Joeyfat’s Jubilee - Twenty five years of inspiration and provocation
I once rehearsed next door to the band Spiritualised. They droned one note for an hour and a half, popped their heads around the door of our practise room, told us they were enjoying our music, suggested some drugs that would probably improve it, then went back to the same note they had been playing and were still play it as we left. It is fair to say a Joeyfat band rehearsal is a more industrious affair.
There is a plaque on the wall out side “Joeyfat played the first night of the Forum”, tonight, nearly 25 years later, the band are sealed into the Studio area. Here notes and rhythms start, stop, chug and click, motioning like an Alan Turing clockwork computer. A look and raise of eyebrows indicate that parameters may need to be reset. Bassist Jason Dormon sits perched on the edge of a piano stall, peaked bush hat riding high on the back of his head. He and vocalist M Edward Cole have been complicit in over a quarter century of making music together.
My first experience of ‘The fat’ was at a town hall in Southborough, They had a vocalist who seemingly had his misspent youth watching early evening consumer advice programs who actually asked to have the guitars turned up. The 80’s had lain waste to most of the country’s burgeoning drumming talent and they had the rarest of things at the time, a great drummer.
I spoke to a former Fat guitarist Tom House the other week on his first impressions of the band, “They changed my perception of what music could be, it didn’t have to be verse chorus verse chorus” .
Originality of thought and deed is what makes Joeyfat so important. Where other bands inspired by the American underground Punk scene would ape the sounds and moves of their heroes, Joeyfat took on the real message from that movement and became pivotal in making their home town Tunbridge Wells an unlikely crucible for alternative music, arts and political thought.
If anyone sees Joeyfat as ‘commercial underachieving’ they are totally missing the point. They are a statement of intent, showing what is possible to achieve by your own means, on your own terms. How it is to create and be active in your local music scene, make ground breaking music and draw others from across the country to be involved. The music industry at large peaks with misplaced enthusiasm and troughs with perplexed amnesia, it takes guile and nerve to keep your head above it, to keep vital, keep contributing.
Okay, I’ve got ear plugs in, I’m huddled somewhere between a kick drum and a leather look sofa, this was probably the worst idea for a photos and report situation, but you get my drift, Joeyfat are a vital, inspiring and compelling act, you squander chances to see them at your peril.
Joeyfat play the unlabel unfestive Friday 15th December with Blurt, Three Quarter Williams & J C Palmer
Words and Pictures Phil Avey