The Monster’s Teeth Aren’t As Big As You Imagine

LITFO’s Jimmy Carroll explains how getting onstaged helped him overcome social anxiety and shyness.

Guest post written by Jimmy Carroll, bassist in Laughing In The Face Of. This is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music. 

I was a painfully shy child.  Other kids who had never met before seemed to be able to integrate with each other in a way I would never understand, only observe.

It wasn’t without trying or effort, I just couldn’t seem to summon up the courage to simply say ‘hello’.

In my mind at the time the prospect of rejection or even worse, all out mockery was too terrifying a prospect to entertain.

This isn’t to say I was friendless or a total loner as a kid but I would never make the first move in an interaction of any kind.

Fast forward to my early teens and this social anxiety was supplemented by a broader type.  All the ‘what if’s and over-analyzing every single aspect of the most trivial things led me to my first panic attack (which at the time I was convinced was a full blown heart attack) and left me fucked up for about a week in the aftermath.

I think a big part of it was unfounded paranoia.  Are they looking at me? Why are they looking at me? Are they talking about me?  Why are they talking about me?

I began to learn to play the guitar.   Some of my friends learned to play instruments as well.  We started a shitty nu metal band (cut me some slack, it was the year 2000) and then, before we knew it, we had our first show booked.

I vividly remember how scared I was before we played that gig. This was the embodiment of every situation I had tried to avoid up until that point.

A little lightbulb went off though.  There was no doubt or second guessing that people were looking at me.  They definitely were. Instead of it being pure speculation, it was reality and it wasn’t the horror show I had drummed up in my head.  In fact, I really enjoyed myself and developed a taste for it (waking up the next morning, late for double maths and covered in peach schnapps puke wasn’t so good, though).

I’d love to say that this one revelatory moment destroyed my anxiety and I saw the light. It didn’t though. My constantly-chomped fingernails are testament to this. To this day there will be some social occasions where I try to blend into the wallpaper as best as I can, however it did teach me something very important.  The monster’s teeth aren’t as big as you imagine.

There has been a meme doing the rounds lately which basically says that anxiety is a bunch of conspiracy theories that you create about yourself.  That really chimed with me.

Music continues to help me launch a counterattack against these automatic, negative thought patterns.

Getting to travel to new countries, make new friends and ultimately instead of worrying about “what if” and seeing “what is” has given me much needed extra fuel in my 33 year long fight against this fucker.

I really wish I could offer some advice or a cure of sorts to conclude this brief ramble but I’m not the pony to bet on in that regard, I’m afraid.

If any of what I have typed touches base with you then I’ll just reiterate the four most beautiful words in the English language:

You.  Are. Not.  Alone.

Guest post written by Jimmy Carroll, bassist in Laughing In The Face Of (among other musical projects). This is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music. 

Derry Girls Cherym Breathe New Life Into The DIY Pop-Punk Genre

Discover Irish DIY pop-punks Cherym before they explode.

Article by Alan Corcoran. Cover photo by Mickey Rooney.

Every so often a geriatric pop-punker like myself will see a band that serves as a reminder as to why you like this ridiculous genre in the first place. Derry’s Cherym are one of these bands.

Hitting the stage as a cluster of energy and a little bit of endearing nervousness, it took about 30 seconds before they won the crowd over and had everyone in the venue mentally filing the moment away for future, “I saw them before they were a thing,” conversations.

For such a young band to have songwriting chops this good is frankly sickening. Every song skirts the line between power pop and 77 punk. Every melody and musical movement is delivered with a half smile and a shrug of the shoulders, as if it’s all happening by accident. They are either naturally musically gifted or incredible at acting and this curmudgeon isn’t sure which is worse.

Lead single Take It Back sets out their stall: you’re gonna get driving basslines, drums that will kick you upside your head, plenty of fuzzy guitar tones and vocal melodies to tie these disparate things into approx. 3 minutes of pop punk goodness. Continue reading “Derry Girls Cherym Breathe New Life Into The DIY Pop-Punk Genre”

We Are Just Like You, We Just Don’t Have Instruments

Simon Widdop explains why punk poetry is worth your attention.

Guest article by Simon Widdop, a punk poet from Wakefield. Simon’s debut poetry collecton is Sending A Drunk Text Whilst Sober is available from simonwiddop.com.

The old adage of, “Here’s three chords, now go start a band,” can be translated into, “Here’s a pen and paper, now go start a poem.”

Poetry ain’t dead, far from it. It’s alive and beating hard in books, at lit fests, on TV adverts and at gigs. Yeah, that’s right. But not to be cliche, the poetry you’ll find at shows isn’t the same as the stuff we were forced to recite in grey tones in GCSE English lessons.

But where does all this tie into the punk scene?

Let’s rewind to the initial explosion of punk. You’ve just entered the Mayflower Club in Manchester, waiting for The Buzzcocks when suddenly a matchstick legged, drain pipe jeans clad, backcomb rocking John Cooper Clarke takes to the stage. 20 minutes later (or shorter, depending how ‘Ramones’ he was feeling that night) you’ve just experienced the godfather of punk poetry. Fast delivery, sharpshooter word play and a right hook to the senses. At the same time, across the pond and in the belly of CBGB, Patti Smith was reciting her kitchen sink realism and strong feminist works to an audience of fellow New Yorkers at the height of the New York Scene. Continue reading “We Are Just Like You, We Just Don’t Have Instruments”

Death or Salvation: A Year In The Life Of Tim Loud

Antifolk singer-songwriter, Tim Loud, gives us a track-by-track insight into his latest album, ‘Salvation’.

Folk-punk antihero, Tim Loud, is due to release his third studio album Salvation via TNS Records on 28th September 2018. Salvation follows new musical and lyrical themes; a musical chronical of Tim’s personal quest for redemption. Shout Louder asked Tim to give us the background.

I was due to start pre-production on Salvation in December of last year, after a pretty shitty few months. Three years of heavy touring and trying to cram in some semblance of a personal life in the 5-10 day stints when I was back ‘home’ had taken its toll. I tried to go sans abode, thinking that if that financial pressure was gone then it might be better… but the uncertainty that added only made things worse.

My head popped at the end of a tour in August last year. I had to work out a more healthy way to carry on making music, if it was even worth me carrying it on at all?

I’d been drinking a lot over the years and had grown accustomed to taking a good ol’ cocktail of drugs to balance me out on the daily, so I decided to knock those things on the head. I still had a sparsely populated tour for September and October to complete, so I decided I would make those my last dates before taking a break. I wouldn’t stress too much about filling the last dates and maybe even take some days off to camp out in the Western European woodlands. I was doing this tour on my own; I often travel with another performer but due to my state, I knew I had to go this part alone.

Tim Loud Salvation Album Cover.jpg

I managed to stay off of everything for one month and then gradually began falling back into old habits, although with less gusto this time. I felt the time to clear my head had been useful. One of the last dates I played was at the ADM festival in Amsterdam; I have played there maybe a dozen times over the past 4/5 years and I have a lot of good friends there. They were all busy running the festival and tour fatigue had put pay to what remaining social skills I had left after the head-popping incident. I spent most of the festival wandering round on my own. It was nice, but it’s a strange experience when everyone else is so involved with each other and you’re just an individual.

So anyway, I wound up taking some acid and in the dawn-light in the back of my van. As electricity danced through every structure and a thin layer of ice shimmered atop everything in my line of vision, I had an epiphany of sorts. Two phrases kept repeating themselves in my head, “Find a home,” and, “I am me, and that’s OK,” for about 6 hours.

I put that together with everything else I’d been thinking for the previous years. It was time to take a break from touring. Continue reading “Death or Salvation: A Year In The Life Of Tim Loud”

Guest Article: How To Prepare Your Merch for Festival Season

Guest Article: Random Hand’s Joe Tilston gives valuable advice on how to prepare your band’s merch set up, to make the most of summer’s festival season.

Guest Article by Joe Tilston, originally published at Merch Stall.

The weather is getting better, this can mean only one thing: festival season is upon us once more. Are you ready?

Is this your band’s first year playing a festival, or are you on your 10th run through the circuit? No matter how well versed you are, you need to give your merchandise preparation some serious thought. Too often I’ve found myself two weeks before the first big festival date of the year, and we haven’t got any new designs drawn (never mind ordered!), once again making an already stressful situation far more complicated than it needs to be.

So learn from the mistakes of those that have made them before you: prepare!

Keep it simple. It’s easy to get carried away on a merch stall at your own show or a support gig when there are only three bands, but at festivals all the pins, badges and lighters, bumper bonza deals and mega collections should disappear. You want to get through the queue as fast as you can, so show some restraint. If someone wants to haggle or make a deal, let them, but keep the options for people to look at. Simple: t-shirt price, CD price, vinyl price. Done.

Do you have a merch person available to join you? Have you made sure there is space for you to sell your merch; do you need to book it? Make sure whoever is selling your merch is able to spend most of the day there. People will be looking to buy merch all day, not just right after your set. That said, some festivals will only give you a small window to sell, so be prepared for that and communicate it on stage!
Continue reading “Guest Article: How To Prepare Your Merch for Festival Season”

Why I Love Punk Rock: Guest Article from Colin Clark

Colin’s Punk Rock World is one of the best punk blogs out there. Colin and I are swapping posts, so he can shout about why he loves punk so much.

Hello! My name is Colin and I write for the punk rock blog Colin’s Punk Rock World (or CPRW for short). A few months ago I cyber bumped into Sarah from Shout Louder, this blog you’re currently reading. After initially trying to recruit her for CPRW we struck up a friendship and decided to do some blog swaps and some collaborations. The first of these blog swaps will be pieces on why we love punk rock so much. So why do I, Colin from Colin’s Punk Rock World (CPRW for short) love punk rock so much?

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Colin enjoying some punk rock pizza.

I feel like that before I really begin I should give a brief account of how I first discovered punk rock. I, like many of you reading this was a teenager who was slowly finding out who they were. It was 1998 and The Offspring’s Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) was just released. I didn’t know The Offspring’s previous punk rock history or that this was even punk rock music but I was hooked and eventually got the album Americana that Christmas. Soon I discovered more punk bands such as Green Day and Blink 182 before digging slightly deeper and eventually discovering bands like Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, New Found Glory and Dropkick Murphys. I loved these bands but it wasn’t what really tipped me over the edge of becoming fully obsessed with punk rock. It was eventually discovering underground UK bands such as [Spunge], Lightyear, Capdown, Jesse James, King Prawn and 4ft Fingers. I discovered these bands and my life changed forever.

So why do I love punk rock so much? Well first of all it’s the music. That’s blatantly obvious. If you’re reading this post it’s probably because you love punk rock music as well, so you know that it’s the best type of music. It’s fast, it’s fun, you can sing-along, it makes you dance, you can relate, you can learn, it’s passionate, it’s energetic and most importantly it’s an escape. Everyone needs some escapism in their lives, something to take them away from all of the rubbish that goes on around them on a personal level as well as a global one. There’s no better feeling than putting on your favourite record and singing along to every word. As well as just being a whole lot of fun there’s a comforting feeling to it, like spending time with an old friend. I did tell a little lie there, there is one better feeling – hearing these songs played live, in a small sweaty basement or bar and screaming along to the songs with your new best friends. I’ll talk more about live music and the people a little further down the page because next I want to talk about learning from punk rock music. Continue reading “Why I Love Punk Rock: Guest Article from Colin Clark”