CHRON GEN

I totally missed out on CHRON GEN in the late 70s/early 80s. But since they are still going strong what better time than now to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2016

You have one of these names that tell me that some thought has been involved in the choice. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-It did take some thought. We were originally called the Condemned when we were at school in 1978 playing mostly covers. When Glynn started writing songs and we played gigs locally, the name just didn’t sound right. One of Glynn’s earliest songs was called Chronic Generation, the name seemed fairly apt back then, so we decided to call the band Chronic Generation. A lot of our friends used to come and watch our rehearsals and would often ask when Chron Gen were rehearsing next (probably because they couldn’t be bothered to use/say the full name. It gradually dawned on us that Chron Gen was different and unusual but sounded fairly cool, so we decided to name the band Chron Gen. It’s also a good conversation / interview topic because a lot of people ask us what it stands for.

Back in the late 70s the climate for music was quite dire with prog rock and disco doing the rounds. What was it that made you want to play punk?
-We liked quite a few genres of music when we were in our teens, from rock, glam rock, reggae, Bowie, Lou Reed etc, however when I first heard The Pistols, Stranglers and Damned for the first time, the music just blew me away. It was so energetic, loud, simple and ‘in your face.’ Both Glynn and I were ‘sold.’ We couldn’t play any instruments at that time but it drove us to be a part of it and pick up guitars and drum sticks to try and play these songs we were so in to.

Everybody talks about the sound of 77 but what is that actually? How do you define your sound?
-The sound of the ’76 / ’77 punk in my opinion was far more thought out lyrically and musically. The bands I’m in to wrote songs with tunes if that makes sense. A lot of the ’81 / ’82 punk seemed to me to be angrier, faster, thrashy (I suppose it became labelled as Oi in the main). Not really for me I’m afraid. I think our sound is more in tune with the early, original punk bands; thought out, powerful but melodic and hopefully catchy.

When you started the band did you do so with a clear intent of what kind of music you wanted to play? How hard was it to come up with a sound all your own?
-There wasn’t really a clear intent. Glynn didn’t write songs with any political themes or undertones (no pun intended to that band – great band by the way). We just wanted to emulate the bands that we were into as mentioned earlier. Our sound wasn’t particularly planned, worked on etc. We simply bought the usual instruments that were associated to rock music, Fenders, Rickenbachers, Marshall’s etc, plugged them in with a bit of sustain and off we went. The songs we play have that sound because of the instruments and amps. To be honest, back in those days we were kids, if it sounded loud, rhythmic, melodic and powerful, that was fine by us!

To me being a punk in the 80s was about fighting oppression and standing up for solidarity. Ideals that I still live by today. I felt like I was a part of something greater. You tape traded and corresponded with like minded from all over the world. Today I don’t feel like there is that same feel of community between people anymore. What’s your opinion?
-Honestly, we didn’t really think about oppression, solidarity etc. Glynn just wrote songs that meant something to him, there was no political message or support for any ideal or movement. We were young guys, being in a band, really enjoying it, travelling, playing gigs, meeting people, other bands and hopefully leaving the people watching us with feelings of having had a great time, forgetting about their daily lives, routines, problems and issues for an hour or two and leaving the venue with a buzz, feeling good and on a high. I think the world has changed. Punk is now part of an everyday accepted genre of music. A lot of the biggest bands in the world had punk routes but appealed to a huge and varied audience which has made them very wealthy young men. It would appear that the lyrics to ‘Outlaw’ have worked It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you believe, “….
Doesn’t the music make it right……!”

I love it when bands play with conventions and especially when they do so in the art work and include stuff that could potentially upset people (which seems very easily done today). When you play can you have whatever you like as art work for the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-Of course, I think in this day and age, you can have whatever artwork you want. Our new album feature a Phoenix rising from the flames, although the wings are blades. It represents the fact that there is still tension in the world but you can rise above it, and for us, it’s about a new era, optimism and the opportunity for us to hopefully give people something they enjoy when they listed to our album or have those same ‘feel good’ emotions after watching us play live.

I have a great fear that the change in how people consume music today will eventually kill music as we know it. What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-I don’t really think the changes to how people listen to, buy music will have any real affect. Everyone loves listening to music, whatever the genre. To me the more options you have to listen to your favourite band is a good thing. Everyone goes on about the digital age, but ten years ago, you couldn’t buy vinyl…. now you can. Also, there are more and more bands re-forming and playing live so to me it’s all a ‘win, win’ situation.

What kind live scene is there today for a band like yours? What does the touring circuit look like today?
-Well we must have done something right as we’re being asked to play more and more gigs. The Rebellion Festival is a great weekend. So many people of all ages, young and old watching some brilliant bands playing some great songs. Were very fortunate and grateful that people still want to come and watch us. Our gigs on the West Coast of the State this summer were amazing. We never expected such an awesome response. So many young people in the audiences who probably weren’t born back in ’82 when we were last there. We’re already in the process of pulling together some more dates over there next year as well quite a few gigs around the UK too. Exciting times for us.

When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-It’s a bit of both to be honest. We’re all over 50 now and as I mentioned earlier, we’re so grateful for the opportunity to have another opportunity to go out, play, meet people, other bands and enjoy ourselves.

What would you like to see the future bring?
-More of the same to be honest. Lots more gigs, both here and abroad. We’re four mates enjoying being together and just enjoying the ride for as long as people want to ride along with us!!!

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