Al Baker is a 25 years old singer/songwriter based in Manchester UK. He learnt fourteen chords in one bloody-fingered weekend when he was fifteen and have carried on pretty much in the same vein ever since. He has been an active socialist since he was around 16 and most of my music's political. His particular views should be made fairly clear within around 30 seconds of any of the songs. On January 1st, 2006, after a particularly unsuccessful New Year's Eve, Al was sitting in his smoke-filled, mirror less bedroom listening to Phil Ochs, Billy Bragg and Riot Folk records. It suddenly occurred to him that, hell, this folk music lark didn't sound all that difficult, so he picked up his rusting, neglected 12-string guitar, played three chords, ranted for three minutes about Rupert Murdoch and, before he knew it, had written his first song.
A year later, Al recorded his first album, "On The Use of Jackboots" with one microphone in his bedroom and a handful of more talented friends backing him up as the first incarnation of The Dole Queue. The DIY recording and lack of any industry help notwithstanding, 'Jackboots' was extremely well received, and led to Al almost overnight becoming a fixture of the growing Folk Punk scene in the UK and across the world. Al has to date played over 250 shows, including four UK tours, two tours of North America and one of mainland Europe. He has been featured on many radio stations, received airplay from many more, including the Mike Davis Punk Show on BBC Radio 1. He has played alongside monsters of Folk and Punk, including Sonic Boom Six, Frank Turner, Attila The Stockbroker, David Rovics, Mischief Brew, The World/Inferno Friendship Society, Robb Johnson and Suicide Bid. He has made appearances at the festivals Glastonbury and Wychwood among others, and will be closing 2010's Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Dorset.
Al is currently recording his long awaited second album with the help of the latest incarnation of The Dole Queue and a grand total or thirteen other musicians, to be released in the early summer of 2010.
Transcript from an interview with Al Baker
I'm Al and I play the guitar and sing some songs about things that I want to sing songs about. It's a folky style, but I like to think there's a punk-ass edge to it. Since no one's had the common decency to write a Wikipedia entry for me yet, I've written up a short third-person history of myself for anyone who's interested. If you'd like to know more, feel free to Email Me, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org I'll be happy to answer any questions you've got for me about politics, music, religion, music or anything else you can think of.
Why this name?
I haven't come up with a decent stage name yet...abbreviating 'Alex' to 'Al' was the best I could do for now. Talk about the creative mind.
Do you play live?
I play live as often as possible, at protests and demonstrations, in folk clubs and open mic nights, and on the street when I need a bit of spare change.
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
The internet is fantastic. Free music from these sort of sites (as well as the naughty naughty illegal P2P software) has, by any legitimate measurement, vastly improved the industry and allowed more music to be heard by more people than ever before.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
No way, my music will always be available for free somewhere - and I know for sure that no major label would agree to that. Exposure's great, but not at any cost.
All the great riot folkers - Bobby Dylan, Billy Bragg, Phil Ochs, the new Riot Folk collective, Evan Greer, Ryan Harvey, Mark Gunnery et al, Pogues, Christy Moore and Johnny Cash. I'm also heavily influenced (in attitude if not music) by the Legends of the Clash and Joe Strummer, Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys and all other kickass punk rock.
Anywhere in the North of the UK, with the possible exception of Hull. I have alot of love for Leeds, and an ever increasing affection for Manchester.
- Ani, my 6-String Blueridge acoustic guitar
- Rosa, my 12-string Yamaha acoustic guitar.
- Molly, my Bodhran
- My voice
Official Website: http://www.albaker.co.uk/
MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/alandhisguitar