NHC in conversation with Strung Out Nights

Outside of the punk and ska scene of the west coast of Scotland there may not be many who are aware of who Fudgie is, but some will be aware of the Cherry Reds who he fronted before going solo, and if they are then the news that he hasn’t slipped off the radar after leaving the band, and is instead in the midst of taking the next step on his career path as Strung Out Nights will be welcome news.

For those who have still to have the pleasure of being introduced to him then take our advice and do it now as this is a young man who has consistently been impressing live audiences from the tender age of Fourteen and his precocious talents have not went unnoticed.

If you want to know about tomorrow’s stars today, then this is where you start.

New Hellfire Club - For one so young you have already had quite the career.
From band member to solo artist who have you already opened for live?

Fudgie aka Strung out Nights – I suppose you could say that ha.
Well with The Cherry Reds I had the chance to support The Beat (with Rankin' Rogers), Spear of Destiny, The Rezillos and Spunge.
Solo I’ve supported Henry Cluney (ex SLF) and Chuck Mosley of Faith No More and Bad Brains.
All of which were great eye opening experiences.

What was it that was the catalyst for leaving the Cherry Reds to pursue a solo career?
Especially as you were picking up rave reviews and obviously picking up quality support slots.

Well The Cherry Reds was a great 2 years for me.
I learned a lot and made so many friends.
However as time went on I found that as individuals the type of music we wanted to make had changed and I was constantly asking myself should I stay or should I go.
In the end I think the decision to leave was best for all of us.
It was a great few years and I definitely have no regrets about my involvement with the band

Although you have no regrets how difficult was it to make that decision?

Without a doubt it was very difficult. I was torn between a sense of loyalty to my bands mates and my need to broaden my own horizons in the direction I wanted to go in.
The band had become such a big part of my life, a twenty four seven deal, but it was a move I had to make.

Since then you have played a few gigs under your own name Fudgie, but a few days ago you have given the solo work a project name 'Strung Out Nights'.
What was the reasoning behind that?

There was a few reasons for it, one of which was because I do plan to get other musicians involved in the project as time goes on and it means I wouldn't have to change the name to "Fudgie and the -insert backing band name-" but more importantly, one of the attitudes that the music of "Strung Out Nights" is trying to create is stripping away any idea of the bullshit 'rockstar' attitude
I feel that doing the project under that name takes the central focus away from me, especially when I get others involved.
Plus I liked the name ;)

In previous chats we have spoken about the direction that you are taking at the moment.
It's more reflecting the acoustic folk punk sound.
Is there a freedom in doing this? Just one man and a guitar?

Yeah i feel that it’s very liberating.
I also feel that it can leave me feeling kinda vulnerable because I don't have the sound of a band to 'hide' behind. Which is a good thing because I think it forces me to write extremely honest music, whether it’s good or not is up to you, but the stuff I am writing is definitely holds meaning, at least for me.

Who is it that is currently influencing you?

My influences range from bands like The Clash and SLF to Rancid, NOFX, Green Day to other stuff like The Skints, Less Than Jake and Operation Ivy.
But the stuff that is really influencing Strung Out Nights are 'Pat The Bunny' and all of his projects such as 'Johnny Hobo and The Freight Trains' and 'Ramshackle Glory', also bands like 'The King Blues', 'Days N Daze', 'We the heathens' and 'Mischief Brew'.

You are starting a label to release your own material and that of others. Is the DIY/independent route the only one you would consider?

It’s a route I would prefer mostly to stick to.
I'm not someone who would condemn anyone for jumping onto a major if the opportunity was to arise, especially for a punk band.
However, for me personally there is a beauty in the ethics of the DIY/Independent route.
I feel that the rewards and buzz you get from doing what you love is a lot more deserved and satisfying when you decide to go down a route where you are 100% in the drivers seat compared to it all being done for you.

Of the punk bands that have signed to major labels most have been accused of forgetting their roots. Do you think it is possible to maintain them, and could it be argued that it is more disingenuous to sing about street level issues while jetting about the world? I remember Dee Snider of Twisted Sister being asked about why he was writing ballads and not songs like 'We're not gonna take it' anymore and he replied that he wrote that in a rat infested apartment in New York while living in poverty and it was real, but now that he was sitting beside his pool in the sun in LA he would be a fraud to write angry songs like that. I thought that was more honest of him.

I do feel like it is possible for these bands to keep in touch with their roots.
I know this is the 'go to' example, but take Green Day, when they signed to a major they were the band that betrayed Gilman Street and all of the punks that followed them up to that point, however as of 2016 they have played a show at Gilman and have worked with Tim Armstrong on many different projects, a man who even the most elitist of punks will stand by.
I feel though that if a band is genuine in terms of their song writing it will inevitably change just as people change, there is no way a band can be in their mid 40s and still be conveying that teenage angst you were conveying in your teens, unless you're Blink 182...
However I feel that the argument of majors and independents and what you should listen too accordingly is a bit disingenuous in itself, you'll mostly find that its the fans "keeping punk rock elite" arguing over this rather than the musicians, at least with the big leap from indies to majors in the 90s the musicians were happy for each other, that attitude is more punk in my opinion.

And that brings us to the thorny issue of the punk police. Is there any other scene that has so many trying to attribute rules to it?
You're not a punk if you do this, or that, or wear this or that, or say this or that.
The whole attitude boggles the mind, and off course it is largely an oxymoron as they shout about 'no rules and anarchy' while attempting to enforce a definition.
Do you ever think that will fade with time, or is it an ugly integral part of a scene that is built on diversity and freedom of expression?

It’s not something the punk scene will ever be able to shake. If I'm honest though we have it easy! Me and Dougie(who is running the label with me) met a couple of Canadian punks at the Leftover Crack/DaysNDaze show and we got onto the same discussion, they have folk in their scene judging people on how punk they were depending if they had too many or too little studs on their jacket!?
It's bullshit! It’s punk, as a subculture we are the outcasts, misfits and freaks by choice.
What is the point in making people feel jaded within a scene when they already feel jaded from the rest of society? The only thing these punk police deserve is a right hook, kick in the nuts and a kick out the door.
No need for it, you should never feel like you are going to judged for being you, especially at a punk show.

It's seems to be very much a microcosm of life. A bigger picture issue is the rise of right wing attitudes in the UK.
Is the anti EU, anti migrant and refugee rhetoric a concern for you as similarly to your experience with the Canadian punks we in Scotland do not really see as many abhorrent attitudes as those down south do where the divisive attitudes seem to run far deeper.

The rise of right wing attitudes worries me. The amount of people walking about Glasgow sporting shaved heads, black dm's with white laces and pilot jackets with '88' patches is growing each time I leave a show.
It especially worries me considering I’m wearing AntiFa and S.H.A.R.P pins haha.
I can't get my head around how people cannot be skeptical of the politicians and boneheads preaching this nonsense.
A classic line I heard from someone who I once considered a friend until his political leanings became clear was "we have to look out for our own poor before we let any more poor people in", which, for those filled with anger because of everything going on, is an easy argument to get behind, however if we can afford to go to war, if we can afford to bomb these refugees' homes, if these politicians and businessman can afford to live in crazy sized homes and dodge their tax and no funding is diverted towards helping the poor or funding the NHS, then I really struggle to believe that it’s the refugees fault that there is still folk out on the street.
The one thing that is clear when i see a bonehead is that i know that person lacks any ability to think either for themselves, or analytically in anyway.

And are these social problems going to be addressed in the material you are writing?

Among other things yeah

So let's wrap this up with you filling us in on what you have in store for us in the next few months. Gigs, recordings, anything else?

Well I've got your birthday show on the 14th of October, and then on the 15th I’m playing in Bellshill with Combat Rock and my pal Skapete from Nottingham for 'Ska For H.D awareness', then supporting XSLF in Stewarton on the 22nd, then in November I will be playing on the 22nd in the Classic Grand in Glasgow as part of a show that is raising funds for the Panopticon Theatre.
That’s the oldest existing Music Hall that is still in use in the world.
Dougie, and me, are also hoping to release our first EP with our record label Wheelie Bin Records too.
It’s going to be a Strung Out Nights/Skapete The Uplifter Split.
So that will be fun.
I’m also going to start working on writing a full length record for Strung Out Nights and getting more musicians involved.
Apart from that I will be continuing with my studies as a sound engineer.
Nothing is going to stop me in having a career in music.

Facebook - www.facebook.com/Fudgie/
Events - www.facebook.com/events/1750980018478176/
Label - www.facebook.com/WheelieBinRecords/