I decided that, after my ‘2 years of the Tinpot Revolution’ post and with the anniversary of my 31st year on this earth yesterday, that I would tell you a little story of the roots of this little character of mine…
Over the years I have played in several bands but one in particular holds a very special place in my heart. The Skanx was a punk-rock cover band that my good friend, ‘Charlie’ Dave’, formed in aound 2006-07 and I joined on bass guitar sometime later.
I have had an all-encompassing love for music since I was young and I enjoy listening to all kinds, but I had only a cursory knowledge of punk-rock, having only listened to bits and pieces on the radio, so the chance to find out more about the ‘Punk Revolution’ of the late 1970s was most welcome!
And what an eye opener it was! I loved the pure power and intelligent lyrics of bands such as the Clash, there go-getting attitude and D.I.Y mentality, motivating people to get up and do something about making their lives better.
I believe the true ‘Spirit of Punk’ came from the grey and bleak wastes of ’70s Britain’, living under the threat of the Cold-War and domestic upheaval, with unemployment, union strikes and conflict in Northern Ireland, Punk was a musical ‘Call to Arms’ of the youth of that generation; it was saying ‘You have a voice and you’re the architect of your own destiny!’
Answering the Call
After having been given a CD full of tracks to learn, I went to the rehearsal rooms where I met ‘Guitar’ Dave, his wife Jools and son ‘Billy’ Bob who are wonderful people that I have great affection for, and also the lead singer ‘Shauny’ who is the most ‘Punk-Rock’ bloke that I know!
After one of the first gigs that I played with The Skanx, my girlfriend of the time mentioned that I didn’t look right on stage; the other guys where ‘proper’ punks and I just didn’t look the part. Not the most glowing piece of feedback! But it was a fair comment all the same, so I had a little think about it and decided to create a ‘stage persona’ for myself!
I proceeded to get my hair cut into a Mohican and bleached (as the picture below shows the bleach never really took!) and after a chance encounter with an alternative clothes shop in Great Yarmouth (of all places!!) I had a military style jacket to wear. My love of playing soldiers as a child ( I even had my own little uniform!) has never really left me and so it seemed only natural!
After I had played a few more gigs with the band, Jools mentioned that she thought I should wear a kilt, I thought it was an excellent idea and as ‘Guitar’ Dave had one that he let me have, I had became a Highlander and now all that was needed was a musket!
Up till this point I had been using one of the instruments that I built (pictured above) and this may sound strange, considering I used to hand-make instruments in my spare time, my personal taste is more toward the more rough, beaten-up look and so I built my very own Franken-Basstein!
I absolutely love this bass, it will always be my favourite and most trusted instrument, and it isn’t even as old as it looks! I did a bit of ‘antiquing’ on it with a chain!!
It also has key features such as an old left-handed neck bolted on to a right-handed body (Well spotted in my last post Mr Arkie), lots of ‘cool’ stickers and a block of MDF mounted under the strings ’cause my plucking hand kept falling off the ‘skinny’ pickups!
I had some wonderful times with The Skanx and made some very special friends, all of which, came at a very important time in my life personally and so it was with some regret that I eventually chose to leave the band.
Little did I know, as I hung up the old uniform and ‘musket’, that It wouldn’t be the last I saw of this character…