Tag Archives: Greenland Whalefishers

Kilts, Celts and Croatians – the strange global rise of Celtic Punk

March 30, 2011

Last summer, I was invited down to NYC to meet Jim Lockhart and Barry Devlin of Horslips fame. The boys were over making a documentary for Irish TV based on the travels of Mickey McGowan, whose 19th century autobiography Mór an tSaoil (“The Big Wheel of Life”) documents the hardships of Irish immigrants in the USA and Mickey’s travels from NYC, to the steel mills of Pennsylvania to the Klondike gold rush. Mór an tSaoil was a major inspiration to Horslips on the albums Aliens and The Man that Built America (ok, can anyone say Cornelius Larkin?)

Both Jim and Barry were fascinated to hear about the Celtic punk scene in the US and the ever expanding global scene and one thing lead to another and on St. Patrick’s day, Jim broadcasted a short documentary on Irish national radio on Celtic punk, interviewing yours truly.

You can listen to the full documentary here:

bands featured include The Rumjacks, Belfast, Greenland Whalefishers, Mr Irish Bastards, Black 47 and many, many more.

BTW, I’m the one being interviewed with the sexy voice and the face for radio.

Greenland Whalefishers: Norways Pogues

June 2002

Greenland Whalefishers released an unbelievable great CD this year called “Loboville”. The following interview was conducted via email with Arvid (vocals) and Stig(six strings)
(S’n’O) How did a bunch of guys in Bergen, Norway get involved in playing Irish/Celtic punk music? What is the history of the band?

(GWF) It started many years ago with the two brothers Arvid and Gunnar jamming together and listening to Thin Lizzy, the Pogues, and the Dubliners with some more trad. Irish music. Then Arvid started writing songs and got together people who couldn’t play at all. Agnes e.g. had never touch a tin-whistle in her life, same with the instruments Gunnar is playing. The rest of us could a few cords. With a lot of rehearsing Arvid manage to form the band he wanted which might have been more difficult if he had choose experienced musicians.

(S’n’O) What’s is the reaction to the band and your music at home in Norway (home country of Aha)?.

(GWF) In Norway we’re not well known at all, especially compared to Aha. With a population of 4,5 million we’ve sold around 3,000 copies of Loboville. But we’re a popular live band and play around 50 gigs a year, which is quite good for an amateur band in this country.

(S’n’O) While I did like the earlier GLW CD’s and thought they were pretty good I never expected your last release “Loboville” to be as brilliant as it is. How did GWF get so good?

(GWF) Nice of you to say that. Lots of rehearsing, Arvid is a good songwriter and leader of the band; he works very hard with us. Also we feel that Loboville IS Greenland Whalefishers. I guess that’s it.

(S’n’O) All the reviews of “Loboville” I read have been great, what has been the fan’s reaction?

(GWF) I’ve never heard back from anybody who didn’t like it. But then again fans know what they want they buy the stuff I reckon.

(S’n’O) How do you feel about comparisons to the Pogues and especially Arvid’s Shane MacGowan comparisons?

(GWF) It’s no doubt that we are influenced by the Pogues also, but we never tried to copy anyone. Arvid’s voice sounds like Shane’s but you can’t do much about the voice can you. We didn’t like it much in the beginning even though Shane is like God to Arvid. Now we don’t care.

(S’n’O) I know there is a tour of Italy coming up soon, have the band any other plans to play outside Norway? Any plans to play the USA?

(GWF) YES. It looks like a US tour of the east cost coming up in October. Walter F. Wouk, who is a fan of S’n’O, is helping us out. I’d say it’s has 90% chance for happening.

(S’n’O) Will “Loboville” be getting a US release ever?

(GWF) Yes. First one who contacts us about it will get the deal.

(S’n’O) What bands do you listen to? Is there anyone you’d recommend to S’n’O readers?

(GWF) The Clash, White Stripes, Dropkick Murphy’s, Thin Lizzy, Rancid, Eastfield, DSS are bands worth a listen to.

(S’n’O) Is there anything else you’d like to say?

(GWF) Arvid feels sorry bout the death of Dee Dee Ramone but then again glad for all the good music from him. RIP.

Various ‎– Raise Your Pints Vol.2 (MacSlon’s Irish Pub Radio)

September 17, 2017

Tracks on compilation albums are like friends. You can find good friends like Sir Reg, Greenland Whalefishers and The Go Set. There are friends you have lost touch with and need to reconnect with – The Porters, The Killigans and Kilkenny Knights. Friends that you need to get to know better – Mickey Rickshaw and Hoist the Colors and of course friends that you haven’t met until now. Raise Your Pints – Vol.2 is a very good compilation and if you want to know what is going on in the European scene the MacSlon is the man.

Tracks list:

1 The Rogues from County Hell – MacSlon’s
2 The Cloves and the Tobacco – Too Much Trouble
3 Kilkenny Knights – Mick Watson
4 Irish Stew Of Sindidun – One Way Ticket
5 The Killigans – From The Underground
6 The Mullins – 9 To 5
7 The Go Set – Holdfast
8 The O’Reillys & The Paddyhats – Sign Of The Fighter
9 Billy Treacy – Temple Bar
10 Sir Reg – All Saints’ Day
11 Hoist The Colours – Mourners
12 Mickey Rickshaw – Nonprofit Warfare
13 Uncle Bard & The Dirty Bastards – I Only Got One Pint
14 Paddy and the Rats – Lonely Hearts’ Boulevard
15 BalticSeaChild – Fool In The Rain
16 Drink Hunters – Celtic Punks
17 Airs & Graces – 4 Corners
18 The Moorings – Drink Up Fast
19 The Porters – Son Of This Town
20 The Clan – Horns Up And Fight
21 Greenland Whalefishers – The Letter


Greenland Whalefishers: The Thirsty Cave

Hail, hail the might Whalefishers. Twenty one years on the go and Arvid Grov and his band of merry Vikings are still pouring out the finest Celtic-punk this side of the Pogues from the darkest Thirsty Cave that Bergen has to offer. One thing that has always struck me about the Greenland Whalefishers is their incredible sense of Celtic melody, a Celtic orchestration in the vein of Sean O’Riada, that blends in so well with their Ramones influenced punk. If your new to the Celtic punk then I urge you to check out Thirsty Cave and if you’ve been knocking around awhile you know what to do.

Greenland Whalefishers: 20 Years Of Waiting (DVD)

March 6, 2014

There is something very special about Greenland Whalefishers for me, it’s not just the great music, the great songs and the unbridled enthusiasm that is just as infectious in 2014 as it was in 2004 and 1994 but it that GWFs are the band that made me realize that this whole Celtic-punk thing was a real musical scene and not the product of our American and UK cousins getting musical revenge on their Irish parents for inflicting upon them The Dubliner and The Clancy Brothers in their formative years.

Here is a band from Bergen, Norway with a love of Thin Lizzy, The Waterboys and of course The Pogues (where main-man Arvid’s vocals sound more like the great man’s then the great man has sounded in years). GWF play great Celtic-folk-punk purely for the love of the music. I’m not sure how I first came to hear of GWF but I do remember downloading some tracks that were hosted on a free mp3 punksite and being so impressed that I wrote to them and duly received a copy of their debut Mainstreet Sword to impress me further. Lobville the next album was my album of the year in 2002(2) and still is one of my favorite Celtic-punk albums ever!

20 Year A Waiting is a DVD documentary of the band which combines the history of the band through interviews with various members, fan’s and friends of the band telling the story of how a Celtic-punk band from Norway went from playing small Irish bars in Bergen to becoming festival favorites in Eastern Europe and touring Japan and America. The DVD while a DIY effort (produced by bass player Atle-Hjørn) still has a high almost professional quality. The interviews are in-depth and there is a ton of great archive footage including lots of doggy material from pre GWF bands and a great shot of drummer Ørjan in his Black Metal days and of course the great music that flows through constantly. For the fan like me this is a wonderful viewing experience though as an introduction I’d say start with Loboville and Songs from the Bunker and Down & Out then do the DVD.

Greenland Whalefishers: Live At Farmer Phil’s Festival

May 16, 2012

Norway’s Greenland Whalefishers are one of Celtic-punks longest running and consistently great bands and while they are very much routed in the sounds of The Pogues (right down to Arvid’s out MacGowning MacGowan’s vocals) though with a nod to both ’77 and current punk influences.

Live At Farmer Phil’s Festival is a no frills, in the raw recording of the GWFs set at the quirky Farmer Phil’s Festival in the UK and it really capture the power of the GWFs live set that has bashed heads from Poland to California and Japan and is now bashing heads on vinyl. The vinyl package is classy, high quality, blue wax including tons of photos on the inner sleeve – buy it before its gone, it will be a collectors item shortly.

1. 4 Season Song
2. Hit the Ground
3. Waiting
4. I Just Saw You
5. I Am Roving
6. July Morning
7. Rich Holder At Thorp Arch
8. Backup Man
9. Limp Jos Story
10. Loboville
11. The Wild Rover

Greenland Whalefishers: SONGS FROM the BUNKER

June 19, 2009

You’ll probably read the Shite’n’Onions list of the best Celtic-punk CDs of all time and will obviously have taken note of Greenland Whalefishers ranking. In fact, of all the CDs listed, GWFs raised the most comment – not that a bunch of Norse men made the list, but the choice should be Down & Out not Loboville. I still stand by Loboville as their greatest and I’m sure my detractors will stand by Down & Out. I’m also willing to stand by the fact that SONGS FROM the BUNKER is the best GWF release since Lobville and I’m will to bet my detractors are willing to insist SONGS FROM the BUNKER is their greatest album since down and out etc.