable party attitude, the 40-odd dates they played crossed Europe, sweeping aside any preconceptions that might still have remained. The experience is still available if you pick up a copy of NO ELECTRICITY REQUIRED (also available on long-form video as LIVE ACOUSTICAL INTERCOURSE).
With Europe and the Far East opening up, a full-time keyboard appointment was made.
The affable Jem Davis had played with Tobruk, Midnight Blue and UFO. Sadly, the
arrangement was to prove short-lived. In the post-grunge fallout, bands like FM
had become distinctly unfashionable. Under normal circumstances, the quintet wouldn’t
have given a damn about such a predicament. They had begun to feel however, as though
they were painting themselves into a corner with the aptly-titled DEAD MAN'S SHOES
album. Shortly after its release in 1995, the band quietly slipped away to pursue
a variety of other opportunities.
The individual members soon discovered however, that it was impossible to get through an interview without being quizzed about the possibility of an FM reunion. The re-issuing and re-packaging of most of their albums on CD simply served to turn up the heat.
And so it came to pass... At Nottingham Rock City on 27th October 2007, after considering (and declining) multiple previous approaches from the organisers of a melodic hard rock all-dayer called Firefest, Merv, Steve, Pete, Andy and Jem finally played together again in public for the first time in 12 years. What a deeply emotional experience it turned out to be.
With stage two of the group’s career about to begin, the band were disappointed to
accept the resignation of Andy Barnett. With an exciting new guitarist on board
however, their plans were very soon back on target. Brought into the band at Steve
Overland’s suggestion, Jim Kirkpatrick was already a huge fan of FM so it was an
honour to accept the chance of joining a group whose records he loved. Kirkpatrick
was blooded at a low-key gig at Wigan’s Winstanley College in March 2009, followed
in more public fashion by a return headline spot at Firefest VI the following October,
in addition to playing on the WILDSIDE EP released that same month.
‘Wildside’ blew away any remaining cobwebs, setting the scene for FM's first new album in 15 years – the highly-acclaimed METROPOLIS, released March 2010. The band celebrated the release of METROPOLIS by putting on an album launch party show with 600 FM fanatics crammed into a sold-out Roadhouse in London’s Covent Garden at the beginning of February 2010. In May the band released ‘Hollow’ / ‘Flamingo Road’ as a single and the band soon found themselves playlisted on radio stations in many countries, not least on the UK's biggest radio station - BBC Radio 2, where ‘Hollow’ remained on the playlist for a month.
FM ‘live’ was very much the theme for the rest of 2010, with the band playing to packed houses all over the UK throughout the year. The resurrection was completed with invitations to play the main stages at Download in June and Hard Rock Hell IV in December. The band somehow found the time to release a 9-track mini-album CITY LIMITS EP in October 2010, featuring brand new song ‘Start It Up’ and live performances of several METROPOLIS songs recorded at concerts earlier in the year. The lead track on the mini-album ‘Bring Back Yesterday’ continued the success of its predecessor ‘Hollow’ by being playlisted at BBC Radio 2 for a month along with many other stations worldwide.
FM started 2011 with a show at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on January 22 with Thin Lizzy. The rest of the year saw the band return to many overseas strongholds of years gone by, including headline shows in Holland and Spain (their first ever live concert in that country); a show with D-A-D in Portugal; dates with Journey and Foreigner in Germany, Dublin and Belfast and appearances at major festivals such as Graspop in Belgium and Sweden Rock. They were also invited back to play at Download Festival again.
IIn January 2012 FM headlined the Sunday night Rock Stage at the Great British Rock & Blues Festival in Skegness and during March they staged three special concerts in Glasgow, Manchester and London to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the release of their début album INDISCREET. These shows saw FM play INDISCREET live in its entirety for the first time ever as part of a full show. FM ended the year as Special Guests on Thin Lizzy's Nov/Dec UK tour.
March 2013 proved to be a busy time for FM – their seventh studio album ROCKVILLE was released 11 March 2013 via Membran, followed by the release of companion album ROCKVILLE II 25 March 2013. On 15 March the band set off on their UK tour with Special Guests It Bites, Vega and Serpentine, culminating with their return to London Shepherd's Bush Empire for the final night of the tour on 23 March 2013.
With barely time to catch their breath FM released the DVD INDISCREET 25 LIVE at the beginning of April 2013 and headed off to Rotherham for the inaugural HRH AOR festival where on 06 April 2013 they shared the stage with other luminaries of the genre Tesla, Danny Vaughn and more including past tour-mates Romeo's Daughter and Vega.
FM will be heading to Loreley and Inzell in Germany 01 and 02 June 2013 to play at
HiRock festival with TOTO, Survivor, Rick Springfield and Man Doki Soulmates. On
27 July the band are Special Guests at Planet Rock's Steelhouse Festival in Wales
followed the next day by a headline show at The River Rooms in Stourbridge.