The Making of...The Bonnevilles
Another chance for us to go under the bonnet of a local act worth caring about! This time around it's The Bonnevilles, one of the most talked about live acts in the country, a band who make a remarkable racket of gnarly rock n' roll everywhere they go. I say remarkable - there's jut the two of them after all.
With a new album and a mess of launch gigs to celebrate, here's vocalist Andrew McGibbon Jnr with the lowdown on what make him and his band tick....
￼The first record I bought was "Kings Of The Wild Frontier" by Adam and the Ants. It was on 7 inch and I played it to death on the family record player, so much so that my Mum couldn't take it anymore and cracked up demanding I played something else. I still love that Garagey tom tom beat thing. A lot of Bonnevilles songs have a similar thing going on!
The last record I bought was Ska Madness - Two Tone Revolution. Its all original reggae numbers the 80's ska bands covered. I love reggae, it makes me happy. I think my mood always lifts when I hear it. If Liquidator doesn't make you smile, you're dead inside. The last original I bought was The Pacifics new LP, a dublin garage band who do their songs in the style of a Hamburg era Beatles band, great fun.
Thinking back on it I reckon Robert Johnson was the guy that most inspired me when I was 16. I had been playing the guitar for years before that but I enjoyed the actual guitar, holding it, making noise on it. It wasn't until I 'd heard him that the muse took me. I remember trying to play his songs by ear, as I couldn't read music and had no one to tell me he used a different tuning, my versions would've been , um, interesting, to be kind.
As far as concert or gigs go, not too many have influenced me but back when I discovered Robert Johnson I found a jazz & blues bar called Olivers. I stumbled in and rolled over to the juke box, this was at 2 in the afternoon on a weekday, I couldn't believe the songs on there. Son House, Robert Johnson, Howlin Wolf, Charlie Patton, I thought i had discovered blues music all by myself and no-one else knew about it, as you do when you're 16, and here was this mecca, which I wasn't legally allowed into. The owner, Oliver himself, started to talk to me and we got on well, he would play tunes on the jukebox and educate me as to what we were listening to. He would book bands to play at weekends and one night a band called The Real Ale and Thunder Band, a New Orleans type jazz outfit played and they blew me away. These old guys with no amps, no microphones (the guy sung through his cupped hands), clarinets, battered piano, banjos knocked it out of the park. I went back a few years ago, they say you should never go back and they're right, the place was sold on and although the name was the same it was a complete dive and depressed me to see it.
There are so many amazing, world class outfits now in Northern Ireland. There has always been one or two but now there are loads. We love to play with Triggerman, The Murder Balladeers, The Monotonous Tone. Even though musically we aren't the same at all, we just get on well together, Smashie and Nicey type, great mates and all that. The Balladeers and the Tone are coincidently supporting us with our album launch in the Limelight 2 in Belfast on the 22nd of November.
The first cover we did is actually still a part of our set, a reworked version of Alabama Train by Louisiana Red, we re-wrote the lyrics but keep the chorus . The last cover we played was for a part of a Cramps tribute night in the black box and we absolutely ruined it. It was the worst cover version anyone ever played, anywhere. Our roadie Pete said we should be ashamed of ourselves and he actually hid his face, he's normally really proud of us like a parent of a child but not that night. I can't remember what the song was, I think I may have erased it from my memory. Lux Interior I can only apologise.
My guilty pleasure has to be opera, I love a banging opera tune. Seriously, it relaxes me. I haven't managed to make it through a full one yet but I love a bit of Verdi, La donna e mobile is my favourite, I love singing it in the bath. If you ever see me making faces in me car I may be trying to hit the high C.... ￼
The Bonnevilles launch their new album 'Folk Art and the Death of Electric Jesus' with shows at The Atlantic Bar, Portrush (Nov 16th), Limelight 2, Belfast (Nov 22nd) and Sandinos, Derry (Nov 23rd).