By Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
British guitarist Laurence Archer has graced the stage with many talented and iconic musicians through out his career. However, it was always Archer’s impressive guitar skills that would mesmerize the audience and leave a life-long, lasting impression. His name could justifiably be listed among the greats such as Schenker, Clapton and Page.
Archer, born on November 9, 1961, gained notoriety in the English rock scene during 1981, when he was recruited by ex-Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain for his band Wild Horses. He stepped in replacing Brian Roberson, formerly of Thin Lizzy. Archer remained in the band until 1982.
Then in 1984, rock music icon Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy recruited Archer to form a new band, Grand Slam. Archer and Lynott quickly developed an undeniable songwriting chemistry.
Grand Slam established themselves as a dynamic live band throughout Europe. But the band struggled to find a suitable record company to help bring the band to the masses, ultimately causing the band to break up in 1985 before ever releasing an album. However, one of the songs that Archer wrote with Lynott, “Nineteen” was later released by Lynott, becoming his last charting single before his untimely death on January 4, 1986.
In 1992, when UFO’s Phil Mogg and Pete Way decided to relaunch their band, it was Archer that they demanded. With UFO, Archer helped re-established the classic rock band, performing with them from 1992-1995 and recording a brilliant studio album, the band’s 13th, entitled ‘High Stakes and Dangerous Men.’ In addition, a powerful live record called ‘Lights Out in Tokyo’ was released, with Archer’s unique guitar interpretations bringing UFO to a new and exciting level. Archer remained with UFO until 1995, when Mogg and Way reunited the classic band line-up of Michael Schenker on guitar, Paul Raymond – keyboard/guitar and Andy Parker – drums.
In 2011, Archer returned to performing UFO songs with the band X-UFO, which featured former members of UFO and the McAuley Schenker Group, Danny Peyronelm, Clive Edwards, with Rocky Newton. The band’s record, ‘The Live Files- Vol.1’ was a truly fantastic live recording and was met with great praise among die-hard UFO fans. This band still occasionally performs together, but now under the name House of X.
In 2018, Archer reunited with UFO’s Pete Way in the Pete Way Band. Archer would perform with the Pete Way Band as a special guest guitarist on the UK tour dates. Archer last performance with Way was on August 20, 2019.
Currently, Archer is back in Grand Slam, which now consists of Mike Dyer -vocals, David Boyce -bass,and Benji Reid – drums. Grand Slam released their first official studio record entitled, ‘Hit the Ground,’ on November 22, 2019 via Marshall Records. For more info on Grand Slam, click here.
What follows below is an exclusive interview with Laurence Archer.