Undying Heads are Frank Ryder and Sam Wilkinson, a duo playing an eclectic mix of original music.
In the spring and summer of 2019 Undying Heads are playing many venues across the Algarve and West Coast of Portugal. During this time they have been recording their first album in their studio between gigs. They have their own solar powered recording studio, Ryder Road and run their own record label, Ryder Road Records. They are strong believers in a DIY ethic.
The album ‘Can’t Be Late’ is available now on their website and Bandcamp as a digital download and hard copy CD.
Frank is a singer songwriter from Dublin, Ireland who plays guitar and mandola. Frank says “I remember being fourteen years old and having a copy of a Lynyrd Skynyrd album, and seeing this gang of long haired’s singing about whiskey, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and life on the road. For me growing up in suburban Dublin that was a glimpse of something outside. It excited me.”
So, how did Frank escape the suffocation of a repressed Irish childhood? He travelled. Much of his youth was spent trekking around Europe, and he has lived for periods in France, Germany, Spain and Portugal. He read too: the anarchist writers and philosophers, the libertarians, anything to do with the Sixties counter-culture.
In the early 1990s Frank (then going by the guise of Frank X. Hibbet) was part of the band Far Canals, based in Galway, Ireland. They released two albums and one EP with Hunter S. Records. The bands anarchic, anti-establishment ethos was reflected in many of their songs which railed against the police, drug laws, organised religion and political corruption. Influenced by punk and blues, the Far Canals combined unusual guitar arrangements and distortion pedals to produce a highly distinctive sound. The group disbanded in 1996.
Frank (as a solo act) was the support artist for Julian Cope on his ‘An audience with the Cope tour’ of Irish Castles in 1993. Frank was also a live sound engineer at this time where he worked for a number of artists playing in the Galway area. Frank took a break from playing live music to become a DJ, where he played at many parties and festivals in Portugal. After meeting two guitarists in Portugal he started The Rocking Horse of Oisin which still play occasional gigs at festivals and venues in Portugal.
In October 2017 the area in Portugal where Frank has his house was devastated by wild fires. Frank lost all his music equipment, including his favourite guitar as well as amps and microphones used for gigs. He also lost his Sprinter campervan and his Mercedes bus that were full of other personal possessions from clothes and photographs to body boards and wetsuits.
Frank took this as a sign to move on and start writing and playing more music. He feels that there is not many people writing from the perspective of a fifty something male and wanted his take on the world to be in his song writing. He is now more determined than ever to be playing and writing as much as possible.
Sam is a singer and percussionist from Cirencester, UK who plays bodhran and other percussion. Sam started singing at age sixteen in the late eighties thanks to a youth club incentive to get kids into music. She was in a new wave band called Enzone who practiced a lot but only played a couple of gigs!
Sam remembers the first song she heard that made her really take notice of music, Soft Cell’s Tainted Love. Despite that she was always mostly disillusioned with ‘chart’ music feeling it didn’t reflect her life or say anything to her. During the eighties she found Paul Weller and Billy Bragg who she connected with much more and she also got turned on to Psychobilly music, a fusion of Punk and Rockabilly.
During the nineties rave music and the travelling scene had a big impact on Sam although she wasn’t making or playing music herself. Between juggling being a single mum to her son, Lee and working full-time she found little time to perform professionally although she did take up the guitar and sang a lot at home.
In 2004 Sam joined a new punk/dub band called Drug Sniffin Dogs for a while. Sam practiced with them for a six month period but left before actually gigging with them. They are still going now despite the sad death of founder member and good friend Hayden Daniels.
Later in 2005 she went on to sing in the Gloucester Community Folk Choir which was a great lesson in singing technique as well as a brilliant way to learn some obscure folk songs from around the world.
In 2010 after her son moved out and went away to university to study music, Sam moved permanently into her campervan and travelled extensively in France, Belgium, Holland, Spain and Portugal.
Frank and Sam met in January 2018 and Undying Heads were born on the Algarve from the busking scene in Lagos. Originally Sam was behind the scenes as manager while Kev Saunders was the other member playing double bass, harmonica and cajon. Kev decided not to carry on after a year of touring and so Sam took over on stage to continue the duo.
Undying Heads played a few small gigs down on the Algarve in the early months of 2018. In the spring they played the huge Freekuency Festival in Portugal on the Funky Beatz Bar and played on the Phoenix stage at Total Resistance festival. Undying Heads gigged and busked their way up through Portugal and into Northern Spain before arriving in the UK for dates in July and August. They then headed to Ireland for September to finish their tour.
At the end of the year they released their ‘Live at the Horsedrawn’ EP which is still available from their website and Bandcamp. On the website you will also find the popular ‘Anti-Social, Social Media’ T-shirts as well as ‘Undying Heads’ T-shirts.
Frank and Sam live in a van and are travelling most the time. Living on the road is their way of life and making music is their life! They love to get people smiling, dancing and enjoying themselves. They are mainly based in Portugal, Spain, UK and Ireland but visit many other countries on their travels. Sometimes guest artists join them for occasional songs, recordings or whole gigs!
Undying Heads are available for gigs at pubs and venues and private parties, (birthdays, weddings etc). We can play for up to 3 hours also playing lots of well-known covers to get the audience singing along. Please contact us via email or telephone for all enquires, our contact details are at the bottom of this page.
Thanks for your interest and we hope you enjoy are music :)
If you are thinking of booking us remember... not only do we speak English but
On parle Francais,
Wir sprechen Deutsch,
Tá Gaeilge againn.
Feel free to call, text or email in any of the above languages.
Links & Contact:
Our Website is at www.undyingheads.eu
Our Bandcamp page is at
Our Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/undyingheads
Our Instagram page is at https://www.instagram.com/undyingheads
Our YouTube page is at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZMhQwLQD7e8ogejo7aX7VA
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Manager: Sam Wilkinson.
You can phone Sam on 0044 7966 497410 or 00351 919 072947.
You can add Sam on Facebook, she is Sam Van Dweller.
Thanks to Olaf Tyaransen for some of the information on Far Canals.
Undying Heads are...
Songwriter, Vocals, Guitar and Mandola
Vocals and Bodhran
with guest artists...
Songwriter, Vocals, Double Bass, Harmonica and Cajon
Vocals and Guitar
Guitar and Cajon