Electric Umbrella aims for No 1

Berkhamsted and Tring Living Magazines Electric Umbrella

A local charity is making a serious bid to have a Christmas Number 1 single with Electric Umbrella’s release of ‘Christmas as a Punk’.

Electric Umbrella brings adults with learning disabilities together with professional musicians. It has weekly meetings at the Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, and was co-founded by Pepper veteran Tom Billington.

‘Christmas as a Punk’ has been professionally produced and mastered at the Abbey Road Studios. Tom said: ‘I’ve been working as a musician for over 20 years and have built up a huge network of musicians, producers, engineers, film makers, venues and promoters. This is all about pulling everyone together to do something wonderful.’

The song features musicians and producers with a dazzling array of credits to their name including Robert Plant, Hans Zimmer, Melanie C, Rick Parfitt and Gary Barlow. It’s about a punk rocker who feels uncomfortable with the social etiquette and niceties of Christmas. ‘In many ways,’ said Electric Umbrella, ‘it is a metaphor for people who feel out of place and are misunderstood and misrepresented by society.’

Electric Umbrella aims to challenge people to think differently about learning disabilities. ‘Christmas as a Punk’ has been written by members of Electric Umbrella and professional musicians at their weekly music sessions. Members have been involved in every aspect of the recording, ensuring that the process has been tailored to include all 60 members on the track, regardless of the things they need help with.

Front man Lawrence Neal, 55, has been a member of Electric Umbrella for two years and has had a learning disability since he was a baby. ‘I’m a huge fan of punk rock, my favourite bands are Sham 69, the Ramones and the White Stripes,’ he said. ‘Thanks to Electric Umbrella I got to go to Abbey Road studios and be in my own band.’
In celebration of the release Electric Umbrella will embark on a short tour of pubs, Christmas markets, town centres and private parties in and around Hertfordshire. The music video was screened at Watford’s Premier League home game against Everton on 10 December.

Text PUNK16 £5 to 70070 to donate. Alternatively listen, watch, buy or donate at www.electricumbrella.co.uk.