The heavy proggers revive some explosive favourites.
Almost three decades after the suicide of keyboardist Vincent Crane and seven years on from guitarist John Du Cann’s fatal heart attack, Peter French, lead singer on the band’s 1971 album In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster, talks about the latest reunion of the heavy-proggers, conducted in tandem with Steve Bolton, guitarist of the same era.
Whose idea was it to revive Atomic Rooster back in 2016?
It happened in a bizarre way. Steve Bolton heard a rumour that somebody was planning a new line-up, and he suggested we do it ourselves. The first thing we did was to ask Vincent Crane’s widow for permission, which she granted. Rehearsals sounded pretty damned good. Our pianist for the first few gigs, Christian Madden, went off with Liam Gallagher, but the new guy, Adrian Gautrey, fits just fine.
Without Vincent and John, has the group’s legitimacy been questioned?
Actually, it hasn’t really happened. I mean, I was the one that took the band to the States and Canada, that’s how the band Cactus ended up cherry-picking me to join them. I did so many gigs that I believe I have quite a reasonable stake in it all.
You do Death Walks Behind You, Devil’s
Answer and Tomorrow Night, obviously, but what else should fans expect to hear? This [reunion] isn’t about making a new album or anything, but there’s quite a lot from the one I did, In Hearing Of…, which is among the band’s more rock orientated albums, including A Spoonful Of Bromide Helps The Pulse Rate Go Down, Black Snake, Break The Ice, Head In The Sky and Decision/ Indecision. We’ve also been doing Sleeping For Years, Save Me and the instrumental VUG. I love that we’re bringing new life to songs that otherwise might not be heard.
Do you feel the presences of Vincent and John when you play live?
I can see them in the back of my mind, but up there I concentrate on doing my thing.
Is your other band Leaf Hound now on the back burner?
No, I’m gigging with both and my solo album, Ducks In Flight [originally issued in 1978], which features Micky Moody and Kenny Jones, has just been re-released, so this is a good time for me. DL
The band play London on January 20.