As a founding member of Snuff and Southport, Simon Wells’ has a world of music experience. He shared it with Shout Louder in this two-part interview.
Article by Sarah Williams.
Simon Wells is a man with a colourful musical history, but he was particularly busy in 2017. He released his first solo album on July 1st, celebrating by playing a release show at Wonkfest. Crime of The Scene is a real divergence to much of his previous material. It’s mostly acoustic with piano throughout, allowing his voice and his lyrics to really shine. It’s gentler and more soulful but there’s still plenty for old punks to enjoy.
Simon’s better known for being a founding member of British punk legends Snuff, recording Snuff Said and Reach with them in 1989 and 1992 respectively, and touring the world with them in their early heyday. After a break, he went on to form Southport: the renowned mod/punk/soul act who’ve had a revolving door of members from different 90s punk bands over the years. Nowadays he’s based down in Hastings, but often pops up playing acoustic sets around the country.
Last year, I met Simon over vegan pizza and a couple of pints. I hadn’t really planned to interview him, so I went in without an agenda apart from wanting to find out more about how his solo album had come to be created. Crime of The Scene, although very different to Simon’s other material, will definitely appeal to old Southport and Snuff fans. There are a handful of reworked songs from both bands, plus new tracks like All At Sea.
In talking to Simon it quickly became clear that Southport’s history was essential to understanding how Crime of The Scene came into being. So when he asked me this, I leapt at the chance to hear more:
“Have I ever told you the story of how Southport started?”
Simon: There was this local pub where I was living in Headstone Lane. It was an Irish pub called O’Flaherty’s in North Harrow – it was an old converted shop. There was a fella who used to sit next to me called Pat. And he had two mates, both called Pat – it was that sort of bar. I sat next to Pat drinking probably every other night for a year; we’d sit there in silence, drink four or five pints each and go home. As you went home you’d acknowledge each other, and that would be it.
After literally a year of drinking next to each other in the pub, Pat said to me, “Did you used to play in a band? Did you used to play in Snuff?” I said yeah. He says, “My nephew plays the drums. You should have a jam with him one day.”
So about three weeks later this 16 year old kid covered in acne, really tall, really thin, wearing a Nirvana t-shirt that was 15 times too big for him walks into O’Flaherty’s. “Are you Simon? I’m Dom. Pat’s my uncle. He said you wanted to have a jam.” Continue reading “Simon Wells Interview #1: Southport’s Colourful History and How His Solo Career Grew From It”