So which came first? The recent re-release of Swervedriver catalog classics from the early '90s — Raise and Mezcal Head — or the original bandmembers finally reuniting for an ongoing series of world tour dates?
Believe it or not, reveals frontman Adam Franklin, "the reunion happened before the reissues. And because the band was out there on the road again, Sony in the U.K. thought, 'Well, the group's back together, we own these recordings, so let's put 'em back out and make some money from 'em!' Because the band doesn't really see much money from that, to be honest — Sony just made some profit back from what Swervedriver originally owed them."
Franklin, who's currently performing with his other backing band, Bolts of Melody, in support of their recent I Could Sleep for a Thousand Years set, says the Swervedriver experience is less complicated than ever.
"We basically had a booking agent, a press agent, we got hold of a bus, and we did the rest ourselves," explains the dark-timbred Brit. "So the only responsibility we had was to rock the room every night — it was great to not have to deal with any of the usual crap."
Franklin has applied that free-thinking mindset to all of his recent projects. When needed, he works with an art-rock collective called Sophia. He also recently formed a sonically adventurous duo called Magnetic Morning with Interpol's Sam Fogarino; their A.M. debut hit shops last year, as did his second, less-aggressive solo record, Spent Bullets, following '07's Bolts of Melody. And the forthcoming Sleep, he promises, "is much more rocking than Spent Bullets — there are more uptempo songs and some of it actually has a Swervedriver-esque kinda sound, before it shoots off in other directions, on other tangents."
The formerly nameless outfit Franklin's current touring with has just been christened Bolts of Melody. "Because when you're in a truck stop in the Midwest somewhere, having breakfast at a diner, and the waitress comes by and says, 'You guys must be in a band! What's the name?' it's always a bit strange to have just one guy's name as the band, you know?"
With the Oxford-based Swervedriver, Franklin experienced the major-label music biz at its gluttonous worst. Signed to Geffen back in '96, the band was hastily dumped, along with their A&R rep, just as recording began on its fourth disc, 99th Dream. So he's delighted that the old music-delivery system has imploded, and reinvented itself via the My-Space-empowered Internet.
Franklin has signed to his friend Stephen Judge's small indie label, Second Motion.
"And Stephen and I are both very aware of the budget, and what we can and can't afford to do," he says. "But we can make much better records now for a lot cheaper, because you can actually record things at home — you don't have to rent out the big studios anymore. So now the money doesn't get, um, pissed up the wall quite as much as it used to."
And artists should always remember, the singer concludes, "that the music itself never goes out of fashion — people always wanna hear the music. And these days, anybody can get their music out there on a worldwide basis, which is quite an amazing thing. You can do a demo at home, and someone in Australia can download it the very next day!"