Alt rockers Swervedriver which broke out by first releasing EPs in the 1990s. (Courtesy photo)

Swervedriver revisits ‘Raise’ on US tour

In 2013, Swervedriver founder Adam Franklin reunited his then-dormant English ensemble for an overseas tour in which the band played its groundbreaking 1991 debut “Raise” note for note. That led to Swervedriver’s first new album in 17 years, 2015’s “I Wasn’t Born to Lose You.” Now the group is beginning work on a follow up, but first treating America to a live “Raise” rendition, and its 1999 sophomore disc, “Mezcal Head.” Franklin says he’s happy when other bands play their classic albums in their entirety, so he thought he should do it, too.

Swervedriver’s first two records came out on A&M. But after that, you had a lot of major-label hassles.

There were all sorts of weird deals we made back then. A&M dropped us because of the nature of our contract. They were going to have to pay us more money, but they realized we weren’t selling enough records. So they had basically paid for two-thirds of our third album when they decided to drop us, and the Geffen stepped in. And the mistake that was made there was, Geffen went to A&M and said, “Can we have this album?” And then A&M freaked out and asked lots of money for it. But things are better now, aren’t they? You can directly tap into your audience via social media or Bandcamp, and most of the money goes to the band.

You started out just releasing EPs. … which is now the popular band-breaking model.

Yeah. I guess we got that right. And it was a good way of getting our music out there back then. And I’m not sure why it became a thing, but it did – now indie or UK bands will put out four songs, then another four, then another four, until they finally get to an actual album.

“Raise” still holds up. It sounds timeless.

Right. And I like that. At the time, it felt kind of lumpy, because it had tracks from all these different sessions and EPs, because it was decided that all the singles should be on there, even though we didn’t want to do it. So it was strange, especially for our UK audience that knew all those songs already, because it was a nine-track album with only six new songs. And with “Mezcal Head,” a lot of things had changed, because we’d lost our entire rhythm section. But if an alien came down from another planet and said, “Give us an example of Swervedriver,” I’d probably pick “Duel” from that album, you know?

IF YOU GO
Swervedriver
Where: Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Ave., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Sept. 23
Tickets: $25 to $28
Contact: (415) 474-0365, www.ticketfly.com

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