Rare chance to sample Freddy's Drop

HANNAH FLEMING
Last updated 08:18 11/12/2012

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Saxophonist Scott Towers joined Kiwi band Fat Freddy's Drop in 2007.

Like the original band members, he loved food and enjoyed a bit of golf and he wasn't too shabby on the saxophone, either.

When original saxophonist Warren Maxwell (Trinity Roots and Little Bushman) left, Towers, aka Chopper Reedz, supposed he was the first cab off the rank.

"I knew a lot of the guys already and got on with them well, so it made sense. It was a bit of an easy fit really."

Five years on, he is excited about what he has achieved with the band, and is even more enthusiastic about what is on the horizon.

The multi-genre seven-piece returned from Europe in August after playing 19 soldout shows to their northern fans.

On the tour, they road-tested songs from their new album, Blackbird, due for release in New Zealand in February.

Towers said the album was full of material which hadn't seen the light of day in Aotearoa, so he was looking forward to the summer gigs, where they would reveal their new sound.

"The way my ears hear it, I think it's got a bit of an 80s sort of club vibe to it - sort of Grace Jonesy sounding.

"That's how I see it, but it's still bass-heavy with good strong rhythms and melody. We try to marry a few different elements into what turns out to hopefully be a good song."

The Taranaki Daily News had a brief listen to the first single from the album, Silver & Gold, and will be counting down the days until the album is released.

Towers said some of the songs were born during improvisation sessions and had been floating around the traps for some time.

"In fact, there's one bassline on the album that is the main part of a song, which has been around for seven years and it's only just making it into recorded form now."

When asked about his nickname "Chopper Reedz", Towers explained it was mandatory for each member of the band to have a stage name.

It was a ritual that started from day one by Dallas Tamaira, aka Joe Dukie, who admired the way jazz musicians did it in the 50s and 60s.

"No-one gets to choose their own name. It's bestowed upon you by Joe Dukie. He chooses the names and you just have to suck it up and like it."

Towers said it allowed you to take on a different persona, which added to the stage performance.

"Hopepa, our trombone guy is a pretty gregarious chap at the best of times but, when he's on stage, he's untamable - he's out of control.

"It's quite difficult to be Scott Towers out of control on stage, but it's easy to be Chopper Reedz out of control on stage," he said.

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He got the name because of his physical likeness to the Melbourne criminal and, quite simply, because saxophones have reeds.

"It worked I guess."

Towers and his bandmates Tamaira, Chris Faiumu (aka DJ Fitchie), Tehimana Kerr (Jetlag Johnson), Iain Gordon (Dobie Blaze), Toby Laing (Tony Chang) and Joe Lindsay (Hopepa), will be in New Plymouth on February 12.

They will join angelic trio Boh Runga, Hollie Smith and Anika Moa, as well as The Adults, featuring Jon Toogood, Julia Deans and Shayne Carter, at Sentry Hill for the Classic Hits Winery Tour.

Towers said the band was looking forward to playing in Taranaki, because it was an regrettable rarity.

"Unfortunately, we don't get to play around New Zealand quite as much as we would like, because it's a big show we take on the road and it's difficult to make it happen.

"With this show, we've all got families ourselves now, so the idea of doing family-type shows is quite appealing to us. We like that vibe."

He said that, while the the band would be jamming mostly tunes off the new album, there would definitely be some Freddy's classics thrown in for original fans.

"I think it will be really interesting for the audience, as it's a pretty diverse show overall.

"It will be fun for that reason."

We have a double pass to the show to give away. To go in the draw, email your contact details, along with your favourite Fat Freddy's Drop song, to hannah.fleming@dailynews.co.nz.

- Taranaki Daily News

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