Stiff Lit­tle Fin­gers’ Jake Burns makes an Al­ter­na­tive Ul­ster fry for Book­ing the Cooks

Oisin Davis stirs it with the stars

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FRONT PAGE -

The longer an act is on the road, the more Spinal Tap-es­que mo­ments they notch up. And let’s be hon­est, who doesn’t like hear­ing about those wild and wacky vi­gnettes of rock n roll in­san­ity and awk­ward­ness? But if you’re chat­ting to a band with more than 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence un­der their belt and you’re look­ing for a funny wee nugget to share with read­ers, where does one even be­gin?

Such was my mo­men­tary dilemma when in­ter­view­ing Jake Burns from the leg­endary punk out­fit Stiff Lit­tle Fin­gers. So I de­cided to home in on the one city – dirty old Dublin – and got some in­ter­est­ing feed­back.

“A mil­lion years ago, we played the Bag­got Inn and they had like fish­er­man’s net­ting hang­ing from the ceil­ing. Our gui­tar player, Henry, got so en­thused at the end of a song, he slung his gui­tar in the air, where it stayed . . . stuck in the net­ting. The rest of us went and had a pint while he dis­en­tan­gled it.”

Not a great look, I do hope he pulled that stunt off at the cli­max of their set. And dur­ing an­other show in their ear­lier years, they had an em­bar­rass­ing, very un-punk in­ter­rup­tion by a col­lege of­fi­cial.

“We also once had a so­cial sec­re­tary at UCD or­der Bob Geldof off the side of our stage be­cause he didn’t want ‘any­one, and that means you, Geldof’ sit­ting there.”

These days, Belfast-born Burns re­sides in Chicago, where it’s never a prob­lem find­ing a rich abun­dance of Ir­ish­ness to re­mind him of home. Let us not for­get, this is a city that has been dye­ing its river green for more than 40 years on Paddy’s Day. Burns has be­friended a fel­low Hiber­nian who owns a bar and im­ports all the nec­es­sary ac­cou­trements for what he calls, “an Ul­ster fry”. Burns pops into him when­ever he’s got the “one-more-than-I-should-have-had” han­gover.

As the band’s res­i­dent cook, Burns loves knock­ing out win­try, spicy one-pot won­ders. And what bet­ter than the clas­sic chili for this time of year? A jolt of heat to warm even the most hard­core souls, and cer­tainly a great sub­sti­tute to when­ever a lo­cal han­gover fry is not within grasp.

Stiff Lit­tle Fin­gers in 1979,

and be­low, circa 2012

Stiff Lit­tle Fin­gers play the Academy, Dublin, to­mor­row night

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