Craig Lappin

In 1980 Craig Lappin took over on lead vocals from Brian Kotz. Although his tenure in the band was brief, Craig is known for singing vocals on the tracks that appeared on the subtlety named compilation album 'We Are The Mods'. Craig recently hooked up with Sam Burnett and was happy to answer a few question about his involvement with Back to Zero.

Craig Lappin in 1977

1.    How did you become lead singer for BTZ?

Craig: I answered an advert in Melody Maker and being an ambitious young thing, dropped the band I was in and took my chances. They later went on to record ‘Pump Up the Volume’, without a singer. There was a big audition; somewhere in the region of 50 hopefuls, and Sam and Mal chose me, the mad fools. It  was a sort of Mods Academy moment.

2.    Who are your musical influences? Then and now? Who do you like to listen to now?

Craig: I was very keen on Punk and New Wave but was also keen on Northern Soul and Elvis Costello and Paul Weller’s forays into Motown tinged music. Now, my musical taste has become slightly more eclectic and will listen to anything ranging from Thom Yorke to John Cale to Stevie Wonder to Eno.

3.    Given that BtZ now have cult status gained from the 79 mod scene, how do you feel about being part of that?

Craig: I feel rather pleased that this moment in pop history has been remembered and cherished so. I wish that we could have continued to make more music but the time was ripe for moving on. It is great to be a cult - normally called less gracious things.

4.    How many gigs did you play with BtZ and how were these gigs received?

Craig:    If I can remember correctly we played at least 3 big gigs – one at the Pied Bull (Powerhaus) and one at the Hackney Empire. We seemed to go down rather well.

5.    Before and after BtZ have you been involved in any other bands?

Craig: I was in a band called the Hipjoints in 1977 (see picture) and Colourbox from 1978 to 1979. After Back to Zero I piddled around on the periphery until around 1986 when I was signed under the name of Scat Apache (at one point we featured a guitarist from The Professionals, a drummer from The Blow Monkeys and a bassist from The Exploited) released one single and that was that. I have also sung on the jazz circuit from the late ‘80’s until 1993. Singing is for the shower now.

6.    Were you part of the 79 Mod scene in anyway at all? After 79? Who were your favourite bands involved in the 79 mod scene? What did you think of the scene, 79 and post 1980?

Craig:    I was only fractionally involved but I found the scene invigorating, and after experiencing the punk outburst, was excited to be around so much energy. I just viewed the music as being part of the whole youth culture movement kick started by punk. At the time I was very keen on the Specials and the Jam – The Chords and The Purple Hearts get an honourable mention. I had a lot of respect for the main movers in the mod revival scene but was also unaware that the mod movement kept going for so long.

7.    What do you think of the BtZ album ‘It’s All Relative”?

Craig:     I am waiting for my copy as we speak and am looking forward to hearing it. Will give my verdict later but knowing Sam, I am certain it will be worth a listen.

8.    What are you doing these days?

Craig:     I went back to school in the mid nineties and am now a lecturer in English and Critical Thinking, happily married to an American artist and we have a lovely (soon to be 12) daughter.

It has been a pleasure to be allowed to indulge the sepia tinted past and have a reason to do so.

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