The Stone Roses famously took five years to make their woeful second album but Swervedriver must have set a new record taking a staggering 18 years to produce a new record.
They are now back with their fiercesome new album ‘I Wasn’t Born To Lose You’ complete with their trademark woozy psychedelic guitars, but according to guitarist Jimmy Hartridge the split was the classic rock story of just too much pressure to make it.
“It’s a gigantic gap, but we were just burned out by too much touring, a lack of support from the media and record companies and the general public,” recalls Jimmy. “You feel like you are battling an impossible tidal wave of everything being in your way.
“There wasn’t really an intention to get back together at all. I remember reading online that people were saying there is no way, and thinking the same thing.”
Swervedriver emerged in an early 1990s post grunge Britain releasing a series of critically acclaimed EPs on Creation before their debut Raise which remains one of the best albums of that era.
Then they were off on the classic cycle for up and coming bands of release an album then tour it to death which destroyed them in the end. But an unexpected call from America brought the band back together and the positive reaction started them thinking about doing some new stuff.
“In 2008 we ended up playing at Coachella, then did an American tour and really enjoyed that as well, so we carried on doing these little tours. Again time just passed and if I look back at my emails it must have been 2012 when we first started discussing an album.
“It’s been an incredibly long time and if I saw another band taking 18 years I would say that is ridiculous, but when you are in that situation then it doesn’t feel like that.”
The fans were simply astonished the band had got back together, and judging by the wild reaction to their live shows it must have been tempting to trade on the past glories of their first four albums.
“We got a bit fed up with that as it doesn’t keep you motivated relying on old material, and you are almost on the verge of being a cabaret act. You then have a strong drive to create a new album because you enjoy it and you to show yourself, and the world, you still have it.
“We are all extremely happy with it and the reason we are so pleased is it does capture the band as we should have been recorded. Anyone who liked us before will like this album so we haven’t let ourselves down so we are happy as the sound, the cover, the production and the feel is as good as it could be.”
Despite the band crashing and burning at the end of a 1998 Australian tour Jimmy has no regrets about that period.
“It was exciting for us as it is a bit of whirlwind for any band when they get picked up going from flyposting walls to touring America. It’s crazy not to see it exciting as it what you have always wanted to do, but it goes very, very fast.
“The fact we were on Creation didn’t bowl me over at the time as it is only looking back on it now that it was such interesting, influential and controversial label. We had a great relationship with Alan McGee who we are in torch with occasionally, and he is always very positive.”
Swervedriver are also infamous for a classic rock story when drummer Graham Bonnar got off the tour bus for a ham sandwich and never came back.
“I can’t claim it was a ham sandwich and it wasn’t about a sandwich at all – he just wanted to get off the bus,” says Jimmy. “We are at the Canadian customs and they are pretty harsh there anyway so the tour manager said get off the bus for five minutes. We waiting half an hour for Graham to come back and thinking this is not right.
“One of the customs officials came out and said in very official language that one of your party has defected. Graham told me he was having a bad time, and it was probably too many late nights so he didn’t want to be there, which was a shame as we were one week into a ten week tour.
“Looking back it was an absolute disaster and the repercussions stayed with us for years as people know that story and we had to get other drummers in.”
The band has since played with Graham as they have all put this farcical incident behind them, and Jimmy is hopeful the new album will win their some new fans.
“I wasn’t really sure how many people wanted us to come back, but there was certainly a big swell of people who said were missed which was very pleasant. I talked to my daughter who is 15 who has just got into us after being obsessed with the Strokes for two years, and she seems to think lot of people her age are into us.
“Although she is biased, I hope that is true as I really want to expand our audience.”
‘I Was Born To Lose You’ is released on March 3rd by Cherry Red Records.