"Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat. I was able to ask the band a few questions and, in the spirit of those good old magazines we all grew up reading, I asked the band members to each pick 10 songs they recommend that you, the reader, need to listen to more often. I have made their selections into a downloadable mixtape.
How did the band form?
Johnny: "Matt and Habs are brothers and I grew up down the road from them in Nottingham in the UK. So we have been friends from childhood. When we all ended up in London a few years back we decided to get together and make the kind of music that we would want to listen to. 'Stone Cold' Tom Frost is a London boy and he joined us last year on guitar to give us a fuller sound."
Thanks for the Heavyball mix tape. Can you tell us a bit more about your musical influences?
Big Face: "We really enjoyed getting that list of songs together. As you'd expect, there is a strong nod to 80s ska, The Selecter, The Specials, Madness plus a bit of Northern Soul. A lot of the old Jamaican stuff has always been a big influence on us so Toots, Jimmy Cliff and The Pioneers were always going to make the team."
Habs: "We love story telling in songs. It's a range of genres but The Kinks, Blondie, Kenny Rogers and hip hop acts like Black Twang all do that really well. Sometimes though it's less about telling a story and more about tearing the place up and howling at the moon....that's when you need to hear something like Baba O'Riley".
Johnny: "We have also included a couple of ska-influenced bands that we have played with in the UK that we really like. The Glenn Hodge Banned are a fantastic act based in London while Junior Bill and the Scallies are from Cardiff...they're both definitely worth having a listen to."
How did you come up with the name Heavyball?
Johnny: "Years ago, I used to work in a woodyard. I wasn't exactly 'Employee of the Month' material and the boss hated me. One morning I accidentally drove a fork lift truck into a wall because I was distracted by what was written on the crate I was lifting. The crate had 'HEAVYBALL' written on it, but I never found out what was inside because I was sacked five minutes later."
What's coming up for Heavyball?
Frosty: "We're releasing our cover of Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat this April which has already been getting some great radio play in the UK. Sameer Patel, who directed the video for Black Eye Friday is on board again to work with us so we're really excited about that. Unbelievably, Jimmy Somerville, who wrote it, has got in touch to say that our version was the best cover ever!"
Why did you choose to do a version of Bronski Beat?
Big Face: "It's the only cover we ever play at shows and it has always gone down really well. It's a fantastic song in it's own right, about being an outsider, and really it gets to the heart of what we what we aspire to in our writing. We want our music to say something but, if it isn't catchy and you can't get up and dance to it, we don't think its worth doing."
Here is the band's selections for the mixtape:
Big Face: Vocals, Guitar
1 On My Radio - The Selecter
2 Long Shot Kick The Bucket - The Pioneers
3 'A' Bomb in Wardour Street - The Jam
4 Night Club - The Specials
5 Dead End Street - The Kinks
6 Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town) - Kenny Rogers
7 Pressure Drop - Toots and the Maytals
8 The Rat - The Walkmen
9 Fortunate Son - CCR
10 Baba O'Riley - The Who
Habs: Drums, Vocals
11 Gertcha - Chas and Dave
12 Let's Push Things Forward - The Streets
13 Faces on Tables - Glenn Hodge Banned
14 My Boy Lollipop - Millie Small
15 So Rotton - Black Twang
16 Defeito - Junior Bill and the Scallies (BANDCAMP)
17 Girl Don't Tell Me - The Beach Boys
18 Twat - John Cooper Clarke
19 Can't Tek No More - Dizzee Rascal
20 Louie Louie - The Kingsmen
Johnny Iball: Bass, Vocals
21 Purple Haze - Johnny Jones and the King Casuals
22 Geno - Dexy's Midnight Runners
23 All or Nothing - The Small Faces
24 Give Me Just a Little More Time - Chairman of the Board
25 Enjoy Yourself - The Specials
26 Badge - Cream
27 You Got it Bad - Ocean Colour Scene
28 Do I love you (Indeed I Do) - Frank Wilson
29 Cherry Oh Baby - The Rolling Stones
30 Walking on the Moon - The Police
Frosty: Lead Guitar
31 Johnny Too Bad - The Slickers
32 One Step Beyond - Madness
33 All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
34 On Mercury - Red Hot Chili Peppers
35 I'd Rather Go Blind - Etta James
36 In My Life - The Beatles
37 Lady Writer - Dire Straits
38 Time - Pink Floyd
39 Rudie Can't Fail - The Clash
40 Hanging On The Telephone - Blondie
DOWNLOAD PART 1
DOWNLOAD PART 2
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Modcast #396: They Got You Covered
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