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Gary Clail Soundsystem Feat Tony Wrafter

Gary Clail is an English singer and record producer, and the founder of the Gary Clail Sound System. He was part of On-U Sound Records and led Gary Clail’s Tackhead Sound System. The arrival of Gary Clail at the On-U Sound stable brought with it the emergence of a previously undreamed raggamuffin tendency. Gary worked as a roofer in Bristol eventually becoming a regular on the music scene bringing with him stories of his background – roofing, used cars, gypsies and then, the music.  

Gary released music throughout the 80s, sifting through cassettes destined to be wiped mixing his remonstrating chant with punishing bass lines. His lyrics deliver messages concerning socially conscious issues of the time with “Privatise Pts 1 & 2” being particularly hard-hitting. Indeed the issue of privatisation was at its height under the Thatcher administration with the question raised “where would it all end?”.

During the mid-nineties, Gary was based in Paris and toured Europe playing in small to large venues, travelling with a carrier bagful of cassettes and DJing using 4-5 cassette decks. Possibly being the only DJ in the world to do this!  

He slipped quietly out of the music scene in the late 1990s going on to buy a church in Penzance, England and converting it into a guest house. Since then, Gary has worked with the homeless and more recently has been working as a care worker, ‘practising what he preached in his music!’

In 2013 Clail formed the Gary Clail Sound System and began work on the album ‘Nail It To The Mast’. It was released on 15 December 2014. In 2022, Clail released ‘Violence’. His recent performance on the Magical Sounds stage at Bearded Theory Festival in May 2023 smashed it, laying the groundwork for Gary’s return to the live music circuit in 2024. 


Tony Wrafter is a flute and saxophone player who was a member of the punk, funk and jazz infused bands: Glaxo Babies, Maximum Joy and the Vital Excursions. He has also worked within many other projects including as a session musician for Tricky, Smith and Mighty, The Blue Aeroplanes, The Slits, The Pop Group, Mark Stewart, On. U’ Sound, Nigel Kennedy, Massive Attack and John Peel. He played a cracking set with Gary Clail in May 2023 at the Bearded Theory Festival.