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Scots Rockers Back in The Fastlayne

Scottish Rockers Fastlayne Back Rocking in The Modern World. Photo courtesy of Toxic Rock

Rockers Fastlayne Back Rocking in The Modern World. Photo courtesy of Toxic Rock

The rock world is now a much livelier and fulfilled place thanks to the comeback of one of the nation’s much-revered bands – Fastlayne.

But anyone anticipating one of those back-in-time lame ‘revival’ efforts is in for a big disappointment because this five-piece talented outfit don’t do nostalgic bullshit – they’ve moved with the times and things are paying off as a result.

The band have a great back catalogue from the years they spent together in the 80s and 90s but they have stunning new material fit to grace any air-waves. This is not just about a bunch of rockers fearing their sell by date; this is a band who know what it means to have reached the ultimate high via critical acclaim to the all-time low of having to disjoint the band due to financial management ruin and their drummer’s serious back problems; that ultimately curtailed the band’s position as one of the best prospects to come out of the country in years.

“There’s something sad about a band from the good ol’ days coming back and trying to re-live it all and it usually ends in failure. This is clearly not the case with Fastlayne because they have done what a lot of artists fail to do when getting back together and that is they are not stupid to think they can recapture the glory days with old songs, throwing them out there and hoping for the wind to catch them. They have taken affirmative action and they know times have changed and they have changed along with the times. That makes a lot of sense and a good reason why their comeback has been a success.”

The band, originally formed in East Kilbride near Glasgow, announced their departure from the scene in 1997. It was a huge loss to the industry and a massive blow to their fans but more so to true fans of rock music. Both circumstances were out of the band’s control because it certainly had nothing to do with the band’s abilities – far from it. One thing we will never know is how far the rock legends could have reached. Their potential had no boundaries.

The line-up comprises of exceptional musicians with decades of experience behind them.

Robert Traish (aka Gentleman Bob or Robert T) is a frontman in the true traditional rock sense. He’s gutsy, leading, stylish, and his great vocal range punches above the bar. Robert is pivotal with a must-have persona required to front a rock band. A true leader who has everything a great frontman should have.

Brian Reidford (aka Casino) plays lead guitar, keyboards and backing vocals. Casino is regarded as one of the all-time champion lead guitarists of his generation. The level and capacity in his style and range is enormous. He developed his early skills as most teenagers did; from his humble bedroom where he spent years practicing and developing his talent; and the fruits of it can be clearly heard in the many Fastlayne tracks throughout the years.

Denis Curran (aka Den) is a superbly technical rhythm guitarist whose role in the band is obviously crucial to the functions of the band’s studio and live performances. For all Denis’ highly-skilled attributes and exceptional abilities and the way he delivers everything that is great in a rhythm guitarist – he unassumingly does it all in a calming, reflecting, but precisely-measured style.

David Gibson (aka Gibby) is an iconic figure in the music circuit for his legendary skills as a bass player. He is also the science behind Fastlayne with his timing, dexterity and his assertive and astute form he has in holding the structure of Fastlayne’s tracks together. His energy is infectious, his charisma and personality is a joy to behold and although a very skilful and accomplished bassist who is refined and elegant in his style – he is never afraid to pounce on an opportunity whether it is in a rehearsal, studio or a pressured live performance. That’s what defines the greats.

Jim Clark is the drummer who typifies what all great drummers in rock bands have: strength, timing, possesses the sound ability to be able to manipulate the space between notes and he utilizes all of the aforementioned via his high-powered technical awareness…and…all with good meter. Jim is an all-round talent who has more than one style; which means he is extremely adaptable. In all, this fine skilful drummer does exactly what it says on all rock song labels: he serves songs perfectly.

The Journey:

Fastlayne’s journey was not a quick route to stardom. They were a group of guys who all honed their skills from a very early age and worked their way up through many trials and tribulations…plus with a lot of turbulence. All ingredients that either make you or tear you to shreds. Thankfully, good sense from the talent gods prevailed and Fastlayne’s five-man crew just kept on rising and rocking their way to the top. They certainly served their apprenticeship.

Gig after gig, late nights in darkened rooms and dimly-lit studios and putting in the hours paid off when they finally got their just reward at the Rockfest. Many say it was at that point when the band stamped their name on the ‘ones to watch’ list. Quite an achievement in itself when you consider some of the names taking part: Runrig, Gun, The Wake. No wonder people started to take notice of the new town boys.

The rise of Fastlayne escalated and another notch in the gun belt was marked when they won the coveted Tennent’s Live Battle of the Bands. The pride of East Kilbride was now a forecasted nationwide music scout’s dream.

The recruitment of the then Drunken State’s vocalist Robert Traish was a slick signing and once again showed the ambition and drive the band possessed. It also laid down a marker to the rock world that Fastlayne have arrived, now docked at the bay of powerful music, and they meant business.

A TV documentary on the band, more air play on the mainstream airwaves and backing from an MTV icon were all signs of greater things to come and testament to their continuous desire to break into uncharted waters. UK tours that saw the band gigging alongside rock legends Girlschool, Samson and so many more headline names, sell-out gigs and their debut E.P. Rock the West received enormous reviews and praise after it was aired on Scotland’s largest radio station, Radio Clyde.

Rocking Down Memory Fastlayne. The Scots Rockers As They Were. Photo From Band Collection

Rocking Down Memory Fastlayne. The Scots Rockers As They Were. Photo From Band Collection

It seemed nothing could stop the Fastlayne machine on its tracks as they continued to make waves and at one point the band were attracting the big players in the business with the likes of GnR Management, who at the time looked after Texas, Gun and Del Amitri, being one of the many looking at rock’s hottest potential.

How long the rise of a journey can take to reach a certain level is often mathematically unbalanced when it comes to its decline or end. Nowhere could this be more significant than when Fastlayne were one minute reported to be the next big thing by none other than the Kerrang magazine; when Fastlayne sunk to the depths of rock’s ocean, submerged and left shipwrecked, due to unfortunate circumstances; but in true Fastlayne spirit, they would soon rise again.

Fastlayne re-surface:

The band reunited in 2010 after years in the wilderness. A lot had changed since their forced retirement. Music changed, technology began to play a huge part in our everyday lives and attitudes changed in society. It was a whole new different world but they are rockers, after all, and rockers are an entirely different breed. They don’t die too easily.

It was a huge leap from the days when demo cassettes were the band’s business card to a world where a different genre crops up never mind a new artist. How could the band members cope with the sudden change?

Well, that demo cassette now became touch screen and a whole new gateway opened up for Fastlayne. New ways meant new music and new music generally means new fans and the resurgence of one of the greatest-ever rock bands to have graced British soil began.

“They have embraced technology, used it wisely and they are not afraid to delve in deeper and explore future avenues that might pop up in this ever-increasing world because if that is what it takes to get their music out to another reach then that is what Fastlayne will do to make it happen.”

To highlight their rock status and to prove once and for all that rock never died, it just moved house, was when the band had a support slot with the famous Sensational Alex Harvey Band in Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms. Moments after their stunning live appearance the venue was a blaze. Not metaphorically speaking – it actually burned and toasted cinder right into the ground.

What a fitting homecoming back to the music scene, boys! Who said rock was dead?

“Fastlayne have advanced in their thinking and have realized the need to focus on other platforms that are available to them. They are a smart bunch of guys and know the difference between ambition and reality but one thing that hasn’t changed is the band as a whole and the group members have all one thing in common and that is they have never left their roots when it comes to being rock musicians and that is important to always stay true to themselves and their music.”

Getting to know Fastlayne:

Robert Traish (aka Gentleman Bob or Robert T)

Frontman Vocalist

Favourite Fastlayne track:

Hunger for you

What made you do this great comeback with the band?:

The camaraderie with the guys in the band, and because I think we write great songs.

What are your views on how you feel music has changed (or

hasn’t) since your first time around with Fastlayne until today when you got back

together?:

There is a lot more mix of styles within music now.

What are your plans for Fastlayne in the year ahead?:

To record, and play some great gigs.

 

Brian Reidford (aka Casino)

Lead Guitars/Keyboards/Backing Vocals

Favourite Fastlayne track:

Sweet Revenge (not currently recorded or on our Reverb Nation site).

What made you do this great comeback with the band?:

I think a couple of reasons. Robert, our glorious singer, had built his own recording studio, so it’s been nice to go back and record our back catalogue of tracks without looking at the clock and worrying about the cost. And also, it’s great to get the buzz playing live again.

What are your views on how you feel music has changed (or

hasn’t) since your first time around with Fastlayne until today when you got back

together?:

Rock music in the early nineties faded away and wasn’t really the ‘in thing’. Guitar bands were frowned upon, then rock went full circle and guitar bands were back in business. So Fastlayne, the return, was back on. Plus the fact playing live is very hard to let go.

What are your plans for Fastlayne in the year ahead?:

Recording all our tracks over the next year, writing new songs, and gigging as much as allowed.  As Bob Hoskins used to say: “It’s good to rock.”

 

Denis Curran (aka Den)

Rhythm Guitar

Favourite Fastlayne track:

Of the recorded ones so far, it has to be, Have to be Mad.  However, my favourite track of all time is, We Will Rock.

What made you do this great comeback with the band?:

Mid-life crisis.  Nah!  I missed the playing and the excitement that it brings.  It also makes you feel good knowing that people are enjoying listening to songs that you have written.

What are your views on how you feel music has changed (or

hasn’t) since your first time around with Fastlayne until today when you got back

together?:

I don’t know if it is a change or progression. Certainly the use of technology has become a big factor in the way music is recorded and performed these days. Personally, I think it is a progression rather than a change as I certainly don’t remember much rock on commercial radio in the early years.

What are your plans for Fastlayne in the year ahead?:

Continue to write, play and enjoy the moment; you never know what’s round the corner.

David Gibson (aka Gibby)

Bass

Favourite Fastlayne track:

Have to be Mad

What made you do this great comeback with the band?:

Just feel we have some great songs that deserve a wider audience, plus – we’re still kickin’ ass live.

What are your views on how you feel music has changed (or

hasn’t) since your first time around with Fastlayne until today when you got back

together?:

Harder for any band to make money – not that we ever did in the past anyway. Easier to reach a worldwide audience even without major label backing, but more difficult to actually get noticed in a sea of bands on the internet; people are overwhelmed by possible choices when browsing.

What are your plans for Fastlayne in the year ahead?:

Play to as many people as possible and get our album finished.

Jim Clark

Drummer

Favourite Fastlayne track:

Running With the Angels and playing live, So Wrong

What made you do this great comeback with the band?:

I had been playing with Brian, our guitarist, just jamming with him and some other mates and I thought I would get in touch with everyone as we all played really well together and also everything we had done in the passed was on tape; and it would be great to re-record the songs. So we got together and by the end of the first jam we all knew that the chemistry was still there. Now we will record songs for a CD and do live shows.

What are your views on how you feel music has changed (or

hasn’t) since your first time around with Fastlayne until today when you got back

together?:

The biggest change is not the music but the technology you have now to get your music heard with the internet. I wish we had that 15 years ago.

What are your plans for Fastlayne in the year ahead?:

Now we will record songs for a CD and to do live shows to build up a fan base and keep writing new material.

“There is no hiding place in rock music. It is the most honest of music genres because the people who play music and the people who listen to rock music will tell you honestly one way or another: if you’re good you’ll get a chance, if you’re crap you won’t stand a chance. It really is that simple.”

 

Fastlayne Gig Dates:

PIVO PIVO Waterloo Street in Glasgow on Thursday 20th June at 7pm £6 entry

Audio on Midland Street in Glasgow on Saturday 29th June at 7.30 pm  £5 entry

13th Note on King Street in Glasgow on Tuesday 6th August at 7pm £5 entry

13th Note on King Street in Glasgow on Thursday 22nd August at 7pm £5 entry

13th Note on King Street in Glasgow on Tuesday 10th September at 7pm £5 entry

Ivory Blacks on Oswald Street in Glasgow on Saturday 2nd November at 7pm In aid of Yorkhill Childrens’ Foundation: Part of SAHBROCK.

 

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