Meet Marty from the Smokin’ Prophets as we discuss what it means to be punk and how the genre is thriving more than ever.
In a pub with a deceiving size on Ramsgate seafront, I saw real punk rock n’ roll. Some may say it’s dead, but I can tell you it’s still alive and breathing among many offshoots of the genre. Meet Marty, the frontman to the Smokin’ Prophets. He’s got it all, the look, the attitude and the sound.
How would you describe your band the Smokin’ Prophets?
“Theatre Punk! All the attitude of punk, but we look good and put on a show.”
What do you make of people who say: “Punk is dead?”
“Original punk may be dead, but out of that grew many, many branches of punk music. A lot of which are still going now. The aesthetic and meaning of punk is still around, but it’s married with a plethora of other influences which have created a lot of new and interesting music. Look hard enough and most alternative bands have their roots in 70’s punk.”
What does punk mean to you?
“Punk to me is a way to expel pent up feelings of hurt, aggression, desperateness etc through a musical form. Bringing people together into a community built around bringing change. It also enables people to dress how they want and to feel safe and accepted the way they are.”
What’s the most punk rock thing you’ve ever done?
“So, we had a show in London once upon a time, it was small, but absolutely rammed. We went on late and there was a curfew. The crowd were completely bought into us and the performance. Towards the curfew the venue tried to stop us, but we realised the power was behind the stage and they couldn’t switch us off. The crowd wanted more and more. We were telling the crowd not to let people of power tell you what to do and they pretty much formed a wall in front of the stage and we continued playing. The promoter made it to the stage to make an announcement, but just went with it and started singing along. I believe we finally stopped playing when they started to eject people from the venue. I can’t remember exactly how or why we stopped, we could have played all night!
That’s what I mean by punk, being a community and doing what you want, making things happen!
“We were telling the crowd not to let people of power tell you what to do and they pretty much formed a wall in front of the stage and we continued playing.”
That is amazing! I have a friend who went to see Bruce Springsteen and the event organisers unplugged him because he went over the curfew.
“That happens a lot. In fact at that same show someone from the flats opposite came to complain and ended up enjoying the music so much he bought a pint and stayed.”
Who is your favourite punk artist?
“Me personally, Johnny Thunders is my biggest idol. Just the attitude and style is what makes him stand out – it’s exactly what we are going for. Punk and Glam combined.”
Would you say he is your biggest musical influence? Or are there others that influence your sound?
“He is probably the biggest, but I’m a big Guns ‘n Roses fan. I love Green Day, Good Charlotte and the pop punk scene. I have had a Syd Barrett phase recently, but I grew up listening to Pink Floyd. I love people who have an air of mystery around them. Pink Floyd is where I get the urge to put on a show and be a bit more theatrical with the performance which is something we are going to try and start bringing in.”
Tell me about your album Deceived Diseased.
“We recorded the album a few years back with a slightly different line-up. We split up and then came back this year. I have actually put out an updated version of the album, but it’s not reached Spotify etc yet. Is has a couple of new tracks and I took off some of the older tracks.”
What’s the story behind Mr Rock ‘n Roll?
“Mr Rock ‘n Roll started out as a dig at a previous band member who thought he was much better than he actually was. We are all down to earth guys and he just went to another planet. Over the years it’s become a dig at anyone in the music industry that thinks they are above anyone else.”
Yeah I’ve come across a few of those myself. Even in what I do with journalism, it’s quite sad really. We all need to get along and support each other because it is so hard. Are the new tracks going to form a revised version of the album? Will the one currently available be removed, or will you make a new record altogether?
“There is a new version of the album with a new track listing. We are going to put out an EP with a couple of old singles that most people won’t know about and one new track which hasn’t been released yet. Between the album and the EP, they will contain everything we have done to date. The new version of the debut album will be online soon, the physical version is already available from our online store and gigs.”
When can we expect to hear new material?
“The album is out now, EP should be Autumn sometime. I have more than enough tracks written for another album. We have label interest, so we are just taking our time to see what the best move is. We hope to release a single at the end of this year and the second album next year.”