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Interview: Jon Crabb
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Q1. What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I first heard Elvis Presley when I was 11 and I learnt about the energy and charisma he had. But then in my mid-teens, I began listening to ‘heavy metal’ music; it was more rebellious, more aggressive and full excitement for ‘horror’. It inspired me to pick up a guitar and start playing, but when I took lessons from a well-experienced blues guitarist and discovered other bands of different subgenres, it opened my mind up more to music and made me realise there was more to see and hear than I what I had already heard. To this day, I am glad my younger self heard Elvis for the first time, I still consider one of my favourite influencers now, and if I hadn’t discovered him, maybe I wouldn’t be this deep into music and I think probably would’ve either been doing comic book designs, or animal care for all I know.
Q2. What do you like to do when you’re not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not playing my music, I usually just like to chill, watch and listen to different artist/bands either on shuffle in my music library, or YouTube. It may sound boring for someone who’s not deep into music, but it helps me get new ideas on recording and performing. It even helps inspire me to write and record in different genres rather than in just my primary style.
Q3. How long has your band been around?
As a solo artist, I’ve now been recording and performing since late 2018.
Q4. Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I am based out of London. I always travel up North to Camden Town for a lively music scene and every time I saw gigs that influenced me, their energy and atmospheric positivity was what always influenced me to carry on doing music.
Q5. How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you? It’s just my family name really, so I chose to stick with it. I sometimes get called ‘Crab City Rocker’ by some cause of how much I love The Clash and think it’s a great nickname, but I prefer my family name.
Q6. Tell me about the best and worst shows you’ve played.
So many to choose from here. Most of the best ones I’d say were for whenever there was good sound in the monitors, or when there were plenty of people watching. Best one in my opinion was at The Dublin Castle in December 2019 where I had a backing drummer, I was the opening act, was really happy to see all my friends who showed up to see me and I was so glad to see a bit of packed audience. Worst show I played was probably in one of my old bands when we played in North London, I think somewhere in Barnet. The sound mixing desk was behind the stage and the bloody sound-guy kept pacing up and down on the stage trying to get it right. I don’t know who the hell he thought he was and what he was trying to do, but he was ruined the night.
Q7. Tell me about your favourite venue to play at, and do you know any places you want to play to that you haven’t already?
I love playing The Dublin Castle in Camden Town. It’s always been my favourite venue for both gigs and open mics. I really want to play other great venues though, like The Boston Arms, The Mesmerist in Brighton, Hootenanny Brixton and one I have long dreamed of playing; The Camden Underworld.
Q8. If you can play a show with any line-up, who would be on the ticket?
I would probably choose either The Stray Cats, Darrel Higham or Reverend Horton Heat.
Q9. What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing a band?
I would say to them make sure it’s a band that is fully committed to performing, make sure you practice a lot and when you want to start writing your own originals, share it with the rest of the band. You may have disagreements, but remember it’s teamwork that holds your band together.
Q10. If you can go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Q11. Of your songs, which one means most to you and why?
I think “Young Lost Rebel” means most to me, despite it being post-punk and not rockabilly, but it means most to me because of its subject matter and how it reflects angst within a corrupt society and trying to be somebody for some lost cause. I loved alternative youth culture growing up, but then eventually someone would come around and ask “Why do you dress like this?” or “What makes you so angry?” and then nobody would give straight answers. It’s basically my take on ‘Rebel without a Cause’.
Q12. Which songs are your favourite to play and get requested the most?
It’s hard for me to choose, I enjoy playing mostly rockabilly songs, both covers and originals, but “The Vampire Wizard”, mostly gets requested by close friends of mine. It’s a tribute I wrote to the legendary actor Christopher Lee after he died, but from when my friends first heard it, they beg me to play it every time I have a guitar on me, haha. I’m happy to play it either way.
Q13. What is the creative process of the band, and what inspires you write your music?
I usually just chill and listen to other artist/bands I’ve not heard before to help inspire me to keep writing and recording. I like to be inspired by any weird incidents that occur in real-life or dreams I have that I turn into a song. It’s fun, because you’ll never know what result you might end up with. Sometimes I write fictionalised songs about some of my close friends, and would seek advice from any of them to help me if they can.
Q14. What kind of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I mostly tend to stick to writing about hidden evils of humanity, but the messages I like to spread sometimes within my music would be about believing in yourself, standing up for yourself, accepting others for who they are, and enjoy life as much you can.
Q15. Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get pass them?
None as a solo artist at the moment. If I do form a new band, and there are disagreements, we will try our best to work something out.
Q16. What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything you want the spotlight that’s coming up?
Well, I am more than desperate to get back playing live and touring when this pandemic lifts. I plan to hopefully form a new band, a rockabilly trio like The Stray Cats and hopefully go on the road for a UK tour, and then perhaps one day in Europe. I’ve currently got a new EP out I released last Friday called “No Rest for the Living” that’s available on all music platforms and Bandcamp. However, I plan to do a live stream performance on Instagram soon, but haven’t decided on what day yet, so stay tuned! Also I will have some newly recorded tunes on approach for release within a couple months or so.