Tag Archives: THE ELECTRICS

The Electrics: Diary of a Scottish Madman

October 2002

Just in case you out there in reader land thought life in a rock’n’reel band was a glamorous jet set life of groupies, drugs and fast cars, think again. The Electrics’ Jimmy D. the tells us about the bands recent US tour that managed to include playing at a society wedding and a born again Christian rock festival (with a gig in Paddy Reillys to complete the tour)

The U.S.A trip had its ups and downs, but I’m glad we did it. We flew to Heathrow, where we should have met up with Tim, the fiddler. His bus was delayed by 2 hrs to the airport though, and they wouldn’t let him get on the plane, although they had JUST closed it a minute before. Thanks Virgin Atlantic!
So we had to go without him, he got to NYC next day. A good start ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

As soon as we landed, (Thurs night-11pm) they had lost my bags. JUST mine,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Guitar leads / fx /clothes /toiletries etc. Everything. It didn’t arrive for three days by which time I had to buy new clothes and stuff. The airport had said that I was entitled to $60 per day that it was missing,, but have since told me that its ONE payment, not per day, which cant be right. We called and called, but no answer. We didn’t get a chance to chase it up until we were leaving again, by which time I was given the brush off’/run around by the Virgin staff. It’s a disgrace. After a couple of hours spent going from one side of the airport to the other, they told me that even if I was entitled to more money, ,that it was too short notice to get it that day and that I would have to sort it out with Virgin UK! Dirty bastards eh? So we got to our hotel the first night, which was booked by the groom (WEEKS before) to be told that they don’t have the rooms we booked with one double and one single bed, but they can give us an extra bed, for MORE money.

We had no choice. We had the next day off to explore NYC, so Sammy his wife and me were out on the streets of Manhattan at 8am. Magic! Its some place, and it is like walking around a film set at times. We also went to the Ground Zero site too, which was very eerie. Saturday was the big event,,,!

The wedding in Manhattan was incredible. I’m guessing that the families have a FEW dollars. It was outside in a park/square type thing, with the big restaurant right beside it. It was the full thing with the shirt n tie waiters carrying the trays around, free cocktails etc. THEN the sit down meal and reception downstairs, with the posey food that nobody actually likes, but costs a packet. Sunday should have been a giggin day, but turned out not to be. So we traveled up to Harrisburg P.A. Home of the HUGE Hershey Chocolate Company.

We won’t be doing things the same way next time mind. We will set stuff up ourselves,and just go and do it. No messing about waiting for gigs to be confirmed, then cancelled at a days notice etc. Two were lost, one was a festival that couldn’t get insurance for the outdoor event, dunno about the other. Which meant we had two more nights in hotels to pay for, with no money comin in. The guy in Pennsylvania was fantastic though,,,,
He told us to come up there the day before, and HE paid for an extra night in a hotel for us. What a guy. Then took us to his house to spend the day in his pool, and have some food. Magic. Wish I could swim though,,,,,!
We went and did a wee spot on a local radio station, WJTL–P.A and the poor guy didn’t know what had hit him. Good fun though.

The gig that night SHOULD have been a total disaster. The p.a. was broke all night, Sammy’s fx broke, then mine, then the fiddlers! I was playin through a 60 watt Keyboard amp, with no overdrive obviously. Then that broke. Then worked again, then one channel died, then the other! I ended up havin a guy hold the lead in while I played. Mad! It still went down a storm though, thankfully. We took about 30 t-shirts with us, and sold them all at the first gig! DOH! Could have sold LOADS more too.

Tuesday meant goin BACK to NYC to gig in a tiny Irish bar. That was great fun. Though it was empty. Maybe 30 or 40, though it only holds 74 full! First band on were called Warsaw and The Poland Brothers. Punk/Ska/Funk/Celtic stuff. Mental. They have done 300 gigs a year, for the past 8 years. The gig was broadcast live by webcast, through the Celtictv.com site too!
We made $80 on the door. The plan was to drive for an hour or 2 out of town, et a cheap hotel and crash out. Didn’t happen. EVERY one we stopped at, VERY one, put up the price when we asked them. Some of them were really cheeky too. So we kept drivin, and drivin,,,,,,,By the time it was 5.30 am, we were still lookin to get a place, sleep till 3 or so, then head on. But no. Couldnae get ANYWHERE.
It got more expensive he further we went. We ended up goin in for breakfast, and headin right on up to near Boston to stay with a friend of Sammy’s. What a long day that turned into. Davie was not surprisingly knackered, with playin, then drivin all night. The 96 degree heat wasnt helpin eiher.

Got to the guys house, they ALL slept. I couldn’t. Stayed up, went into Boston, bought CD’s, had dinner. I was now TOO tired to sleep. We had no gigs for 2 days now, cos of mess ups. We all bought bike jackets in a big mad cheap place. Except the fiddler, cos he is English, and therefore a fudd! Lightweight leather, excellent. About £22 I think. Bargain. It will go nicely with the 2 I have already. DOH! Boston is a very cool city, with some crackin CD shops. I saw the famous Cheers bar, and Harvard Uni etc, but I was too brainy to be allowed in!

We headed off next day to do the big festival, at LOON MOUNTAIN! Aye, I pissed myself when I saw the name. Took us ALL day to get there, and we arrived 45 mins before we were due on. We booked into a big log cabin, with a pool etc, which was magic. It would have cost about the same for 3 rooms, for us, and Sams friends. The Friday gig went down a storm, but only about 100 folk there, in this cafe place. The Saturday gig was fantastic, in a big tent to about 3/400. Sammy appeared side-stage before it, furious. He didn’t want to do the gig, because he had just been told that the festival takes 25% of the merch sales, AFTER you pay them$125 to sell stuff in the first place. They basically screwed us, and everyone there.
Food prices were terrible, $5 for a grilled chicken sandwich, $2.50 for a bottle of water? Shocking, especially for a supposed Christian event. Disgraceful,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

He eventually decided to do it, cos the place was full by now. But he told everyone there not to buy ANY stuff from the festival, but to get our CD’s online. We still sold about 25 or so, but had to give the man $98 from that. I took Scotland wristbands to sell, and a few blue shirts with the lion on them, but we threw them to the crowd, rather than give them any more money. It was a disgrace. The gig was brilliant though, cos we were so pissed off. At the end, I leaned over to lift Sams bass out of the way, and tweaked my back. AGONY! The worst I’ve done it for years. Could hardly move. And JUST as I did it a woman comes over and asks me to get a picture with a crowd of them. I’m standing, in agony with a bunch of wee lassies around me, tryin to smile. She THEN pulls out one real camera, and SIX wee disposables. AAARGGHH!! I’m standin like a cripple, and the flashes are doin my eyes in.

We packed away and headed to the lodge,,10 mins away. I could feel somethin else not right on the way. I got a full on migraine too, brought on by the 7 flashes in a row I think. What a horrible night that was for me.
I couldn’t even see to find my medication or anythin. I spent the night lyin on the floor, with a migraine ice patch on my head, an eye mask to block the light, and the clothes I wore at the gig. I wasn’t even able to get washed.

I woke at 7, with my back REALLY hurt, and the dull leftover head pain. Had an hour in the bath which helped a wee bit, but I didn’t think I would make the 1pm show at the festival. Turns out I did, and it was maybe the best show of all. Best sound, etc. And that was that,,,,,,,

It was a LONG trip back with my sore back though. Although I did get a better seat than the rest of them, cos the old woman at the check-in liked me, ,cos she had been to Glasgow once and liked the people. Hehehehe, more legroom for Jimmy D!!! I got told off on the plane for using the “1st Class” toilet. There was ONE guy in 1st class! I replied by telling the snobby stewardess that the others were occupied, and that I HAD to go. And asked her if she would rather have me shit myself on the plane. She didn’t reply! Hehehehe! Funny that.

And just to cap it all off nicely, we got back to find that ALL our bags were missing. Got them next day. Bastards,,,,,,,,Still, mustn’t grumble eh? Er,, is that enough info?

The Electrics: Does anyone speak Scottish?

June 2002

Glasgow’s Finest, an interview with Jimmy D and Sammy Horner

(S’n’O) So who are The Electrics? How did the band get together and what is the band’s history?

(Sammy) Well it actually started when Paul and I left another band….I had written a few songs and we recorded them in a little 8 track studio near Glasgow. We played a festival here in Scotland with a couple of mates (Davie the drummer and a guy called Alan Hewitt who could play everything!), and after that show the phone started ringing. We had no real big plans, but within 3 months we were touring in Portugal , Spain and France…and playing tons of University gigs…it was all a bit sudden really. We made another couple of cassette albums before being picked up by an independent label who wanted to go for it with us. We got screwed, but we managed to finish the album, and fortunately for us, although the label had went to the wall…the distribution company still wanted to pick up on the CD….so we toured for about 3 months to pay for the thing, but it got us on the map.

(S’n’O) “Reel’Folk’n’Rock’n’Roll” was to me exactly that. Were you happy with the CD? It came out in Germany only right? Did that pose a problem to a band based in Scotland?

(Jimmy D) The album didn’t end up “exactly” as we had imagined it, but overall, no too bad! I would have had more “EVERYTHING” in the mix if I could though! Yep, “Everything Louder Than Everything Else”, words to live by! We had our own idea for the album cover art also, but the record company went with the man in the kilt, cos they said it would appeal more to the German market! Generally, we didn’t like it at first, but it’s grown on us! Kinda like Leprosy! Hehehe! Nah, people seem to like it, so we are happy with that!

(Sammy) Yeah like Jim says we would have done some stuff differently, but that’s the deal when you work with producers…all in all I guess it’s OK, it’s got most of the elements we wanted, but next time, I think we can work on it ourselves and really crank it up. The band are much more raw live…we still have to capture that on a CD. In terms of Germany, no problem…we have made two other albums for German companies, and we have a large fan base there….very nice people, very good to us.

New stuff in the pipeline as we speak….well….new old stuff….we are gonna change the names of trad. songs to things like Killiecrankedup…Irish R-Overdrive….should be fun!

(S’n’O) On “Reel’Folk’n’Rock’n’Roll” there was a Violent Femmes cover and some Motorhead riff’s. Who would you list as your influences?

(Jimmy D) Sammy and I wrote the album together, so the influences are many and varied. Common ones are 70’sGlam and punk. Sam is a big fan of the Femmes, Steve Earle, Jason and The Scorchers, Pogues etc, whilst I’m a big fan of the Pistols/Ramones and more recently of Powerpop bands! I’ve added the punkier, rock edge to the bands sound on this album.

Sammy Loves the Femmes!…we have covered another of their songs on our third album and played some of their stuff live for years. I like hybrid stuff…country rock….cowpunk…anything that mixes up styles and sounds cool……..

(S’n’O) What makes a great Folk Rock song?

(Jimmy D) I think Sammy and I would both agree that no matter what kind of music it is, if it doesn’t have a good tune, than its a waste of time. Obviously there are genres where that is not the most important thing, but I mean from a “song” based point of view. That’s what made me drift away from a lot of the punk stuff I used to be heavily into. It just started to get faster and faster, and more tuneless and non-descript with every new release. Where’s the TUNES lads?

(Sammy) Good tunes…withoot a doot!

(S’n’O) How did the recent European tour go?

(Jimmy D) Tremendously well actually! The audience reaction was as wild as ever. With much dancing on tables, and conga lines around the halls etc. We also kept the record company happy, by selling out ALL of our CD’s at the shows. We had none left by the last gig! Demand outstripped supply in fact! Magic!

(Sammy) European tours are by and large …magic. It might be a cultural thing, (won’t bore you with the history of the Celts except to say the civilization spread over a good deal of Europe, not just Ireland and Scotland), but generally people in Europe are really into it…dancing from the first note…. USA tours were pretty good on the whole, but in some places it took a while to warm em up…… not that they were bad crowds…just took them a while to get it….. looking forward to the east coast this summer thou…. Surely they will get us big time!

(S’n’O) Have The Electrics and plans yet to follow up “Reel..”?

(Jimmy D) Yes indeed sir! Sammy and i have already started work on a new collection of traditional Irish/Scots songs, done in different styles. Some we have punked up, some we have done in an unlikely fashion too. This may well appear as the next Electrics album. We have also re-done a couple of our live standards too. Such as Killiecrankie, Irish Rover and Raggle Taggle Gypsy!

(S’n’O) I heard rumors of a US tour recently. Any more details?

(Jimmy D) Yeah…NJ July 27th….. Harrisburg PA 28th…… NYC…29th…..New Hampshire / Boston Aug 1-2.

(S’n’O) Any thoughts on the recent deaths of Dee Dee Ramone and John Entwistle?

(Jimmy) I was very sad to hear of Dee Dee’s passing, but not exactly surprised. I mean, what does it take for a fifty-year-old man to get off drugs? How many of his close friends does he have to see die of heroin overdoses etc. before he gets help and quits? People like Johnny Thunders, Sid Vicious etc? Its not like your average no-hoper junkie on the streets. He was a successful musician, who could have quit if he REALLY wanted too. Sad, and pointless way to go! I only heard about Entwistle today. I don’t even know how old he was, or what his health was like. Its a bit of a shocker too. I thought he was one of the healthy ones. And on the eve of a reunion tour too eh?

Oh dear,,,,,

I’m sure old Keith Moon is setting up his drums as we speak…. It makes you wonder what’s going on, when someone like Keith Richards is still alive, even after all the debauchery he has put his body through. And now we have SIR Mick Jagger too eh? Does the queen even know who he is? Er, no, she doesn’t. Just don’t bend over when your knighting him Liz! Hehehehehe,,,!

(Sammy) Very sad about John…saw the who about a year ago and they were fantastic…John was an incredible bass man…. even have some signed artwork of his….great shame…..Sad about Dee Dee also…the Ramones really started something new and exciting…

(S’n’O) What do you think of the Pogues reforming? Did you make it to any gigs?

(Sammy) Never knew they broke up…..except in the teeth department!…Lets face it the Strummer years were not good ones….without Shane it ain’t the Pogues, and with the Popes it ain’t the Pogues….it can only be a good thing, but I will only turn up to gigs if Shane does…love the music, but not paying $50 to see them if Shane is too pissed to show….and that’s the thing…how can we know?…

The Real McKenzies – Glasgow, Scotland (FEBRUARY 17, 2004)

We got there to see the band still unloading the merch and various swag from the back of the usual old beat up, manky tour van. All resplendent in stinky lookin kilts as ever, they seemed oblivious to the Glasgow chill us lesser mortals felt.

Theres sumthin about Barfly that annoys me, but i still cant put my finger on it. Maybe its the fact that they completely pointlessly give you a paper wristband thing to put on, AND stamp your hand with a stupid ink thing too. Or maybe its that fact that some idiot has decided NOT to allow us adults to buy anything but soft drinks in the bar downstairs where the bands play. Hmm, i wonder eh? Anyway,,,we got a drink upstairs then headed down to see what was what.

On came the first support of the evening, Scottish band The Alpacinos. Saw them support the McKenzies last year,and didn’t like them at all. They were much better this time,,,better sound too,but i just don’t get it at all.It just not for me. Why sound SO American? Some embarrassing onstage comments didn’t help i must say. They were quite well received all the same, although we went back upstairs before they finished.

By the time we got back downstairs, The Cherrykicks were halfway through their last song. I saw them support the Wildhearts in E’Burgh a while back, and thought they were ok. I described them to a friend as “The WIldhearts” without the tunes. I got an ep of theirs too,,which confirmed that thought. They ended their set by throwing the guitars down in a rock n roll fashion,and wandered off. Seemed to go down pretty well too.

The place was really pretty packed by this time, and before too long the McKenzies appeared onstage one by one. It seemed to take ages for them to get everything on the go,,as the singer walked around with various mike stands and stuff for some reason.

Then they were off!

Straight from the start,,,,,all 5 of them lined up on the wee stage, side by side, kilts and sporrans a swinging the drummer at the back. If I’d been a sad journo type id have written down the set list, but I’, not. So bite me! Suffice to say,,,it was first class from start to finish. These boys work hard let me tell you. And DRINK HARD TOO! Some of it (well,,,a LOT of it) is very silly indeed, but great fun. Its particularly funny to an ACTUAL Scotsman who plays in a Celtic rock/punk band (that’s me by the way) watching a bunch of Canadians giving it all things homage to Scotland. I love it all the same!

Songs about whiskey,,,Nessie,,,er,,whiskey,,,,,The Queen(Bitch Of The Money),,,er,,,,whiskey again,,,,

and rather controversially

“This song is dedicated to our favorite Scottish football team,,THE GLASGOW CELTICS”! (aye,,not CELTIC as it should be,,,but CELTIC’S, like the basketball team.) I heard a few groans from non Celtic fans,,,but that just made it all the more enjoyable in fact!

They battered through the songs at a fair old pace, and did quite a bit of their latest (and best I think) CD,,,”OOT AND ABOOT”! they featured their new drummer (Ike Ikelson I think?) who looked remarkably out of place,,in his wee national health rimmed glasses and all. Looked like Vic Reeves (UK Comedian) in fact! Seemed to be a very good drummer indeed though,,and even had a wee solo spot for a coupla minutes, Jeeez,,,a drum solo at a punk gig eh? Whatever next!

Well,,that would be the bagpipe solo in fact! Yep,,,the big piper had a couple of solo spots,and really is a very good piper indeed. In fact,,singer Paul proclaimed him as “probably the finest punk rock piper in the world”! High praise indeed, since there are er,,so MANY OF THEM?

Both guitarist were very good too, but the taller skinny one pulls more faces than Michael Jackson in a primary school cloakroom,,,and is tremendous to watch. The bass player is still the one who we always think looks like a wee boy in amongst men for some reason. He is perfectly capable but just looks”wrong”somehow.

We heard a few tirades against the Queen “and her fuckin useless jug eared son” (hehee,,,that one made me laugh actually) as well as some family memories and talk of how proud they were to be”home”! (Canada?) We also had the dubious pleasure of seeing his arse and male goods on numerous occasions too. Or “some cack ‘n balls” as he would say.

We managed to pass on a copy of some of our bands (The Electrics- http://www.theelectrics.com ) new album tracks to singer Paul before the show,, as well as a belt with a “Scottish And Proud” buckle, and a half bottle of “Real McKenzie” whiskey too! No,,really! He was VERY pleased with these things,and insisted on giving my mate Sammy a t-shirt, which he tried to refuse but eventually accepted in return.

We also got a 3 or 4 song encore,,including another pipe solo. They were about to play on,,but were told they were over the curfew time and had to go off. So,,not a very in depth gig review,,,but I’m already looking forward to next time! “SCOTS WHA HAE”!


Review by Jim Devlin

The Electrics: Old, New, Borrowed and Green

The Electrics have gone and recorded the CD they have threatened to make for a while and could have made on “Rock’n’Reel” if the producer hadn’t lost his nerve and buried the guitars in the mix. This time the guitars are loud, loud and louder – rumor has it ManOwar on hearing “Old, New, Borrowed and Green” have hung up their leather jock-straps and the Real McKenzies have bought long trousers. If you heard Killicranked-up on Shite’n’Onions vol. 1, this is in a similar vain. If not then imagine a cross of Scottish and Irish traditional, 70’s Glam (Slade & T-Rex) and PUNK ROCK (Sex Pistols.) All men play on McTen – indeed.

February 2005

The Electrics: EP/Radio Singles

Kind of a Cliff Notes guide to The Electrics here, with five tracks spanning the history of the band. Four being from the more straight ahead rock’n’reel days, including the very beautiful spiritual ballad “The Blessing”, kind of like Clapton, but good. Along with one cranked up, Big Country, meets The Sex Pistols, meets Slade masterpiece – “At All”, from the forthcoming CD, “Old, New Borrowed and Green”. If the remainder of the CD is anything like “At Al” and “Killiecrankedup” from the S’n’O CD then it will be a must get.

March 2004

Sammy Horner: Acoustic Celtic Praisen

On this, his fifth solo outing, Electrics lead singer Sammy Horner continues in the same fashion carved out on the previous four. While the Electrics have slowly blossomed into a crack Celtic-rock outfit with declarations of faith sometimes understated, Horner’s solo albums leave little for debate. He is an unabashed Christian whose music is intended to edify and entertain the believer. That doesn’t mean that the non-believer cannot appreciate his work as he’s developed into a top-notch songwriter brimming with irresistible melodies. This album is what it is – an acoustic collection of songs of worship and praise. Several of these selections have appeared in more amplified versions on previous releases like QUAICH and T-ALLT RUADH. On this recording singer and guitarist Horner is joined by longtime Electrics member Jim Devlin on guitars and mandolin and recent Electrics addition Tim Cotterell on fiddle and all manner of acoustic instruments (mandolin, mandola, banjo, melodeon, etc.). Cotterell, incidentally, also plays with the left-leaning Tricks Upon Travellers, which must surely cause him to reconcile his beliefs in one direction or the other. Regardless, Sammy Horner and friends have created tasteful music that will hopefully appeal to those who might otherwise dismiss it as too preachy or “churchy.” As a longtime fan of Sammy Horner’s music (both solo and with the Electrics), and as one who is secure in my beliefs I am not at all hesitant to give ACOUSTIC PRAISE a categorical thumbs up.

March 2004

Review By Dave Sleger

The Electrics: Irish Invasion

This 2001 compilation revisits two of the Electrics earlier and more obscure efforts — their second release BIG SILENT WORLD (1993) and their follow-up THE WHOLE SHEBANG (1995). While it would seem to be a laudatory effort to unearth these forgotten songs, this, frankly, is a hastily conceived compilation with little consideration given to the quality of song. For instance, of the 12 tracks contained here a whopping eight were culled from the less polished, more pedestrian sounding BIG SILENT WORLD, while a mere four were taken from what might still be their finest effort, the Buddy Miller produced, THE WHOLE SHEBANG. Furthermore, it’s practically criminal to think that perhaps their greatest, most rollicking song “Killicrankie” (from SHEBANG) was omitted. Thankfully Pila Music included their rendition of the Violent Femmes “Oh My (Jesus Walking on the Water).” Still, if you’re vaguely familiar with the Electrics but haven’t heard their early material, this collection serves as a suitable (but not ideal) introduction to their formative period when their development from album to album was quite evident.

March 2004

Review By Dave Sleger

http://www.theelectrics.com/