Punter from Placentia
Larry Foley has come a long way from singing in the glee club at St. Edward's Elementary School in Placentia.
Foley, born in Placentia in 1971, is the lead singer of The Punters, one of Newfoundland's hottest bands. The quartet, which combines their folk roots with original pop music, has released three albums to date and is currently the top seller for their Toronto label, Loggerhead Records.
Larry left Placentia in 1989 to pursue a political science degree at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. From there he went to Ireland to study for a masters degree in community development, before choosing to make music a career.
On growing up in Placentia, Larry says: "I was always aware of the deep sense of history and tradition of the area, I was even a tour guide at Castle Hill."
During the 1960s, Placentia was a 'growth centre' where people resettled from other communities, Larry recalls, "Resettlement really affected my generation, everyone I grew up with, their families were from somewhere else. The memories of the places everybody came from were still fresh in their minds and I heard the stories and the music."
Larry attributes his love of mixing traditional music with contemporary music to his earliest influences in Placentia. "I was always greatly aware of the older lifestlye, and I always had an ear for the songs of that era. On the other hand, I grew up in the 1980s with an American influence, the nearby American Naval base in Argentia injected a musically rich area with rock and roll. I grew up hearing bands do country, rock and roll and Newfoundland music all in the same night."
The Punters' blend of musical influences has made them peculiar from a marketing perspective. "People always grapple with what kind of band The Punters are, the music industry hasn't been able to categorize us. People always ask, 'Are you a Celtic band or pop band?' and I say, 'We're a product of our environment - we're a Newfoundland band that does its own thing.'"
Foley says that many performers from the area were also influential on his love of performing. "Caper, a cover band from Placentia in the '80s, was probably the first real rock band I ever saw - I think I was in grade eight. They blew me away, and I thought, cool, they're from here...I was also a big fan of WGB [Wonderful Grand Band] and I knew Ron Hynes was from Ferryland - that made me realize that someone from rural Newfoundland could make it in the music business."
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