HE WAS a legend of the local scene in the 1980s and ’90s, and on Saturday 16 January musicians from across London and the South will gather to pay tribute to Mega City Four frontman Wiz.
The singer (real name Darren Brown) fronted the Farnborough band before his tragic death in 2006.
“Wiz was really passionate about music and playing gigs,” says Mark Keds, former singer with Senseless Things, who played many gigs with Mega City Four.
“At the time we were doing 150 gigs a year and they were doing more! He had so much enthusiasm.
“We never had as much confidence, so when we came across a band that were a little bit older than us and weren’t telling us we were rubbish, we were shocked.
“They said they loved what we were doing and gave us a lot of support – it meant a hell of a lot. We had some great times together.”
Mark is now fronting Deadcuts, who will headline the charity gig, and says his new music is the best he’s produced.
“We’ve just finished our EP, Dope Girls, and we’ve started an album for next year,” he reveals. “It’s massively different to what I’ve done before. I guess it’s down to writing with the guitarist Jerome Alexandre. We’re writing about the darker side of life: I just articulate how I feel.”
Mark knows all about the ‘dark side’ after a long-term battle with drug addiction, and adds candidly: “I’ve been in and out of rehab for years. I’d get clean and then relapse.
“Some of the darkest times of my life have been when I was clean.
“I used the 12-step recovery programme but I’d be sleeping on friends’ sofas. I never really add-ressed anything – internally I hadn’t dealt with anything. I was inarticulate; I just didn’t have the words to say how I was feeling and I’d get completely depressed to the point where I relapse.”
Recently he followed months of rehab by further months of psychological treatment and says: “I’ve never been happier, especially creatively.
“I’m working with people who can keep up with my pace. I’m writing with Jerome, which comes really naturally. All four people in the band are on the same page.
“Before this I had no confidence whatsoever. Any success we had with Senseless Things I didn’t feel like we deserved it – I was very insecure.
“Deadcuts is the work I’m most proud of and being clean is real this time. I could never articulate that stuff before.”
Deadcuts will be joined by I Plead Irony at the gig in memory of Wiz at Farnborough Town Football Club next weekend.
There will also be a DJ set from Jonathon from Feet First and all proceeds will go to the Forward 4 Wiz Trust, which was set up to support young bands and artists.