Update: The Suns play at the Sembawang Festival on Friday, 20 Jan from 8pm
…Even if you slapped a fine and banned them from performing locally.
I’d have described them as ‘one of Melbourne’s finest rock bands’ of recent times, thinking that Singapore has not been kind to The Suns, much less contributed to any part of their considerable success.
But as the band’s drummer Wayne said in response to my quip about ‘Singapore being a sterile place that doesn’t nurture talent’, “We were doing very well here before we got banned”.
The three band members, going by the noms de rockband of San Singer, JBoss and Wayne Thunder, enjoyed success in Singapore between 1997 and 2000 as The Boredphucks, a name which guaranteed them a torrid time with local authorities – it’s not pronounced as Phuket is.
As with most bannings and clampdowns in Singapore, the authorities came down hard on The Boredphucks when someone ‘lodged a complaint’.
Apparently some people were offended by the band’s use of vulgarities on stage.
“Yah, we said ‘Kaninabuchowcheebye’ on stage, at a concert, and then there was a riot, so they banned us…
We were twenty year old boys, and to fine us and ban us for saying that is just… fucking ridiculous”, said San, the lead singer, almost wistfully.
At our recording of the mrbrown show podcast (conducted at Wayne Thunder’s family’s flat in Punggol), The Suns’ enthusiasm for their music appeared infectious, as they talked twenty something to the dozen about their days in Melbourne and how they scored gigs at pubs and in small country festivals. However, as San Singer describes, Singaporeans take a little bit more to warm up to them.
“The Bangla workers were body-surfing… showing rock signs and having a really good time”, he said, recalling their New Year’s Eve concert on Orchard Road as part of the New Year’s countdown festivities.
“We should tour Bangladesh!” added bass player, JBoss.
The tone of the podcast interview was helped a little by Wayne’s father, (Mr Thunder) who’s a fan of mrbrown’s (and who interrupted the recording by asking if we were ok with drinks – you can hear the ‘yes, thank you uncle’ quite clearly).
Clearly proud of the boys success, Uncle spoke a little at the end of our session about The Suns’ success and how difficult it was to change Singaporean parents’ mindsets.
Changing the Singaporean mindset about success in the music business was another matter – as Wayne puts it, “Singaporeans hear a band play and go ‘I dunno the song they are playing’ and they rather listen to a cover band.
“They don’t appreciate bands that play their own music”.