Psych rock band Loop reunites for their first tour in 23 years

David Sackllah

When musician Robert Hampson finally made the decision to reunite his former psychedelic rock band after 22 years, it was because he had run out of reasons to say “no.” People had been hassling Hampson for years to reform Loop, the British band that put out three critically acclaimed records from 1987-1990, and he always refused. About a year ago, the group had the offer to headline the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival in England. Hampson decided to finally give a reunion a shot. 

“I thought if we’re going to do it, we best do it now,” Hampson said. “I think the overwhelming feeling was just that we can only try it, see how it goes and take it from there.” 

Loop’s first show since 1991 took place in England last November, and the band is currently in the middle of a short U.S. tour that includes an appearance at Austin Psych Fest this weekend. Hampson has described the response at shows as genuinely surprising, noting that the crowd is split between older fans and people who couldn’t be old enough to have seen them the first time around. 

Hampson said many people don’t like seeing classic bands reunite, but he’s not trying to force anyone to come out to his shows.

“It’s not too much involved in nostalgia I think,” Hampson said. “For us, it’s just a way to perform our music to a newer audience.”

Hampson spent the last 15 years working on solo projects involving sound composition, so this reunion forced him to pick up his guitar for the first time in years. He hadn’t forgotten any of the songs, though. 

“I think when you’ve written a song, even 24 years down the line, you always remember it,” Hampson said. “As much as you might be a little rusty playing it, it’s always there. It never leaves you.”

Loop will close out Austin Psych Fest on Sunday night, serving as one of the headliners. Within hours of making the reunion announcement, the band was asked to play the festival. 

“For them, it was a coup to get us so quickly, and we’re in good territory there,” Hampson said. “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great festival.”

While the tour is going well, Hampson said he still doesn’t have an answer for fans who have asked if the reunion will last past the tour dates. 

“Everybody’s been asking us if we’re going to make a new record, and I honestly can’t answer that because I just don’t know,” Hampson said. “At the moment, we just have to focus on our priority to play these shows and put on good performances.”

Ultimately, Hampson said he has enjoyed his time playing with the band again and picking up the guitar for the first time in years. 

“At the end of our current commitment, I’ll decide whether we have a possibility at continuing or whether it’s best to leave it and walk away from it,” Hampson said. “I’m not really sure what the future holds yet.”