Tag Archives: THE TOWN PANTS

Podcast# 69, 999 Years of Irish History (part 2)

February 9, 2013

Track List:

Kilmaine Saints – Wearing of the Green
Auld Corn Brigade – Irish soldier laddie
The Brazen Heads – Wind That Shakes The Barley
Black 47 – Vinegar Hill
Barney Murray – Glory, Glory Oh
The Battering Ram – Henry Joy
The Town Pants – Kelly The Boy From Killanne
The Battering Ram – General Munro
Shane MacGowan and the Popes – Roddy McCorley
The Porters – The Rising of the Moon
Neck – Back Home In Derry

The Penal Laws:

No Pope Here
The Treat of Limerick – not worth the stone it was written on

So you thought the last 600 years of Irish history was crappy, well those were actually the good ‘oul days. With the Irish Catholic army in France and William light footed elsewhere the fully Protestant parliament in Dublin break every agreement in the treaty using the excuse that the Pope now was recognizing Jimmy Deuce as the rightfully King of Ireland and England, allowing them to consolidate their power and destroy any remaining Catholic power in the country. The laws they brought in were called The Penal Laws and were social engineering at its worst, designed to impoverish and disenfranchise the Catholic population. The modern equivalent would be the apartheid laws in South Africa – and like apartheid they were all about keeping the power and wealth within a select group rater then to force Catholics to convert (as much a apartheid was designed to change skin color) though the laws were structured that if a son of a wealthy landowner converted then he would inherit all the fathers property (sometimes this was encouraged within family’s when one converted and the rest prayed for his eternal soul) ,if there was no conversion then the land was subdivided between all sons. Education, voting and property rights were banned as was carrying of any weapons and the ownership of horses was restricted. Churches were closed and Popish priests would be exacted if caught in the country. Ironically, the Presbyterians in Ulster who supported Willie and held out against Jimbo in Derry were also subject to the Penal Laws – their faith was not recognized at all and while a Catholic priest would be boiled, burned and beheaded if caught in the country his sacraments were still recognized by the state as valid – marriages the Presbyterians minister performed were not though they didn’t have to fear the being anyone’s barbecue – thousands of these dissenters left for North America and within a couple of generations they had their revenge and made life very difficult for the British in the colonies before becoming the original Hillbillies and Red Necks of the American South. “I bet you can squeal like a pig. Yah Fenian bastard!”


File:Front Elevation, Castletown House - geograph.org.uk - 1008011.jpg
 Castletown House
A Mud Cabin

Through out the 1700’s thing in Ireland got worse and worse and the Catholic population ground into poverty or left the county for the armies of Europe or education in the Irish Colleges in Paris or Rome. Famine broke out twice in the 1700 yet the Landlord class built large palatial mansions and ruled over estates of tens of thousands of acres with thousand of tenant farmers living hand to mouth eating the only crop that could grow on their miserable few acres that would feed their brood of 25 red headed runts, the potato. If a tenant improved his land then the rent was raised, if another tenant offered more rent for another tenants land then that land went to the highest bidder and the original tenant was thrown off the land. Pretty suckie! If you every visit Ireland make sure you visit Castletown House outside Dublin (Celbridge) and take the tour. The house is the largest house in Ireland built by William Conelly, the speaker of the Dublin parliament who made a fortune through taking over the land of the disposed in the early 1700’s and as the tour guide in the plummy West-Brit accent tells you about the wonderful life of the inhabitants of the big house, stick yer paw up and ask about the Irish in their mud cabin out the back who were paying for the parasites life style – it’s great to watch ’em squirm.

The United Irishmen:

 The Capture of Lord Edward
Wolfe Tone
File:James Napper Tandy.jpg
I met with Napper Tandy and I shook him by the hand he said hold me up for chrissake for I can hardly stand

In the 1776 the world shifted on its axis and 13 British Colonies declared independence and Ireland and especially Ulster with its close ties to the Americas (family ties so close that family trees were often just trunks) got cowbell republican fever. Then in 1789 the other country that provided sanctuary to the Irish, France, fell to republicanism. Within 3 years of the fall of the Bastille in 1792 saw the formation of the Society of United Irishmen that combined liberal Protestants in Dublin and Belfast with the Catholic rump with the idea of revolution to bring in democracy to Ireland, leaders of the movement included Lord Edward Fitzgerald – the youngest son of the Duke of Leinster – who started his career as a Redcoat and was shot and left for dead at Yorktown being rescued from the battlefield by a slave, Wolfe Tone (not the group but the man, though they are old enough to have been around then) and Napper Tandy. From pamphlets they moved quickly to revolution and appeals to the new French dictator Napoleon to send troops to Invade Ireland. Ireland moved toward all out revolution. Wolfe Tone tries 3 times to bring the French to Ireland. In 1796, 43 French ships carrying 15,000 men got in sight of Bantry Bay but the “Protestant winds” stopped the landing, there was another attempt in 1797 but again the weather stopped the landing and a third attempt was undertake with 3,000 men but disaster struck and Tone and Tandy were captured at the Battle of Lough Swilly in October 1798 which ended the rebellion (and Tone’s life).


The 1798 Rising:

The Battle of New Ross
Vinegar Hill

Skipping back a few months to March 1798 and after a particularly riotous Paddy’s day martial law was imposed (well more due to informers actually) forcing the United Irishmen into action before the French could try to show up again – a small rebellion breaks out in Cahir, County Tipperary that is quickly crushed, then the United Irishmen planed to take Dublin but again the government had a hot line to the plans through Informers. Never the less rebellion breaks out in surrounding counties of Kildare (Barney Murray – Glory, Glory Oh), Carlow and Wicklow (Holt’s Way) and are all crushed quickly and brutally. The rebellion spreads to Ulster and Antrim (Roddy McCorley) and Down and after initial success the rebels are………you guessed it……..crushed. To the south in Wexford the biggest rebellion of all breaks out and under the leadership of the Catholic priest, Fr. John Murphy – who was initially a government loyalist but who turned after witnessing government brutality to his parishioners. The rebels quickly took over the county but defeats at the Battle of New RossBattle of Arklow, and the Battle of Bunclody halted the spread of the rebellion outside of the county. The government poured in 20,000 troops and the Irish and the Red Coats with support from German mercenaries met at Vinegar Hill. Despite the splendid leader ship of Fr. Murphy the rebels were poorly armed and trained and up against battle hardened regulars they are encircled and completely routed. Much butchery of the surrendering rebels and their civilian followers followed – Fr Murphy was stripped, flogged, hanged, decapitated, his corpse burnt in a barrel of tar and his head impaled on a spike (not quite water-boarding but almost as bad).

 The Republic of Connaught:

The British Army

Meanwhile across the country in Mayo, a small advance party of French Solders under the command of General Jean Joseph Amable Humbert land and they are met by the local muckers and the local branch of the United Irishmen. They quickly defeat the yeomanry and march on the 6,000 red coats hanging out in Castlebar. Faced with 1,000 Frenchmen and 1,000 bogmen with pikes (big stick with points on one end) in front of them the Redcoats turn and run and the battle becomes know in local legend as the Castlebar Races – the Redcoats, not pursued a mile or two beyond Castlebar they did not stop running until reaching Tuam, with some units fleeing as far as Athlone in the panic. After Castlebar the French/Irish army tries to march across the country and meet up with rebels in the midlands with the plan of taking Dublin. They made it to the midlands but like all good Irish battle they out on the losing end at the Battle of Ballinamuck. The French troops who surrender got off easily and were exchanged for British prisoners held by the French – the Irish, well those who weren’t killed in battle were  executed by Lord Cornwallis orders (he who lost America for the crown). The novel The Year of The French by Thomas Flanagan based on the French landing is highly recommended.

Robert Emmet:

The rebellion was essentially over by October 1798 though some rebels held out in the hill and the bogs and with a small rebellion breaking out (more a street fight) led by Robert Emmet 1803. Emmet was the brother of Thomas a leader of the United Irishmen who managed to escape to New York. Emmet nearly escaped but the old romantic went to see his mott and was caught. He was tried for treason in front of hanging judge, Lord Norbury with his defense lawyer bribed by the crown. After he is sentenced to death the judge makes the mistake of asking Emmet “What have you, therefore, now to say why judgment of death and execution shall not be awarded against you according to law?”.

Emmet didn’t hold back and delivered one of the greatest speeches of history – ask Old Abe Lincoln – but it didn’t do him much good for the mortal world and he was hung, drawn and quartered (hung till your nearly dead, dragged behind horses  and then cut in 4 pieces after he head is lobbed off by an axe).

“What have I to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced on me, according to law?

I have nothing to say which can alter your predetermination, not that it would become me to say with any view to the mitigation of that Sentence which you are here to pronounce, and by which I must abide. But I have that to say which interests me more than life, and which you have laboured, as was necessarily your office in the present circumstances of this oppressed country to destroy. I have much to say why my reputation should be rescued from the load of false accusation and calumny which has been heaped upon it. I do not imagine that, seated where you are, your minds can be so free from impurity as to receive the least impression from what I am about to utter. I have no hope that I can anchor my character in the breast of a court constituted and trammelled as this is. I only wish, and it is the utmost I expect. that your lordships may suffer it to float down your memories untainted by the foul breath of prejudice, until it finds some more hospitable harbour to shelter it from the rude storm by which it is at present buffeted.

Were I only to suffer death, after being adjudged guilty by your tribunal, I should bow in silence, meet the fate that awaits me without a murmur; but the sentence of the law which delivers my body to the executioner, will, through the ministry of the law, labour in its own vindication to consign my character to obloquy, for there must be guilt somewhere—whether in the sentence of the court, or in the catastrophes posterity must determine. A man in my situation, my lords, has not only to encounter the difficulties of fortune, and the force of power over minds which it has corrupted or subjugated, but the difficulties of established prejudice. The man dies, but his memory lives. That mine may not perish, that it may live in the respect of my countrymen, I seize upon this opportunity to vindicate myself from some of the charges alleged against me. When my spirit shall be wafted to a more friendly port—when my shade shall have joined the bands of those martyred heroes, who have shed their blood on the scaffold and in the field in defence of their country and of virtue, this is my hope—I wish that my memory and name may animate those who survive me, while I look down with complacency on the destruction of that perfidious government which upholds its domination by blasphemy of the Most High—which displays its power over man is over the beasts of the forest—which set man upon his brother, and lifts his hand, in the name of God, against the throat of his fellow who believes or doubts a little more or a little less than the government standard—a government which is steeled to barbarity by the cries of the orphans and the tears of the widows which it has made.

Lord Norbury— “The weak and wicked enthusiasts who feel as you feel are unequal to the accomplishment of their wild designs”.

I appeal to the immaculate God—I swear by the Throne of Heaven, before which I must shortly appear—by the blood of the murdered patriots who have gone before me—that my conduct has been, through all this peril, and through all my purposes, governed only by the convictions which I have uttered, and by no other view than that of the emancipation of my country from the superinhuman oppression under which she has so long and too patiently travailed; and I confidently and assuredly hope that, wild and chimerical as it may appear, there is still union and strength in Ireland to accomplish this noblest enterprise. Of this I speak with the confidence of intimate knowledge, and with the consolation that appertains to that confidence, think not, my lords, that I say this for the petty gratification of giving you a transitory uneasiness. A man who never yet raised his voice to assert a lie will not hazard his character with posterity by asserting a falsehood on a subject so important to his country, and on an occasion like this. Yes, my lords, a man who does not wish to have his epitaph written until his country is liberated will not leave a weapon in the power of envy, nor a pretence to impeach the probity which he means to preserve, even in the grave to which tyranny consigns him.

Lord Norbury — “You proceed to unwarrantable lengths, in order to exasperate or delude the unwary, and circulate opinions of the most dangerous tendency, for purposes of mischief”.

Again I say that what I have spoken was not intended for your lordship, whose situation I commiserate rather than envy—my expressions were for my countrymen. If there is a true Irishman present, let my last words cheer him in the hour of his affliction—

Lord Norbury— ”What you have hitherto said confirms and justifies the verdict of the jury”.

I have always understood it to be the duty of a judge, when a prisoner has been convicted, to pronounce the sentence of the law. I have also understood that judges sometimes think it their duty to hear with patience, and to speak with humanity; to exhort the victim of the laws, and to offer, with tender benignity, their opinions of the motives by which he was actuated in the crime of which he was adjudged guilty. That a judge has thought it his duty so to have done, I have no doubt; but where is that boasted freedom of your institutions—where is the vaunted impartiality, clemency, and mildness of your courts of justice, if an unfortunate prisoner, whom your policy, and not your justice, is about to deliver into the hands of the executioner, is not suffered to explain his motives sincerely and truly, and to vindicate the principles by which he was actuated?

My lords, it may be a part of the system of angry justice to bow a man’s mind by humiliation to the purposed ignominy of the scaffold; but worse to me than the purposed shame or the scaffold’s terrors would be the shame of such foul and unfounded imputations as have been laid against me in this court. You, my lord, are a judge; I am the supposed culprit. I am a man; you are a man also. By a revolution of power we might change places, though we could never change characters. If I stand at the bar of this court and dare not vindicate my character, what a farce is your justice? If I stand at this bar and dare not vindicate my character, how dare you calumniate it? Does the sentence of death, which your unhallowed policy inflicts upon my body, also condemn my tongue to silence and my reputation to reproach? Your executioner may abridge the period of my existence, but, while I exist, I shall not forbear to vindicate my character and motives from your aspersions; as a man to whom fame is dearer than life, I will make the last use of that life in doing justice to that reputation which is to live after me, and which is the only legacy I can leave to those I honour and love, and for whom I am proud to perish.

As men, my lord, we must appear on the great day at one common tribunal, and it will then remain for the Searcher of all hearts to show a collective universe who was engaged in the most virtuous actions or actuated by the purest motives—my country’s oppressor, or—

Lord Norbury— ”Stop, sir! Listen to the sentence of the law”.

My lord, shall a dying man be denied the legal privilege of exculpating himself in the eyes of the community from an undeserved reproach thrown upon him during his trial, by charging him with ambition, and attempting to cast away for a paltry consideration the liberties of his country? Why did your lordship insult me? Or rather, why insult justice in demanding of me why sentence of death should not be pronounced? I know, my lord, that form prescribes that you should ask the question. The form also presumes the right of answering. This, no doubt, may be dispensed with, and so might the whole ceremony of the trial, since sentence was already pronounced at the Castle before your jury were empanelled. Your lordships are but the priests of the oracle. I submit to the sacrifice; but I insist on the whole of the forms.

Lord Norbury— “You may proceed, sir”.

I am charged with being an emissary of France. An emissary of France! And for what end? It is alleged that I wish to sell the independence of my country; and for what end? Was this the object of my ambition? And is this the mode by which a tribunal of justice reconciles contradictions? No; I am no emissary.

My ambition was to hold a place among the deliverers of my country—not in power, not in profit, but in the glory of the achievement. Sell my country’s independence to France! And for what? A change of masters? No; but for my ambition. Oh, my country! Was it personal ambition that influenced me? Had it been the soul of my actions, could I not, by my education and fortune, by the rank and consideration of my family, have placed myself amongst the proudest of your oppressors? My country was my idol. To it I sacrificed every selfish, every endearing sentiment; and for it I now offer myself, O God! No, my lords; I acted a an Irishman, determined on delivering my country from the yoke of a foreign and unrelenting tyranny, and from the more galling yoke of a domestic faction, its joint partner and perpetrator in the patricide, whose reward is the ignominy of existing with an exterior of splendour and a consciousness of depravity. It was the wish of my heart to extricate my country from this doubly-riveted despotism—I wish to place her independence beyond the reach of any power on earth. I wish to exalt her to that proud station in the world which Providence had destined her to fill. Connection with France was, indeed, intended, but only so far as mutual interest would sanction or require.

Were the French to assume any authority inconsistent with the purest independence, it would be the signal for their destruction. We sought their aid— and we sought it as we had assurances we should obtain it—as auxiliaries in war, and allies in peace. Were the French to come as invaders or enemies, uninvited by the wishes of the people, I should oppose them to the utmost of my strength. Yes! My countrymen, I should advise you to meet them on the beach with a sword in one hand and a torch in the other. I would meet them with all the destructive fury of war, and I would animate my countrymen to immolate them in their boats before they had contaminated the soil of my country. If they succeeded in landing, and if forced to retire before superior discipline, I would dispute every inch of ground, raze every house, burn every blade of grass; the last spot on which the hope of freedom should desert me, there would I hold, and the last of liberty should be my grave.

What I could not do myself in my fall, I should leave as a last charge to my countrymen to accomplish; because I should feel conscious that life, any more than death, is dishonourable when a foreign nation holds my country in subjection. But it was not as an enemy that the succours of France were to land. I looked, indeed, for the assistance of France; I wished to prove to France and to the world that Irishmen deserved to be assisted—that they were indignant at slavery, and ready to assert the independence and liberty of their country; I wished to procure for my country the guarantee which Washington procured for America—to procure an aid which, by its example, would be as important as its valour; disciplined, gallant, pregnant with science and experience; that of allies who would perceive the good, and polish the rough points of our character. They would come to us as strangers, and leave us as friends, after sharing in our perils, and elevating our destiny. These were my objects; not to receive new taskmasters, but to expel old tyrants. And it was for these ends I sought aid from France; because France, even as an enemy, could not be more implacable than the enemy already in the bosom of my country.

Lord Norbury— ”You are making an avowal of dreadful treasons, and of a determined purpose to have persevered in them, which I do believe, has astonished your audience”.

I have been charged with that importance in the efforts to emancipate my country, as to be considered the keystone of the combination of Irishmen, or, as your lordship expressed it, “the life and blood of the conspiracy”. You do me honour overmuch; you have given to a subaltern all the credit of a superior. There are men engaged in this conspiracy who are not only superior to me; but even to your own conception of yourself, my lord; men before the splendour of whose genius and virtues I should bow with respectful deference, and who would think themselves disgraced by shaking your bloodstained hand—

Lord Norbury— “You have endeavoured to establish a wicked and bloody provisional government”.

What, my lord! shall you tell me, on the passage to the scaffold, which that tyranny, of which you are only the intermediary executioner, has erected for my murder, that I am accountable for all the blood that has been and will be shed in this struggle of the oppressed against the oppressor? Shall you tell me this, and must I be so very as slave as not to repel it?

Lord Norbury— “A different conduct would have better become one who had endeavoured to overthrow the laws and liberties of his country”.

I who fear not to approach the Omnipotent Judge to answer for the conduct of my whole life, am I to be appalled and falsified by a mere remnant of mortality here? By you, too, who if it were possible to collect all the innocent blood that you have shed in your unhallowed ministry in one great reservoir, your lordship might swim in it.

Lord Norbury—“I exhort you not to depart this life with such sentiments of rooted hostility to your country as those which you have expressed’.

Let no man dare, when I am dead, to charge me with dishonour; let no man attaint my memory by believing that I could have engaged in any cause but that of my country’s liberty and independence; or that I could have become the pliant minion of power in the oppression and misery of my countrymen. The proclamation of the Provisional Government speaks for my views; no inference can be tortured from it to countenance barbarity or debasement at home, or subjection, humiliation, or treachery from abroad. I would not have submitted to a foreign oppressor, for the same reason that I would resist the domestic tyrant. In the dignity of freedom, I would have fought upon the threshold of my country, and its enemy should only enter by passing over my lifeless corpse. And am I, who lived but for my country, who have subjected myself to the dangers of the jealous and watchful oppressor, and now to the bondage of the grave, only to give my countrymen their rights, and my country her independence—am I to be loaded with calumny and not suffered to resent it? No, God forbid!

Here Lord Norbury told Emmet that his sentiments and language disgraced his family and his education, but more particularly his father, Dr. Emmet, who was a man, if alive, that would not countenance such opinions. To which Emmet replied:—

If the spirits of the illustrious dead participate in the concerns and cares of those who were dear to them in this transitory life, O! ever dear and venerated shade of my departed father, look down with scrutiny upon the conduct of your suffering son, and see if I have, even for a moment, deviated from those principles of morality and patriotism which it was your care to instil into my youthful mind, and for which I am now about to offer up my life. My lords, you seem impatient for the sacrifice. The blood for which you thirst is not congealed by the artificial terrors which surround your victim [the soldiery filled and surrounded the Sessions House]—it circulates warmly and unruffled through the channels which God created for noble purposes, but which you are now bent to destroy, for purposes so grievous that they cry to heaven. Be yet patient! I have but a few words more to say. I am going to my cold and silent grave; my lamp of life is nearly extinguished; my race is run; the grave opens to receive me, and I sink into its bosom.

I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world; it is—THE CHARITY OF ITS SILENCE. Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace, and my name remain uninscribed, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.

The Act of Union:

The government in London finally had enough of the mismanagement of Ireland by the Protestant ascendancy in Dublin – they could do a much better job of the mismanagement of Ireland.  In 1800 the two parliaments were joined in London and the Dublin parliament dissolved (and any member of the Dublin parliament who disagreed was bought off….cheap)

The Town Pants: Aaron Chapman trades in his kilt for a pair of pants

February 2002

The Town Pants are a three piece from Canada who play their Celtic Folk with a fuel injected punk rock kick up the arse. Musically the Town Pants can be best described as a non-nerdy Makem Brothers. If you can imagine that. The interview was carried out via email with Aaran Chapman and I want to thank Aaron for taking the extra time to do an exceptional job answering the questions.

(S’n’O) Aaron – Can I first ask you about your musical history, you were a member of the kilt wearing, blue face panted, Sassenach slaying Scottish punk rock gods the Real McKenzies. What was that like, what was your involvement?

(AC) Always something when I’m asked about I’m not sure where it’s coming from, especially from people within the music industry. When people find out that I was in the Real McKenzies, often their demeanor changes–like finding out I have a prison record and done hard time… Either people are intrigued and impressed, or they’re bloody scared of you!
Where do I begin?… The band is a little different today than it began. For what its worth, I was one of the original members and played in the band from 1992-1997, and toured the US and Canada several times with the band. I appeared on the first IFA Records album–which I gather has just been re-released–a couple of compilations, and wrote or co-wrote some of the songs like the “Sawney Beane Clan” or stuff that appeared on records after I left like “King o’ Glasgow” on the Clash of the Tartans album.


For those who never saw, or have seen the group. The Real McKenzies earned a reputation as sort of a Scottish Sex Pistols. One person termed it a punk rock version of the Hells Angels in kilts. It really all started just as a one-off joke, but I met someone in Ottawa earlier this year who considered the band the best punk band in Canada at the time. It was generally certainly reviewed as one of the best live acts in North America. I’ve heard the Dropkick Murphys, who’ve gone onto greater popularity considered the McKenzies a big influence. And I know the guys in the Swinging Utters–who I still try to drop in and say hello to when they come to town to play–are big fans, as are some of the Bad Religion guys.

The original band consisted of Paul McKenzie (vox), Tony Walker (guitar/vox), Lought (drums), Angus McFuzzybut (bass) and myself (tin-whistle/vox). Dirty Kurt Robertson (guitar/vox) joined a bit later, but he didn’t play in the band for the first year. Alan MacLeod (bagpipes) joined a year or so after that. That lineup was pretty consistent all in all for the first three or four years of the group. I sort of was the Flavor Flav to Paul McKenzies Chuck D. Rod Bruno from The Walkerband termed me the Ed McMahon of Rock and Roll, which I thought was a tremendous compliment! I suppose I’m remembered in the group as the comic, and maybe the sense of humor of the band – who was never short of a word on the mike to put down an unruly audience member, or if that didn’t work I’d fill my whistle up with spit when I played, then launched it with a flick of the wrist to shoot gobs at the idiot. I got pretty accurate… Spider Stacy was a big hero.

The band was being courted by Atlantic Records in 1996, but it all sort of imploded and dissolved in 1997. The record deal went down the toilet, and I’d kind of had enough. People weren’t getting along with one another, and there were other problems… The band reformed, but not totally with the same people. And I was out. Currently, Paul and Kurt are really the only original members. I’ve never seen the band play live since I left, so I couldn’t tell you if its still the same. But the original line-up was responsible for much of the legend that I think surrounds the band. But I don’t want to sound like a “good old days” guy, or whatever.

On a personal level, The Real McKenzies started shortly after I’d turned 21. So I did a lot of growing up in the subseqent five years. Aside from a great band, it was a remarkable education and a very unique way to grow up. I was a young kid, the youngest in the band, who was sort of growing up in the spotlight learning all these life lessons all within a tremendously wild environment of travel, sex, alcohol, violence, joy, sadness, poverty, wealth, confusion, philosophy, personal physical and emotional injury, and a dozen other vivid themes. And I was finishing my degree at the time through it all!… Our tours were insane journeys. I’ve read portions of my tour diaries of the period to people, and over college radio and they make Rollins’ “Get in The Van” sound like a cub scouts weekend getaway, and I am thinking of publishing them. I kept really good records of those years. Plus, I have some great tapes, demos, and live excerpts that McKenzies fans would love. A lot of hidden gems like our version of the Damned’s “Love Song” which we re-did as “Kilt On”, and more which would be great to release as an odds & sods album.

I don’t see Kurt and Paul much anymore. They tour a lot, and Paul spends a lot of time living in the U.S. now. But its amazingly good to see each other when we do. A lot of the old crap is forgotten. The Real McKenzies seem to be going strong, especially with this new album coming out soon. I managed to bump into the band backstage at the Shane Mac Gowan and the Popes show here in Vancouver, and I got introduced as old alumni to all the new lads in the group, and got treated like royalty – which I suspect is a lot better than some ex-members are remembered! Like a cockroach that won’t die, the Real McKenzies seem to be going strong! Especially with this new album coming out. So, even though I’m not there and I do miss seeing the guys as much as I used to–especially Kurt and Paul–its kind of nice to know the group is still out there doing its thing. I sort of feel like in spirit I’m still there. But maybe that’s just the scotch whiskey talking…!

Steve Jones anyone? Photo by: Bjoern Fredrich (S’n’O) How did you get involved with the Town Pants?
(AC) After the McKenzies dissolved… It sort of happend with a bit of acrimony. I figured I was done with music altogther, it was five years of very enjoyable madness. But it was still madness. I figured I’d get back into film which I’d gotten my degree in when I was at University. But I started working for Nomeansno–Initially as a Tour Manager and Merchandiser, and later I photographed the NMN album cover for “Dance of the Headless Bourgoisie”. The Nomeansno tours were MUCH different than McKenzies tours. It was like going from a cop in Beruit to a crossing guard in Beverly Hills! But no less enjoyable. Everybody’s on the same page.
It was kind of like going to rock-school as well, and re-learning a lot of important things not only about music, but touring and perhaps life in general. Basically keeping your eye on the prize. I didn’t know the band that personally when I first was working for them, but I got to know them. John Wright and I made a film about beer together, and later, Tom Holliston and I did some comedy pieces for CBC radio. I occasionally appear on Show Business Giants albums of his under the pseudonym “Hilly Sands”. Rob Wright has been very encouraging of my fiction writing, too. They are a great band, and great people and I can’t say enough good things about them. Go buy an album of theirs, already!

Sooner or later just seeing my friends get up and play every night started to eat at me and I kind of wanted to do it again, and for the right reasons. The lusty siren of music called me back to her fatal shores! I wasn’t necessarily sure it was going to be another celtic band, as I had some musical interests in other genres. But a friend of mine saw an ad in the local musicians wanted paper for a tin-whistle player. All of this was sort of strange because it was a mag that was full of “Bass player needed… Guitar player needed… Drummer wanted”, etc. and somebody asking specifically and just for a whistle player was uncommon enough that I showed it to my girlfriend at the time and we thought it was a set-up! This turned out to be The Town Pants who had already been up and running for a year before I joined, replacing a departing accordionist. Anyway I called, went to the audition, and they asked me if I could learn 56 traditional songs by that weekend! I still don’t know if I’m in and got the job, they just didn’t tell me to leave!

The Town Pants is a lot different from the Real McKenzies musically speaking. Its all acoustic instruments for one, so there is a certain challenge there to play music with some heat just with acoustic instruments… And some of it is more “pop” dare I say. Well, the Keogh brothers write the catchy pop songs, and I write the angry annoyed rants. It makes for a good balance of love and hate!

(S’n’O) The Town Pants are currently touring Scandinavia, how’s that going and how did a band from BC, Canada find themselves playing Celtic folk in the Bars of Finland, Sweden and Norway?

(AC) A little odd. Scandinavia is the one place you can go as a Canadian and be considered exotic maybe. They don’t know that much about Canada over here, and the only Canadian music they know is Bryan Adams and Celine Dion. Reciprocally, I couldn’t really name any Swedish bands aside from Abba so its been a good learning process for Canadian and Scandinavian nationalities.
They really only know this music as “Irish” music over here. So they always think its strange to hear us as Canadians playing what they strictly term “Irish” music here. I guess they’re still expecting all Canadians to go into Adams and Dion tunes? So we’re here to confound them. We initally got over here from some friends who had toured here and recommended the organization that now books us in Europe, and we’d sold a few records here. It wasn’t a lot. When we finally arrived it wasn’t the Beatles coming to America or anything, but it was enough to pique our interest–and we’ve done a tour here every year for three years in a row. Also, for reasons science cannot wholly explain, I find at least six weeks a year of vodka and Swedish girls keeps me in good health, too.

(S’n’O) The Town Pants jammed with Iron Maiden once. How did that come about and if you had a choice to jam with anyone who would that be?

(AC) We were playing in Stockholm, Sweden. Iron Maiden was playing the next night for two nights at the big stadium in town. They’re still huge over there! Heavy Metal from that era still is in general… Anyway, they happened to come into the bar that we were playing. I guess it was their night off, or they had just finished soundchecking or something. A bunch of Swedish people came up to the wings of the stage and said, “hey, do you guys know that Iron Maiden is here!”. I didn’t recognize any of them. The whole band was there with some of their crew.
I was trying to work into a song introduction a excerpt from one of Bruce Dickenson’s children’s books I’d memorized–don’t ask why–but, I was drunk and couldn’t remember. Dave the banjo player is an old headbanger at heart and used to play in a thrash band when he was a teenager and he remembered the Maiden tune, “Number of the Beast” and went into it on the Banjo! They got a big kick out of it, and we met them all after the break. Jannick Gers the guitar player came up and played on a song of ours on the second set. It was all pretty funny and we all had a good time. I wish we would have recorded it or gotten a bootleg of it. They invited us to come out to their show the next night, but we had to hit the road in the morning and play in Norway that next night. So, both bands bid a drunken farewell to each other on the streets of Stockholm. Damn, it would have been good to get a photo of that scene too…
Who would I want to jam with? Some of the names would surprise you. Somebody asked me this question not so long ago and I had to divide it into living or dead. Then I realized I had to divide the people who I just wanted to get drunk with or people I wanted to stare at. Don Rickles and Elizabeth Hurley I think topped the latter of those two respective categories…

(S’n’O) I noticed a much more Scottish feel to the second Town Pants CD, is this your doing?

(AC) Hmm… Subconsciously, maybe! The other guys in the band are all of Irish ancestry, and our current fiddle players family is German… so I guess as the lone one of Scottish descent I try to work some Scottish feeling in there. But there were some Scottish songs on “Liverdance”… like the “Gallant 40 Twa” which they were doing before I joined. We all liked the trad song “The Dundee Weaver” that the Dubliners did, so we did that one on Piston Baroque. There’s no pipes on the album though… I was hoping to bring in my friend and old Real McKenzies bagpipe player Alan “Raven” McLeod on in for a track, but we didn’t have anything that really fit. Maybe on the next album.

(S’n’O) What is the story behind Annie Chapman in the song “Dark Annie”?

(AC) A relative of mine was a big royal family nut. You know the kind. Collects all the plates and pictures, goes downtown to wave a flag when the Prince or the Queen comes to town every decade… Maybe you don’t have them in America as much…?

She decided to search through the family rolls – I guess hoping that we’d be 80th in line to the throne of England or something like that. Some Scottish or Jacobite link maybe! She spent a lot of time rummaging through old records and documents, hoping for a fifedom or a Lordship we could claim of some nameless Scottish highland field, I guess.

Instead she found out we were related to one Annie Chapman, a London prositute who happened to be Jack the Ripper’s third victim! The rest of the family all seemed a bit shocked. She lived and died in one of the poorest sections of London, and I guess some might want to write a murdered prositute out of the family tree. But I was fascinated, and I consider any woman that the guts to walk the streets of London at that period of history was probably more brave than most, and certainly more than me. They weren’t doing it because they saw “Pretty Woman”, or were paying for their crack addict boyfriend. They were just poor and that was it. They did it because most of them were from little to no education, who couldn’t get other jobs, down and out alcoholics, that Britains class society didn’t have any time for. Maybe you could say that society still doesn’t have time for broken and battered women and they turn to that… I don’t know, and I don’t mean to sound or get political with it.

I wrote the song when I was about 19 or 20, and was probably one of the first songs I ever wrote, but the melody is based on an old traditional tune I’d heard called “The Lowlands of Holland”. It wasn’t the right kind of song for the Real McKenzies so it pretty much just sat in a book for six or seven years, until I brought it out at a rehearsal with The Town Pants not long after I joined the band. I hope if Annie heard the song she’d like it.

Hugh McMillan [from the band Spirit of the West] who produced Piston Baroque also played on “Dark Annie” a bass part on a Chapman Stick, a 10 stringed musical instrument that looks like a big cricket bat with strings on it… I thought playing a Chapman Stick would be pretty fitting for a song about Annie Chapman. I suppose its my sense of humor at work, in an otherwise humorless song…

(S’n’O) Why is there so much great Celtic based rock coming out of Canada these days? Any bands you recommend?

(AC) Canada is somewhat unique that Celtic rock actually charts on the radio, and the videos by these bands get played on the music video channels… That doesn’t happen anywhere in Europe, or America in the major media. Maybe Australia is different with bands like “Weddings, Parties, Anything”. So, Canada really supports this kind of music. And its not such a strange genre of music as it is to hear in other countries, maybe.

Plus, so many people in Canada have parents or Grandparents from the U.K. So its not uncommon as a kid to have heard some drunken uncle singing some dirty pub song to you, or your Aunt to have an old fiddle or Mandolin somewhere in the attic just begging to be played, or maybe a few old records of old Irish drinking tunes in your parents record collection, so and you grow up with this music. Maybe if you’re not in French Canada, but its an immigrant country… So you hear this sort of music sooner or later, and in Atlantic Canada in the provinces of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and so on, there are a lot of bands playing celtic music from very traditional to punk.

As for bands currently in Canada… Aside from us! Get the Real McKenzies first album–the one I’m on! There is a band from Toronto called The Mahones. They have some great music, and they’re good friends, too. Track down the Hard Rock Miners “Rock and Roll Welfare” album if you can.

There was a band in Vancouver in the early 90’s called The Stoaters that were great. I used to go see them, I think they were influential to many. If you can track down their “Keep the Head” album on Turtle Records, pick it up. I heard they are going to record another album again. The other guys in the Town Pants might recommend the now defunct Jimmy George who are from Ontario. Spirit of the West of course are worth exploring too if you don’t know them.

(S’n’O) What do you think of Ashley MacIssac?

(AC) He seems ok. I met him last when The Town Pants opened for him last year at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. But I mostly only saw him backstage in his dressing room smoking a heap of pot. Our support slot at the show went over really well… And it seemed like his fans enjoyed us. He was out of bow rosin when he got on stage. I play the Musical Saw a bit when I feel cheeky enough to do it, so I tossed him mine out of my gig bag right there out on the stage. The bastard never thanked me!

He seems like a nice enough guy though. I don’t own any of his records, but that “Devil in the Kitchen” number I liked. Some of the stuff he’s done with hip-hop beats with Mary Jane Lomond I am not so interested in. It’s sort of… predictable.

(S’n’O) What are the future plans for the group, any plans for some US dates?

(AC) More hitting the lonely highway of touring… Leaving a wake of broken bottles and hearts wherever we go! Well, Once we get home, we’re supposed to film a couple of overdue videos for songs for the Piston Baroque album, so we’re going to do a bit of work on that. I don’t know if I can speak about details yet, but one video might even be an animated thing. We’ll see. It will be quite something else if it comes together. The Town Pants meets Shrek! Its all a bit twisted. As for United States dates, we’ve played in New York and in Arizona for various things, and I think we have rough plans to go down to New York again in late March of 2002. But we’ve been so busy over the last couple of years doing tours in Canada, and spending the time doing longer tours in Europe that we haven’t really delved into the United States like we should be. Especially in places closer to home in Vancouver like Seattle and in Portland. Back when I was in the Real McKenzies, Seattle and San Francisco were always great shows. Texas was always a riot. Always a good audience. So it’d be great to bring this band down there and see how it went over. We’re probably going to start sketching out more new material for a new CD too in 2002, as well… It’d be nice to get a better distribution system or company handling the CD’s as well, because sometimes people have a hard time tracking them down in stores, and are forced to get them through mail order on the website.

(S’n’O) Who’s the best the Clancy Brothers or the Corries?

(AC) Hmmm… The Irish & Scottish rivalry there! I’ll get into trouble here with somebody. Honestly, I would probably want to vote for The Dubliners if I was going to vote for bands like that of yesteryear. Dave from The Town Pants is a huge Clancy Brothers fan, and collects the old viynl, but I never really got into them.

I was more turned on by the same music that was given an edge by The Pogues, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, or Weddings Parties Anything… those sort of bands. So consequently we argue about, for example, which is a better version – the Pogues’ version of the “Parting Glass”, or The Clancy’s! We usually listen to both. Decide we should go out for a drink. Then we forget about the argument!

The Dubliners had that sort of edge. Ronnie Drew’s voice I think is on par with the soul of Louis Armstrong or Tom Waits.
Of course, the truth of the matter is probably the greatest Irish band has gone unrecorded. They played in some small bar in Dublin, or maybe in London or Manchester, or maybe even Halifax or New York or maybe in Gastown in Vancouver at the beginning of the century and they were all drinkers and carousers who played with more fire than any band we know, but went unrecorded. Not so long ago this was just considered immigrant music. Who would want to buy records of this? God knows there must have been more people than Robert Johnson playing some stuff at some other crossroad just down the road that somebody with the microphones and acetates missed hearing about to record. Maybe it was even meaner or original and raw than anything he had.

Its traditional music, celtic and blues… Maybe Punk will be traditional soon! Punk rock and celtic music aren’t really that much different. Good rowdy celtic music, when its played right, has the same honesty and passion that punk music did for me so I never saw them as that much different.

My point is, everybody can have a shot at it. And you don’t need to be Irish or Scottish to appreciate it or play it. Maybe some band playing down the street from you tonight at the pub is the best celtic band in the world tonight. Go check em out.


The Town Pants – Newport Irish Festival (September 6, 2010)

September 7, 2010

The Newport Irish festival is a really great little festival. Always a decent line up, not too big and you don’t feel hosed by the grubby, penny grabbers that usually run these type of things.

This year I headed down on the Labor Day Monday and caught the last day of the 3-dayer. Saw about 1/2 the set from the Screaming Orphans, an all girl/sister, trad-pop group from Ireland – decent but way too much paddy wack banter between songs – the type of shite that Irish people think the Yanks love but makes me cringe.

Also caught the tail end of the Tartan Terrors set, a Celtic rock’n’bagpipes outfit from Canada – good music and good banter and some off beat humor.

The Town Pants have become the de facto headlines of the festival and were definitely the band most of the punters were there to see – me included. This was their 4th visit to the Newport festival and 74th day of their present tour so they were well oiled and much anticipated – they did not disappoint. From their opener – The Weight of Words – to their final – Breakfast with St. Swithin – they played fast and loud. They even managed to get in covers of Bad Religion and Iron Maiden and still keep the 7 to 77 set and all the soccer moms and aging rockers in between happy and screaming for more – don’t believe me check out the videos.

THE TOWN PANTS, THE MCGILLICUDDYS -Shite’n’Onions CD release party -The Limerick Junction, Vancouver BC (September 30, 2006)

Vancouver isn’t that far away from Boston I guess.
The whole night could have been schizophrenic, maybe the club wanted to cover their bases–the poster was billing the show not only as a Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day event but also the west coast CD release for the Shite’n’Onions “What the Shite” Vol. 2 CD compilation of Celtic rock bands of which British Columbia gets two entries with Vancouver’s The Town Pants and Victoria’s The McGillicuddy’s.

And on the same weekend that the Dropkick Murphys, Bad Religion, Rancid and Billy Bragg were all in town doing concerts all over the city, it didn’t lessen the turnout for an audience of at least 300 people that packed into the relatively small confines of the recently opened Limerick Junction, which was previously the Gastown punk-rock bastion The Brickyard. The night started up with The MCGILLICUDDY’S. Despite that the band doesn’t come over to Vancouver from the Island that often, they certainly had a few vocal fans out to see them including a pretty loud mowhawked guy in an Exploited t-shirt. McGillicuddy’s singer Mike Walker has learned a trick or nine from Mike Ness’ vocal style and the band (with requisite cute girl bassist) raced through a pretty solid set with songs from their “Kilt By Death” CD which includes “On the Rocks” featured on the Shite’n’Onions comp. They played a couple of covers including “If I Should Fall From Grace with God” and “The Leaving of Liverpool” and halfway through the set drummer Brent Restal drum pedal broke which forced Walker to tell a long joke to buy time to fix the drums, and they lost a bit of momentum but got it back quickly enough. Later on, Walker bashed Arsenal football club and made some soccer references I didn’t get. Maybe the British folks in the audience got it? The McGillicuddys tried to stir up some good natured trouble with some banter of Vancouver/Victoria rivalry, but I think the McGillicuddy’s made some new fans here in Vancouver and any band that has their amps speaker fabric replaced with tartan deserves points.

After a pretty quick changeover it was The Town Pants turn. This being their first local show in months after a long tour back east, the hometown crowd was certainly there to see them and the dance floor was filled and pretty lively from the beginning.
While the McGillicuddys play Celt music with a more punk style, The Town Pants play Celtic rock with a roots edge. More a rock band employing a folk style than the other way round, they have their own distinctive sound, a sort of folk n’ roll.
Their first show back in some time, they played like there was no tomorrow and though the sound system’s heavy bass emphasis of the sound was at times unkind to the banjo and tin whistle, but the band was obviously more interested in getting the audience moving than displaying so much instrumental subtlety. The group started with “The Weight of Words” which is the track included on the Shite’n’Onions compilation, a song that with Ryan Robbins sitting in on dijeridoo gives it an Australian spaghetti western type rhythm to it.

The Town Pants stormed through favorites like “Monahan the Mutineer” and even a cover of Steve Earle’s “Galway Girl”, joined by a new bass player and a drummer who played like hell but looked oddly out of place with a ball cap on. The heavy bass PA sound was unkind to the banjo and tin whistle but it didn’t deter the Keogh Brothers from singing and strumming like possessed Everly Brothers on speed, and Aaron Chapman delivering some pretty funny stage banter between songs and his tinny-tootlings on the whistle. The group brought out some special guests to play with them, again with a very animated Ryan Robbins from Hellenkeller who danced around between dijeridoo bursts like a drunken witchdoctor and later a surprising appearance by Battlestar Galactica actor Aaron Douglas, who apparently is a Town Pants fan. Douglas stepped out on stage for to sing along for a song. I half expected to see the X-Files smoking man or that MacGyver guy from Stargate be the next special guest–that’s “Hollywood North” for you. Either way all present were clearly having a good time. Maybe it was the shocking amount of drinks some audience members were buying the band and bringing up to the front of the stage? Though I wondered how many the band really got to drink. I saw a lot of the dancing audience members bumping into drinks trays and accidentally knocking them over as they were being carried to the stage. Whoever mopped the floor at the end of the night must of had to stay late.

The whole audience was a pretty generous mix of college crowd, punkers, rockabilly types, and even some older folks…Towards the end of the night I saw a bunch of guys that looked like Rugby players in Dropkick Murphys shirts showing up to the bar and hang around at the front. I guess the show had sort of become the unofficial after party for the Dropkicks show, and they we’re singing along to the Town Pants songs no less hoarse from the show they’d just been to.

I had to split to get up early for work in the morning and the last thing I saw as I headed out the door was seeing that Mowhawked Exploited fan I’d seen earlier in the night making out with a cute girl wearing a Town Pants shirt. And the sight made for a perfect summation of the good vibes going on amongst both the Town Pants and McGillicuddy’s fans and everybody there in for a pretty great night of Celtic rock and roll.

Review by Ray Stonehouse

The Town Pants: Shore Leave

October 12, 2009

“Shore Leave” is the 4th full length (I think) from Vancouver’s Celt-rockers The Town Pants and I can happily testify that it is deffo a return to the spit and sawdust sound of their first two releases – “Weight of Words”, their last, was just a little too polished and I blame the major label they were on for that. Shore Leave is self-released so there is no chance of the A&R guy messing with the sound to “get a hit”. Must hears include the galloping, “….Unlikely redemption of Oliver Reed”, a ode to legendry English boozehound and the really frickin’ head banging, air banjo cover of Iron Maidens “Run to the Hills” – folk for muthas – now, how ‘bout some devil horns.

Shite’n’Onions: What the Shite

What can I say really? Unless you’re dead, there’s no real reason not to own this compilation… S’n’O II contains some of the best up and coming Celt-Punk (Or whatever) bands out there. Some of them you may know, and some of them you probably won’t. Containing 20 tracks from 18 of the best bands of the “genre” What The Shite is pretty much the ultimate mix tape ever. I seriously haven’t been able to finish any other reviews because this bad boy won’t leave my CD player. (Trust me, that IS saying something.) To say the least, I was surprised (and proud) when S’n’O Volume I came out. Ol’ Murph certianly had an ace card up his sleeve for that one. Shite’n’Onions Volume II is even better! An effin’ royal flush, folks!

Track One is called “Drunken Sailor” & it comes from the Blaggards. You might have heard the song “Drunken Sailor” before, but within two seconds of hearing this version you’ll agree this is one of the better versions out there. (Shay Given approved)

Up next is “Hogjaw” from Jackdaw. it’s a damn same I live so far away from these guys, because from what I’ve heard, Jackdaw’s live show will blow the roof off. Turn up the volume to 11 if you’d like an instant skylight for your home.

Three’s a charm, as they say. The Go Set hails from the shores of Australia, and instantly became of of my favorite bands, and “Sing Me A Song” is a great example. If you like DKM’s “Do Or Die”, you’ll love this!

Track 4 is reserved for The Kissers – “Kicked In The Head” Less than a week ago, The Kissers came through town, and all night long I screamed at the top of my lungs “You Bastards! Play Kicked In The Head!!!” As I’m sure anyone within 5 blocks could tell you that night, I’m a big fan of the song. I’m an even bigger fan of the band, even if their squeezebox player beat me at pool… (The table was crooked.)

Number 5 is for all those Cow-Punks out there. “Pub With No Beer” by Boston’s own, Three Day Threshold. What do they sound like you ask? Just imagine a drunken paddy punk with a boombox on his shoulder atop a galloping horse in full stride across the wild west trying find a sixpack before the pubs close outta do it…

Track 6: “Plastic Paddy” is also on “Liquordale” by The Peelers. it’s also S’n’o’s pick for 2004’s album of the year, and rightfully so, Let me guess, I no longer need to convince you any longer right?

On track number 7 there’s a song called “Blackheart” by Jugopunch. To be honest, I haven’t heard them before. So just so you know, I too will be purchasing an album from them. Wanna race?

Tracks 8 & 9 contain a 1-2 punch courtesy of Larkin. The left jab is called “My Day Of Reckoning” and the right upper cut is called “The Devil & I” If you’re a Southpaw, I apologize, just switch it around a bit! I think I can safely say that Larkin are atop the favs list here at S’n’O land.

Track 10 and 11 are from Mutiny. Aka: “Folk Punk For Punk Folk” If you’d like to hear some Aussie folk-punk with a slight case of scurvy, I highly reccomend listening to both “Struggle Town” & this unreleased version of “Drigging for Gold” All you scallywags out there will love ’em both.

12. The Gobshites – “Cheers” Do me a favor… get this album, go down to your local public house press the play button, grab a pint, hold it high, & cheer your mates. The Gobshites are playing, & good times are here!

Track 13 belongs to The Town Pants and their song “The Weight Of Words” I found out about The Town Pants from this very website, (Thanks, Murph!) The Town Pants recently released their best album to date, and this song is just a sample of what else is to come from a band I joking like to call “The Country Shorts” My god, that was just horrible…

#14 is IcewagonFlu’s “Trinity” not only do they provide the cover art folks, The multitasking Icewagon Flu also write some of the catchiest tunes this side of the pond. if you’re not dancing to this one, you don’t have a pulse.

Track 15. McGillicuddys “On The Rocks” The song isn’t excatly the newest track on the album, (2002) but who the hell cares, these guys are timeless. In fact, I’d love to hear another album from them soon. Check ’em out and get in line.

#16. Another band I need to hear more of are the Sharkey Doyles. “Kings Of The One Eleven” is a great introduction to a band I’ve been hearing alot about.

Track 17 comes to us all the way from England. “The Ballad Of Ali Abbas” from Warblefly. Let me tell you, I have all their albums, and can’t get enough of these guys. Top notch music, and without question, one of the best bands out there. A must have.

Track 18. The Pubcrawlers have come a long way. I remember hearing their demo a few years ago, and made a note to myself to keep an eye out for them. “My Brother Sylveste” proves to me that The Pubcrawlers have evolved into one of the best examples of Celt-Core out there…

Number 19. The Porters will make your jaw drop. German streetpunk covered from head to toe in Guinness. “Weila Weila” gets my vote for best sing-along of the album. If you enjoy this track wait until you hear “A Tribute To Arthur Guinness”

20. I was so excited to hear Barney Murray was making music again. The former lead singer of Blood Or Whiskey has returned to form with the previously unreleased “Troublesome Girl” I hope to hear from Barney, but I’ll take what I can get and be more than happy about it.

So there you have it. Shite’n’Onions Volume II – What The Shite… Look for it in your local record store, or better yet order it directly from the source.


Review By “Barnacle” Brian Gillespie

The Town Pants: Weight of Words

“Weight of Words” is the third outing by Vancouver based Celtic-Folk group – The Town Pants – and the first with new fiddler, Virginia Schwartz (if there is ever a case of Beauty and the Beasts it’s here). The music is still the same spunky and infectious Irish/Scottish influenced folk as before but now with the addition of Virginia we have a touch of an alt-country to the sound. Standout tracks included – “The Old Landlord”, “Breakfast with St. Swithin” (originally by Jimmy George) and the very mushy “Ships made of Wood”.

November 2004


The Town Pants: Piston Baroque/Liverdance

Piston Baroque
Anyone familiar with the Makem Brothers, Tommy Makem’s boys folk group? Irish Folk for the young people, anyone? The Town Pants remind me a hell of a lot of Tommy Makem’s spawn, they are a folksy three piece with acoustic guitar, banjo and tin whistle, but just a lot more spunky and a lot less nerdy (I doubt you’ll ever hear cracks about “hairy backed wife’s” in a Makem Brothers set).
Vancouver’s, The Town Pants are the dual lead vocals of brothers Dave and Duane Kehoe along with Aaron Chapman, a former member of Scottish punk rock gods the Real McKenzie’s. The music is traditional or traditional sounding Irish and Scottish folk in the tradition of the Dubliners, the Clancy’s and the Corries, all played with a punk rock kick up the arse and a wicked sense of humor.

On “Piston Baroque” you’ll find original folkie tales of mutineers (“Monahan the Mutineer”), sheep shaggers, sorry! shearers (“New South Wales”), a victim of Jack the Ripper and relative of Aaron’s (“Dark Annie”) and a humors warning about kitchen hygiene in the ballad of Typhoid Mary (“Hell’s Kitchen”).

The live CD “Liverdance” I’m assured came out before the screensaver of the same name. This is The Town Pants “PC” CD, that is “Pre-Chapman” and it’s all entirely traditional Irish covers. Recorded one July night in front of a rowdy crowd in Vancouver and if this is what they sound like in the middle of the summer, I know where I’m going sucking down my Guinness this coming St. Patricks Day. Somewhere near the front at a Town Pants gig.


November 2001