Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 31st 2013 Contents B20
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, October 31, 2013
"Rock n roll in your --------
!!" shouts Gary Hector, lead singer
of Jointpop, to an empty dance-
floor. Not half empty. Empty. Save
for a few regulars propping up the
bar and a few obese people eating
chicken wings in a booth.
We re at Carnival City in Gulf
City mall, San Fernando. A modern
casino complex. Digital advertising
screens rotate ads for the upcoming
It s not the kind of venue veteran
rock groups play. It s the kind of
venue rammed every Friday with
teenagers downing Jägerbombs,
puking on their own shoes at 3 am.
A 40-something chubby woman
walks past in a sequined top reflect-
ing the disco lights. She doesn t
even look at the stage. She s seeks
the sanctuary of the bathrooms,
where the hand dryers will drown
out the noise.
A kid walks past trousers jacked
high, wearing a tie. He looks Tobag-
onian. Surely he cannot be a fan.
The only place I can imagine being
less keen on rock n roll than
Trinidad is Tobago.
"Rock and roll in your -------
--?" I repeat to my friend. "Yeah,
that s something he used to say on
stage with his old band, Oddfellows
Local. He still says it occasional-
"Why? Is he doing a Johnny
"Maybe. I couldn t say."
We turn back to the stage. Gui-
tarist Damon Homer, wearing what
can only be described as a tea cosy
on his head, is shredding a solo.
("Shredding," for non rock n roll
enthusiasts, is the equivalent of
saying "bussing out", "killin it"...)
I wonder if he changed his name
to sound more "heavy metal."
With a name like that he could
be a session guitarist for Black Sab-
bath or a satan worshipping band
of the 1970s.
"I don t think so, I went to school
with him, and that was his name
then," says my friend.
"Oh," I say, disappointed. "What
school was that?"
"Fatima," he says.
"Phil Hill, on keyboards. That s
made up, surely?"
"You would think so! But no..."
The band kicks into Let s Pray
(For Rock N Roll), a homage to
Kiss s God Gave Rock N Roll To
You, but with scathing lyrics.
"Let s pray Kid Rock never plays
another song," sings Hector. I can t
resist an involuntary whoop. People
turn to look at me. Why are they
looking at me, I think, when my
friend has been jumping about like
a kid at his first gig, singing every
He s their No 1 fan. No 1 of about
nine, judging by the following
they ve brought. Their fan base is
mostly Indian. Indians, it seems,
are more into Trini rock than
My friend owns all of their
records and never misses a gig.
Sad? Not really. If I was from
Trinidad I d be a big fan of this
band. I m steeped in rock history.
After hearing the Beatles as a child
followed by The Smiths and Nir-
vana I was hooked for life.
But where do Jointpop sit in the
pantheon of Trini rock? By the
sounds of it they plough a lonely
In the 90s rock music experi-
enced something of a renaissance,
now there are few rockers left.
Jointpop play an annual Christmas
show in Port-of-Spain that attracts
Every year my friend hopes they
will cover The Pogues Fairytale of
New York but it never happens.
"They need a female vocalist to
do Kirsty MacColl s parts," I say.
"Maybe they could get Destra?"
I m half-joking but my friend thinks
it s possible. Phil Hill used to play
in her band. Apparently Destra once
told Gary, "Rock man, I want to do
a song with you."
During the opening track I say,
"Jointpop are Trinidad s answer to
The Levellers." (The band, not Oliv-
er Cromwell s parliamentarian
But there are other influences,
including reggae and kaiso. Hector s
lyrical references are as obscure to
Trini ears as kaiso lyrics are to my
Jointpop are a talented band.
Hector, nearly 50, puts a lot of
thought into his words and music.
They re never going to sell out the
Royal Albert Hall but in another
era in another country they would
have made a killing playing wed-
dings and bar mitzvahs.
The set comes to and end. It s
been a surreal Spinal Tap type
But they have won over the locals
who cheer them off stage. And here
was I thinking they would clear the
room with their opening chords.
Time for an encore? Nope. The
DJ is already in the booth. Soca
comes on. Dry ice fills the dance-
One of the obese women tears
herself away from the chicken
wings and waddles on to the dance
floor clapping her hands.
The locals are back in their com-
fort zone. Briefly and somewhat
inadvertently they were handed the
gift of rock. Amen to that.
God (who is a Trini) gave rock 'n' roll to you
But where do Jointpop sit
in the pantheon of Trini
rock? By the sounds of it
they plough a lonely
furrow. In the 90s rock
something of a
renaissance, now there
are few rockers left.
Jointpop play an annual
Christmas show in Port-
of-Spain that attracts
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