Armed And Ready – Kerrang! PAUL PALMER
IN SEPTEMBER 1980 Jack Grigor and Dave Weston decided to present the East London music scene with more than a Suzi Quatro or Bucks Fiz. The result was Chemical Alice – no, not a laxative or rubber doll, but an Essex rock band that has created slight waves of interest in the outer regions of the metropolis. Today, the line-up is Dave Weston (lead guitar), Jack Grigor (bass), Andy Grant (vocals), Stew Leigh (keyboards) and Richard Crighton (drums).
In their short history Chemical Alice have survived enough line-up changes to make even Ritchie Blackmore seem tolerant and although Dave Weston agrees that he has most influence he denies that the band is totally controlled by him.
“All of us have a say in the songs; everyone does about 20 per cent of the writing. If you have a band of five people and only two of them are allowed to put what they want into the music, then it’s not a very good band.”
Through this ‘democracy’ they’ve been able to produce a striking repertoire. Combining fantasy elements with a definite social awareness. Their main influences are money-spinning supergroups like Pink Floyd, Zappa, and Yes, but they’re determined not to imitate others.
Dave: “If we get an idea that starts sounding too much like another band, we either rearrange, it so it doesn’t or we throw it out.”
All the members have full-time jobs and the fact that they work and play in a band is clearly a strain. Dave, however, sees it as the only way to survive though they eventually hope to turn pro.
Last summer, they traveled to Stonehenge and they are presently gigging as far afield as (!) Manchester and Southampton, (growing interest in these towns was one of the factors that led to the release of their debut EP on their own label. The band decided it was wiser to spend their cash on a batch of records rather than a cheaper demo tape, something that has brought the hope of more gigs and enabled them to meet the demands of their already well-established cult following.
They intend to release another EP, or perhaps an album depending on the prospect of a record deal or a dramatic increase in the size of their bank amounts.