I first came across Seize the Day when a close friend came round with a CD and said 'take a listen to this, I think you'll like it'. She was right, it was brilliant. A few weeks later I was in London for an anti-GM rally. It was pretty badly organised, with few people attending, though there were some interesting information stalls, and I did meet quite a few interesting people. One of the worst aspects was that many of the stalls were inside the main hall with all the speeches, music and other distractions. Then to cap it all this band started playing, I was just about to cuss them when I thought 'Hey, that's familiar', then I realised it was that brilliant band a friend brought round on CD.
Seize the Day could be categorised as 'folk' and although they do their fair share of folk concerts, to so categorise is to exile them to a ghetto where they don't belong.
Their music is a blend of protest, rock and folk. Their debut album It's your life ... it's our world (Wildwood Acoustic WILDCD 19801) is not just brilliant musically, it has the rare attribute of being well recorded, and if that wasn't enough, the lyrics are brilliant too. Lead vocalist and song writer Shannon Smy rates as one of the best female vocalists around today.
Many of their songs are parodies. 'Motorway Song' (Simon) is a parody of a Rolling Stones number, many, like 'Bigger, Better, Brighter' (Simon) and 'Designer Kidz' (Simon) are parodies of old English folk songs. Each song has a story to tell.
Shannon Smy was upset by the atrocities in East Timor and the export of BAe (Beyond All ethics: Still supplying repressive regimes!) Hawk ground attack aircraft to Indonesia. She could have written a letter, not being too good at letters she wrote a song instead, 'With My Hammer ...' (Smy). 'With My Hammer ...' is about greed, the occupation of and atrocities in East Timor, the export of BAe Hawk ground attack aircraft, and the bravery of a few women who made their way into a BAe factory and disabled a Hawk destined for export to Indonesia (and no doubt active service in East Timor). A more detailed account can be found in John Pilger's excellent Hidden Agendas. Recent live performances have added rain sticks to the percussion, making the song even better.
At an animal rights demo to protest and stop the live export of animals a young woman was run over and killed. To date the lorry driver has shown no remorse. Shannon Smy and Theo Simon try to get into his head with 'Only doing my Job' (Simon/Smy).
Jill Phipps was killed on 1st February 1995, crushed to death by a lorry carrying veal calves to Coventry airport. She was part of the campaign to stop the live export trade, in which week old calves are exported to France or Holland where they are reared in the appalling conditions necessary to produce white veal.
Too many of us are persuaded by the constant stream of advertising all around us. The funky 'Better Bullshit Now' (Simon) is an excellent counter to the wall-to-wall advertising.
A second CD released, Food 'n' Health 'n' Hope (Wildwood Acoustic WILDCD 19802) contains the Monsanto song 'Food 'n' Health 'n' Hope' (Simon/Smy), plus five other tracks. The CD is 'dedicated to everyone who has played a part in the global movement against genetic engineering.' The line-up slightly changed with Rich Whistance replacing Avril Evans. Tina Bridgeman has released a solo album.
Shannon Smy and Theo Simon are more than protest singers. They get out on the streets where the action is. Shannon joined the women on the picket line at the Liverpool Dock strike. Theo climbed the trees with the Newbury Bypass protesters. When genetiX snowball were in the High Court facing a multimillion pound law suit for pulling up a few of Monsanto's mutant creations, Seize the Day were out on the court steps and chose the day to release 'Food 'n' Health 'n' Hope' (the true story of Monsanto, uncoloured by prejudice or hysteria). Both Theo and Shannon joined the National GMO Rally outside the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth. Theo was on the streets of Seattle for the WTO meeting from where he filed an eyewitness account. Whilst in Seattle, Seize the Day performed at the Key Arena and toured the streets with their solar powered rig.
Our greatest inspiration comes from how people behave when they are united in struggle. (Us included!) There is so much pulling together and caring for each other, and so much willingness to put yourself on the line and give whatever it takes.
The people who are most oppressed and struggling to change it, are the ones who think the best about the world and what it needs.
We hope that our music supports you in your efforts, wherever you are.
CAAT held a birthday party at Union Chapel North London to celebrate 25 years of campaigning against the arms trade. Various celebrities were present including Harry Cohen MP, Mark Thomas and Jeremy Hardy. Jeremy Hardy did an excellent job of comparing the proceedings and was also very funny too. The star attraction of the evening were Seize the Day whose performance was electrifying.
Following two successful tours of the US and Canada (Seize the Day performed in Seattle during the WTO meetings, then played at farmers rallies during a second tour spring 2000) Seize the Day are embarking on an ambitious tour of the UK running from the end of May until mid-September 2000. Seize the Day also hope to be performing at an Amnesty International benefit concert in Southampton (Sunday 12 November 2000, tbc 023 8086 0368 firstname.lastname@example.org)
Well known and much loved within the protest movement, outside Seize the Day are little known. Record shops refuse to stock their album, radio stations refuse to play it. To stock or play quality music would in itself be an anomaly, but their stance against Big Business, corruption, human rights abuses, genetic engineering and environmental degradation undoubtedly does not endear them to the media moguls who now control the music industry. Or is it the mainstream paranoia of anarchy being set free and stalking the land, or simply the fear that people may begin to think for themselves?
Rich Whistance has recently replaced Avril Evans, Tina Bridgeman has released a solo album.