We couldn’t do what we do without the support of these wonderful people
Andrew - Never thought I’d see the day when I could see FM play live again, saw you back in the day at London Astoria, awesome. Question is, will you be playing many (hopefully all!) tracks from INDISCREET when you play Firefest VI on Sat 24th Oct 09? BTW have not seen you on YouTube, do you have an official presence there?
JD - In short YES! As a band we appreciate the majority of fans want to hear songs from INDISCREET and we are having fun revisiting those toons. Jim is faithful to Chris’ guitar parts and Stiv gives him a slap should he get it wrong (which he doesn’t). It sounds the biz but as to which ones, you’ll have to wait and see! Our official YouTube channel is at FMofficialTV.
Dave T - Hi Jem, I have a few questions (but they are short!). How did you get the ‘Penguin Pianist’ label?
JD - I was asked by my good friends Chris Dale and Alex Dickson to record and play with the fantastic SACK TRICK. This is a band you must check out, www.sacktrick.com. Very silly and brilliant at the same time. They have a hell of a family tree and can connect Iron Maiden to Take That! I did a couple of albums with them, the last one was SHEEP IN KISS MAKEUP which was a collection of KISS songs done in mad styles which was given the thumbs-up from KISS themselves. The first album I did was PENGUINS ON THE MOON. In the spirit of SACK TRICK we all dressed up in silly stage gear and I got myself a full penguin suit! Bloody hot to play in, I can tell ya! We supported Bruce Dickinson at the Astoria once and it was fun to see the look on the faces of these serious Heavy Metal fans when I walked out dressed as a penguin!
Dave T - What is the hidden story behind your ‘insoles’ that were up for sale on eBay?
JD - I was clearing out crap from my garage and Churchie was with me at the time. Totally his mad idea to put them on eBay for a laugh and raise money for ‘charidee’. I believe Jim was the ‘lucky’ winner so Steve stuck them to the front of the stage at Winstanley.
Dave T - Would you be lost without Steve Church?
JD - I’d be lost without TomTom! As with the majority of mankind I turn to the Church for answers! They aren’t always the right answers... But who am I to argue? Steve is a very good friend who I have known from my very first band. I was pleased to be able to get him involved with FM and it’s his passion for music and the mad world of FM that is very much appreciated by all the band. The question is would Steve be lost without Ali and Smudge?!!
Dave T - During the Winstanley set-up you played a truly awesome ad-lib ‘guitar solo on the keyboards’. Will you badger the boys to include a 3-way ‘solo’ section to Midnight (like Steve / Andy used to, but now Steve / Jim / Jem)? I think it would be an absolutely superb addition! All the best Jem, see ya at Firefest! Dave T.
JD - Kind of you to say so. Like most keyboard players I am a frustrated guitarist and I am constantly trying to get my Neal Schon nifty lead breaks into the set. Slowly wearing the boys down so watch this space : )
Steph - I’m a big FM fan and really keen to see them live again but don’t really want to see the rest of the bands at Firefest. Is there a cheaper ticket option just for the evening to see FM? (Not that they deserve less, we just want to see the best - forget the rest). Will FM be doing any more headline gigs after Firefest? There are thousands of fans out there waiting with bated breath. Come on lads, do us a favour! Here’s hoping! Regards, Steph Jordan.
JD - Waddaya mean my girl, you have the fantastic Romeo’s Daughter for starters... Worth every penny. Of course, plans are being put together for world domination as soon as we finish the album which will be well worth the wait let me tell you.
Lidia - Hi Jem. We know that some of the band have nicknames, Stiv, Swerve, Juppy... Do you have a band nickname and have the band allocated one to the newbie Jim yet? Lidia.
JD - Not really Lidia, although I do get called a lot of things! Andy used to call me Jemmington Stanley and Stiv was Stavely! Poor Jim is mainly known as The Kid, young ole boy, Nipper etc... I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.
Bo - Hi Jem, will FM play at Sweden Rock Festival 2010? Bo Braendstrup.
JD - Hi Bo, it’s looking good for 2010, we have been asked many times in the past but we needed to have a new album to promote. So, best make up the spare room : )
Craig - Jem was that really you on Telly Addicts with Noel Edmonds way back when? Oh, and did you win ‘cos I can’t remember? Don’t forget to let me know if you do get to Toronto to visit your family. All the best, Craig.
JD - Hi Craig, yes indeedy. Telly Addict and proud, with a picture of me and Edmonds up in the hall to prove it. I got more fan mail in Kerrang and Raw Power from that than any gig : ) Not sure Noel knew what to make of us, me with my long hair, ripped jeans etc., my sister 8 months pregnant and doing Spotty Dog impressions and my brother-in-law just getting over chickenpox! We bloody lost ‘n all, to a set of right couch potatoes and I could tell Noel wanted us to win... Ah well... Forgive and forget.
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 time round it’s Jem’s turn.
Keep checking back for details on more Q&A sessions with the band, we’ll post info on how to send in your questions for the next victim, sorry we mean band member. So get those thinking caps on and delve into the inner psyche of the band.
Avery - Jem, of all the sessions you’ve done and musicians you’ve played with, which is the one you enjoyed the most and who is the one you will never ever work with again? Any reasons? From Avery T. Deacon-Harry (the T is for Tom).
JD - I know the answer to this ain’t cool to many but it is to me. The best by far is Rolf Harris! What a lovely bloke. I did a charity bash with Andy B and all the faces were there, Peter Gabriel, Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders, Bruce Dickinson etc. But when Rolf Harris walked in everyone was all over him. We played "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" me on keys, Andy on guitar and Nicko from Iron Maiden on drums. It couldn’t be more bizarre but brilliant at the same time. My time with the UFO boys was also excellent, I was a big fan as a kid so to be on a stage with Moggy playing "Only You Can Rock Me" was a thrill. They were also top guys, always a good laugh as it is with the FM boys. Can’t say I’ve really had any bad sessions.
Barry - Hi Jem, what are your thoughts on soft synths? How do you think they compare to the real thing? Barry.
JD - There are some fantastic soft synths out there Barry, but I’m old-school when it comes to keys, Wakeman being my hero. My motto is "why have 1 keyboard when you can have 15!" My first keyboard was a Minimoog which is very much a hands-on synth. Nothing sounds quite like it, and that goes for real pianos and for Hammonds too. Love EZ Drummer Superior2.0, Ivory and Omnisphere. But I think it’s all down to the individual and I am happy to use soft synths along with my hardware when recording.
Steve - Jem, do you have a favourite FM album? If so, which one? Steve R.
JD - Can’t stand them, I’m a Blues man myself : )
Neil - How is the recording of the new album going and are there lots of keyboards on it? Neil.
JD - The new album sounds brill! It’s all keyboards, I have talked the guys into going for the Saga approach, 4 sets of keys on stage! Seriously tho’ I have been revisiting the sounds of INDISCREET as well as making sure there is plenty of Hammond and piano on it. With this album we are all focused on the overall sound, we want to make it the INDISCREET for 2010 and it’s sounding great.
Sally - What keyboard would you like to own if money / space were no object? Sally J.
JD - Good question Sally, I think I would like to take the Fazoli grand piano in Metropolis home, it’s just a fantastic piano to play.
Paul - Jem, which other keyboard players are you into? Is Didge Digital one of them (only joking)? Paul Stewart.
JD - As I said earlier, Wakeman was and is my hero along with Tony Banks, Jon Lord, Pat Moraz. More recent, Oliver and Adam Wakeman, John Beck from It Bites and the fantastic Jem Godfrey from Frost*. Didge did an excellent job with FM, I’m really enjoying playing the tunes from INDISCREET.
Scotty - Hi there Jem, being the most technology-minded in the band, do you have a studio at home and what stuff do you use? Are any of the other band members into that kind of thing or do they leave it up to you? Looking forward to the new album. Scotty.
JD - I have my Mac at home and run Logic with Motu 828 interface for recording. As I said earlier I’m old-school so I love my keyboards hence I have a 1973 Minimoog, Nord Stage 88 as my main keyboard for Logic, Nord Stage Compact, Korg PA1 x pro, Korg M3 73 with Radias, Roland Fantom G7, Roland Fantom X6, Roland Fantom XR, Moog Little Phatty, the excellent Nord C1, best Hammond emulator I have ever played. 2 Korg o1/w, Roland AX-1, Roland AX-7... Well you did ask! Pete is well into recording and programming, Merv writes with a Korg pa80 and is getting quite a nifty keyboard player, Jim has a ProTools set-up and Stiv... Well, we are still teaching him how to text! But when you can sing and write songs like he does, who cares!
JD - Thanks for your questions people, hope you enjoyed the answers. If you see me at Firefest, mine’s a pepper sandwich!
Compiled August 2009
Photo - Jem live at Download 2010
Used with kind permission of Marty Moffatt