The Quireboys first emerged during the late 1980s with the classic singles There She Goes Again and 7 O’Clock, incorporating elements of blues and rock ‘n’ roll with their acclaimed debut A Bit of What You Fancy. Following their acclaimed appearance at 1990’s Monsters of Rock festival, the band split after the release of their sophomore record, Bitter Sweet & Twisted.
Eventually, however, frontman Spike reformed the group with a new line-up in 2001. Among the new members was guitarist Paul Guerin, whose first association with The Quireboys had been during the early days when his band Red Dogs supported them on tour. A decade on and The Quireboys have just commenced a new tour, which will include appearances at the Download Festival.
Paul Guerin talks about life on the road with The Quireboys.
This year’s Download seems to have an old school feel to it, with the likes of Little Angels, Sebastian Bach and Ugly Kid Joe making an appearance. Why do you think so many bands from the late 1980s and early 1990s have been added to the bill?
People like old school, that period was a real fun time for rock music. Video was just coming into its own as well, so people have vivid memories of what was going on then.
The Quireboys gave a memorable performance at the 1990 Monsters of Rock festival at Donington Park, even upstaging headliners Whitesnake. Did you attend this show or watch it on TV and how would you compare the 2012 incarnation of the band to that performance?
I wasn’t there but I was out with Spike the night before till about 3am, ha-ha…the Spirit of The Quireboys will never change but obviously the musicians have. The difference between now and then is we have moved the musical goal posts, but I’m sure if the origional band were still together they would have done the same.
Aside from Download, the remainder of the tour will be more intimate shows at a series of smaller venues. Do you prefer these kinds of gigs or do you enjoy the excessiveness of the festival atmosphere more?
I really don’t mind if it’s a big show or a small show, obviously everyone loves to see the huge crowd out there but a show is a show to me, big or small.
How does the band approach compiling its set list and do you try to feature as few songs from the early albums as possible or do fans demand that you play the classics?
Well, there are songs we have to play or we never hear the end of it, so we kind of work backwards from there. We are playing two new songs on this tour, Mother Mary and Too Much. We also have Pat McManus playing fiddle with us, so we chose songs that would work well with the violin.
The Quireboys seem to perform regularly around the UK, so how do you find time for your personal life and writing and recording new material?
I think we have a good balance; we generally tour in two-to-three week blocks, then home for a couple of weeks. I have my own studio so I can send Guy and Spike MP3s, so when we get together we are ahead of the game. Spike still has his old Woolworths tape recorder, which has been used for every Quireboys album and Griff uses Chris Corney’s studio, so we are all connected thanks to the modern age.
Your association with The Quireboys first began when your group Red Dogs supported them while they were promoting their first album. Looking at them then as an outsider, what was your opinion of them as a group and how has the attitude changed over the last twenty years?
I loved The Quireboys from the moment I saw them supporting White Lion at the old Marquee in about 1987. Obviously, like most bands, The Quireboys have been through some ups and downs, but the attitude is just the same; let’s make great records and keep touring till we drop?
Touring takes a lot out of a musician, not only through tiredness but also frustration and struggling with boredom on the road. How do you cope with the negative aspect of this and what specifically gets you through a tour?
I’ve never been bored in my life. There’s always something to do or think about, and now technology has taken over our lives we are totally spoiled. I’m always happy touring; hey, I get to spend every day with my best mates.
What songs in particular are you looking forward to performing and will there be any previously unheard material to whet the appetites of your fans?
As I said earlier we will be playing two new songs and a lot of the classics and a few golden oldies, but you will have to come to the show to find out what they are.