Unfortunately for me, just as I discovered Almighty, one of the coolest bands I've come across, I also learnt that they had broken up recently (March 28 1996). I spoke to vocalist/guitarist Ricky Warwick about the latest release, the split and future projects. Here're some excerpts:
Just Add Life, Almighty's latest album, was produced by Chris Sheldon, who has also produced the band's previous release Crank, and Therapy?'s Troublegum. His crisp production style is evident here, and given Almighty's resemblance to Therapy? I asked Ricky what it was like working with Chris: "Chris was great. The best thing about Chris is that he makes an album for the band. You know, some producers try to impose their own sound and style, but Chris did a great job for us as a band." Apparently the band recruited Chris after hearing Therapy?'s Troublegum on the radio and they've not regretted their decision.
Even though the music is reminscent of the Clash and Therapy?, Warick said that their music has been influenced by numerous bands: "I started playing the guitar listening to bands like the Clash and Motorhead, but there have been a huge number of groups who've influenced us." Among his current favourite bands today are Unsane, Rocket from the Crypt, and, of course, Therapy?.
If you read the notes written by Warwick on the Chrysalis www page, it suggests a strong non-conformatist streak: "I just think you should do something because you believe in it---try to do things your own way. Everything that everybody tells you isn't necessarily right." Even though he has strong views about political issues, he doesn't see himself becoming more active in the role as a spokesperson for the people: "It's not something I'm confortable with. I don't have all the answers. I am just expressing my feelings. If people can connect, that's cool. I just think you have to back up your words with actions. But I'm not a politician and I don't claim to be."
The conversation then steered towards the split as I asked how come Just Add Life was re-released on another label (Castle) imediately after the first release (which was on Chrysalis): "We decided to split and the nice people at Chrysalis let Castle come in and get the entire back catalogue. All the stuff recorded with EMI is now owned by Castle." This is apparently not connected with any future projects---they are not signed (in any incarnation) to Castle for future releases.
Why the split? "We just felt it we had achieved everything musically that we had ever set out to do. Just Add Life is the best album we've done and I don't think we could get better. We wanted to end on a positive note. We didn't want to go on for the sake of going on." It has now been almost three months since the split, which was done at the height of their popularity, and Ricky doesn't regret the decision: "We still stand by our choice. Someone asked me if we would reunite if [Just Add Life] sells millions. There's no way that's going to happen. The reasons we broke up will not change and you have to do it because you believe it's right." He echoed the same sentiments when asked about future reunions: "No way. Too many of my favourite bands destroyed everything I've believed in when they come back after 10 years." But he took exception to one band: "Sex Pistols is the only band who could do it, but at least they're honest about it. They're calling it the Filthy Lucre tour and I think they'll get away with it."
With regards to future plans, Ricky said he is forming a new three-piece band in Dublin. After he wraps up his last commitments with Almighty, they will begin recording demos. He was pretty secretive about this project, and refused to tell me the band name or even the kind of music they play: "I want to let people make up their own minds. It will have the same spirit as Almighty." He also plans to get hooked up on the Internet and arrange for an official www site for his new band.
He spoke hesistantly about what the other band members are doing: "Pete's going to continue writing. Floyd's getting into music and computers. And Stumpy's going to have a bit of a holiday."
In closing, Ricky thanked all the fans over the world for their support, especially during the final chapter of the band. He said his new band plans to start touring in a few months and hopes he'll see us all at the shows.