ROCK legends Thunder were bending strings long before Franz Ferdinand started combing their hair in obscure arty shapes. What's On's Noel Davies chatted with the band's lead guitarist, Luke Morley ahead of their show at the Guildhall in Southampton on Monday...

LUKE Morely, crimson riff picker with 90s rock legends Thunder and all-round good guy of rock, knows Southampton well,...kind of.

"You've got a great municipal golf course there," he exclaims.

"It's weird because it's one of those places as a band we've been to loads of times, but never stayed," he adds, slightly calmer. "My old man used to live in Bournemouth though and me and a couple of the band went to that golf course. It was fantastic."

After strolling the verbal green talking about eagles, bogies and tees, Luke relaxes into telling me about the band's rise from the wilderness, two years ago with their critically-acclaimed album, Shooting at the Sun.

"There's no reason why kids shouldn't like Thunder," reasons Luke.

"The album did do much better than we thought, but I think people have much more intelligence when it comes to choosing music than magazines give them."

Even rock bible Kerrang! gave the album three out of five, while the sell-out tour that followed only cemented Thunder's place back amongst the fashionable rockers of old again. Even The Darkness site Thunder among their luminary influences.

"I do like The Darkness," admits Luke. "Justin (Hawkins, Darkness lead guitarist) said we were the first band he ever saw live and that we were a big influence on him.

"It's great that guitar bands of all different types have come back into the mainstream. There was a time when it drifted into the mire, but guitar music will never die, it's too important," declares Luke with a bullish smile.

Thunder play live at the Guildhall in Southampton on Monday. Tickets £18.50. Box office: 023 8063 2601.