Krip-Hop Goes Punk


root - Posted on 01 January 2000

Leroy Moore interviews the UK's only disabled punk band, Heavy Load.

by Leroy Moore/PNN

Krip-Hop: Tell us about Heavy Load.

Heavy Load: We're a five piece punk band from Brighton, England. We've been together for 12 years. Three of us have learning disabilities (Learning disabilities in the UK means people with developmental disabilities like Down Syndrome)¦Jimmy started everything by telling his support worker he'd like to be in a band. They sent out an advertisement and a week later the band had formed.

Krip-Hop: What kind of music you play?

Heavy Load: It's loud garage/punk rock.

Krip-Hop: Name the members of Heavy Load

Heavy Load: Heavy Load is Simon Barker (vocals), Jimmy Nicholls (guitar and vocals), Mick Williams (guitar and vocals), Michael White (drums) and Paul Richards (bass)

Krip-Hop: Name some titles of your songs?

Heavy Load: Stay Up Late, When will We Get Paid, Farty Animals, We love George Michael

Krip-Hop: Tells us about your documentary.

Heavy Load: The film follows us for 2 1⁄2 years as we try and take our music to a more mainstream audience playing at music festivals etc and particular challenges that face each member of the band in their lives. It's going to be broadcast on IFC on 23rd June and then at cinemas in the UK later in the year as well as being shown on the BBC.

Krip-Hop: How long will you be in the US?

Heavy Load: We're only in the US for five days and for all except Mick…it's our first trip to New York City.

Krip-Hop: Have you ever played with an all disabled Hip-Hop group like 4Wheel City?

Heavy Load: Last year we played with a young hip-hop group from London who had learning disabilities and we hear great things about 4Wheel City. We're really looking forward to it.

Krip-Hop: Tells us Heavy Load's experience in the music industry.

Heavy Load: I don't know what the US is like but it's difficult in the UK. It seems to be a lot about money. We've had a couple of meetings with record companies but no success. But with the Internet we can do our own thing, release what we want, and there's no shortage of gigs so we're happy do everything our own way. It seems to work for us.

Krip-Hop: Name some other disabled musicians in London/UK

Heavy Load: We're just about to release a compilation album called Wild Things “ songs of the disabled underground' which is a project we've undertaken to gather together learning disabled musicians from the UK together on one CD for the first time. There are some really great acts on it. Ones to look out for are Beat Express (also from Brighton), Vanessa and Kick Me Ugly, Dele Fakoya, Dean Rawat and The Coasters. It's a really varied album and we're really excited to be releasing it. We'd love to do a US version if people want to send us their recordings.

Krip-Hop: Tell us your Stay Up Late campaign

Heavy Load: For years we'd been playing gigs at disabled club nights and got frustrated at how early everyone was going home.
We soon realized that it was because support workers were
only scheduled to work until 10pm at night so would want
to leave by 9pm so they could get the person they were
supporting back home . We thought this was wrong so we recorded a single 'Stay Up Late', got some money from the
National Lottery and set about raising awareness and
getting disabled people to tell their staff that from time to time they wanted to Stay Up Late â“ and that this should be their right. After all most live music nights don't normally end at 9pm

Krip-Hop: What is your next project?

Heavy Load: We're currently getting the Wild Things album out there and then we'll be releasing our second album 'Shut It' at the end of June. After that we've got various gigs lined up across the UK either to promote the film or the Stay Up Late campaign. We also organizing 'mixed' nights that involve bands with and without disabilities as it creates a great vibe with the audience and introduces the public to music they might not have heard before so we'll be doing more of that later in the year. We've had a lot of requests to play gigs so the film will probably keep us busy for a good while – we hope.

Krip-Hop: Tell us about the disabled rights movement in UK compared to USA

Heavy Load: There's some great and challenging stuff going on with websites like www.bbc.co.uk/ouch which has got correspondents discussing all sorts of issues. There's also a healthy self-advocacy movement making sure that people are able to have a voice and know what their rights are. There's still a fair bit of work to be done though.

Krip-Hop: How can people get in touch with you?

Heavy Load: They can check out our myspace which is www.myspace.com/heavyloaduk or go to our website
www.heavyload.org and you can email us from there.

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