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Interview

Stiff Little Fingers
02/02/2000 (Interview with Jake)



Please give a brief history of the band, including current line up.

Jake: SLF formed in Belfast in 1977 taking the name from a track on the first Vibrators' album. We released our first single: "Suspect Device" on St. Patrick's Day 1978 and toured the U.K. for the first time (as guests of the Tom Robinson Band) in September. A second single "Alternative Ulster" and an album "Inflammable Material" followed and the band signed to Chrysalis Records in 1979. Three more studio albums and a live album later the band broke-up. Re-forming in 1987 for a short series of concerts, the demand was so huge we were persuaded to remain together. Since then the band has recorded a further four studio albums, the most recent being: "Hope St." (EMI) in 1999. The line-up of the band today is: Jake Burns: guitar & voice, the only remaining original member, Bruce Foxton: bass & voice (ex. of The Jam), Ian McCallum: guitar & voice the only Scotsman born in England ! & Steve Grantley: drums & voice (ex of Jake Burns & the Big Wheel, Julian Lennon and a load of other bands!!)

Discography.

Albums worth bothering with:

Inflammable Material (Rough Trade 1979)
Nobody's Heroes (Chrysalis 1980)
Hanx ! (Chrysalis 1980)
Go For It (Chrysalis 1981)
Now, Then... (Chrysalis 1982)

All the Best (Chrysalis 1983)
Flags & Emblems (Castle 1990)
Get a Life (Castle 1992)
Tinderbox (Abstract 1997)
And best of all...Hope St. (EMI 1999)

If someone reading this interview had not heard anything by SLF (unlikely), how would you describe the band/music?

Jake: SLF are a modern rock band with punk sensibilities and attitude. We are also, very loud

What is your favourite country to play in and why?

Jake: Different countries have different things to recommend them. I've always enjoyed travelling and therefore every country has its perks. I love the Americans' enthusiasm for life and I find that infectious. Equally, and somewhat of an opposite, I really like the laid-back approach of the Irish, Spanish and Italian people. I always loved playing in Sweden, which we used to do a lot but since re-forming have never had the opportunity to do. Also, our one trip so far to Japan was fantastic. However, if I have to nominate one gig above all others, it will come as no surprise to people that I would chose Glasgow. St. Patrick's Night at Barrowland has become as much a tradition for me now as Christmas. It's always a joy to go the city and the folk up there have always been incredibile in their support of the band.

If you could take a vocalist, guitarist(s), bassist and drummer from different bands to make your perfect band who would you choose (can be deceased)?

Jake: It might sound corny to say that I'm perfectly happy with the line-up we have but if I'm putting together a band to watch and I'm allowed the realm of fantasy then: Keith Moon: drums, Steve Cropper: guitar, Elvis Costello: vocals, Little Richard: piano, Clarence Clemons: saxaphone & Nick Lowe: bass

What is your favourite compilation album SLF have appeared on?

Jake: Never really thought of it. We've been on some really strange ones.

What was the last band you have been to see and were they any good?

Jake: The most recent band I saw was Mike Peters band supporting Big Country. They were really good apart from the drummer, who was total pants.

What is the favourite song (and what band is it by) of each member of the band?

Jake: Don't know about the others but I'd probably opt for an Elvis Costello song. "Shipbiulding" "Every Day I Write the Book" "Watching the Detectives" something like that.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2000.

Jake: We have the traditional U.K. March tour starting on 3rd in Morecambe. Then I believe we are playing in Belgium/Holland hopefully in May. Beyond that we have to wait and see. I would hope to get to America in some form or other (North or South) and possibly even Australia but nothing has been decided yet.

Any final comments?

Jake: Just that I hope this forthcoming tour will be as much fun as the "Hope St." tour was in March last year and I'm looking forward to playing and meeting everyone again. Cheers, Jake.