Adrian Edmondson announces return of The Bad Shepherds

Adrian Edmondson and The Bad ShepherdsADE EDMONDSON
TROY DONOCKLEY
ANDY DINAN

The Bad Shepherds announce new album and  UK Tour, “Mud, Blood & Beer”

After an extended hiatus during 2012, ADRIAN EDMONDSON’S celebrated folk-punk outfit THE BAD SHEPHERDS, have announced details of their return with a album and major 24-date UK tour. Both will be entitled ‘Mud, Blood and Beer.’

Ade tells the story in his own words…

“The Bad Shepherds’ last performance was at The Union Chapel towards the end of 2011. We’d been going since 2008, made two albums and done hundreds of gigs. We needed a break, to get a fresh perspective on things as much as anything else. I had some TV shows to make, and a side project called The Idiot Bastard Band with Phill Jupitus and Neil Innes. Troy was going on a year-long world tour with the Finnish prog-metal band Nightwish, and Andy was starting a new band, Ducie. Knowing how the balls can sometimes drop forever when you stop juggling I wasn’t really sure that we’d ever really get back together.

That night at The Union Chapel was quite an emotional event. It’s a funny feeling, knocking something on the head when it’s going well. I’ve done it a few times before, most obviously with The Young Ones and Bottom. But there’s always a fear that what you’re doing is going to get stale, and that it’s best to get out when you’re at the top.

Bizarrely, last year there was a move to revive Bottom. I wasn’t quite sure about it from the start. I’d called an end to my working relationship with Rik in 2003, a) because I thought we’d peaked, and b) because there were lots of other things I wanted to do in my life, music being one of them. When the idea for the new Bottom series came we met and worked on it for a while, but pretty soon I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do – it felt too much like treading the same path again.

I came to realize that what I really wanted to do was get together with The Bad Shepherds again. Why? Because I am in love with the band. Because I love the sound we make. Because I love being with Troy and Andy. Because the best gigs I’ve ever done in my life, in any art form – in terms of excitement and connection with an audience – have been with The Bad Shepherds.

And on top of that I’d begun to write bits of lyrics and tunes for completely new songs. Our set list up until now has been full of radically re-arranged covers of punk and new wave era songs, mixed with traditional jigs and reels. But I was eager to get together with Troy and work on these new self-penned songs. Songs that take their inspiration from who we are as people and as a band, and how we’ve got to where we are through all the MUD, BLOOD and BEER.

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THE BAD SHEPHERDS – By Hook Or By Crook (Monsoon Music)

At first the idea of ‘folk’ with a punk attitude didn’t appeal to me more than likely due to my ‘traditional’ prejudices but when I heard that multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley was on board I thought perhaps I shouldn’t be too dismissive. And so it’s proved. Of course, having a front-man as famous as Ade Edmondson spitting out the words helps and third member All-Ireland champion Andy Dinan holds his own. What lies beneath the performance is an energy that many of today’s ‘folk’ artists (with the possible exception of perhaps Bellowhead) could well take note of as the Shepherd’s fight their way to the surface like drowning men struggling for breath after a trip on Titanic. Therefore tracks such as the Sex Pistols “Anarchy In The UK” and Teenage Kicks “Sound Of The Suberbs” find a fresh lease of life in an acoustic setting. Even the “Ramones Medley” with its kick-ass tune sandwich featuring Donockley’s Uillean Pipes and Dinan’s fiddle going full throttle is just the tonic the doctor ordered…and not a moment too soon if the rumours of a possible farewell tour (after only four years together?) are to be believed. Forget folk for folk’s sake and think more along the lines of folk for fun.

PETE FYFE

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Artist Web Link: www.thebadshepherds.com

Are there any women here? Bearded Theory 2011 review

In the quest to experience something new every year, it was the turn of The Bearded Theory to fulfil this self-indulgence.

Situated in the picturesque grounds of Kedleston Hall, in my home county of Derbyshire, the Bearded Theory Festival took place from 13 -15th May this year.  An eclectic mix of music, entertainment, characters with never a dull moment.

It was the Festival’s third year, but it’s first year at Kedleston Hall.  An easy-to-reach venue that was easy on the eye but which was also a celebrity site, having been the key location for the Keira Knightley film “The Duchess”.    The site was well-proportioned, with many delights for old and young alike.  The weather decided to be surprisingly co-operative, but in the sparse times of rain, there was cover to take refuge under.

Why ‘Bearded Theory Festival’, I hear you ask?  Well, during the festival, there was a guiness book of record attempt for the “most amount of fancy dress Beards in one place and at one time”.  What an opportunity to achieve another first of being able to say that I was part of a record attempt and also to be able to wear a beard and enact a favourite Monty Python scene… “Are there any women here?”  Fantastic.

The main attraction of the Festival were ‘The Waterboys’ (officially) and what an act they were.  Absolutely brilliant, a stunning set.  The sheer understated showmanship of Mike Scott with his Jaggeresque arrogance and superb musicianship; the flamboyant fiddle skills of Steve Wickham; and the brilliance support of the other members of the band created a feast for the ears and the feet!

Why were they the main attraction officially?  Well, X-Factor reject, Wagner, was this year’s curiosity and faux-star feature and that is all the publicity I am going to give him in this review.

There were three main areas for the music.  The Main Stage; The Beard Top and the Magical Sounds Area with so many great acts playing across the weekend.  In no particular order; Dan Donnelly; 3 Daft Monkeys (The stalwart and honorary patrons of the Festival); Ferocious Dog (great name); The Whip; The Undertones; Justin Sullivan  of New Model Army fame; an awesome Swiss trio – Mama Rosin; Dub Pistols; The Bad Shepherds; Martha Tilston; Little Jonny England; Trans Global Underground; Athlete; Eddie and The Hot Rods.  Apologies to any one who I have missed out, but you were all excellent.

Whereas the Friday and Saturday were the opportunity for me to experience the Festival as a “grown-up”, I had the privilege to experience the Sunday as a “family day”.  Accompanied by my children, siblings and their younger children, we trooped along to the festival to see what else it offered for those not so enamoured by the music.  What a treat; – there was face-painting; craft activities; hula-hooping; hunt for the Gruffalo (found him and got a hug!); bouncy slide; bedtime fireside story;  Then there was the food; yum – something for all palates and not that pricey too – always a bonus!!!  For the retail therapy aficionados, then stalls to peruse and purchase from and of course, a variety of beards to deliberate over for the record attempt.  Then to wind down and relax, a calming massage that soothed the muscles and the mind.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend and one that I hope to repeat next year and maybe even brave the camping!  I definitely recommend this festival.  There is entertainment galore and not just from the artists, but from members of the audience as well.  Book now for next year’s event (18th, 19th, 20th May 2012) peeps and wear your beards with pride!!

Sarah Burch 2011 

Festival weblink: http://www.beardedtheory.co.uk/

Folking Bearded Theory 2011 photo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/folking/sets/72157626737349334/

BAD SHEPHERDS – Yan, Tyan Tethera, Methera! (Monsoon Music MONMUCD002)

By hook or by crook here is a CD just waiting to be reviewed. The Bad Shepherds consist of Adrian Edmondson, Troy Donockley, Maartin Allcock and Andy Dinan with additional percussion from Mark Woolley (no jokes please) who obviously just want to have a good time along with their audience and in the process create a bit of acoustic anarchy. And what better way than to open proceedings than with the anthem “I Fought The Law”. The sleeve notes state that Edmondson performs ‘thrash’ mandolin and who would we be to criticise his judgement when that’s exactly what he does. Of course, the clever stuff is left to Donockley, Allcock and Dinan that shines through in the band’s sparkling arrangements where, take for instance, the change gearing up the rhythm half-way through the Jam’s “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight” works brilliantly. Surprisingly (for this reviewer anyway) Ade maintains a serious edge to his vocal prowess without outlandishly over emphasising the lyrics by forcing them punk-like from rasping tonsils and for those of a ‘folk’ persuasion that might be frightened off by the mere thought of a badly judged performance just sit back and enjoy. By the way, check out Troy’s plaintive Uillean Pipes on “The Model”…it certainly beats the original arrangement. Now, before I fence myself in by saying how much I enjoyed this album let’s start counting down together…

PETE FYFE

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Artist website: www.thebadshepherds.com