Maximum Rock & Roll Interview

Here is a copy of the never-to-be-seen MRR interview as, apparently, MRR is a punk magazine so therefore isn’t interested in acoustic music (punk or otherwise).

Thanks to Rags for taking the time to ask the questions.

Firstly, for those who may not have heard your work; how would you describe what you do?

Raw, aggressive, angry, acoustic punk.

Your songs are generally observational and, in some cases, quite damning. Is it important to you to make a point in your songs?

If a point needs making, then it should be made.  I don’t go out of my way to write scathing lyrics, some of my songs are more reflective and personal.

Do you consider yourself a political songwriter?

No, I have some political songs, I’d probably say more socially aware and personal than political.

What are your influences? Have you been likened to anyone else?

My influences come from The Jam (I grew up listening to them), New Model Army, The Specials, The Beat, Motorhead, Joy Division, Killing Joke, the list goes on……I have been likened to Paul Weller, Shane McGowan (?) and Billy Bragg, although I don’t actually listen to Billy Bragg but can maybe understand people comparing me with him due to the one-man-with-guitar and a southern accent!

What do you think of the current upsurge in acoustic/folk punk artists? Do you rate any of them?

I think there are far too many singer/songwriters calling themselves ‘punk’. Most of them are folk artists and have more in common with Bob Dylan & Woody Guthrie than they have with Joe Strummer or Charlie Harper.  Most of the so called political folk artists are anti-folk, which is a genre specifically to amuse people through political lyrics.  That doesn’t float my boat at all, I mean, how can you take someone’s opinions seriously when they are just making a joke out of them?  In general it makes me cringe.    Frank Turner seems to be the name everyone associates with ‘folk-punk’, but I think he’s just folk, I can’t hear any punk in what he’s doing.  I think people get confused as he used to be in a punk band, but that’s in the past, he should be judged on what he is now.  I don’t want to slag him off though, as I do believe he’s worked hard and gigged hard to get where he is now, so I respect that.

How are you finding being on the road? is it the way you expected it to be?

Yes; it’s fun, tedious, exhilarating and boring.

Your releases have all been DIY to date. How important is that to you?

It’s important for me to get my music heard, and I think every musician should be in control of what they’re doing.  I can understand musicians signing big deals (going back to 20 years ago) but how many of them actually regret that?  Losing the copyrights to the songs THEY wrote, having someone telling you what to do/write/say etc  having someone controlling when you play.  Far too many bands (and yes, some I’ve been a member of) have spent too much time sitting and dreaming about getting signed and being a rock star, and worried far too much about the ‘band image’ etc, instead of actually getting out there and making people listen.  A good number of years ago I decided that if I could do it myself, then I would.  I was a drummer in bands then, so it was a lot harder to have any sway within the bands I was in, but I’m in control of this so, as far as is possible, I will stay DIY.  When the money runs out for diesel & guitar strings, that’s when it all goes wrong….

Are there any particular causes you support?

I released a split EP with a crust punk band (Versificator) last year with all the profits going to The Humane Research Trust, a great organisation that is actually funding alternative research into human diseases without testing on animals.  I think more people need to be made aware that there are alternatives to animal testing.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to sell more copies of the EP now I’m gigging, and hope to put on some benefit shows in the future.

Any current bands you like at the moment?

There’s a great hardcore punk band from London called The Proud City Fathers, Versificator from Scotland.  I also like what Brian Curran (Glasgow) is doing acoustically.  Other than that, I’ve not really seen any others that really get my blood pumping.  They must be out there, I just haven’t seen them yet.

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