This English band is on the label JSNTGM which seems to be a really good label. Nige from the groups is answering my questions and this took place in the middle of December 2003. Really fun with the band is that the ages varies from 20 to 41 years.
-SICK56 have been together as a band since November 2001. Although a "new" band is the right term for us, we're a mixture of One Way System & Pink Torpedoes, both bands started in the eighties so I guess we have a few years experience between us. Tom, our bass player being the youngest at 20 adds a youthful edge to the band, although we're all older than Tom he's a mate of ours and we never notice the age gap. Myself and Boothy (drummer) left the Pink Torpedoes to form a new band with Craig Halliday (ex OWS). As we've all been mates for years, we knew we wanted to create our own sound, so myself and Craig spent around 5 months writing and demoing 18 songs. As a band we decided to choose what we thought were the best 12 and dump 6, then we spent 7 months rehearsing before finally recording them at Shireshead Studios. We chose a professional studio that had all the latest equipment to give us the best chance of capturing and producing what we had spent a year creating, although the studio was expensive, we paid for what we got as the end result. We've completely financed the band ourselves costing around £18,000.00 to date. We are completely DIY in all respects, including creating our own videos, website etc. We have been gigging for 12 months now and the crowds have been giving us great receptions, which of course is all we want for our efforts. We wanted to create a great British punk band that would be remembered in time to come. It looks like we're well on the way to achieving that now.
Please tell me a little about every member, age, interests, family, work and something bad about everyone?
-I'm (ukNige) 39, married, no kids and I work as an IT project manager installing high tech computer equipment into children's hospices. Craig is 41, married, no kids, he owns a mineral water company supplying water to local companies around the north west of England. Boothy is 39, married and is a window cleaner and Tom is 20, single and works in an engineering factory in Blackpool.
Our main interest of course is punk rock and our band but we all have other things of interest as well, Boothy likes to sea fish off the coast, Craig is into motorbikes, mine is all punk rock related and Tom's interest is women!!!
JSNTGM is it a good label, how come that it became that label?
-Well, there are a number of reasons, JSNTGM are a local label of sound reputation and the guy that owns and runs it is Andy Higgins, ex front man of local band Erase Today. Andy is punk rock through and through and we knew JSNTGM would work as hard as SICK56 to promote the band. JSNTGM stands for Just Say No To Government Music and that's where we come from too. The corporate labels are obviously into making money and the bands they sign are assets to generate the profits they need to pay dividends to share holders. That being the way of all businesses, the signed bands and labels churn out musical shit for the masses. The vast majority of the general public will buy anything if it's to a proven formula, that's why most pop bands are throw away acts these days. Smallish, independent punk rock labels like JSNTGM allow the bands to do there own things and together with the band, help to promote records etc.
Recipe for disaster, what disaster?
-Do people think we live in safe, normal, happy times? Safe in our own little bubbles of existence, with our playstations, Xbox's, TV's etc. I think not, since 1977, the only things that have improved are the material side of life, the same social problems exist, mindless violence is far higher, Terrorists have evolved into self sacrificing killing machines, the material world has changed but the people haven't.
International wars are the order of the day, global commercialisation and economic western growth patterns means we create unrest in third world countries, we damage the environment for the sake of economic satisfaction of the short term. We don't think the world is a very nice place at the moment and in another 10 or 20 years it'll get worse, people and human nature does not change for the vast majority, technology and the quest for profits do. We don't know the answers but we like to sing about the problems that exist adding our voice to the thousands of bands writing and singing songs of what is not right.
Have you done any other records, if you have , how can I get them?
-The Pink Torpedoes did a couple of albums, Womb Raider and Torpedoes Away, you should be able to still get them off the net but if not, any one wanting one of these can always contact us and we'll send them direct. One Way System of course have a number of albums available, again, you'll be able to get all of these albums through net distribution.
How is the music/punklife in England right now?
-I've never thought the scene over here is very big, especially nowadays. There are a raft of younger bands playing the pop punk / ska punk thing, I don't think these "branches" of punk will last, they're safe, palatable, controllable genres that appeal to the teen generation that are into punk today, but next year will have moved on to something else. To us, Punk Rock has always been about making your point about what's is not right, writing songs about girls that dumped you at high school and how heart broken you are is so shallow, it's not really punk rock, it's pop music dressed up to be a bit punky - nice and safe for the children?
Is there any good bands?
.Yes there are some very good bands coming through, The Dead Pets and Deadline are two great "new" British bands making their mark in the scene over here. The older classic bands like GBH, UK SUBS still play great shows and are a testament to the great songs they've written over the years.
I compare you to both Adicts and Exploited, how about that? What other bands are you being compared to?
-The common denominators are mixture of UK SUBS, Exploited, Varukers and GBH - quite an honour really. We understand that a reviewer will usually have to compare a new review to another band of similar style so the reader can form a mental picture of where the band is coming from.
How would you describe your music with threee words?
-Thought - Provoking - Energy
Do you care about reviews?
-Yes we do care that people take the time to listen and give an honest opinion about what they've listened too. As we're a "new" band reviewers have no loyalty to SICK56 so the reviews we get help us to understand if what we do to satisfy ourselves is appreciated by others. We always post music reviews on our website, whether they're good or bad, we have no reason or inclination to kid ourselves or others by posting only the good ones. There are too many bands that post only good reviews about themselves, how honest is that? There are some simple facts, you are not going to appeal to everyone's personal choice in music so it's natural to expect some reviews to be poor or bad.
Which is the most peculiar review you ever have got?
-"oh, not really my piece of cake" by a foreign reviewer - an English phrase that should be "not really my cup of tea".
It made us smile, you can see the full review on our website.
What´s the most peculiar which have happened during a concert with Sick 56, in the audience or on stage?
-Nothing peculiar at all really although in time to come I'm sure we'll have some stories to tell.
How is a good concert with the group?
-All concerts are good to us. It does not matter if the gig is well attended and not, we still give 110% to the people that have made the effort to come out and see us.
We enjoy playing live and this always comes through at gigs.
Why the name Sick 56?
-SICK56, well, we wanted a short name that was easy to remember, someone thought of Sick Every Friday as that's the night that we all go out for a beer together. We did not think this had much credibility so, to shorten it, E is the fifth letter of the alphabet and F is the 6th - hence SICK56
When you do music , which is most important, is it the lyrics, the music or is it to have a refrain that people remembers?
-All the things you have mentioned above are very imported to our songs. On the music side of things, myself and Craig write songs that we would like to hear another band play and would then go out and buy, so the only way one of our tunes gets to become part of a song is when we know we would like it if another band had released it. The lyrics are top priority for us, we know that people open up the CD cover booklet and read them, this is where a fan starts to identify with a band or not. We want people to be able to relate to what were saying in a credible way so we take a long time and carefully put together verses and choruses. Initially, when you see a new band, you remember the band songs by the chorus line hooks. Nearly all of our songs can be remembered after the first time you seen us.
Do you think that politic and music goes hand in hand?
-Yes I do. There are some that think politics should be left out of punk and there are those that champion it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but surely a thought provoking song will remain with you a lot longer than none political song? For some people this will be the case, for others it will not. We right songs for ourselves, not to impress, not to preach to others. If some people hear us and like what we do then our music is for them.
Which is the best political band in the world?
-There are so many great political bands of different political strengths, The Clash, Pennywise, Rancid to a certain extent, Exploited, Conflict and there are lots of international bands that I haven't mentioned but are out there making their point.
Do you think that music can change anyones life, thoughts and so on? Give me an example?
-Yes music can change a person's life, I know this as a fact as it changed mine. The Clash lyrically I found very inspiring as a teenager and the words I read I understood by what was going on around me in the late 70's and this moulded a way of thinking that has stayed with me ever since. Craig and Boothy are the same, punk rock has moulded them into the people they are today.
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle for you?
-Punk Rock to me is a way of thinking - a state of mind. It's not a fashion, it's not something your into today and not tomorrow, it's not a lifestyle and it's not just a word.
You don't have to dress punk rock to be punk - that's a choice to visually look different from the rest of society, you don't have to have a Mohican or coloured hair, again, that's a personal choice to look different.
Punk Rock (if it stays with you) is how you look on life, middle finger up to the world, you know you don't really fit in with the rest of society nor do you want to, you question things, you help others and each other, you question the system and you love the music. You do things your own way, you dress your own way, you look your own way and you don't care whether you look punk or not because that's not the issue.
If you could choose five bands to play with on a concert with Sick 56, both living and dead bands, which 5 will you choose?
-The Clash - The Rancid of a few years ago - US Bombs - One Way System - UK SUBS - Exploited
Please rank your five best concerts and five most important things in life?
-The five best concerts, speaking for myself only, the first three would all be Clash concerts I went to in the late seventies, a sex pistols gig in 1977 and a 999 gig in 1978.
These gigs are the most memorable as the impact on me was incredible at that time. The five most important things would be, be a good and honourable person throughout your life, don't take any shit from anyone, love your close ones, help others less fortunate than yourself and when you eventually look back on your life, don't wish you had done something else - do it when you can.
First, last and most expensive record ever bought?
-The first 7" single I bought was Anarchy In The UK on EMI for £0.50p and the most expensive was £10.00 for a copy of Nasty Nasty (999) on green vinyl, CD's usually all around the £5.00 to £10.00 range.
What do you know about Sweden? What is typically swedish?
-Sweden in the UK is primarily associated with SAAB, Abba, beautiful blond haired women and some of the best punk and metal bands in Europe. We are not particularly well educated over here in other European countries and their own important things, so you will have to excuse me if I have missed something that is very apparent and important to you or your readers.
Have you heard any good swedish bands?
-Voice Of A Generation are my favourite Swedish punk band. I know there are a lot of well respected hard core, punk and metal bands from Sweden with world renowned reputations, but VOAG for me are the best, they write great memorable tunes and there lyrics stand up with some of the best.
Which are the futureplans for the band ?
-We've still got a lot to do gig wise in the UK, but next year we want to play in Europe, we're not going to be around forever and you never know what's round the corner so we'd like to take our music to some selected venues where we have the greatest opportunity for as many people to hear as possible. Our band is not a money making exercise so as long as the venues and gigs are right and we cover costs, that's fine by us.
For yourself as an human being?
-Future plans for myself as a human being? Live my life honourably, help others (most of the time you'll get shit on for your help!) and enjoy my existence while I'm here.
-It's Nice To Be Nice - Unless Your A Wanker
Something more to add?
-Thank you for the opportunity of the interview, I know the effort you guys put into your fanzines and webzines is hard work and done for the pleasure of yourselves and others in the underground scene.
SICK56 are here at this moment time, it won't always be that way - get to see us if you can.
from all the band - thanks for the interview mate.