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Llanelli, Wales, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 1991 | SELF

Llanelli, Wales, United Kingdom | SELF
Established on Jan, 1991
Band Rock Acoustic




"Fostá & His Ukulele"

Interview With Trudi Goldsmith (Jan 2017)

We all know Mark Foster as my fellow Rock Scene writer and guitarist in the band Fighting Fifth Husky. What some of you may not know is that ‘ Fostá’ has a talent for playing the ukulele and has been recording and performing his own tunes for a number of years. With the time overdue to find out more about Mr Fostá’s passion for the ukulele, this week I am on the case…..

How long have you been playing the ukulele?

I bought my first ukulele about ten years ago but that was just a cheap plastic toy one that wouldn't stay in tune. I did gig with it for a few years as I didn’t want to be taken seriously as that would mean I’d have to learn how to play but eventually I realised that I had to buy a proper ukulele if I wanted people to stop throwing things at me.

Why did you decide to learn to play the ukulele?

I was inspired to take up the ukulele after seeing local actor, Wynne Seaborne playing one at the Kilkenny cat open mic night. He couldn't play his either and his version of iron maiden's run to the hills was truly shocking but everyone loved it. It was unusual and I think some people were a bit fed up of great guitarists coming along, being very professional but lacking some character.

what is your favourite cover tune to play live ?

I usually open with the Beastie Boys' fight for your right to party. Everyone thinks I'm modest when I say I can't play the ukulele or sing so some hip hop to start makes them realise that I'm telling the truth. Plus they can then tell that I don't take myself too seriously so it takes pressure off the rest of the gig.

What is your favourite original tune to play live?

It used to be the fish song as everyone would sing along and cheer when I played it but as I wrote that song when I was student and I've been playing it for well over twenty years, I'm starting to get sick of it. It also doesn't help that the crowd calls for it as soon as I get on stage although it's supposed to be my closing song. I've been giving that song a break lately but I'm sure it will be back in the set as my favourite again eventually.

Where do you get the inspiration for your music and lyrics?

Most of my songs are about the traditional song topics of love, relationships and getting through day to day life but as there have been plenty of songs written about these subjects by people with far more expertise than me, I tend to put my songs in surreal settings; e.g. falling in love with a monkey, being dumped by a (pink) penguin or imagining your life as a Mexican bandito.

What makes you different from the average ukulele player? (you are very entertaining!!)

Originally my gigs were meant to be stand up comedy with the ukulele on stand by when I couldn't think of anything funny to say. Now they're ukulele gigs with long introductions when I can't think of anything to play.

Your set is quite unusual, have you had any unusual requests at gigs?
After one gig I was asked to appear in the on-line sit-com, ‘David Garland Jones’ as a naked Mexican ukulele player, a figment of David’s tequila induced hangover. The episode was filmed in The Drovers one cold November evening after the pub had been closed all week without the heating on. I wore just a sombrero and a pink feather boa and played Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. I don’t know why the film maker insisted I was naked for it as he only filmed me from waist up. This also lead to me playing before DGJ’s show at the millennium centre in Cardiff.

What is your favourite venue to play?
My most frequent venue is the Masons, where I always get a good reception, no matter how badly I play but I always take my ukulele to festivals and rugby trips on the off-chance that someone asks me to play. One of my better gigs last year was opening for King Goon in the Masons. I was so pleased with my performance that I thought I’d arrange some gigs for myself in Swansea. Unfortunately, nerves got the better of me at the Zinco lounge and I don’t think the hipsters were too impressed by me but at least they were too polite to throw their tapas.

What has been your most memorable gig?

That was probably the time I opened for Muse. I was on holiday with some friends in Teignmouth in Devon, Muse’s home town and it coincided with the weekend that Muse had put on a free festival on the seafront. One of my mates knew someone with a pub in the town so he told me to bring my ukulele and I could play there.

We’d gone across the bay for lunch and the only way to get back was by boat. Unfortunately, I was too polite letting people on the boat so my mates managed to get on the boat but it was too full for me. This meant that by the time I had got back across my “mates” were already in the pub so I collected by uke from the hotel and went to meet them.

When I got to the pub, the landlord was setting the stage up for the gig so I introduced myself, he said I’d be on first and if I waited at the bar, he’d get me a drink. As I sat at the bar, I noticed that my mates were not there which is when I realised that I was at the wrong pub but as I was offered a free drink and a gig, I stayed. The landlord brought me a scrumpy and told me that the gig was going to start in about two hours time.

In that two hours, the landlord kept on giving me cider and the occasional sambucca so by the time I finally took the stage, I was a little bit sozzled to say the least. The large crowd seemed to enjoy my version of Radiohead’s Creep but I don’t think they were quite ready for The Fish Song as some way into the fifth or sixth verse, the first shoe was thrown. It was only a soft beach shoe so I don’t think they were trying to injure me but I took that as a hint to finish. I watched the next few acts, who were all great, there were some great finger picking guitarists and a chap playing Jimi Hendrix on the accordion, then I headed to the seafront to watch the main bands.

Muse weren’t actually playing so I probably shouldn’t have started this story by saying it was the time I supported Muse but I’m sure they would have appreciated the fact that I helped out at their festival.

I did finally find the pub my mates were in. They weren’t very receptive to my offer of re-playing my gig and I also noticed that one of them was missing a shoe. - Llanelli Rock Scene


Still working on that hot first release.



Currently at a loss for words...