GRAND SLAM Are Back

GRAND SLAMNot many people seem to remember that but, once THIN LIZZY stopped, Phil Lynott was involved with another band, one he co-founded with MAGNUM’s keyboard player Mark Stanway in 1984. The group never released anything during their short span, although there were two semi-official packages, "The Studio Sessions" and "Live 1984", more than 10 years ago. Still, 2016 is to see the ensemble’s full-length album – without Philo, of course, but with Stanway joined by the SLAM original axeman Laurence Archer, known also from his work with UFO among others, and three new members. Bass and vocal positions are to be split now between the venerable Neil Murray and his – and Mark’s – former colleague in M3 CLASSIC WHITESNAKE, Stefan Berggren, with a drum stool occupied by another MAGNUM alumnus Micky Barker.

GRAND SLAMSLAM are to play a full show of their originals such as “Nineteen,” “Sisters Of Mercy,” “Crime Rate” and “Military Man” and selected LIZZY classics as well as some of Phil Lynott’s solo pieces.  There’s a string of live dates planned for June, to be announced on the under-construction grandslamband.co.uk. But how they did arrive at the resurrection idea and how will it go without one of the co-founders? That’s what I asked Stanway.

Says Mark:

“I was approached by Johannes Lindstrom, one of the main organizers of the huge Sweden Rock Festival, and asked if I would be interested in putting GRAND SLAM back together for an appearance at the festival in June this year. I got in touch and spoke with Laurence Archer, and he was well up for it. I then contacted Micky Barker who has always been one of my favorite drummers, and he was well up for it, too. I thought about bass players and obviously it had to be a very good one, especially as it would be all of Phil’s bass parts etcetera, so I called my good friend Neil Murray, and again he was also right up for it. This left a singer!

My first thought was another close friend and immensely talented Pat McManus, but he had far too many commitments with his own band, although he would have loved to have done it, This left me one choice and that was my Swedish friend Stefan Berggren. I have been asked why I didn’t approach Robbie Brennan, but he, by all accounts, had not been playing regularly, and for a drummer that is not good, so I didn’t call him. I did try to get hold of Brian Downey, though, who was really GRAND SLAM’s original drummer, but he had semi-retired. As for [guitarist] Doishe [Nagle], he was impossible to track down; all numbers I had and were given for him were all unobtainable.

With regards to playing without Phil… Well, it just could not ever be the same, but out of respect and indeed the effort put in especially by myself and Laurence with writing all the songs with Phil, it seemed to justify the reason for doing it. QUEEN will never be the same without Freddie but that doesn’t mean to say the rest of the guys can’t continue with their band.”

As for the GRAND SLAM album, stay tuned.

February 28, 2016

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