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6 Degrees Entertainment

Tracy Thornton    ('Pan For Punks') Tracy Thornton ('Pan For Punks')

'Flavoring The Rock 'n Roll Pan'!

Just imagine if CBGB's were located on one of the Caribbean islands – it would sound exactly like Pan For Punks – A Steelpan Tribute to the Ramones, a one-of-a-kind tribute to one of the most influential bands of all time: punk-rock legends The Ramones.

Imagine 14 punk rock classics ripping through your speakers at warp speed, complete with the trademark “1-2-3-4” count offs, chants and shout-outs in pure punk, fist raising abandon, all performed on the steel pans (or steel drums) straight from the Islands!

This unique CD is the brainchild of TRACY THORNTON, a heavy metal drummer turned nationally renowned steelpannist who produced and performed all instruments on the disc. Pan For Punks captures the fun and melodic essence of the Ramones through TRACY‘s clever and creative use of the steel drums while staying true to the rhythmic speed and attitude of punk music. This amazing musical feat is made possible only by relying on TRACY ‘s chops as a drummer from his heavy metal bashing days.

Chatting recently with Tracy, I first wondered when he had first gotten inspired to create this wonderful new steel drum tribute album to The Ramones? "Back in 1994 when I was recording my first steelpan CD "Tracy Thornton's Steeling Christmas", we were in the studio doing the soundchecks and expirimenting with microphones and all that and the song I recorded to do that was "Blitzkrieg Bop" (just for fun) and to my surprise it sounded amazing on the pans. So it was right then that I had told myself that one day I will have to do a full steelpan Ramones tribute."

For the Average Joe who may not have heard of your prior work and was thinking of buying the new 'Pan For Punks' CD, how would you yourself describe the experience that they are in for? "You will be pleasantly surprised and blown away! The idea in thought seems kinda like.....Ramones on steelpans?....what the hell! But when you here it I think the listener will be tripped out on hearing the Caribbean steepans rocked out this hard. The speed, the energy and the melodic sense of the Ramones music comes screaming and shining through. It's Ramones music on steelpans, how can you not have a smile all over your face after hearing that?"

Your album title 'Pan For Punks' is a tell-it-like-it-is title for sure, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? Was it always to be called that or did it have another name always lurking in the background? "Actually that was the only title I had thought of and it just stuck."

And with all those classic punk bands out there, why The Ramones? Why not a tribute to all the bands on the one CD? "Well, I just love the Ramones and they were such an influence on me and I just wanted to pay tribute to them in my on way. It really wasn't about just doing a punk only cd, it could've been any style of music. To me the Ramones weren't really "punk' per say. Their songs were so poppy, catchy and so melodic along with that agressive energy and speed. A perfect recipie for steelpan music (to me anyway). It really goes to show how amazing their songs were that they could shine through on such an eclectic instrument as the steelpans."

If there was one track on 'Pan For Punks' that truly encapsulated Tracy Thornton at his musical finest, which one would it be? "'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker' is my personal favorite."

Noting that you produced all the songs and played all the instruments on this album, was there ever a time when it became a little overwhelming, perhaps? "Actually no. It was such a fun project and the more I got into it the better it became(far better than I had anticipated). It never felt like work. I looked foward to waking up everyday to get in the studio just to here what would happen. The trick was when to stop and call it a day."

And please tell us more about your artwork for the CD and what it was patterned on "I wanted to capture the feel of the Ramones first 2 or 3 cds. Just gritty black in white with the red type. I had the pan in front of a brick wall intstead of a band. I wanted to convey that I really tried to capture the the whole Ramones' package, from the music, the drum parts strait down to the artwork. Even down to keeping the track list at 14 songs like their first 3 cds."

So, just why are the steel drums more workable, more interesting to you in the first place? "I have been playing steelpan since the early 90's and just love the instrument. Most people (here in the states anyway) think of steelpan as calm, relaxing music you here while your drinking a fruity coctail under a palm tree somewhere my the sea. But I travel about every other year to Trinidad(the birthplace of pan) to perform in "Panorama"(the world's largest steelband competition) during the county's Carnival season where the bands consist of 120 members and play 10 minute calypsos at 120 beats per minute or faster at 130 decibles acoustically. It doesn't get much more intense than that! So with my heavy metal background, this music isn't much of a stretch. And with all the instruments being made of metal, I would say it's the true heavy metal music!"

What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today on steel drums if asked ... and why?! "A great one would be "The Way" By Fastball. A perfect pop song and melody line (but that's 1990's) or "Kashmire" By Led Zepplin would be pretty intense. I love the Moroccan scales and haunting feel of that one (but that's the 70's)! So I think a steelpan ABBA cd would be kinda funny, but it would totally work! Their melodies and harmonies kinda like the Ramones just stick on you. (70's again, sorry). So, "Reign In Blood" by Slayer would be my 80's pick!"

Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "How could you not like anything that is always dressed to kill!"

Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk

If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of 'Pan For Punks' by Tracy, just answer this easy question: Back in 1988, Tracy was playing drums with a heavy metal outfit and working part-time as a courier when his co-worker Mike turned him on to The Ramones. What was the name of that heavy metal band?

Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before July 1st with your answer and the subject title 'PAN FOR PUNKS' SIGNED CDs to:

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