With a bass guitar made out of a suitcase and a drumkit comprising old buckets, a briefcase and a home-made kick pedal, they sure made an oddball trio.

But the local lads spotted busking downtown outside the Yot Club last weekend were making sweet music all the same, an open banjo case on the pavement catching the coins of appreciative passersby.

The trio had been “bribed” with ethically made chocolate to busk there, confessed Trade Aid manager Lisa Thomson, to add to the mood of the new Friday night shopping initiative.

They call themselves IFF, or ‘I’m From Frankton’, but for what reason exactly is anyone’s guess.
“It’s ironic because none of us are from Frankton,” 13-year-old Sven Seddon told the Chronicle as he strummed his single-string bass guitar built with dad Tom out of an old suitcase that’s seen better days.

“None of us knows why (we’re called IFF),” drummer Jack Kirkwood chimed in while gesticulating with his drumsticks and working the kick. “We started off being a joke,” he added helpfully.

The 12-year-old is also – like his dad Rob – a drummer with the local pipe band and gets to march in Bow Street on special occasions like Anzac Day and the New Year’s Eve parade.

Sven, though, has been playing the guitar he calls Jeanette only a few months. “It’s Mark ll,” he said, “we made one before called Jeff.”

The Chronicle thought best not to ask where the names came from.
Lennox Reynolds, aged 13 and the third member of the band, plays a banjo that is in fact a real banjo which helps gives the trio a hillbilly kind of look, if not sound. His dad Mark is behind the Raglan Records label but Lennox said it was local musician Dave Maybee who taught him to play.

Lennox confessed to being “pleasantly surprised” to find their wacky venture – which came out of brainstorming some fundraising ideas for Raglan Area School’s end-of-year Rainbow’s End trip – had turned out to be so lucrative.

They never actually got their act together in time to help out with the Auckland trip, he explained, and their first time busking was a really terrible rainy Wednesday with hardly anyone in town. “We thought we’d get about one dollar.”

But instead their busking’s proved money for (a) jam and typically they’ve been reaping about $70 each time they’ve set up on the street for a half hour or so, usually outside SuperValue supermarket.

IFF’s a band with a conscience, though, and the trio insist they’re now donating part of their takings to the Trade Aid cause.

Edith Symes