Pri­mate scream

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 Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Oxegen 2009 -

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.


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


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.”


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


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