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Q&A Sessions:
Jim Kirkpatrick
Jem Davis
Merv Goldsworthy
Pete Jupp
Steve Overland

FM Q&A with Pete Jupp

Jim came up with the idea of doing Questions and Answers sessions on the site. This got a big thumbs up from the team and as a pat on the back to Jim for having such a good idea we let you give him the first grilling. This was swiftly followed by Jem's Q&A.  

After a bit of a break the Q&A sessions returned with a vengeance and Merv volunteered to be the next victim. Now it's Pete's turn. Thank you to everyone who sent in questions.

Ian - Peter, seeing as how the "No Electricity Required" album and tour was so popular (I saw you at Maxime's in Wigan in 1992) would you guys consider doing an acoustic show again?
I know unplugged is a bit '90s but it suits the band really well.

Pete - Hi Ian.  There are no plans at this time to do any acoustic shows but never say never. We really enjoyed doing the shows at the time. I remember they were a real blast. I think the current line-up would be well suited for them too, we know Mr. Overland can play a mean acoustic and Jim too is an excellent acoustic guitar player. Watch this space?


Jacquie - Hi Pete, I was wondering has there ever been any extraordinary fans that you remember for whatever reason during the whole of FM's years?

Pete - Hi Jacquie.  All our fans are extraordinary as well as being very, very patient :-). I have friends who had never seen us live, they've come to recent shows and they can't believe how dedicated and passionate our fans are. They always comment on how they can't believe the entire audience knows all the words to all the songs. It blows them away.  

There is one occasion that I've never forgotten. We got a letter from a fan who had bought tickets for one of the Astoria shows. Tragically a week or so before the gig his Dad died. Obviously distraught he didn't know whether he would be able to make the show. He eventually decided to go along. He ended the letter saying although he was going through the toughest time of his life, for the hour and a half we were on stage he was able to forget his troubles. I took that as the greatest compliment you could ever pay us.


Philip - Hi Pete, any idea when FM will play Newcastle, it's been too long!

Pete - Hi Phil, I think your prayers could well be answered in 2013. Can't give away too much but we'll back to the Toon again soon. Looking forward to seeing you there… mine's a Bud :-)


David - Hi Pete. What inspired you to take up drumming and how did you get into your first band? Which band was it?

Pete - Hi David. Unfortunately - and I really hate doing this - I have to give my p***k of a stepfather some credit here. He was into all the big band stuff and I listened to Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich and that got me into drums. I also remember an ex-girlfriend of my brother (he's 14 years older than me) had a small drum kit and when looking after me round at her house they would encourage me to bang on the drums while they were probably banging away themselves :-) My brother also bought me my first 'proper' kit, a midnight blue Hayman. Before that I had a red sparkle Broadway kit.

My first band was "Rock Machine", me on drums and vocals, Bob Skeat, now of Wishbone Ash on bass. We'd play T. Rex, Slade and Sweet songs. My first gig was at Bob's school Latymer in Hammersmith. Joined by a vocalist and guitarist (can't remember their names) we performed "Sunshine of your Love" by Cream and Stones song "Get off my Cloud". My mum and I moved to Scotland for a year or so when I was about 12-13. It was here I first heard "Rock and Roll" and "Black Dog" by Zeppelin at my girlfriend Joyce Finlay's house. This young lady is responsible for getting me into rock music, good on you Joyce. From then on I was mad on Bonzo, Ian Paice and Simon Kirke.  


Scott - We used to see you at Central Park in Burton in the late '80s. What are your memories of these shows and the venue?

Pete - Hi Scott. Cloudy to be truthful but I remember they were always great gigs. One thing I do remember is a certain member of our entourage having a… shall we call it 'romantic liaison' with a young lady in our tour bus parked outside the venue gig exit while the audience were leaving. He thought the windows were blacked out… they weren't :-) Good times!

Scott - Do you find the new recording options (at home for instance) have made a difference to the band's recording activity?

Pete - It's certainly a lot cheaper, if you think we were paying sometimes up to £1,500 a day for studio time during the Indiscreet / Tough It Out eras. There is a lot of 'discussion' on the merits of the new digital age versus analogue and both arguments hold water. Yes, analogue probably does sound warmer, nicer for sure for the purist but once the audio has been compressed and limited to hell because of the loudness wars at the mastering stage and then converting it to MP3 etc. I feel the sheer convenience of working digitally outweighs the sonic advantages of analogue.  

Then of course there are the space issues. Indiscreet and Tough It Out were 48-track recordings meaning two 24-track tape machines linked by time code, well 46-track actually as two tracks were needed for the SMPTE timecode. I could just about fit the two machines in my little 12x12 studio but there would be no room for me, any musicians or any other equipment. I can record well over 100 tracks on my 10 year old PC no problem and what comes out the speakers sounds pretty good to me.  

In an ideal world it would be lovely to have the space, money etc. to have the best of both worlds. Acoustic drums sound great recorded to tape because of the natural tape compression that happens during the recording process.  

Sorry, I'm rambling… let's get back to the question. In my little room we record lead vocals, backing vocals, some electric guitars, acoustic guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, percussion. We go elsewhere to record drums and the heavier guitars but we do so much in my tiny studio that yes is the answer to your question about productivity in the digital age… with the advent of new technology it's a massive help.

Scott - Any ideas on a release date for any new songs / album?

Pete - There will be some news coming very soon regarding both.

Scott - Any plans for more live dates soon?

Pete - We're doing two dates with Thin Lizzy this month (August) and we're planning dates for 2013.

Scott - Are you working with any other projects outside of FM?

Pete - Steve Overland and I are involved in a project writing modern country songs in the vein of Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban etc. with our good friend Steve Morris and Canadian producer Michael Behm but I admit since FM have got back together pretty much all my time is spent working on FM-related stuff. I really enjoy working on other projects and different musical styles but FM is my priority.


Lidia - Out of all the tracks you have ever played on which is your favourite?

Pete - Wow a really tough question to answer. I guess the songs on the first Wildlife album BURNING were special as they are the first tracks I was ever on commercially. I remember being fraught with nerves as the first four tracks recorded had session players on them but producer Rupert Hine (a top, top man) said he wanted to give the band a go. Just as we were about to start recording our manager at the time said "Here's your chance - if you blow it that will be the end for you". That obviously didn't help in the slightest nerves-wise, I was literally shaking with fear. Thankfully Rupert put us at ease and all went great.


Chris - Will you be doing any more 12" / extended mixes for the new songs on the new album?  How long do they take to do?

Pete - Funnily enough I was thinking about the very same thing just the other day. I enjoy doing them a lot. They're fun because you can do pretty much what you like, there are no boundaries. Once I have the basic idea for the track it probably takes about a week to complete.


Paul - What have been the highlights and lowlights of your career?

Pete - Hi Paul. Highlights? Yes, definitely had highlights on more than one occasion, along with many a perm. Seriously there have been quite a few. First tour I ever did supporting Blackfoot with Samson, FM signing to CBS, our first Marquee gig, seeing the crowd stretching right around the corner at an Astoria show, the Bon Jovi tour, headlining Hammersmith Odeon on the Tough It Out tour, Firefest 2007 and playing the main stage at Donington. Will that do for starters?

Low points? The bus crash was a bit overrated but no one got hurt so it can't have been that bad. Probably the recording of Dead Man's Shoes was a real low point for me. We had no budget at all for recording, we begged and borrowed recording equipment to use and did most of the recording in a youth club in Slough. It was hardly ideal but we persevered against the odds and managed to finish the album but it definitely took the wind out of our sails and was probably the start of the beginning of the end.

Paul - What has been your favourite gig since FM reformed?

Pete - There have been many actually. Our first Firefest in 2007 has to be mentioned because although we were all bricking it the crowd reaction made it one of the most emotional and moving experiences ever, a night I'll never forget. The Indiscreet shows in March this year were an absolute blast, again the crowd were just extra special. I just feel so privileged to be back behind the guys on drums and getting to play out in Europe again. Every show to me is special in its own way.

Paul - At what point did you make the collective decision that the comeback should be more permanent?

Pete - Pretty much directly after the first Firefest show. We had no plans at all but the crowd reaction made sticking with it and recording a new album probably the easiest decision of our career.

Paul - What are the worst habits of your bandmates whilst on the road?

Pete - I've been racking my brains and honestly I'm struggling to think of any. Jem's snoring springs to mind, I'm never sharing a room with him again. Apparently Jim K can almost match him according to Mr. Overland. Andy B would only take about 3 T-shirts away with him for a two month tour. That's about it, sorry I can't dish more dirt :-)


Marie - What is your favourite song from the METROPOLIS album?

Pete - Hi Marie, I am going to go for "Unbreakable", I had the tinkly piano arpeggio idea and the song just grew from there.


Rich - What was your favourite Samson track?

Pete - Hi Rich. My favourite Samson track would be "Front Page News" or "Dangerzone"


Simon - What would you say is the trickiest drum pattern / fill you play or have played in an FM set?

Pete - Hi Simon, I don't do tricky. :-)  A lot of people have asked me about the tom triplet on the "That Girl" intro and solo but it's really straightforward - just keep the 4s on the kick and throw in a tom and snare in that order to form the triplet, simple. Told you, I don't do tricky.

Simon - I'm in the process of selling my Resonator kit and will be looking for something to mess about on that's pretty compact. I fancy your Cover Story set or would you go fully electric?

Pete - The Traps Drums kit I use for small gigs is great value and sounds pretty damn good, especially the toms. I'm seriously considering adding a couple to my Premier set-up. Electronic kits have come on leaps and bounds since the days I had my old perspex Simmons pads that broke your wrists. A good friend of mine Clive Jenner who played with Groove Armada and is currently on tour with the Proclaimers has just bought the flagship new Roland electronic kit and he is a staunch acoustic player but he says they've cracked it with this version. The snare and the hi-hats, always a let-down, are brilliant this time round. The down side is that this sort of quality costs a fortune but there are plenty of more budget kits on the market. I guess the thing to do is try both before you spend your hard-earned and see which suits you best.  


Robert - Hi Pete! Which drummers inspired you to take up the sticks and at what age did you begin drumming?

Pete - Hi Robert. Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Ian Paice, Simon Kirke, all got me interested in being 'the man at the back' and later Jeff Porcaro was a huge inspiration. Not sure I can remember exactly what age I started taking drums seriously but I was probably around 10 or 11 years old.


James - What are the best and worst live bands you've ever seen?

Pete - Best? The Who at Charlton FC in the seventies or possibly Dan Reed Network at the Marquee on Charing Cross Road.

The worst? Possibly the biggest disappointment was Peter Frampton at Wembley during the "Frampton Comes Alive" tour era. It was just like the live album even down to the in-between song chat. It wasn't terrible, far from it, it just lacked some spontaneity and seemed a bit sterile.


Stephen - How did you meet Steve and Chris Overland?

Pete - Hi Stephen. My brother paid for a box ad in Melody Maker offering my services as a drummer. Wildlife's manager called me up as they were looking for a bass player and drummer so Bob Skeat and I went along for an audition. We got the job and that's how I met those good old Norfolk boys.


Martin - Hi Pete, First question - On stage, you're sat behind one of the finest vocalists ever to grace the stage. But what other vocalists - rock singers or others - float your boat and get played regularly at Jupp Towers?

Pete - Hi Martin. Paul Rogers (the archetypal rock vocalist), Freddie Mercury (best frontman / vocalist bar none), Stevie Wonder (Err! Stevie Wonder!), Amy Winehouse (shame her demons often overshadowed her talent), Adele (effortless), Don Henley (very opinionated but with that voice…). There are many, many more but these sprang to mind while writing.

Martin - Second question - Which Olympic discipline will you be winning Gold at in Rio in 2016?

Pete - The Blue Bar Endurance Marathon - I'm nailed on for gold :-)


Craig - As one of the credited songwriters of That Girl what did you think of the Iron Maiden cover-version on the B-side of Stranger In A Strange Land? Was their version the original arrangement or a complete re-working of their own?

Pete - Hi Craig. Yes Maiden's version was the original arrangement we did in the "Andy Goes to Canada" line-up with Andy Barnett, Dave Lloyd and Dave Colwell before Steve and Chris were in the band. We rewrote the chorus early on after the Overlands came on board. It was one of the four songs that got us the CBS deal.

Craig - Is there any likelihood of a gig this side of the Atlantic?

Pete - Nothing planned as yet but we would love the chance to play some shows on the other side of the Atlantic.

Craig - Are you going to make a run for the FM Premier League this year?

Pete - I'm always in it but I'm not as competitive as Merv and tend to select a team and then do very little apart from cross my fingers. Whereas Merv will make all sorts of changes throughout the season. But I'm going to take the crown this year for sure.


David - Could you ask Pete if he remembers the Wigan gig about 22 years ago when the band had their instruments confiscated by customs (another story). And the band still turned up great guys. But the club had no drum kit so Pete became the vocalist for the night banging out T-Rex songs and going mental in the audience. I think he had the best time ever that night.

Pete - Hi David, I do vaguely remember something about the night in Wigan. Previously a few nights before yes we had a little altercation at the Northern Irish border with customs officials and in fairness they were all decent fellas and only doing their jobs. We were very late for our show in Belfast that night - funnily enough the promoter was an up-and-coming young lad by the name of Steve Strange - unfortunately my drum tech had to spend the night in a Belfast jail as the customs officers had found about his person some powder that makes you go around awfully fast. So it was all fairly chaotic. We did the show, then headed off to the prison to make sure all was ok with my tech (he was released the following morning and met us in Dublin). I don't actually remember any of our gear being confiscated, well not the musical variety, but that doesn't mean it wasn't :-) I do remember belting out T. Rex songs on more than a few occasions definitely, with Mr. O doing a very capable job on the drums. I also recall accidentally bashing a young lady on the head with my mic, in Cardiff I believe.


Cath - Do you still enjoy playing the FM songs as much as you did when you first started?

Pete - Hi Cath, Yes definitely. When we finished in '95 I never thought I'd ever get the chance to play on big stages in front of huge crowds ever again. So being back in the spotlight again I really am savouring every minute and loving it.


Mike - Do you play any other instruments?

Pete - Hi Mike, I can play a bit of guitar, strictly rhythm mind, you won't hear too many blistering solos coming from my fingers. I can bash a cowbell with the best of 'em, rattle a tambourine and can manage some outstanding keyboards once I've programmed in the notes and let the computer play them.


Bill - Who is / was the best drummer of all time?

Pete - Hi Bill. I wouldn't know where to start, there are so many greats living and dead. I was lucky enough to see Buddy Rich at Hammersmith Odeon many, many years ago. The band did the first couple of songs on their own before the great man joined them behind the drums. When he did, the way he drove the band along was incredible, the band sounded awesome, so powerful. I saw John Bonham with Led Zeppelin and he just held it all together, what a groove and sound. I saw Jeff Porcaro who was another hero of mine, the man was pure class, so tasteful. Watching Ian Paice every night when Samson toured with Gary Moore was an absolute pleasure, brilliant at every show. I don't think there actually is a 'best' but hundreds and hundreds of 'greats' for sure.

Bill - What do you think about drum solos?

Pete - I like a good drum solo now and again as much as the next person but I'll admit I hate doing them myself, the reason being I don't think I'm very good at them. I fully admit I much prefer playing with a band and contributing to the song rather than being out there on my own.

Bill - If you didn't do this what job would you be doing?

Pete - A Premiership footballer on a hundred grand a week would suit me down to the ground but seriously I haven't a clue what I'll do when I have to knock the drums on the head. The thought scares me to death to be honest.

Bill - Which venue / country would you love to play that you haven't yet?

Pete - I'd love to play any venue in America as we've never played there, South America also. In fact any country I've never visited would be great as I love travelling to new places. We had a great summer last year revisiting some of the European countries we hadn't played in years, as well as playing our first show in Spain.

Bill - Describe Pete Jupp in three words…

Pete - A bit daft…


Compiled August 2012

Photo - Pete Jupp live at Indiscreet 25Live -
Manchester Academy 2 - 09 March 2012
Used with kind permission of Ian Parry

FM: Pete Jupp by Ian Parry Top Top