Toby Jepson is one of rock’s lifers. Ever since he rocketed to fame with the Little Angels in the late 1980s, the singer has lived and breathed the music and the lifestyle.
“It’s like survival to me,” says Jepson. “Without it I’m miserable. It’s like being a drug addict – you can’t get away from it.”
He has brought that never-say-die attitude to his new band, Wayward Sons. It’s not that the last few years have been quiet: Jepson has carved out a successful career as a producer (he’s worked with the likes of Toseland and the Virginmarys), fronted such established acts as Fastway, Gun and the Dio Disciples, and taken part in a hugely successful Little Angels reunion. But Wayward Sons represents a desire to move forward while keeping a connection with his past.
“I’ve had a hankering to make a ‘proper’ rock album again for a while,” he says. “I literally say down with a piece of paper and wrote down the key bands, key songs and key records that influenced me. There was a lot of Sabbath on there, a lot of new wave and Bowie. And I opened myself up to the possibilities that a lot of those things could be combined on a record.”
Jepson describes the resultant record, ‘Ghosts Of Yet To Come’ (set to be released later this year via Frontiers), as one of his most vivid albums to date. “It’s a very lyrical record – there’s a narrative to it. It’s like something someone like Lou Reed might have done. For me it’s a protest record in a lot of ways – we’re living in very, very unusual times. It’s not explicitly political, but it’s a discussion, a conversation. But there’s a lot of lightness in it as well. You’ve got to have light and shade.”
The band – also featuring guitarist Sam Wood, multi-instrumentalist Dave Kemp, bassist Nic Wastell and drummer Phil Martini – will showcase the album during their set on Ramblin’ Man‘s Rising Stage. “It’ll be all new songs,” says Jepson. “That doesn’t mean that it’s going to remain so. But right now I want to make this music my focus.”
That’s not to say he’s completely disconnected from his past. The name Wayward Sons itself nods to the classic Little Angels track ‘Kickin’ Up Dust’, which itself references Kansas’ ‘Carry On Wayward Son’.
“That song has always been a bit of a touchstone to me,” he says. “The ‘wayward son’ has always been an image in my head of what rock’n’roll represents – people slightly outside of society, wanting to live a slightly alternative life, who don’t want to take part in the mundanity of normality, who haven’t lost that spirit of adventure. And I still haven’t lost the spirit of adventure.”