By Peter Keevil
It’s been a while coming but Peter and Reuben finally put their drinks down long enough to have a proper chat about Rueben’s career and latest project, Reuben Archer’s Personal Sin.
Hi Reuben, good to finally sit down and have a proper conversation with you…
Yes, and you Peter. We keep bumping into each other at gigs and have passing chats don’t we? So good to have some real time.
Reub, you’ve been in the Midlands for a while but you are not a native, so what brought you up here?
My wife (now ex-wife) and I bought a place up here some 12 years ago and I haven’t looked back. Its a lovely area and I have so many friends both in music and outside that I see no reason to leave.
Tell me how Personal Sin came about as Stampede appeared to be having a nice renaissance.
When we got Stampede back together it was great but it got too much for Laurence to juggle his work in the film business. So I ended up with half an album and then thought of a guy (Rob Wolverson) that I knew who was in a band with my son when they were kids. So we got together wrote some songs and it was really working. We got the album completed (A Sudden Impulse) but then he had to complete his music degree. And Stampede got offered the Y&T tour and Hard Rock Hell, so Laurence came in again on guitar to do the live stuff.
We then had the idea of getting some old friends to contribute to the songs. Paul Quinn (Saxon) did a couple. I’ve known Rhino Edwards (Status Quo) for years. And it just kept building and people kept saying yes!
Dave Meniketti (Y&T), nearly didn’t happen because we just couldn’t find the time but then out of the blue he sent me an email with the track, saying that he had found an hour before hoping on a plane to Greece. So that was great.
We really enjoyed doing it. It took about a year in all. The hardest part was making it sound like an ‘album’and not just a collection of songs that all sounded different because of all the musicians involved. But it was great.
And how did you approach it? Did you guide these artists or just let them run with how they saw it heading?
No, I just let them take it wherever they wanted. I sent the bare bones tracks and let Dave, Paul, Luke, etc just do what they do. The only time I pushed back a little was when Luke (Morley) returned his song with just a solo and I suggested that he could work over the beginning and end of the song as there was room to breathe. And 2 days later it was back with me completed. Which was marvellous.
And had you done anything like this before, with all these disparate musicians contributing elements of a song?
No, I’ve never done this before, simply because the technology wasn’t there before. Now with the internet it’s much easier to achieve this type of thing. Harry James worked in the studio with us at Mad Hat but others just sent tracks via email. Everybody knew what they were doing, they are all seasoned professionals. I was more relieved that they liked what I was sending them! It was a big relief to get positive feedback.
It’s a really strong album Reub, the quality of the songs stands out, so that’s why they were happy to be involved. It must be an album you are proved of?
Oh it is! You’re never sure when you start out if it will be good enough. But at the end of the day, you just need to let it be. Not ‘over-work’ it. But the feedback we had with these guys wanting to put their names to it, gave us confidence. But even after all this time you’re never fully sure. You just put yourself out there to get shot at but judging by the reviews and fan reaction and people seem to like it.
And that has given you enough confidence to put together a touring band…
Yeah, that’s right. Rob and I wanted to go out with it. Not in the back of a transit van but a few dates around the UK. I’ve managed to talk Alan Nelson, my old keyboard player from Stampede and Lautrec, to get on board. He’s really good, I’ve always liked his playing. He can play guitar too.
We have Neil Ablard (The Dreaming Tree) on drums and we just need to sort bass but we hope to announce soon. Then Andy Dodds (Tranzam) and my wife Sharon on backing vocals.
We hope to play a local show and then pick up some festival slots in 2014. I’m very conscious of how hard it is to tour a band that has no history. It’s going to be difficult to get punters through the door to see a band they haven’t really heard of. So, we have to be savvy, pick our dates and work some festivals.
Tell us about some of those video’s you’ve done, they look fun.
Yeah, they are. Play that Rock n Roll had a bit of a life of its own. Lots of filming in and around Wolverhampton. Lots of ideas, were thrown in at the last moment. We’ve now shot our 2nd (see below) for TV Junkie, our 2nd single. They were both great fun to be involved in and produce.
Good stuff. Ok, let’s go back in time now and talk about that infamous accident involving Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. Wasn’t it around the time of Stampede’s Hurricane Town?
No, it was before then. We had just got the deal with Polydor and released an EP called, Days of Wine & Roses. Bruce was in Maiden and making some money and bought a nice place in Brentford on the river but the roads weren’t finished, unfinished paving stones and all that.
Anyway, he said there was a party on his grounds so we left Hammy Odeon and legged it on a bus as there were no taxis. We met some fans and got chatting and we then realised that we missed our stop. So Bruce jumped off and landed on his feet running. I then jumped after him but I wasn’t running as fast, I hit these curb stones and just landed full on my side and shattered my hip and thigh. I was lying on the floor twitching going into shock and some guy lived across the road was a St John’s Ambulance guy who came out and he just look at me and called 99 straight away.
I was then in casualty where there was a multi-car pileup so they couldn’t get to me for hours. I was in so much pain. It was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. Trust Bruce to land fine!
I ended up doing Maidenhall and Reading festivals on crutches.
But that wasn’t the end of it. About 18 months later, after Hurricane Town was released and we had toured a little, I returned to hospital to have the metal pins removed as my doctors were worried that if I broke my leg again with the pins in, then that would be it, I’d be crippled. However, I picked up an infection in the Operating Theatre that was close as that might have killed me. At that point I just lost all confidence and we decided to pack it in.
So what got you back to rock n roll?
It was 2006 when Derek Oliver released Hurricane Town on his label, Rock Candy Records, that sparked more interest in Stampede and we finally got around to re-forming and I haven’t stopped since. Rock n roll never leaves you but it does need a vibe to be right and back then in the 80’s it wasn’t right for me. But hey, we are 75% through writing another Stampede album and Rob and I want to do another Personal Sin album so there’s plenty to do.
That’s great Reub, more power to you too. It’s been great to talk to you and hope to see you at a gig soon.
And you mate, see you soon.