Reuben Archer – Lead Vocals
Reuben studied at Kingston School of Art, where his father was Principal and amongst his fellow students were Eric Clapton, Keith Relf, and Dave Brock.
That was the time when bands were being formed, but for the son of the ‘head honcho’, getting involved with that kind of thing was out of the question – Reuben was there to work.
Eric’s mission was simply to become the best guitarist in the world and seeing that the governing body took the line that he wasn’t there to work they asked him to leave. With the influences removed, Reuben got on with being an art student.
It wasn’t until the mid 70s, married and with stepson Laurence who was about to turn 15, that Reuben one day came home with two guitars.
The two set about learning to play together, but a few months later it was obvious to Reuben that Laurence was a natural. Within a year he was playing every scale on the fret board and it was plain that the way forward was to form a band. Over the next couple of years various bands were formed and things began to evolve. The first real line up called Thriller, recorded on 6 tracks at Revolution Studios in Manchester and as a result the band was signed to management. Reuben re-launched Thriller as Lautrec supporting Saxon on their first major tour.
Shortly after the Saxon tour, Island Records expressed an interest in Lautrec and to keep up their profile the band embarked on the ‘Wheels of Steel’ Saxon tour, only to return to London to find that Island were dispensing with the rock acts on their label and weren’t going to sign another.
Once again new management was found in the shape of John Glover of the Street Tunes Label who worked with Paul Rogers and Bad Company. Lautrec went into Rock City Studios at Shepperton to record more tracks. Mean Gasoline and Shoot Out The Lights were released on Glover’s label and today are two of the rarest 45s of the NWOBHM era, fetching up to £ 900 each at auction and on the internet.
When Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton was fired from the band, Saxon’s management seized the opportunity to sign him and Lionheart was born. Hailed as the next super group of the era, Lionheart set to work recording, but song writing seemed to be a problem, as did vocalists. Through Lautrec’s association with Saxon, the management was already familiar with Reuben’s work and consequently asked him to join Lionheart. Reuben and Dennis set to work and tracks were recorded at EMI, including the song Dangerous Games, later to appear on a Lionheart album.
The band toured with Whitesnake – and also in their own right – and took up a residency at the London Marquee. However, after 6 months, Reuben began to feel things weren’t right and one evening after playing the Marquee, when approached by Jimmy Bain who needed a vocalist for Wild Horses, he made the decision to leave.
Jimmy, previously of Rainbow, had formed Wild Horses with the ex Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson, but things had gone awry and at this juncture not only a front man was required, but also a guitarist and drummer! Reuben suggested Laurence who was struggling with an ailing Lautrec and Drummer Frank Noon, previously of Lionheart. The band set to work, writing and recording. Within four months – and even after two successful Marquee Residencies, when Phil Lynott often joined the band on stage – cracks began to appear.
Eventually, Reuben, Laurence and Frank split from Wild Horses to form Stampede and immediately commenced writing and recording. Now with strong management it was only a matter of time before Stampede would be signed, and that soon came in the shape of a major deal with Polydor Records.
During its early period, Stampede underwent several personnel changes. However, once settled, the definitive line up performed at the 1982 Reading and Mildenhall festivals, recording a live album for Polydor and earning considerable and favourable press reaction.
Polydor continued releasing product in the shape of several singles and first a 5 track EP, then soon a studio album was scheduled and the Album Hurricane Town was recorded. In support of the album, Stampede embarked on a support tour with Gary Moore. After then taking a break during the Christmas period, the band rejoined Gary for a second leg, continuing with some Marquee and European appearances.
Prior to Stampede’s Reading appearance, Reuben had sustained major injuries whilst running with Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. With a broken pelvis and thigh, his confidence was at a low ebb and he felt the band should seek a new record label. With acts more pop oriented, such as the likes of Bryan Ferry, Polydor saw no reason why a band should need tour support. The label only seemed interested at that time in commercially viable singles.
Punk and New Wave bands were beginning to dominate the charts and it was becoming extremely difficult for a hard rock band to get signed. Taking all this into consideration, Reuben decided to quit the music industry.
With his art school background Reuben began to build a new business in Graphic Art and Exhibition and set design. His company runs successfully today and around the year 2000 he formed a band for a one off charity gig. ‘The Boogeymen’ recorded two CDs and ran for the next five years – however, drifting back to his roots in the blues, Reuben formed the Archer Marriott Band with his wife, gigging throughout the UK. The Archer Marriott Band has been in high demand over the last few years and, time off permitting from Stampede, they will continue to play. Reuben considers it his holiday from Rock.