A Punk/Oi band from Ryde, whose members have been touring internationally since they were just 14, are ready to take on the world once again – but who are in 2nd grade?
Grade 2 formed in 2013 when Sid Ryan (bass and vocals), Jacob Hull (drums) and Jack Chatfield (guitar and vocals) were just 14 and 15 years old. They had to disrupt their GCSEs when asked to tour France.
After leaving school, the band turned professional and have since traveled the world. Interestingly, they played in Paris before having a gig in London.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 forced the band to give up touring and find regular employment. Sid found a job at Tesco, Jacob found hard work and Jack served behind the bar at the Blacksheep. But the band quit their jobs again and are back on the road.
Many islanders may not have heard of this internationally acclaimed band as they only play the island once every 14 months or so. Bassist Sid says:
“There is not enough music scene on the island. There is only one place. We cannot deliver to a pub on the island.
“We do not receive any advertising. It all took off in other places for us. Our music has been played on Radio 1 but never on Isle of Wight Radio.
When asked where he likes to play the most, Sid replies:
“Germany, because of the fans. It’s a great atmosphere. We first went to Germany when we were 16. We’ve visited more cities in Germany than in the UK. If people contact you to play gigs in Germany but not here, where do you expect us to go?”
Asked about his opinion of his native Isle of Wight, Sid replies:
“I never talk about the island, ever. But resources are limited in all aspects. You don’t have the same opportunities here as in a big city like London. People aren’t going to pay £25 to come on the ferry to see us play in Newport or Ryde.
“When we started, we were doing our rehearsals at the Ryde Youth Club, but we had to stop because we were told we were making too much noise. We played a few gigs in pubs. Then things snowballed for us on the mainland.
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Is grade 2 like the other groups on the island?
“We love Sandown’s Wet Leg. They are funny, catchy, quirky and cool. Iggy Pop liked one of their songs, like he covered one of ours.
Which bands have influenced your music?
“We started out looking at American punk from the 90s, like Rancid and Dropkick Murphys. Then we went back to what our fathers loved in the 70s and 80s. Our favorite bands from that era are the Stranglers and the Jam.
“But in our music, we take bits from everywhere. Our songs are true stories about everyday life. Our words come from everything we’ve been through.
“We once met the Stranglers out of the blue in an elevator in Las Vegas. We appeared on the same bill as them. ‘Princess of the Street’ is a favorite song.
“When it comes to Old School Skinhead and Oi bands, we love the Last Resort. We have played with them countless times.
Is the 2nd year political?
“No. The group is apolitical. Morals and politics are 2 different things and should not be confused. We don’t want to preach to people.
“Of course, we are anti-racist. Our group is Métis. But this is a moral position rather than a political one. The skinhead scene has been ruined by politics. It’s something we don’t want to get involved in.
With the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic, Year 2 is now fully booked until the end of 2023, playing throughout North America and the European continent. In mid-April, the 2nd year leaves for Los Angeles for 4 weeks of recording at Shipwreck Studios for Epitaph records (the biggest independent label). They then leave for concerts in France, Greece and Norway.
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