Tommy Concrete has been involved with many projects over the years such as The Exploited, Man of the Hour and even had his hands in writing a horror book based on tape trading. And that’s not to mention his solo works which wildly pole vault across genres inside and outside of metal and punk but have always been forward thinking and diverse in approach, experience it for yourself here. His upcoming album Unrelaxed (first of two halves) is no exception and dives deep into into the highly personal topic of mental illness. Since Tommy was extremely gracious in his answers to our Profile questions, we won’t spoil it any further as he will tell you all about it immediately below. Don’t forget to click the links contained within to score your own copy.
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
I first started playing guitar when I was ten. My brother sang in a goth band called Punctured Tough Guy and I got introduced to punk and goth music by him and the rest of the band. They had an album out and were pariahs of the local media, this impressed me so I started my own band Flib Ginis Dead Chimps using all their gear.
One of the first bands I was into was The Exploited and I taught myself how to play a whole bunch of songs from Punks Not Dead…. twentyI joined The Exploited, so yeah you could say I have achieved succesd more than I ever dreamed of.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny / embarrassing story.)
I used to sing for a metal band called Man of the Hour and we (totally against my will) were playing a national battle of the bands (Emergenza). I was not cool with the band being associated with the competition or various sponsors that had their logos all over the stage. Back then I used to perform with a medieval mace, to prevent the organisers from obtaining any useable photos of us performing I dropped my pants and stuck the handle of the mace right up my arse and presented this to the photographers…. suffice to say they didn’t use any pictures of us in the publicity.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
The greatest thing is that new bands are simply not chasing record companies anymore and just going down the DIY route. It’s great to see the hold that labels used to have over bands evaporate into nothing because bands in general just don’t really approach them anymore.
The worst thing would be the deliberate dumbing down of doom metal and general lack of desire to be great as a player, this is fallout from the bad old days of nu-metal. It’s just really boring when bands moan about solos and say ‘Yeah, it’s all about the riff’ as an excuse for not being good enough to play lead guitar. Couple that with an over reliance on poser pedals and trendy stacks and you get some seriously boring shit played by sub par guitarists.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
I was recently diagnosed as a high functioning autistic and my passion is to fight for a society that is inclusive to disabled people. My latest album ‘Unrelaxed’ has this issue as it’s lyrical theme. The UK at the moment is sliding dangerously into a bottomless pit of right wing hate. The best possible (only) solution for us in Scotland is to become independent from Britain and it’s corrupt beyond repair government.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
I was introduced to metal, punk and rock through my family and some of my earliest memories are headbanging to Status Quo, Budgie, Hawkwind and AC/DC from about four years old.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Be pro active, go out and get a cool story. Do some dynamic journalism, go out and find a cool band and involve yourself. Try to tap into the zeitgeist, don’t just review gigs and albums. Bands put a shitload of work and sacrifice into their art, if all critics do is it behind a laptop being critical then it’s not really an equal balance. Go out there and find some unknown bands and champion them.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
For the last four years I have worked as a residential child support worker in secure and semi secure settings. My job is keeping young people safe, off drugs, out of prison and in some cases alive. Outside of music my other interest is martial arts, I used to teach Japanese Ju-Jitsu for twenty odd years and hold a 4th degree black belt.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
I just recently had my mind blown by the discovery of Frank Marino, who in my humble opinion is the greatest hard rock/metal guitarist of all time. His album ‘Juggernaut’ is quite simply one of the finest albums ever recorded. When I first heard him about six months ago I realised that my whole life I have been striving to sound like him, even though I had never heard of him. Basically he shits gold.
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
Unrelaxed will be releasedand it’s follow up (already recorded) Unrelaxed II will be out early 2019, so the next year will be dominated by the promotion of those albums, which I am massively excited about. I can’t wait to hear what folks think of them and to see what opportunities they generate for me. My entire adult life has been dedicated to writing, recording and performing and everyone I know, I know through my music. Looking forward to meeting some new people through both Unrelaxed albums.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)
Many thanks to Tommy for his time!