Not many bands call it a day after three years, then return two decades later and have more success than the first time around.
But that’s what’s happened to a bunch of St Annes lads who are enjoying a second brush with fame after an album which originally came out in 1991 was picked up by an American record company.
Slander, a band best described as mainstream heavy rock, had an inauspicious start – formed at the start of the 90s simply to make up the numbers in the Gazette’s annual Rock Quest competition.
“But we carried on after that and we ended up getting quite popular and doing loads of stuff,” said Andy Saxon-Lamb, lead guitarist and a former pupil at Lytham St Annes High.
“At the start we used to play The Tavern in St Annes (now The Crescent) a hell of a lot and then we began gigging all over the country.”
After three busy years the band called it a day and went their separate ways, did the usual thing of settling down and getting a day job – Andy becoming a senior manager with BT.
Then, slightly bizarrely, in 2009 Andy started getting emails from Stormspell Records in the US telling him they had heard Slander’s album and wanted to reissue it.
“So it all started again, and since then we’ve gone from strength to strength,” said Andy.
“We found out bootlegs of our album were exchanging hands in America for quite large sums and they were selling by the thousands. So we went into the studio and re-recorded our first album as a double CD.
“Last year we recorded a six-track covers EP and we’re about to record a new album of original material.
“It’s taken us by surprise really all this fuss so late in our music careers, after all 18 years of not performing together is quite a hiatus. But it’s amazing how many people like us in America, we never realised that was the case.”
The band – Si Staples (lead singer), Andy (lead guitar), Andy Edwards (drums) and Pete Hewitt (bass) – are heading Stateside next month for a tour, playing in places like Philadelphia and New Jersey. For one gig they are being joined on stage by Iron Maiden’s drummer. “He’s best mates with our manager,” explains Andy.
Before that though, tomorrow night in fact, the band are part of the line up at Hellfest UK, which is at Great Birchwood country park – and which will be their first gig on home turf in 20 years.
“We’ve not played in Lytham St Annes for ages and all of us are really looking forward to it,” added Andy.
“I live in Leicester now so it will be good to come back and see a load of old faces and meet up with a few mates.”
As well as Slander, the bill for Hellfest UK includes the likes of Last Breath (who performed at the Illuminations Switch-On night), Deadbangers and Jonnys Lunchbox.
Tickets are £5 in advance or £8 on the door tomorrow – all proceeds to North West Blood Bikes and Cancer Research. Go to www.safeconcerts.com for more details.