Adrian Edmondson was a teenager when punk arrived. The songs of The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam and The Stranglers were the soundtrack to his life through the late 70’s and early 80’s, and like a lot of people of his generation he was fond of playing these songs to himself at home on his acoustic guitar.
Cut forward to 2007: after a boozy pre-Christmas lunch in Soho, Ade stumbled along to Denmark Street, home of many alluring musical instrument shops, and whilst inebriated, ‘accidentally’ bought a mandolin. Surprised to see it sitting there in his kitchen the following morning he nevertheless picked it up, worked out a few chords, and started playing the same songs with a mandolin accompaniment – it sounded really interesting.
He was touring with the Bonzos at the time and he brought his mandolin along, and with Neil Innes on acoustic guitar, they had a go at London Calling in the dressing room. It sounded good, but Neil said ‘What you need are some brilliant folk musicians.’
Ade had heard Troy playing the pipes with Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish and knew that a) he was a brilliant player, and b) wasn’t averse to playing the pipes outside the strict parameters of the folk world. He found his number and rang him up. As soon as he explained the idea: ‘Punk songs re-interpreted with a Celtic feel,’ Troy was immediately up for it, and added to the idea – ‘Why not The Model by Krafwerk as well? I’ve always wanted to play that on the pipes.’
They met for a couple of days to mess about with the idea. If it didn’t work they could all just walk away. But within the first hour they knew they were onto something. In the two days they drank numerous beers, ate 2 curries and arranged 8 songs – and the band was born. They bonded over how brilliant songs of the punk/new wave era were, what a glorious racket a folk band could make, and Laurel & Hardy.
Rehearsals followed, and then, bizarrely, a trip to St Lucia to test it out (off season, cheap flights, cheap hotels, anonymity). They threw themselves in at the deep end and did 6 gigs in 6 days. Just little bars. But it got them up and running.
Virtuoso fiddle player Andy Dinan joined the band during the first UK tour, he was a brilliant part of the band for five years and played on all three albums. Troy, Ade and Andy were the mainstays of the band from 2009 through 2013 racking up around 300 gigs.
2014 has seen a few changes: Andy left the band, Terl Bryant joined on percussion for a tour of Australia, and then on return to the UK Tim Harries rejoined the band on double bass.