Grand Slam (band)

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Grand Slam
Mark Stanway, Laurence Archer, Phil Lynott, Doish Nagle, Robbie Brennan
Mark Stanway, Laurence Archer, Phil Lynott, Doish Nagle, Robbie Brennan
Background information
OriginIreland
GenresHard rock
Years active1984–1985, 2016-present
Associated actsThin Lizzy, Phil Lynott, Gary Moore, Magnum, Stampede
Past membersMark Stanway
Laurence Archer
Phil Lynott
Robbie Brennan
Doish Nagle
Brian Downey
Neil Murray
Micky Barker
Stefan Berggren

Grand Slam is a rock band originally formed in 1984 as the brainchild of ex-Thin Lizzy bassist/vocalist and frontman Phil Lynott following the break-up of Thin Lizzy.

Early history[edit]

The birth of Grand Slam can be traced back to the solo band Lynott formed during July/August 1983 for a tour of Scandinavia. This line-up featured Magnum keyboard player Mark Stanway, Thin Lizzy members Brian Downey (drums) and John Sykes (lead guitar) plus rhythm guitarist Doish Nagle (ex-The Bogey Boys). When Thin Lizzy completed its farewell tour in September 1983, Lynott continued working with this configuration as a band project that eventually became known as Grand Slam. Sykes departed the project following an offer to join Whitesnake and was replaced with ex Stampede guitarist Laurence Archer, who had previously been approached by Lynott. Prior to the band's first shows, Downey left to be replaced by Robbie Brennan. The name Grand Slam was chosen after a plethora of other band names had been considered, including Reactor Factor, Catastrophe, Hell Bent On Havoc, Slam Anthem and Slam, the name of a song Lynott had in mind. Lynott earned the nickname Sergeant Rock at the rehearsals at the E'EE studios in London, due to his almost overbearing strictness and dedication to the rehearsal drill.

With the line-up of Lynott, Stanway, Archer, Nagle and Brennan, Grand Slam played its first show in Waterford, Ireland on 26 April 1984. The band's live set contained a mixture of new songs, written by various combinations of Lynott, Stanway and Archer, as well as songs from Lynott's solo career plus selected Thin Lizzy songs. Lynott was keen to avoid any 'second-rate Thin Lizzy' tag, and was adamant that they should only ever perform three Lizzy songs live ("Cold Sweat", from their 1983 album Thunder and Lightning, "Sarah", from Lizzy's 1979 album Black Rose: A Rock Legend, and the crowd favourite, "Whiskey In the Jar", which can be found on Grand Slam: Live 1984).

Grand Slam toured extensively in the UK and Eire throughout 1984, with shows favourably received by both audiences and media. The band also appeared at high-profile festivals such as Crystal Palace (as special guests of Status Quo), Nostell Priory (as special guests of Marillion) and the Kerrang Weekender festival in Great Yarmouth, the latter show broadcast by BBC Radio One.

Despite shows being well received by audiences and the band having built up a large cult following, Grand Slam failed to secure a record deal (largely due to Lynott's reputation as a drug user during his later Thin Lizzy days). The original Grand Slam played its final show at Walthamstow Standard, London on 7 December 1984 and folded shortly after.

Phil Lynott died on 4 January 1986 from liver, heart and kidney failure, due to years of drug abuse and alcohol excess.

Several original songs from Grand Slam's catalogue resurfaced on Thin Lizzy releases including "Nineteen" (also released as a Phil Lynott's final single in 1985), "Sisters of Mercy" and "Dedication". The latter became the subject of controversy upon its inclusion as the title track of the Dedication: The Very Best of Thin Lizzy compilation in 1991. Originally recorded as a Grand Slam demo by its authors, Laurence Archer and Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy's management had former members Scott Gorham and Brian Downey overdub guitar and drum tracks, respectively, and in an attempt to pass the song off as a Lynott solo composition cut out Archer uncredited. The guitarist later settled out-of-court for a share of the publishing. The Grand Slam song "Military Man" was also recorded by Lynott and Gary Moore on Moore's 1985 album Run For Cover

In 2002 and 2003, keyboardist Mark Stanway produced several releases of previously unreleased live, studio and demo material of Grand Slam compiled from his personal archive.

Guitarist Laurence Archer recorded a solo album, titled LA, in 1986, and went on to record and tour with a number of acts, including Brian Spence, Rhode Island Red (with drummer Manolo Antonana), UFO, and Medicine Head before retiring from the music business in 1994.

Reunion[edit]

In 2016 Mark Stanway reformed Grand Slam together with Laurence Archer, drummer Micky Barker (ex Magnum), bassist Neil Murray (ex Whitesnake, Black Sabbath etc.) and vocalist Stefan Berggren (ex M3 Classic Whitesnake). This line-up made appearances at the Sweden Rock Festival and the Robin 2, Bilston.

In 2018, Laurence Archer and Mark Stanway (with Mike Dyer, Dave Boyce and Benji Reid) recorded a new Grand Slam studio album at VADA Recording studios with producer Matt Terry, reworking original Grand slam material written by Phil Lynott, Laurence Archer and Mark Stanway. along with new material written by Laurence Archer in collaboration with Mike Dyer, David Boyce & Benjy Reid. The album was released as Hit the Ground in November 2019. Mark Stanway did not feature in the line-up but contributed keyboards to five of the ten tracks, three of which he received composer credit on.[citation needed]

Original line-up[edit]

Current line-up[edit]

  • Laurence Archer - guitar
  • Mike Dyer - vocals
  • Dave Boyce - bass
  • Benjy Reid - drums

Discography[edit]

Studio recordings
Live recordings
  • 2003 - Grand Slam: Live 1984
  • 2003 - Twilight's Last Gleaming (Live album, the bulk recorded in London at the Marquee Club on 4 December 1984.)
  • 2008 - Glasgow Kiss (Live album recorded at Glasgow Mayfair on 30 October 1984.)
Compilations
  • 2007 - The Grand Slam Years (3-CD box set collection of live and studio tracks.)
    • Disc 1: Phil Lynott Live In Sweden 1983
    • Disc 2: Live In Ireland 1984
    • Disc 3: Studio Sessions
  • 2009 - The Collection (4-CD longbox collection of live and studio tracks.)
    • Disc 1: Phil Lynott Live In Sweden 1983
    • Disc 2: Live In Ireland 1984 - Galway / Castlebar / Lifford
    • Disc 3: Studio Sessions
    • Disc 4: Live At The Nostell Priory Festival, Wakefield, 27 August 1984
Singles

References[edit]