Lockdown Heroes: Buster Shuffle On Their COVID-19 Inspired Charity Release
Lockdown has done strange things inside people’s homes.
Some have become self proclaimed professional quiz-masters, others have binged everything ever released on Netflix and a select few, like ska-punk tastemakers Buster Shuffle have mastered the art of lockdown recording in the form of a double A-side vinyl release.
Without stepping foot outside their homes. In light of the current climate instead of resting on their Laurels, the band, who have made waves across the world with their renowned high octane live performances and made blisteringly immense tunes straddling the worlds of ska, punk and rock 'n' roll (the late Little Richard played a big part in their musical inspiration) wanted to do something positive with their time at home.
And this latest sonic offering is something very different. The double A side, which is out now on seven inch vinyl sees a melee of Buster Shuffle’s musician comrades featuring on what has become a project of the times.
Queen of UK ska Rhoda Dhakar (The Bodysnatchers) jumped at the chance to feature on the tracks that are written about two unsung heroes and how their struggles influenced a generation. Other artists from the scene around the world making an appearance are members of folk- punk rock outfit Flogging Molly, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Mad Caddies, The Toy Dolls, Donots, Hepcat, Die Toten Hosen, and Tolca.
100% of the profits from the vinyl release will go to The World Health Organisation to help find a vaccine for COVID-19. Clash spoke to Jet Baker (lead vocals, piano) about the venture.
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How did the idea of this single come to you?
I was sat at home feeling pretty helpless, our UK tour had been cancelled, the world was unrecognisable and while I was doing nothing, both my sisters were working hard for the NHS right on the frontline. I read about two unsung heroes who made a massive difference in their time and faced life threatening obstacles and it seemed fitting to write about their plights.
Ruby Bridges was six years old when she became the first African American student to integrate into an elementary school in the South USA. She was escorted in every day by Federal marshals as she was greeted with aggressive and vicious crowds. She didn’t miss a single day of school.
And Iqbal Masih became a slave at five years old for the owner of a carpet factory. He escaped and helped over 3,000 Pakistani children that were in slave labour to escape to freedom and made speeches about child labour throughout the world. After receiving many awards for heroism was murdered at 12 years old.
Both these stories struck a chord with me and inspired the single.
And you weren’t short of people wanting to get involved with it!
Yeah it was pretty amazing, I reached out to some fellow musicians that I’ve played with over the years and the response was huge, they all loved the premise of the songs and wanted to add their parts.
Recording and putting it all together on lockdown, what challenges did you face?
It was hard coordinating everyone to record their part themselves, there was no opportunity for us to be in a room together and discuss instrumental parts and how we wanted it to sound.
So I had to just wait to see what came in from the various artists and that was actually really exciting. Opening the wav. files they were sending from all over the world was like opening a Christmas present.
Putting it all together with the help of Wag from The Infadels producing, it sounds massive. I’m buzzing to get it out there.
How do you think the music industry will recover from this pandemic?
I don’t know, but us musicians are diverse and adaptable, there have already been some great online festivals we’ve been a part of and innovations to keep the industry thriving. It may have to continue like this for some time but music is so important to everyone, especially in these times so I think we will all come out the other side stronger.
We can’t wait to get out and play live again, but for now, this single has been a great way to keep going.
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‘Unsung Heroes’ is out now.
Order your copy and donate to The World Health Organisation HERE.
Words: Elspeth Pierce
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