KISS, Def Leppard, Journey, Whitesnake - some of the biggest names in rock - and the all have one thing in common.

They have all invited British rock band FM to tour with them both in the UK and on dates across Europe.

FM are so highly-regarded by their peers and a legion of fans and yet, after 37 years. are still taking audiences by surprise with their powerhouse performances and consummate musicianship.

Now audiences at the revived Great British R&B Festival will get the chance to see for themselves why FM are the rock band of choice for so many legendary names.

“I think it’s because we’re cheap,” quipped bassist and founder member Merv Goldsworthy. “Plus I think we get bonus points for longevity. But we have been very fortunate and we appreciate it.

“Our first tour was with Gary Moore and I remember Phil Lynott would get up stage every night. We played with some big names over the years and that’s been an honour for us.”

FM split in 1995 and that appeared to be it. But the fans wouldn’t accept it.

The group reformed for a one-off performance at the Firefest Festival at Nottingham’s Rock City.

“That was a total shock to the system,” recalls Merv. “There were people there from all over Europe who’d come to see us. We thought we’d failed spectacularly on the first go at it being a band so that was a real eye-opener.

“It was the fans that got the band back together for the second run and I think that’s why we appreciate it a lot more this time

“We’d given up on ourselves but the fans didn’t.”

Since reforming, FM have released a further seven studio albums - the most recent being Synchronized in 2020.

“I think we all realised pretty quickly when we got back together again that making music is just what we do,” said Merv. “As you get older you can start to enjoy it more. It really is all about the music.”

FM have always stayed true to their principles and rock fans across Europe have supported them throughout their career - even if the band didn’t fully appreciate the levels of support that was out there.

“We’d bee going 30 years when we played our first gig in Greece,” said Merv. “We never knew we had a following out there but it was a sell-out. In the second phase of the band we have tried to get to different places and we’ve been really surprised at the reach our music has. That’s a lovely thing to experience.

“We did a big big tour with Saxon going to lot of countries which kickstarted things. Every time we put album out now we have got to go to Spain and Italy and Germany which is great. We can’t tour as much as we used to in terms of the number of gigs we do on the trot – we are all getting that little bit older – so we space them out and try to enjoy them. You never know how long it’s going to keep going.”

Like all musicians around the world the pandemic put much of FM’s plans on hold.

“We were in Las Vegas on our way to Australia when got the call that we had to come back,” said Merv. “We were just about to release a new album and had a ton of gigs lined up.We had just come off a run of festivals with Kiss, Def Leppard and Whitesnake which had elevated the band’s profile in Europe even more. Then all of a sudden, the brakes were put on.

“But,” he added philosophically, “we are just a band at the end of the day. We’re not nurses or workers that keep the whole thing going. We have no room to complain.”

The nucleus of the band has remained the same since forming back in 1985 with Merv on bass, Pete Jupp on drums and lead singer Steve Overland. Keyboard player Jem Davis joined in 1993 while guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick is the relative ‘new boy’ having joined in 2008

“We’ve never had secret formula,” said Merv. “We don’t plan, we just write songs and put a record out. When the five of us get together it just always sounds like FM. You can’t really sound like anybody else.”

All five members contribute to the writing process - in the early days of FM that was mainly left to Steve and Merv.

“Everyone has an input and it’s nice to have five writers in the band. It’s not a chore to make a record,” said Merv.

“Sometimes someone will come with a song that ‘s virtually fully-formed, others may take 10 years to write, there’s no right way or wrong way to do it. But I think having all those different writers does help with the diversity of songs and that really showed on the last record.

“I think it also helps that we all do things outside of the band so that when we come together to write it’s really enjoyable. It also helps that Jem has now got a lovely studio at home which allows us to hone the songs.”

As they prepare to come to Colne for the Saturday night of the Great British R&B Festival, FM just have the small matter of getting a setlist together.

“There are certain songs we have to play, especially as there may well be people seeing us for the first time,” said Merv, “but we have plenty to choose from that’s for sure.

“We’re like an old Rolls Royce - it takes a bit to get it started but once we hit our stride it’s really enjoyable.

“It’s nice to have so much music to draw from means we don’t have to play the same stuff all the time.

“ I think people who come to see us regularly never really know what they are going to get. The thing is neither do we! We make these ambitious plans and then we’re very good at changing them last minute.

“The main thing is making sure the set lists are written bigger than they used to be - the eyesight’s not what it was!”

FM play the Colne Muni on Saturday, August 27. For details of the full festival line-up visit