Lucias from Call Me Malcolm discusses the constant pressure of anxiety and panic that haunts him on stage.
Written by Lucias Malcolm, vocalist/guitarist in Call Me Malcolm. This is part of our #MentallySound series, exploring mental health in music.
We have a gig in less than an hour and there is a bear on stage.
I’ve been a musician for just shy of twenty years and an outwardly functioning human being for almost double that; functioning in the sense that in that time I’ve somewhat miraculously kept myself fed, watered and free from major scarring. I even tie my own shoe laces (though I do wonder if there’s a statute of limitation on this – I’ve been wearing the same Etnies for as long as I can remember and I’ve not re-tied the laces since day one). The point is, outwardly, as far as society is concerned, I function.
Inwardly it’s a different story. At current count there are thirty seven different warning lights flashing, smoke is billowing from several important looking dials and the rabbit that usually steers the ship lost the manual in 1996. The point is, I get anxious.
As I said, there is a very real, to me at least, bear on stage. Continue reading “There Is A Bear On Stage”
“DIY publishing is anyone who has ever taken an idea and made it a reality.” Martin Appleby shares a love of punk fanzines and independent publishing.
Guest article written by Martin Appleby. Martin is a Hastings-based poet and writer, and the founder of Paper & Ink Literary Zine: a high-quality collection of fiction and poetry. Catch Martin performing at Manchester Punk Festival at 13:00 in The Thirsty Scholar.
Fanzines are as old as punk itself, and have always been an integral part of the scene, especially in pre-Internet times: an open and unbiased resource for spreading the word about new bands, albums and gigs. A cheap and easy format to make and distribute.
You may think that the format is now obsolete and unnecessary, what with the world wide web at everybody’s fingertips, but zines and zine culture is thriving, and the internet has not hampered that.
If anything, it can act as a formidable marketing tool for zine makers, now able to reach a far wider audience than they arguably could have ‘back in the day’ when zines were only shared at shows and amongst friends in their own scenes.
Many punk zines have come and gone over the years, but a personal favourite of mine, Lights Go Out, has been consistently putting issues out since 2008. I recently caught up with the dude who runs it, Mr T, and asked him about his zine:
“For me it’s an important part of the scene; it’s an honest opinion. It’s a way to find new bands for people and also for me, with the amount of stuff that comes in for the team to check out, I always hope that every record is going to be my new favourite. Continue reading “The Thriving Culture of DIY Publishing & Fanzines”
Ben (ex-Paper Champ/The 4130s) shares a personal story of how fear and anxiety have hindered his enjoyment of punk rock.
Guest post written by Ben Wiles, previously of Paper Champ & The 4130s. This is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music.
Hi. I’m Ben and I’m an emetophobe! There, I said it.
Emetophobia is a fear of vomiting. I’ve been emetophobic for as far back as I can remember. I have no idea of the origins of this phobia and, if you are reading this thinking, “Woah, that’s a strange one,” you’d be right. I think the exact same thing; everyone throws up right?
Fuck – some people actively go out of their way to drink enough booze to puke every Friday. Fair play to them. I don’t drink. It’s not my bag. Over the years not drinking has had a big impact on being in a band and, by extension, being in a gig setting. I never wanted to be ‘that guy’ who was down on a party and stop my band mates enjoying themselves and getting wasted. But it was getting harder and harder to be around drunk people. Continue reading “Punk Rock, Anxiety, Phobias and Friendship”
Sober punk Jon Turner shares the story of Petrol Bastard, and why you don’t need to be drunk to be punk.
Guest article by Jonathan Turner, chief of the excellent SoberPunks blog. This is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music.
Somewhere back in August 2015 there was a standard weekend happening for me. Standard in that it had become the norm ever since the birth of Petrol Bastard in a Huddersfield pub in 2012; a crazy techno-punk band borne of a manifesto drunkenly written up between me and my bandmate Ben:
- Fast music only
- Live recordings only
- Repetitive lyrics so they’re easy to learn
- Tons of swearing
- Never write or record sober
- Never gig sober
- Never do anything sober
We both enjoyed some pretty hardcore drinking already, but this new set of rules made boozing the absolute centre of everything we did as a band. This was gunna be a crazy ride; a band BY the drinkers, FOR the drinkers. Songs about being drunk, written whilst drunk, and performed whilst drunk. WE ARE PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS AND WE REQUIRE BOOZE TO OPERATE. Continue reading “Booze, Music & Saving Your Sanity”
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? Continue reading “The Monster’s Teeth Aren’t As Big As You Imagine”
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”
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”