FM bassist Merv Goldsworthy tells Joel M cIver
that rock is e te r n a l.
. . and so is bass
Photography: Marty Moffat
lassie rock has enjoyed a commercial rebirth over the last decade
or so, thanks to the emergence of a new demographic of rock fan
too young for the Beatles and too old for Slipknot. One of the
bands whose recent return to form has been more welcome than
most is FM, the Midlands-based band who were one of this
country's biggest rock hopes in the 1980s and some of the 90s. A
UK tour recently saw the band, featuring founder member Merv
Goldsworthy on bass, limber up for the release of their new album,
Heroes And
which is scooping critical acclaim as we speak.
There's plenty for Merv to look forward to, but over a curry with him and
writer 'Lieutenant' Dave Clarke, the great man looked back at how he got started on
bass, way back when. “I was in Diamond Head,” he tells us, “and my very first gig was
at Donington, in front of 82,000 people, the year that Whitesnake headlined and
Twisted Sister played!”
Not a bad way to get started, we point out. “Yes!” he laughs, “and then FM's first gig
was supporting Meat Loaf in Munich for 7,000 people. That was how we came out
of the blocks. And then we went on tour with Black Sabbath! It was the tour with Ian
Gillan singing, and the Stonehenge set. The drum riser was on a rock, and every day
two crew members dressed
a shambles, basically,
because it wasn't really Sabbath. But as the first tour I'd ever been on, it was a massive
eye-opener for me. The first gig was in Barcelona and we all went out to dinner
together. Geezer Butler set one of the waiters on fire with his lighter!”
Looking even further back, Merv explains that his desire to play bass was
triggered by a friendship with a particular late legend. “I'm a massive Thin Lizzy
fan,” he says. “I saw Phil Lynott and I thought, he's just fantastic, I want to do that!
He was a god among men: the real deal. Meeting him felt like meeting Jimi Hendrix.
I knew Phil for the last two years of his life, and he wasn't in a great way, but he
never let me down in any way. FM supported Gary Moore on tour and he got up and
played with Gary on stage. I remember once I was staying round at his house and
he knocked on the bedroom door and said, 'You've got to get up, FM have got a Tina
Turner tour in America!'”
Those heady days lasted for FM across a decade and five albums, until fashions
changed and AOR music suddenly seemed as cool as platform shoes. “We got hit with
the grunge bomb in the 90s,” recalls Merv with a chuckle, “and there was no point in
carrying on. I was living in Seattle at the time, to make it even worse! I'd seen all those
bands - Alice In Chains and Mother Love Bone and so on - and I had no idea that it
was going to explode like it did. When FM stopped I joined a covers band: we've done
over 3,000 gigs, but FM has really taken off since we came back in 2007.”
as druids would come
out and open up the rock
and lights would blind
the audience. But none
of them wanted to do it
because the robes were
really itchy.
“Imagine me, a
kid from a band in
Blackpool, on this
tour”, he adds. “It was
0 3 6
previous page 35 Bass Guitar 2015 Issue 118 June read online next page 37 Bass Guitar 2015 Issue 118 June read online Home Toggle text on/off