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Meet the unsigned punk band breaking down barriers for Big Issue vendors

Ferocious Dog, who count Carter USM’s Les Carter among their ranks, have been inviting vendors to sell the magazine at gigs as part of their latest poverty battling plans

Paul Snape Ferocious Dog

Unsigned folk punk band Ferocious Dog are opening doors for Big Issue vendors in the Midlands by inviting them to sell the magazine at gigs.

The rockers, who feature ex-Glastonbury headliners Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine’s Les “Fruitbat” Carter on lead guitar, have built up a loyal following of fans, known as ‘Hell Hounds’, and are using that platform to help society’s most vulnerable people.

The group has introduced ‘Ferocious Food Drops’ at all their shows, inviting gig-goers to bring food, clothing and other donations to concerts for the band to distribute to homeless people.

And they have also given free gig tickets to homeless people while touring the Netherlands in their bid to break down barriers.

Paul Snape Ferocious Dog
Paul-Snape-Ferocious-Dog
Vendor Paul Snape has now been to two Ferocious Dog's gigs

Ferocious Dog’s latest move has been to extend the offer to Big Issue vendors with West Bridgford seller Paul Snape taking up the opportunity to sell the magazine at the band’s Nottingham Rock City ‘AGM’ show and in Derby.

“It’s been cool, I sold 60 magazines in Nottingham and 38 in Derby and Ken (Bonsall, lead singer) gave me a t-shirt too,” said Paul.

“I’ve not really been to many gigs like that before but I quite enjoyed it, they’re quite a good band actually, I even have their CD.

“They do a lot for the homeless and I’d like to see more bands let vendors into gigs like this.”

Even aside from their socially conscious side, Ferocious Dog are not your average band.

Frontman Ken Bonsall tattoos the band’s fans in his own studio and he told The Big Issue that Paul was a big hit with the Hell Hounds.

“It was an honour to have Paul at our gig,” he said. “I made sure to get out with him early to take a picture with him and put it on our social media so people know that we’ve invited him and they can help him sell all of his Big Issues. And we cleared him out!

“People went to talk to him too and it breaks down the prejudices rather than having people turning their face away. It breaks down those barriers.

“People were contacting me the day after with photos of Paul and big smiles on their faces because they want to be part of it.”

Ken was moved to help homeless people after losing his son Lee to suicide in 2012 Lee suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder following service as a soldier in Afghanistan.

The singer and his wife spent that Christmas in Mansfield offering food and support to those living on the streets. From there, the food drops began and Ken insists his experiences in the past few years have changed how he thinks about homelessness after hearing so many personal stories from men and women who live on the streets.

He added: “Seeing Paul, who struggled with drug abuse, sell The Big Issue, I really admire him. It’s the best step and it makes my heart burst when I see them selling the magazine. I think it just empowers people.”

Images: Ferocious Dog/Andy White

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