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SYMBOL OF FREEDOM

 

Symbol of Freedom originally formed under the name Drab Confusion and consisted of Steve Bloomer (drums) Rodney ‘Yan’ Leyshon (guitar), Lyndon ‘Foxy’ Fox (bass) and a guy called John Jones (guitar).
They first started around 1981 in Pontypridd practicing in Steve’s grandmother’s front room. John left soon afterwards

Kevin ‘Scottie’ Hunt (vocals) joined around 1982 about the same time the band changed the name to Symbol Of Freedom.
By this time SoF had the luxury of practicing in a garage and actually owning a drum kit, before this Steve was using tins, bins etc and they used to look for straight bits of wood before practice as drumsticks. 5 watt practice amps were replaced with 50 watt amps and even a fuzz box.

This was the start of the “real” SoF. Steve was writing most of the songs at this point with a few from Scottie. They did mostly their own stuff with a few covers thrown in.

Steve and Scottie were the politically minded members although if my memory is correct we all used to go to young socialist meetings and marches supporting the miners who were on strike. We soon tired of the socialist movement and started

To get more involved with the animal right movement that was more direct and to be honest far more exciting. And this is where most of our lyrics came from.

As for how we all met simple we went to school together and were already good mates with a love of punk rock (Foxy also had a fondness for Chas and Dave strange we would be buying Crass records and he would buy “gercha”and “rabbit”etc)

 

When we were not practicing we used to go to the local YMCA which was run buy a woman called Mrs Price who encouraged what we were doing and offered us the use of the building when it was not in use (Sundays) by this time we were all out of school and out of work. The miners had been defeated Thatcher and Reagan ruled the world there was a threat of nuclear war. We were skint bored and angry just right for the scene at the time we were listening to Conflict Crass Flux icons of filth etc along with more mainstream punk anti nowhere league peter and the test tube babies and not forgetting Chas and Dave 

Also at the time a number of other band sprung up All Teeth And Make Up, Rachael’s Ravenous Offspring to name but two although these band were not punk bands we all got on well eventually coming together to arrange the first gig to feature SoF

The gig was ok with mostly our own songs but also covers of pretty vacant and so what. The gig took place in the Victoria club in Pontypridd Jan 1985 20yrs on people still come up to me to talk about the gig   not for our blistering set our rabid energy or because it changed their lives forever   why then I hear you ask    because the ceiling of the stage was very low and in the middle our one of our songs I jumped up and smashed my head on a strip light cutting my head and covering me and the stage with glass the rest of the band were laughing so much we had to stop   Steve fell off the drum stool

Soon after this we recorded our first demo we did it in the YMCA recorded as if it was live but with only the band and the engineer there. This turned out ok and feature one of my favourite SoF tracks “What’s your alternative? “ which I happened to write and was about Anarchy and what alternative there are to the “system” and basically saying I didn’t have the answers. Around this time a skinhead band formed from a group of guys we used to hang around with “society’s Rejects “ we did a couple of local gigs with them before they moved on to the skinhead scene and did quite well for themselves

In the scene at the time violence at gigs started to rear its ugly head   the worst I was involved in at one of our gigs was near Merthyr Tydfil when we were supported by Foreign Legion and    a new romantic type band called “la resistance “ who most of the people at the gig took an instant dislike to and decided to have mini riot smashing up the venue (Hirwaun YMCA) 2 pubs and a chip shop as well as a few cars on the way a few people got hurt and we had a police escort from the town and warned if we went there again we would be arrested (that’s the thanks you get for playing for free to raise money for their community) events like this made me write songs about the scene pissing me of because loads of people were missing the point of it all

 Around this time a tape came out featuring welsh bands called There’s more to Wales than male voice Choirs it featured “what’s your Alternative?” and brought us our first contact with Shrapnel Who we met up with at a gig in Newport and became good friend and did a few gigs together by this point we were playing sell out stadium gigs

Well small halls in Newport Swansea Pontypridd etc with Bands like Shrapnel Liberty The astronauts Kama Sutra and political Asylum      

We also did our 2nd demo recorded in the same way as the first it was a lot tighter

And more powerful than the first And feature “You Cant buy me “which hope fully will appear on one of the cds that Shaun McGee is involved in the demo also featured “the suffering persists “ which was later re recorded and released a joint single with Shrapnel and is in the pipeline for re-release on cd but you’ll have to find out more about this from Steve as I had left the band before it was recorded

Towards the end of 85 I had got a job a girlfriend and has started to show less and less commitment to the band  .the rest of the band had rented a house (the young ones had nothing on this lot) I had decided at this point to call it a day doing my final gig back

In Pontypridd the rest of the band carried on with Steve switching to vocals and a guy called Hitler came in to drum they also added a female singer Alyson. Steve will have to take the SoF story from here and you probably were more involved with SoF than I was after this    we still remained good friends and still are me and foxy actually worked together for a while in a furniture Factory

 

But what Happened to you I hear you ask well usual story work married daughter divorce married again another daughter and working for a car insurance company

Rock n roll eh!  Hope this has been ok for a start for you I have answered as accurately as I can but it was 20 yrs ago   would I change any of my time with the band   not a minute of it     except I left to early

Were they now?     

Steve     same Steve nothings changed   not working   still angry          

Yan recently married with kids and working as a plasterer    

Foxy living with his girlfriend and still working in the furniture factory

Hitler   No one seems to Know    ask Steve   and the same for Alyson

And I've already told you what I'm up to

 (Scottie)



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