You’ll either love Fight Like Apes – or hate them. And that’s the way they like it. MayKay Geraghty and keyboardist/co-vocalist Jamie Fox tell Jim Carroll about their anarchic journey from college drop-outs to nascent rock stars. Success is something they
THE APES ARE at rest. It’s a hot, sunny afternoon in Dublin, a few days before the band travels to Glastonbury. The band’s busy summer will also take in appearances at Oxegen, T in the Park, Benicassim, Reading, Leeds, the Galway Arts Festival, Latitude, the Hop Farm Festival, Pukkelpop, the Secret Garden Party, Jersey Live, Le Cheile and the Clonmel Junction Festival.
In a hotel bar, MayKay Geraghty and Jamie Fox are rewinding the story of the band so far. It’s been one hell of a trip, so buckle up and sit back.
THE FIRST STEPS
In early 2007, Fight Like Apes appeared on the radar. They were loud, messy, angry, punky and hugely exciting, grabbing attention with such one-liners as “you’re like Kentucky Fried Chicken but without the taste”.
Live, lead singer Geraghty screamed, hollered, roared and howled so much you stumbled back in awe. They had the cut of a band who’d slap you round the ears, punch you in the gob and come back again to smile sweetly before kneeing you in the belly.
“We were completely unfocused,” admits Fox, keyboardist and co-vocalist. “We were just enjoying doing gigs where people didn’t leave in disgust after the first song.”
Labels and managers eyed up the band from the start. “We never expected anything, so when people started sniffing around, we were amused – and bemused – by it all,” says Geraghty. “We’d been in loads of bands before that no one ever liked, so we didn’t expect people to like this one.”
“We had no idea what we were doing,” giggles Fox. “We were rude to labels. We thought we were being witty. We definitely went through a couple of dodgy characters because we didn’t know what we were at. There was a cockiness to us back then, and I suppose that’s something we still have. Back then, we were just naive and finding everything very, very funny.”
Both dropped out of college, saying goodbye to courses in journalism (Fox) and medicinal chemistry (Geraghty).
“We were brutal at college,” says Geraghty. “We did well in school but terrible in college, I should have been good, but I’d a little taste of the fun of being in a band and, no matter
ELECTRIC PICNIC 2007
what college course I did, I’d have been looking out the window and thinking about being in a band.
“The minute there was a possibility that this might lead to something,” adds Fox, “we just went for it. It was, in hindsight, very rash.”
Telling the parents was a bit trickier. “Our parents would have been very college-orientated,” says Geraghty. “We probably should have told them sooner but we didn’t. We went through so much effort in order not to make an effort to go to college. The two of us would meet up in the morning and go into the IFI for the day and just eat.
“The minute we got anywhere with the band, we were like ‘oh, I suppose we have to drop out of college now’. It made us work harder because we were so terrified of having to go to the parents and say ‘sorry lads, it didn’t work out’.” There are many things you don’t do when you play your first festival show. At the 2007 Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Fight Like Apes did every one of them with great gusto.
They arrived on Friday, partied like mad over the weekend and then remembered they had to play a gig on Sunday. It was a fiasco.
“That was a serious low point,” groans Geraghty. “The thing is the others can go out and get wasted and still be able to play the next day. But if I lose my voice, I can’t do that. That’s the first time I was ever onstage going ‘oh shit’. There was nothing coming out of my mouth and I couldn’t bluff it.”
Fox: “We kind of forgot we had a gig to do on the last day and basically got on the stage and just farted.”
Geraghty: “We didn’t think anyone would come to see us. It was a huge surprise to see people in the tent that early on a Sunday morning. It was like rent-a-crowd. So many mates turned up and afterwards, it was like ‘good one’ and ‘uhm, that was interesting’. People still lie to us about that gig.”
COPPING THEMSELVES ON
There would not be another disaster like that one. “I realised that I had to take a 24/7 responsibility for things if I was going to take the band seriously,” says Geraghty.
They toured the UK (Fox: “we played to the