As a teenager I was really into the US and UK 90's Punk Rock/Ska scene - Bands like NOFX, No Use For A Name, Rancid, Pennywise were all firm favourites but one band that for some reason shone highly above the rest were Snuff. My friends and I saw Snuff at countless shows at venues like the Garage in Islington, London Astoria (Tottenham Court Road), ULU (now University College London)... the list goes on.
There were two things that I connected with as a teenager listening to bands like Snuff:
1. They didn't give a f**k what people thought (he says whilst censoring a swear word ha!)
2. There was a sense of childlike humour and fun on stage alongside sheer professionalism
This approach to performing has most definitely manifested itself to become part of how The Uplifter (and other projects) shows have evolved. There is a sense that we take what we we do very seriously but at the same time have a ton of fun doing it. I think silliness and humour combined with putting on a really good, well thought out and professional show is so enjoyable for both us the performer and the audience.
What spurred me on to write this blog today was meeting and spending a couple of days with Duncan Redmonds, the singer of Snuff. I was best man at my best friends' wedding and Snuff were our favourite band together as teenagers and beyond. So, for his wedding I arranged for Duncan to perform a surprise set at the end of my best man speech - It completely blew my best friends' head off (as well as the guests) when Duncan walked into the room! It all happened in slow motion and like my friend said, 'it felt like we were in a movie'. It could not have gone any better and there was not a dry eye in the room by the end of his performance. It rounded off the event beautifully and we did a set together later with Duncan on guitar and me on percussion/drums.
I wanted to write about it here on The Uplifter page because of the time Duncan and I spent chatting about music and life as musicians - Although we're involved in 'different genres' it felt like we were very much in the same boat, and this goes for any musician, whichever genre you happen to be associated with. Making and performing music because we love it and partly because, 'music is what we know'. Duncan was fascinated with what motivates musicians to do what we do - 'why do we put our heads above the parapet'? We didn't really come to a conclusion but we certainly shared a common urge to make music and to have an 'effect over an audience'.
This brings me to my primary reason for having a career in music - I feel I was put on this earth to entertain people and effect people in a positive way... Making people dance is in my opinion one of the greatest gifts whether it's to reggae music, jazz or hardcore punk rock! To make people lose themselves in music and forget about what and who is around them is one of the most beautiful things I know and to have a part in making this happen is a wonderful thing.
So, Duncan spent the next day just talking, in my parents' garden drinking tea. We talked about music, relationships, friends we've lost, friends we've gained along the way and where the music industry is going in the future. It feels as though, for many, the music industry has gone full circle and reverted back to the punk rock ethic of DIY/Do it yourself approach with recording and releasing music. When I put out The Uplifter 12" vinyl it felt as thought I was putting out a punk rock record in some ways - producing it myself with a friend, funding it myself and selling them out of a suitcase at shows. I feel like Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses sometimes ha!