Stampede, who won over a dubious audience with some class materiel which, from Laurence Archer’s Schenkeresque V-playing to step dad Rueben’s Mogg-like vocal lines and lyrics, smacked heavily of UFO. “Let’s see some hands,” said Reuben for the first time at the festival but certainly not the last. They did, and Stampede were the first band to grab my
STAMPEDE – GREYHOUND, LONDON 8/2/82 (Review by Karen Harvey)
ONCE AGAIN Stampede played the Greyhound – a grossly underrated venue – and once again it was a ‘showcase affair’ with record company personnel much in evidence. The last time this band performed under pressure sadly, was a dire loss of energy but on this occasion things were different. The set was the same, but the band had gained a new found confidence and energy that burst through in the songs.
Stampede are not Heavy Metal, but occupy the raunchy, AOR end of the rock spectrum, a fact evident from their songs, lovingly based on melodies rather than riffs and sporting a loose Lizzy / UFO influence. There’s plenty of album material here: ‘Hurricane Town’, ‘Missing You’, ‘Hideaway’ and ‘Baby Driver Blues’ (about women motorists – the chauvinists!) are particularly impressive, allowing Reuben Archer to stretch out on the vocals.
And the material is not the only thing deserving of acclaim. The rhythmn section of Frank Noon (drums) and Colin Bond (bass) pummel with determination while the fast, intricate fretwork of Laurence Archer is often reminiscent of Schenker.
To conclude: it was an impressive set, bursting with energy and self confidence. Their ability is known in business circles (press, radio, record companies etc) but the most important support is yours – after all that’s what it’s all about.
HAMMERSMITH Odeon Feb 1983 – Paul Suter
Stampede keep the frills to a minimum (look no keyboards ma!), delivering an earnest brand of workmanlike hard rock with a strong melodic backbone: UFO is the most frequent comparison but I can’t help seeing them as natural successors to Thin Lizzy. They’re hard hitting and energetic, and the dual Archer axis is a definite plus; Laurence Archer is a young and remarkably talented guitarist, and Reuben Archer’s vocals with their leonine edge emphasise both the melodic and the muscular aspects of the band.
The epic quality of “Hurricane Town” shows that Stampede can capture the imagination as well as concussing the cranium, whilst their commercial potential is made clear with the likes of “Days Of Wine And Roses” which now surpases the recorded version with ease, its colourful escalating riff full of heavyweight charm. Bassist Colin Bond and flambouyant drummer Eddie Parsons pack a powerful punch that Laurence and Reuben capitalise on majestically, whilst never forgetting that good songs have strong melody lines – for example the commercial potential of “Photographs” completely belies its pumping power thanks to an adroit delivery.
“The Runner” proves a little more bluntly heavy, its scalding riff fortunately making up for the faux-pas of an Eddie Van Halen guitar intro as it races along like the US Cavalry on speed, ‘though “Moving On” seems to be taken rather too fast, something that obscures the quality of the sleazy, flexing riff that it’s built around.
The band are occasionally guilty of errors of judgement, but by the time the rip-roaring powerplay of “ThereAnd Back” brings the set to a close, with a healthy section of headbangers clustered around the stage, doubts are few and far between. What Stampede lack in sophistication they make up for in every other department, and definately have the potential to succeed on a wide front.
Kerrang! Feature July 1983 (by Howard Johnson)
NOW LISTEN to this. As far as I could tell, Stampede could well have conspired to manufacture for themselves a desperately tricky image in the eyes of the average UK punter. Yeah, I’m sure you’ve all seen the names of Laurence and Reuben Archer smuttily spattered accross the gossip columns of many a mag, ligging it up on the London scene with musos of a far greater standing than the boys themselves, not to mention vocalist Reuben’s flirtations with certain female journalists.
They certainly do sound like a couple of scumbags without many strings to their respective bows basking in the reflected glory of others in the hope that the tiniest smidgeon of it might stick. If you hadn’t heard their records, that kinda judgement wouldn’t surprise me at all. But if you have? Well read on……..
Stampede as an outfit certainly sit closer to the melodic end of the rock spectrum than most UK troupes of their standing and I aint afraid to put my own particular scalp up for grabs by saying that they have the potential to be up there with the big boys. They have an instinctive ear for melody and a gritty style of delivery which leads to enormous hard rock possibilities. At this juncture, however, potential and Stampede have become pretty synonymous words……and fulfilment hardly enters the matter. This situation has to be explored – this boy was despatched poste haste to Polydor’s London headquarters to catch the lowdown….
FIrst blood to Stampede. Upon arriving chez Polydor and reporting to reception as is customary, who should I bump into but Laurence, complete with cycling shorts and a pretty nifty looking two wheeler. Hmm…doesn’t look like a pretentious ligger. Doubly convinced I am, when Reuben turns out to be more than a little genial. So, ready to roll we are. Engage recorder..Go!
The first topic of conversation is easy enough “Hurricane Town”. The band’s first full-blown album (“The ‘Bootleg’ LP was a waste of time and should never have been released” says Reuben) is a strange little slab of plastic. Initial spinning tends to render the listener somewhat disappointed with the overall lack of anything remotely resembling greatness, but increased aural effort is rewarding. Nuances tend to shine through, song structure and melody are slowly but surely revealed and numbers such as “I’ve Been Told” with it’s catchy out of time sounding riff and “Love Letters”, the albums outstanding moment with a well structured format hit home as songs worth spinning again and again. There’s still an overall lack of strong material, however, and the major letdown is that the sound is flat. Proceedings are rendered dull when they could have sparkled. It’s a lot of my chest and a lot for the boys to answer. Deep breathe now…
“We definitety know that there are a lot of things on the album which aren’t quite up to scratch, but extraneous circumstances dictated that it couldn’t be any other way,” explains Rueben. “We started recording at Battle Studios in Hastings and, because of machinery breakdowns, we were in there for three weeks instead of two. We couldn’t get in there again so we were forced to move down to Britannia row only to find that there was no decent engineer there to help us get the sound we wanted.”
Laurence continues: “The only place that was left open to us was the Marquee Studio, so we ended up in there with Nick Tauber producing. We didn’t particularly take him out of choice but he was available. Then believe it or not the mixing desk broke down so they had to get a new one in and that set us back another week. By the time we came to the mixing we had to go off to play some dates in Portugal, so all we could do was leave the final job to Nick with strict instructions as to what we wanted.
STAMPEDE ‘Way Up In The Air’ (Polydor) NEIL JEFFRIES
WHEN is an LP not an LP? When it’s or eight-track twelve-inch extended EP of course! Confused? Well you maybe. This is an LP of course but as it represents Stampede’s debut offering with a LIVE package. The band themselves are not keen that it should be projected as their first album. Their record company has done them proud by keeping the price and the brief is to look upon this piece of plastic as an official bootleg.
The tracks were recorded in July at the Mildenhall festival and a month later on the Friday at Reading. Four from each. The “feel” of the gigs is authentically reproduced by the characteristic open-air sound and the record presents Stampede very faithfully. No Eagles-style studio re-recording here – just the bare minimum of touching up that hasn’t extended to the removal of the mistakes. There aren’t many of them but the one or two that are audible make it so much more credible and remind you that they are only human.
Virtually the whole set is included beginning with the pairing of “Missing You’ and Moving On’ The latter is particularly strong with its mid-way pause as the song gets snipped right down to the rhythm. The chorus returns then it goes straight into a fast yet fluent guitar solo from Laurence. His playing is spectacular.
‘Days Of Wine And Roses’ comes from Mildenhall -I ts first public performance – and still manages to sound great. Quite different too, to the single version. Personal favourite is ‘Baby Driver’ with a swaggering riff reminiscent of the old chestnut ‘Rocky Mountain Way’. It follows a fine rendition of one of the other highlights- the moody ‘Shadows Of The Night’
‘The Other Side’ (Polydor) 1983
Stampede are one of those bands that are fab on disc, but sadly always very disappointing live. A good ‘un this, and very American sounding; thanks must surely go to Nick Tauber who’s brought the best out of Archer and the boys.
The B-side really stands out with the axework of L. Archer surprisingly good.
Hurricane Town PAUL SUTER
THIS ALBUM has been along time coming, but the wait seems to have worked in its favour. Stampede have their roots in Bristol’s Lautrec, a highly interesting oust fronted by the dual Archer axis that didn’t quite manage to keep its head above water thanks to being one of the first new HR outfits at a time when muppet metal HM was all the rage. Thereafter the Archers resurfaced in the rather wobbly Wild Horses before giving up the fight against adversity and putting Stampede together on their own terms instead.
The approach is much more upfront then Lautrec ever were; Stampede are a sturdy, traditional British rock band falling somewhere between UFO and Thin Lizzy and therefore potentially well placed to win a floating audience looking for new heroes. They don’t feature too many frills/subtleties (call them what you will, depending from which side of the HM/HR fence you’re approaching Stampede) and have all the scorch-marked characteristics of a bend going for broke in a big way.
This debut album is certainly strong enough to win Stampede plenty of support and give them the up to stretch themselves a little more in the future. Since they write genuine songs there’s an inherent commerciality that could earn them hit singles (‘I’ve Been
Told’, ‘Love Letters’, Turning in Circles’) Yet never detracts from the basic, ahem, heaviness of what they’re doing. There’s a mini-epic
too in the form of the title track with its big, angry sound and Lawrence Archer’s incandescent guitarwork; in fact every track has an individual strength that I could drivel on about for ages, but maybe it suffices to point out that there’s not a single lame duck aboard this debut release.
There’s an awful lot of instability among all the biggest heavy bands that Britain has these days, with line up changes and break ups happening almost week by week. At the very least Stampede are a cautioning slap in the face to the big boys, and quite possibly a knock out blow too.