Classic Rock

Stiff Little Fingers

Vocalist/guitarist Jake Burns checks in as the Northern Irish band get ready to play the Putting The Fast In Belfast Festival.


People might be surprised to know you were inspired to pick up a guitar by Rory Gallagher. Yeah. I was about twelve years old and he appeared on the TV. I froze. I remember thinking: “I want to be that guy.”

In this fortieth year of the band will you be performing your debut album Inflammabl­e Material in its entirety? We did Inflammabl­e Material on its thirtieth anniversar­y around the UK and Ireland, and we’re doing it on what by our standards is a stupidly long tour of the US. But as flattering as the demand might be, it also brings problems; I haven’t listened to it since the thirtieth anniversar­y!

After so many years of playing the debut’s singles Alternativ­e Ulster and Suspect Device are you now at least a little bit bored of playing them. On some nights, yeah. But to use a football analogy, if things are not going well they’re great to have on the [substitute’s bench]. You can pull them out and the crowd will always go mad.

It’s been five years since No Going Back. Will there be an eleventh SLF studio album? Although in some ways it’s a thankless task due to internet thievery, there will be another album, and we’re working on material for that at the minute.

Two summers ago SLF performed in London’s Hyde Park with Green Day also on the bill. What are your views on the authentici­ty of American punk? It depends on who you’re talking about, really. To me, authentici­ty – finding your own voice and being honest with yourself – isn’t really about where you come from. We’ve toured a lot with Bad Religion [from California], who are better at it than most.

As a band prone to dipping into the world of politics, what do you make of the clusterfuc­k we call Brexit? I live in the States, but Brexit will make touring in Europe much, much more difficult, and for a lot of bands that’s their bread and butter. For me, just as a basic principle of life I find it very sad whenever somebody opts to become insular and cut themselves off.

With Trump seeking a second term in the White House, do you fear for the future of the West? What’s even more terrifying still, this morning’s Washington Post – who are one of the more reliable newspapers – believes he won’t have to do much to win that second term. That’s utterly depressing. However, Trump isn’t really the problem, it’s the fact that so many people agree with his sickening views and will vote for him.

“A new album is a thankless task due to internet


You’ve spoken of a long-term struggle with depression. It’s good that this issue seems far more spoken about these days. Do you have any advice for fellow sufferers? There’s still stigma attached to it. For me, admitting that I was depressed was the hardest part. Personally, I went down the typical American road of seeing a therapist. Which worked for me, as I quit after six months because he made me so fucking angry. Most important of all, though, is to talk to somebody and not to simply bottle it up.

SLF play the Putting The Fast In Belfast Festival on August 14.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom