Bands join forces for Southsea charity Tonic Music for Mental Health program by releasing new versions of New Order's song Blue Monday

TWO bands have joined forces to release versions of an iconic song to raise money for a new program supporting mental health in the music industry.

By Steve Deeks
Monday, 18th January 2021, 12:24 pm

London-based Dub Pistols have teamed up with Canadians Dubmatix and dub producer Gaudi to record a cover and dub version of New Order’s iconic Blue Monday with proceeds going to Southsea-based charity Tonic Music For Mental Health.

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Tonic Music’s new Tonic Rider program, which launches today – Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year – hopes to boost mental health in the volatile industry by offering support both remotely and at venues.

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The Dub Pistols at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea on March 6, 2020. Picture: Paul Windsor

Mental health guides are being written by a team of mental health professionals after liaising with contacts in the music industry. They will cover topics such as anxiety, depression and the pressures of the music industry.

Training will include mental health first aid and suicide prevention training, which will be provided free to grassroots venues.

Support will include Tonic stands at events, videos, blogs, podcasts, a virtual peer support group, and email support provided by mental health professionals. All services will be free.

The Tonic Rider is being piloted at the 100 Club in London and the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth, before being rolled out to green rooms, festivals and Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) members across the UK.

The Dub Pistols

The aim is to include the Tonic Rider on all rider lists and wall posters.

Barry Ashworth, Tonic patron and Dub Pistols frontman, whose fundraising helped launch the Tonic Rider, said: ‘With the music industry on its knees and many people having lost their livelihoods, it is needed now more than ever.’

Other patrons include Terry Hall from The Specials and music photographer Kevin Cummins.

The program was launched to help those in the industry who are vulnerable to mental illness. Highs and lows, touring, late nights, having no financial security and the lifestyle and competitive nature of the industry are factors which can leave people prone to suffering.

Dub Pistols and Dubmatix created new versions of song Blue Monday for Southsea charity Tonic Music for Mental Health

Tonic fundraiser Mark Berry, better known as Bez, from Happy Mondays said: ‘Everyone going through life suffers highs and lows, and when you’re at one of those low points, it’s good to know that there’s a bit of support out there for you.’

Adam Ficek, Babyshambles drummer, will be using his experience to help deliver the Tonic Rider: ‘I look forward to using my own experiences as a musician and psychotherapist to develop a much-needed resource for everyone in the music industry.’

Barry and Bez raised nearly £40,000 to launch the program after a number of fundraising activities including taking to the skies strapped to a biplane and holding virtual raffles where items such as The Specials memorabilia and an exclusive Gorillaz tour jacket were sold.

The Tonic Rider booklet and depression guide, as well as the safety plan zine, will be available both as printed hard copies and as downloads on its website where you can also hear the song:

To register interest in Tonic Rider email: [email protected]

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