Three senior prison officers have been suspended from all duties from the Port-of-Spain State Prison, Frederick Street, in relation to the July 24 jailbreak.
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Jointpop promises musical ‘warfare’
With a whole new album ready to record and after months of not playing a gig, jointpop has a bad case of cabin fever. They’re ready to get back onstage on Saturday night, with a live show at Shakers on the Avenue.
And lead singer Gary Hector’s got a new muse. It’s an “accidentally-borrowed” 12-string Guild guitar, which he used to write the new songs.
Before a practice session at their Borde Street, Port-of-Spain, bandroom last week, Hector spoke about what it’s like leading and managing the long-lived band in a social media world.
He is also nursing a broken little finger, which he injured fielding his own bowling for his fete match cricket team, Real Cricket. The finger is on the mend, so Saturday’s show is in no danger. “It’s no worse,” he says dryly, “I got out of peeling some potatoes.”
Jointpop has been at it for the better part of two decades now, playing their unique brand of rock ’n’ roll music with a T&T soul.
“This is our 17th year as jointpop,” Hector noted. “Too long and too old!
“It’s crazy to be doing this for so long but everyone still enjoys it, so we just plug it in, turn it up, mix a drink and smile.”
Fans who’ve followed the band through the years have enjoyed no fewer than seven albums, including Port-of-Spain Style, Exile Baby, The Longest Kiss Goodnight and The January Transfer Window. The new album, titled Quicksand, has 11 songs, including Reality and T, You’re Simply the Best, The Chief Suspect, and Good Good Bad By You.
One new track, It’s All Down to Me, is like what the Beatles might sound like if they played a soca tune.
The new songs have a fresh energy. They are melodic, often upbeat, with a T&T point of view—as well as jointpop’s usual sideways humour. They’ve got incisive lyrics that tell the truth and make you smile and feel your T&T-ness—set to a rock ’n’ roll beat.
Social media push
Hector said the last year has been good for jointpop. “We played lots of local gigs promoting our last album, The Pot Hounds.”
This year, the band plans to go on their fourth UK tour, and hopefully, he says, for the first time, to do some gigs on the European Continent.
The Internet has made foreign gigs possible for the band. And Hector is their social media manager-in-chief. “Twitter and Facebook are vital for what we are doing.
“I basically manage the band through social media. If they ban the Internet tomorrow, we done.
“It would be impossible to do all the networking and advertising, promotion, without it. A lot of the international connections we make are through social media as well.”
Despite his background as a sports journalist, Hector did not take to using the technology easily. “Even with e-mail, it took me a long time to get into it.
“It’s really all fear,” he admits. But he’s holding down the duties now. “It may come across like, hey this guy is always pushing his band, but we have no manager; I am the manager.”
When it comes to sourcing funding from potential sponsors, he says, “I hate it, I’m telling you upfront. I hate it but it has to be done.”
On Quicksand, for the first time in many years, jointpop will not produce the album themselves. They are in the process of sourcing a producer, so they can focus on playing the music.
“Producing can get heavy. This way, we can just be the band.”
Saturday’s show is not an album launch, Hector stresses. “We are just gonna play.” He adds, with a laugh, “You have to send the army to the war. You have to create a war or they will overthrow!”
Having all the songwriting completed, with time and space to perform before recording is a luxury the band has never enjoyed before. They’re relishing it.
Fans can come and take in the new material at their show, which takes place at Shakers on the Avenue on May 10. Doors open at 8 pm, and the band plays live from 10.30 pm. Admission costs $60.