You may not know this, or care, but ever since our last gig with the masks, we have officially joined the Justice League, joining the ranks of other super heroes such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash; it’s a real honour. For them as well, of course. Pretty soon they will be publishing comic books about our exploits in fighting injustice, wherever we find it. We’ve been doing it a while now, wandering about in masks, threatening people. But unlike other superheroes we don’t care about crime. Crime is a matter of Law. A few years ago in the United States it was a crime to drink alcohol. Imagine. No, we don’t care about crime, we care about justice. Laws come and go, but justice is justice. It all started at one of our Monday night rehearsals.
Bombskare rehearsals are quite civilised affairs. Mainly it consists of sitting around drinking cocktails, eating Snickers bars, and reading the Financial Times. Kind of like an old fashioned private gentleman’s club, such as the Reform Club, but without the racism. Recently at rehearsal, whilst enjoying a game of backgammon with Mathew, Colin casually informed me, whilst reading from an article in The Economist, that the company directors of a certain private equity firm in London, worth billions, were paying less tax than the cleaning staff of their offices thanks to creative accounting practices and a handy tax loophole. “In addition” he said, “it says here, the richest 100 people on the planet own more wealth than the bottom third of humanity, and they‘re getting richer.” “My God!” I cried whilst leaping to my feet, knocking the backgammon board over and spilling Mathew‘s martini. “That’s outrageous!”
“I say, old man” said Mathew, un-amused.
“We have to do something. We can’t let those fat cats get away without shouldering their fair share of the tax burden! Where’s the justice? Where’s the humanity?!” I was beginning to become agitated. “Raising money for cancerous dogs is one thing, or Chiapas Mexicans, or Indian Orphans; those guys are OK I suppose, but we need to do something more direct, more hands on, to increase the overall justice in the world. Ok men, suggestions.”
“There’s a bank round the corner”, said Mathew, puffing on his pipe. “We could set fire to it”
“We could write a letter to The Times” said Mike, from behind his newspaper.
“What about the World Justice Festival.” said Colin. “We could play at it. That’s bound to increase the justice in the world.” Its obvious when you think about it. That’s how we ended up on the stage at the Ross Band Stand on Princes Street, more or less. I’ve glossed over some details.
A 10.30am sound check, especially on a very rainy Sunday is unpleasant, but we take world justice very seriously. Very seriously. We were headlining out of three bands. The Edelweiss Pirates are a young band from Haddington who featured at last years Linkylea Festival. They went on first to a startled Princes Street full of Sunday shoppers and really got things going. Next up was Junction Pool. Fourteen piece folky/funky/jazzy craziness featuring our Tom amongst many others. They were outstanding. Whilst they were playing, Andy and I took a walk up to Starbucks for badly needed coffee, and the sound from so far away was just incredible. All of Princes Street could hear it clearly. We couldn’t wait to get up there and show these Sunday shoppers what a Sunday sale was really all about. Before we went on the MC chap asked me how best to describe our music. A heady mix of Ska, propane and testosterone, I told him, which is almost true. We’re not that heady.
We had played on the Ross Band Stand before, back in the dark ages of 2000. Big John had just left the band and Andy had just joined the band as harmonica player. We’ve come a long way since then, judging by the footage of that gig on YouTube. This time though, everyone was there on time. By the time we got through two numbers, we had drawn a big crowd in spite of the atrocious weather. We played for an hour and included Inspector Gadget as a request for Susan, which has been missing from our set of late. Make no mistake, everyone in a half mile radius knew we were playing that day. Thanks to everyone who came down and of course to the organisers especially Susan. Cheers to Joe and Dino from DM Audio for providing the sound, cheers to The Proclaimers for donating money to help fund the stage, and cheers to Vini for helping out. We hope that we have contributed something to World Justice, anything at all really, because we are anxious to move onto Interplanetary Justice as soon as possible. (I’ve got this brilliant idea for a united federation of planets!)
Recording. Yes we are still at it. People keep asking me and I keep poking them eye and kicking them in the shins. Its like rolling a giant boulder up a hill, you do it by inches. One time about a month ago I thought we were near the summit and I got quite excited, but then I realised there was another peak beyond it, goddammit! At the minute we are mixing the thirteen tracks that we have. There are still plenty of vocals to be recorded and we wont be able to get back into the studio properly to record, until August unfortunately. The thirteen tracks are
A Fistful of Dynamite
World Turned Upside Down
Desayuno Con Carmela
Force Ten from Navarone
Hand of Fate
Forget the Nineties
Don’t Give it All Away
Crime of the Century
We had intended to record Yellow Pages but would you believe it, funny story this, on the weekend we were laying the drums down, we forgot to record it. Its worth repeating that. We forgot to record it! Obviously we couldn’t record every song from our back catalogue. We specifically limited the material to the period between Big Andy leaving the band and to when Vini left last August. Nothing written before 2003, and obviously only material that was written up to when we started recording. Some of these tunes have been around a while (Beatriz, World Turned Upside Down), others were still being written as we went into the studio (Don’t Give It All Away). In reviewing what didn’t make it onto the album, we realised we could record a whole other album of strong tunes, except the strain on my nervous system would be too great. I definitely think I would snap. So what we’ll probably do at some point is put together a shorter EP with some of the material that didn’t make it. Its still good stuff, honest, its just that we had to make sacrifices. In addition we are still writing new songs so by the time the album is out we will be gigging new material that is effectively going to be our second album.
So realistically, I think it will be a few months before we’ll be seeing the album properly finished. Sorry folks. We will definitely sorting out previews and probably a single too, our first since, wow, 2002! Jesus, are we that disorganised. Eh, yeah! Our next proper gig will be at the new place on Waterloo Place in Edinburgh, The Ark with our associates Root System. Its above the old Waterloo Bar and holds about 200 to 230. I’ve a funny feeling it may sell out so get tickets early. You were warned. After that we will be playing the Ross Band again as part of the Rat Race Urban Adventure. And then straight down to North Berwick on the same day to headline the Big Event down there. We have our cousin Vini deputising for Sam that day. He will be finishing work at six, running down to Princes Street to play a set with us at six thirty, heading up to Henry’s to play a set with his metal band at eight thirty, and then I will be driving him down to North Berwick at breakneck speed to get on stage at ten. Three gigs in one evening. Rock and Roll! My record is four, with different bands. Yes indeed, being me is a full time job, but I haven’t missed a day yet.