Mr E of
Sky Rocket Jack
1. So tell us about your own musical career thus far and how you came to end up in Sky Rocket Jack?
Hello. My name is Mr E. I do vocals in Sky Rocket Jack. I got into the band because of our bass player. She pestered me to do a ska band and pick up the frontman role once again (after a few years away from the front spot of a band). Before Sky Rocket Jack, my main musical achievement was playing guitar for York ska heroes; Comply or Die. I did a UK tour with them and then left shortly after. It was from playing in that band that I decided to take up a more central role in a new band. I used to do frontman stuff when I was REALLY young in a ska band called Duck Sick, and after the fun I had with Comply or Die, I was itching to get back on lead vocals in a ska band again...all it took was a little push from Naomi (bassist) and I signed myself up. I knew after the first rehearsal that we were onto something very good and VERY silly.
The band name is some guy's nickname. There was a man in Americaworld called Jack. He was a professor and lecturer at a college there. His students called him "Sky Rocket Jack" as he loved fireworks and fireworks are called sky rockets in Americaworld. I know of this man, as he featured in a book about murder...as well as being a lecturer and general boffin-socks, he was also an amateur serial killer. I think he killed one person, but wanted to do more. I thought his nickname was a great name for a silly band who has slight disturbing undertones and isn't what it seems on the surface...or something like that.
3. What is the main ethos of the band and the main message the unit are trying to get 'out there'?
We are here to spread happiness and fun. The only thing we are rebelling against is bands who take themselves too seriously. There are loads of those types of band around. We do things differently! I guess the main message would be something like: "Laugh at us, enjoy yourself and forget about your troubles while you watch us. We'll act like total idiots to make you laugh and dance. All you need to do is enjoy!"
What are "radioactive plus fours"? I don't do school stuff very well...I remember once at school we were shown a tiny metallic pellet that the teacher said contained a tiny amount of radioactive substance...I don't know why he had it, but when his back was turned I took it and put it in his pocket. It was in there for a good 20 minutes until he realised it had somehow made it into his trouser pocket. I have always wondered if he ended up having kids with 2 heads or whatever...is that anything close to radioactive plus fours?
5. I am always curious as to how well (or bad) peoples local scenes are doing. Tell us about thine - the places, faces, shits and hits, the punkers and the spunkers, the warped and the weird - go for it!
Locally, punk is on the rise in York. There was an amazing scene about 10 years ago, but this has been destroyed by X-idols-got-the-pop-factor and shows like that. There are still some of the old faces who are slowly coming back from the dead. As it stands at the moment, the ONLY place to gig in York is Stereo. It's a proper cool little venue that prides itself on it's anarchist values and unusual music. It's run by a guy who is proper cool and handily, a wizard with a sound desk, so any bands looking to come play in York, I’d suggest getting in touch with Stereo. The promoter is well into his punk, so will usually give any punk bands a go, if they are any good! We also have Fibbers which is ok, but sometimes has dodgy sound and then there is another venue (the name of which must NOT be mentioned) that is a big hunking pile of sewer shite. There is also a place called Basement Bar, which we like to play in from time to time. That place also has another sound desk wizard. The people...I’ll mention a few and describe them in a few words: Taff (local tattooist and massive spin-out ska head). Henry (punk poet with a bizarre love for Sky Rocket Jack). Craig (punk promoter and highly sexual). Erik (Sky Rocket Jack's mobile dance unit) and Chris J (also known as Mr T Manager...our semi-boss and friend). Nelly (old punks stand at the back). Manu (York's greatest barman). Smell, Bilo and Dicko (local rebellious punk rock animals).
Our best song would have to be Misery House. I wrote the original riff for it, but then as with all of our tunes, the others kicked it about and stamped on it to make it a Sky Rocket Jack tune. It's got a great chorus tune which is very memorable, starts with a big snare and floor tom BANG, and is about that horrid 80's nob Pat Sharpe. When I was a little boy, Pat Sharpe disallowed me from going on his show "Funhouse". For this, I hold him PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE and based the lyrics on that. I describe what I would have done better than the other contestants, how much I loved the show and ask the question of WHY to anyone who will listen. When we play it live, we get a victim up from the crowd (or small gathering) to deface a picture of Pat Sharpe with a marker pen. This is always a good part of the show. People love drawing cocks with spunk coming out.
Life is like a video game. Actions create consequences, and there are certain things you need to do in order to keep on advancing, but ultimately it's about having fun and playing it your own way. This massive influence about life comes through in the music we do. So I’d say that the main influence in life and music is video games...
The potato. Control the potato and you control chips. That's all I can tell you as this is a plan we currently have in progress. Any more information is strictly classified.
9. Tell us about your fellow bands members dude - describe in 5 words each one of which must be a dairy product?
I'm not sure that 25 dairy products even exist…
The punk "scene" is dull. Loads of bands singing (or shouting) about the same sort of stuff. I'm sick of going to gigs and hearing the same "important messages" coming from bands about politics, oppression and various other depressing issues. We like to think that we are a bit of light relief from all of that. I think that people get this from us when we play. We just did a big all day gig at 1 in 12 Club in Bradford, which highlights this thought. We were on bang smack in the middle of the day, which I think the guy organising it did on purpose. People had a great laugh to our set and many of them made the effort to tell me how good they thought it was afterwards. It was a good gig. There was even a punk rock toddler jumping about to our sounds at the front! But, this aside, our biggest achievement as a band has to be getting stuck in road works on the way to Trillians in Newcastle.
11. Where do you foresee the band in 10 years time and what are your immediate ambitions?
Ambitions are to make people laugh, have fun doing it and be best friends! :) In ten years time, we'll still be doing it. I doubt we'll ever reach any kind of mainstream fame, but fame within the annals of the punk rock underground would be nice! The only main difference would be that we'd be ten years more past it!
12. I quote 'To be honest, there has never been and there never will be a band like us. Our stage show sets us apart from most other bands. We have many quirks and odd attractions when we play live. It has to be seen to be believed'. Wow - strong wordage and applaudable belief man - elaborate - go on sell yerself and convince us that this is the band to see?
We are masters of crowd interactions, entertainment and stupidity. Our music is also as tight as a gnat's chuff. If people don't break out into dance when they watch us, then they always laugh...so they enjoy what we do. The only problem is that we don't fit in with most bands. There has only been one time where I thought we fitted in, and that was when we played with Executive Legs. They were like a sci-fi version of us.