Stiff Little Fingers’ Jake Burns makes an Alternative Ulster fry for Booking the Cooks
Oisin Davis stirs it with the stars
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