Saturday, January 14, 2012

An interview with Roddy Moreno

TO SHARP: You have been a skinhead for a long long time now. What was it that first attracted you to skinhead, and what is it that has kept you an active skinhead for all these years?

Roddy: I got into it as a 12 year old in 1969 after seeing older skins at the football. The sight of skinheads on the terraces made a big impression on me so When I got home I borrowed my brothers work boots, rolled up my jeans and stole my old mans bracers. Slowly the hair got longer and the jeans got wider and by ‘74 it was all over. After I got out out of prison in ’81 I got back into it and been into it ever since. Now I’m a 55 year old skinhead and can’t imagine being anything else.

TO SHARP: What do you think of the skinhead scene today? How does it stack up against when you were younger?

Roddy: What I see is when I’m on the road with the band and most of the skins I meet are cool people. I can’t really compare how it was with how it is because my perspective has changed. First time round it was a youth cult and we was just kids looking cool and acting stupid but now it’s a totally different thing. I know it’s a cliché but now it’s a way of life.

TO SHARP: What does the term 'greyzone' mean? What makes a band a greyzone band?

Roddy: The way I see it the greyzone is just another way of saying fence sitters or fence walkers. I suppose if a band plays dodgy right wing venues while claiming to be non political and anti-racist they’d be considered greyzone.

TO SHARP: What difference is there between SHARP and groups like ARA/AFA?

RODDY: SHARP is simply stating that you’re a skinhead,who is against racism and disassociating yourself from racist boneheads. ARA/AFA are activists although many SHARPs are involved.

TO SHARP: There have been some postings from some people online calling you a Communist, and saying that you have become too militant in your anti-racist stance and activities. How would you respond to the people saying this?

Roddy: I don’t. I’ve been called a Commie ever since we issued Work Together. Some people will always throw the commie comment around so you just take no notice. If saying fuck fascism and playing anti racist gigs is too militant for some people then that’s their problem.

TO SHARP: How do you feel about skinheads who claim 'no politics'?

Roddy: I find most people who talk about no politics mean left wing politics but seem to have no problem with right wing politics. Fuck the government and fuck the police are political statements but no one says a word when bands sing about these things but as soon as a band says fuck the Nazis and fuck the racists you get accusations of “POLITICS”. At the end of the day life is political and it’s hard to ignore life.

TO SHARP: Skinhead has grown and evolved since the 1960's, and spread all over the world. North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia each have their own skinheads, and skinhead cultures. Some try to copy what they see on Youtube or read in the George Marshall's books(Spirit of '69, Skinhead Nation, etc) and others seem to mix skinhead with their local cultures. I've been seeing 2 sets of opinions on this. One side says that skinheads should act as English as they can, the other says that blending skinhead with local cultures helps keep it fresh and growing. What do you think?

Roddy: I think skinheads should do whatever they want and fuck what other ‘skinheads’ think. I wear trainers most of the time and if someone thinks it makes me less of a skinhead because I ain’t wearing boots then fuck ‘em. Skinhead has been evolving since day 1 and I suppose it will continue evolving.which has to be a good thing.

TO SHARP: Your most famous band, The Oppressed has toured all over since being formed in I believe it was 1981. Are there any cities you have played in that stand out in your mind? Are there any cities that you would have liked to play but never got the chance to?

Roddy: To be honest all cities are the same from a band perspective. The only difference is the language or the accents but the gigs are all full of skins n punks n herberts who all seem to share the same way of life wherever we are. Maybe it’s because I’m and old man but all the gigs are much the same. We always have a ball meeting new people and making new friends and the city I’d like to play is the next one.

TO SHARP: Are there any bands you never got the chance to play with that you would have liked to?

Roddy: The Short n Curlies. Twice we were going to play with them and twice it never came off so I’d like to finally share a stage with them.

TO SHARP: What was some of the music you loved growing up? Who did you listen to?

Roddy: I grew uo listening to my by brothers and sisters soul and motown records and then when the skinhead thing kicked in it was all reggae. The Tighten Up LPs, The Pioneers, Prince Buster,Desmond Dekker and of course Symarip. When I was about 10 yeas old though I loved The Monkeys

TO SHARP: Who do you listen to today?

Roddy: Same as back then. It’s still Ska, Rock Steady, Reggae & Soul but I’ve also dived backwards into the roots of ska and sometimes listen to Rhythm n Blues.

TO SHARP: The media seems to be using the word skinhead less these days when they talk about racist attacks. Do you think this has to do with SHARP growing, oi and ska bands taking an anti-racist stance, and the popularity of books (Skinheads by John King) and movies (This Is England)showing a more realistic slice of traditional skinhead life?

Roddy: I think it’s all of the above but the media will always do and say what they think will sell papers.Truth has never meant a thing to the mainstream media.

TO SHARP: Have you got any advice for the older skinheads still out there today, and the new ones that will be cropping up tomorrow?

Roddy: Watch your back because the cunts are just around the corner.

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