By: Ginger Coyote
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about Punk For 4 The Homeless.?
Gary: I was talking to a punk promoter in my hometown about the homeless situation and wanting to do gigs to help. However i am still banned from the only pub in Boston, Lincolnshire UK which puts punk gigs on so that one was a no go. He said that he had always wanted to do all age gigs and that the scene seemed to be dying in out town. Doing an all age gig hopefully will bring some young blood to the scene. I took the bull by the horns and approached the ministers in The Centenary Methodist Church to see if i could use their building, as it is in the center of town (if anyone wants a beer they can just nip out). I was gobsmacked when they said it was a great idea and they would go for it. The church has a hall inside which holds 150 and they even said i could use the church itself which holds 1200. There are not many people attend the church and they are mostly elderly (which is great they call me young man)but they are actively involved in running a soup kitchen and supply a hot meal a week to the homeless. They have a wonderful relationship with the homeless whon are treated with love and dignity.
Punk Globe: Where exactly are you located at?
Gary: Red Lion Street Boston Lincolnshire, although I myself live and operate from a council flat in Boston in the UK.
Punk Globe: When did you first decide to put your energy into helping the Homeless?
Gary: The first gig I put on for the homeless must have been around 92-3. It was for Shelter, it was at an open air swimming pool and was headlined by Blaggers ITA. We raised £400. The last homeless gig i put on was for Casa Alianza Uk (fortunately in the UK the homeless aren't murdered as a matter of course by the authorities. This was a 2 day event entitled Doin' It FOr THe KIds. One of my all time favorite bands played, Zounds, as did Barnstormer (Atilla the Stockbrokers band), Eastfield, Hotwired, Politicide and many more (you know who you are and thanks for your generosity, you did a wonderful thing).Unfortunately soon after that i became seriously ill and nearly died on many occasion but am now on the way to recovery, otherwise Doin' it for the Kids would have been an annual event. I have recently started helping out at the soup kitchen and a young lady offered me money to stay at my home, she didn't know me from Adam. I wasn't in the position to help but was really disturbed (not everyone wouldn't have taken advantage). Another gentleman who i really care about is a homeless 58 year old who has a drink problem, learning difficulties and is always getting beaten up. People are not statistics, they are PEOPLE. I almost ended up homeless myself at the beginning of the year. I was discharged from an acute psychiatric unit, where I had admitted myself out of desperation because i was in so much pain but didn't want to kill myself but didn't see any other option. On discharge i ended up in a homeless hostel but was about to be thrown out because they couldn't handle my behavior when the council gave me this flat.When you put this together with the fact that I now believe i should love others as myself, I had no option but to get involved with the homeless.
Punk Globe: How many people are involved with Punk 4 The Homeless?
Gary: Punk 4 The Homeless is a big multi national organization which consists of ME, but i am open to work with others.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about how Punk 4 The Homeless plans on helping the Homeless Community?
Gary: When I decided to start Punk 4 The Homeless I emailed homeless charities to offer help. However it was only Casa Alianza UK who got back to me. So i made the quick decision to do next years gigs for them. Anyone else can contact me and i will offer any help i can. The response so far has been phenomenal (in my experience the punk world is very generous, and as I have found out recently so are those who i would consider to be real Christians).P4TH will always be DIY but that does not necessarily mean small.
Punk Globe:The Laws in the UK are quite different than in America. How did you pick that Church?
Gary: I decided to work with the Church because of the answer I gave above and because I am an ANTi racist,sexist,fascist, homophobic Christian (Tolstoys anarchist writings, hopefully still available through freedom press give a clear view of what i believe a Christians politics should resemble-MY OPINION)But also it is great to get some backing but in my experience when organizing gigs doing everything yourself often relieves stress because you can make sure things have been done.However the church has given me use of secretary, printing facilities etc. Which considering I am a partially sighted technophobe is great.
Punk Globe: Tell us what your plans on to help the Homeless?
Gary: The way I plan to help the homeless is to put on gigs and give the money to organizations who know how to use the money wisely. However this is growing fast. I have had offers of tracks for a compilation, I am offering advice to other people who now want to put on gigs in their area etc. Casa Alianza Uk is close to my heart as i tend to feel the smaller a person is the harder it is for them to protect themselves and when a child is treated like vermin and clubbed to death it really really disturbs, saddens and angers me.
Punk Globe: How can bands, labels and other zines help Punk 4 The Homeless?
Gary: People can just get in touch with me through My Space (i.m hoping to set up another web site also)We need bands to play gigs, people to organize gigs in other areas, zines to cover events, people to help with comps etc. People can feel free to use the site to promote their project, band etc. I am open to work with anyone that is willing to work with me, but normal punk rules(if that is not an oxymoron)apply IE: RESPECT.Also when it comes to the Christian thing, i wouldn't expect anyone who was going to come round to my flat to start insulting my wife (although we are estranged).Other than that lets get on.
Punk Globe: I read a bit about your background on your My Space profile and wondered if you were aware of the United Methodist Church it Hollywood who support same sex marriage, AIDS research, clothing, toiletries, blankets and food for the Homeless,and are generally a very open minded liberal church. Have you heard of the Church?
Gary:Unity can only be a good thing. From my perspective we are created equal, all perfectly and wonderfully made in Gods image. Jesus said "such as you've done for the least of my brethren you have done unto me" So he takes all the bad stuff personal and is chuffed to bits when we care about one another in our actions. Talking about G.W. Bush to an atheist friend of mine who said that if you are pro-life that should surely extend to outside the womb. We are categorically told not to judge others but love is the second commandment. I am not qualified to comment on marriage as I have messed 2 marriages up myself, but whoever you love do it with passion and compassion.I believe Church and Punk have a great deal in common and idealistically would love to see a world run on Tolstoys anarchism (the law of love) and Godwins anarchism (the law of reason) but i live in the here and now, which means soup kitchens and punk benefits. I try to live by loving others and doing unto others as I would have them do unto me (which in my case means getting bought a pint when I am totally skint). I have heard it said that Christians should stay out of politics, how the hell can they when you get Nazis like the British national party claiming to speak for them. This inspired me to write my bands song God Hates The Policies of the BNP.
Punk Globe: Are you aware of Campaign Fir Care? They have been giving blankets, rain poncho's and other supplies for a few years in the Los Angeles area. They also have a My Space Profile. Contact Stacy and perhaps you can work together in some capacity.
Gary: Will check out Campaign for Care.
Punk Globe: Can you give the readers your website and My Space addresses so they can check you out?
Punk Globe: Do you have any last words for the readers?
Gary: This is my personal belief and therefore I own it, but it is usually only government's which divide and rule, cheers