Out and about with an anti-drugs message

Britain's Got Talent stars The Jive Aces are to perform in Worthing as part of their anti-drugs campaign.

The Jive Aces
The Jive Aces

They will be in Montague Place on Saturday, August 5 from 1-2pm, spreading their good cheer and encouraging passers-by to Say No To Drugs, as part of their tour.

And then the very next day, they stage their very own annual festival, on home turf at East Grinstead where they rehearse. Summertime Swing is Sunday, August 6 at Saint Hill Manor, all in aid of charity. It all comes at a happy time for the band who are this year marking their 20th anniversary.

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Lead singer Ian Clarkson recalls: “We have been playing for years, and things have been getting better and better, with everything going tickety-boo. But years and years ago, when I first started in music, everyone was dabbling in drugs. I just tried to avoid them. Others went further. I didn’t go further. People started moving on to cocaine and heroin, and by the time they did that, I just stopped hanging around with them. They started out as good fun, but the more drugs they did, the less and less they did, just sitting around at home, freaking each other out. A good friend of mine was a guitarist and a song-writer. And he was doing drugs. He lost his job, he wasn’t doing music anymore and then the last I heard of him, he was working for the drug pushers. The last I heard he was in trouble and ran away…”

These are lessons The Jive Aces want to put across: “The band does a lot of community stuff, and life is so much fun and so lovely that we just want to give something back.”

Hence the involvement with the anti-drug message, one founded on education and information.

“You can’t just go saying ‘Don’t take drugs’ without giving young people education because at best they are just not likely to listen to you. We have booklets with all the information about each different type of drug, and they can read that and find out what each drug really does to you. And then you are appealing to their own self-determinism, their own choice, and they realise for themselves that it is not as cool as it sounds.”

The Jive Aces are all Scientologists. Say No to Drugs, Say Yes To Life is a youth drug education and drug prevention campaign sponsored by the Church of Scientology. The programme educates children as young as six on the dangers of drugs and challenges them to remain drug-free.

Ian cites a young woman at a seaside town who was taking ‘kiddy coke’ (Ritalin): “She read through the booklet and saw the side effects. We were back there two or three months later, and she came up asking ‘Where is Ian?’ She wanted to tell me that she was off Ritalin. If you can get even just one or two people to change, then it is great. It is a good thing for musicians and artists and stuff to realise that actually people listen to us. We have got a responsibility to people with what we say and do.”

To mark the completion of their second decade of existence, The Jive Aces have just brought out their eighth album, Diggin’ The Roots, Volume One: “We have done it because of our 20th anniversary. This is the music that has influenced us. The first volume is 50s rhythm ‘n’ blues and rock ‘n’ roll. The second volume will be more jazz and swing stuff.” Things have continued to go brilliantly since their success in Britain’s Got Talent, reaching the semi-finals in an important year for them, 2012: “We did Britain’s Got Talent and then we played for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.”