FM: Tune in for Album-Oriented Rock
Album-oriented rock, or AOR, arose from the progressive rock boom in the United States during the 1970s. Recent changes in radio regulations allowed many stations to play long blocks of music, which in turn increased the demand for albums with lengthy, high-quality music. The bands that routinely produced this type of album became known as AOR. This tradition has faded some over time, but lives on in the inspired atmospheric music of UK-based band FM.
The band tours extensively through the United Kingdom and Europe. Stops in their homeland have included King Tuts in Glasgow, London's O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, and Royal Centre in Nottingham. European venues have included the Bataclan in Paris, Hamburg's Logo, and Barcelona's Bikini Club. Keep an eye on the tour schedule for upcoming venues and festival appearances to make sure you can snag FM tickets.
The band's name comes from a Steely Dan song of the same name, which was an instrument-driven hit in 1976 that reached No. 49 on the UK charts and eventually won a Grammy. And that's not the only name explanation hidden within the band. Keyboardist Jem Davis earned the nickname "Penguin Pianist" after donning a full penguin costume during a collaborative performance with the band Sack Trick.
Davis isn't the only member with interesting side projects. Steve Overland starred in a movie musical called Harmony that screened at the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City. Overland and drummer Pete Jupp are also working on songs of an entirely different genre -- modern country -- that may find release one day.
Formed in 1984, the band and its members have had numerous opportunities to collaborate and tour with other artists. In the early years, the band toured with the likes of Tina Turner, Bon Jovi, and Foreigner. The band lineup then changed a few times before the group decided to take a break from public performances, which ended after more than a decade with a 2007 appearance at the Firefest festival in Nottingham.
The original band lineup included brothers Steve and Chris Overland on lead vocals and lead guitars, Merv Goldsworthy on bass, Philip "Didge Digital" Manchester on keyboards, and Jupp on drums. This lineup lasted six years and two albums before Chris Overland departed. Former collaborator Andy Barnett was brought on as Overland's replacement, but Barnett only lasted four years.
Members shuffled twice more before the 12-year performing hiatus. The latest lineup includes founding members Steve Overland, Jupp, and Goldsworthy with Jim Kirkpatrick on lead guitar and Davis on keyboard.
FM's debut album Indiscreet received attention from the music industry and audiences alike. This album led to the band's early appearances on big-name tours and spawned the club-popular single "Frozen Heart." The band's following albums and tours continued to attract fans and the music press. However, it was the post-break, self-produced album Metropolis that earned the most praise. The singles "Bring Back Yesterday" and "Hollow" received frequent plays by radio stations in the UK, particularly on BBC Radio 2.
FM is an industry darling that can sell out both concerts and record release parties, but popularity doesn't always lead to mainstream chart success. The band's latter albums have proven particularly popular with fans and DJs. Metropolis was followed in 2013 with the full-length album Rockville and the EP Rockville II.
FM concerts are the antidote for those tired of quick, disposable pop songs. Audiences will experience the almost cinematic experience of lengthy, carefully composed music that's carefully assembled to create a cohesive experience. Those with FM tickets enjoy singing and dancing along while feeding off the infectious energy of a band devoted to the dying art of AOR.
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