Damo of

Mardi Gras Bombers


The Mardi-Gras Bombers, as a proper band have been together for about 4 years. I was sick of seeing all these bands that were shite, and thinking, I can do better than that. But years ago, 1999, it was a song writing partnership with a guitarist down in Rotherham. It was a guy I’ve known for a long time, he’s an amazing guitarist. But, he’s in Rotherham and I’m in Darwen near Blackburn, it was the travelling time that killed it. Some of the songs that we wrote then work there way into what we do now, lyrically anyway not musically all that’s fresh.


I was promoting an 80’s night in Middleton. I’ve always liked the name and I always wanted a band called Mardi Gras Bombers. The Mardi-Gras Bomber was called Edgar Pearce and he is the most inept terrorist there was. He started a bombing campaign against Sainsbury’s and Barclays’ bank and the best he did was blow up a few bins. His calling card was 4 blokes in sunglasses like Reservoir Dogs. They basically trapped him by putting personal ads in the Daily Telegraph. He didn't hurt anyone or never exhorted any money or anything. The first time I said it to anybody they just shook their heads, I said, 'what’s wrong with that?' ,nd they said, 'it’s a bit odd.' Even more reason to use it. There’s enough bands names that are unimaginative and dull. I find some metal bands have really shit names, I don’t know why they do it? I can’t bring one to mind at the minute. But they have something with blood in it or death. It does my head in.


A lot of people come up to us and say, 'what are you, I can’t work you out?', 'Are you a punk band, metal band?' I just play rock 'n' roll really, fast rock 'n' roll. We never set out to be a punk band. Trevor the drummer is a major punk. He’s a proper rocker punk historian, he’s a major Reggae fan as well, a big dub fan. He incorporates that into the music. Ah Pook is one!

Me personally, lyric wise: William Burroughs, Michael Moorcock, Dickens, Viv Stanshall, Spike Milligan, John Steinbeck to name but a few. Music wise, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Sisters Of Mercy, but the David Bowie 'Hunky Dory', Nine Inch Nails 'Downward Spiral'; Sisters Of Mercy... everything they’ve ever done, I used to follow them around the country and also Hawkwind.

I’ve always been more drawn to the left field side, 'Suicide' a New York band, they started about 1972, but they got into their stride about 1980. A duo, one plays weird electronic instruments and the other will just scream, quite unnerving. I love it! Stuff that puts your teeth on edge, not all the time. I like Throbbing Gristle. They subverted the whole idea of a song and it just became noise, dirty noise. Don’t get me wrong we like punk, but not just punk


A lot of the lyrics we do are not the usually punk stuff such as ‘Let’s go and kill a copper’ or 'I hate Thatcher’ there is a science fiction, magic surrealism more of an edge to it, we like to put in a bit of humour sometimes. The song 'I’ll Be A Devil', is all nonsense, bits of science fiction in there a few smart arse comments and that’s it. If people read into it fair enough! We're not explaining it to them, just enjoy it.

We've got new songs coming out all the time. The first album is, basically your 'live' set, so then you’re in a mad rush to put them songs to one side and come up with new stuff. The writing process is strange, sometimes you think you're gonna write about a certain thing. You might hear a line on the radio or someone say something and then you’ll write that down and you go in a completely different direction.

I read a review recently saying our songs are 'politically absurdest' and thought, fantastic, I wish I'd thought of that. That’s just how I wanted it to come across. I’m a big fan of the absurd. You can take things too seriously, there's a lot of po faced punk bands out there, who just seem to be preaching. I’m not here to preach, I prefer to have fun. Sometimes there is a message in but it’s more personal, but it’s up to you whether you receive it or not. One song called ‘Validate The Mission’ is basically about the hypocrisy of the American’s going into Iraq and Afghanistan. But, it isn’t that straight forward, it is more of an oblique message than this is what you must believe, which I find offensive.


When you first start being in bands, you want to be famous, you do want to be the next David Bowie. But then you’ve lived a bit of life, got jobs, marriage,: the kind of stuff that pierces that bubble of fantasy, when life starts to get a bit real, you sort of temper your ambitions. I’m a realist and if it doesn’t happen I won’t be disappointed, because I’ve had a blast doing it. It has taken us 25 years to get any record label interest.

You speak to people and they say, 'I heard you’re in a band, aren’t you a bit old for that?' Well, it hasn’t done Mick Jagger any harm, why should you give it up because they think you might be uncomfortable with it. The music industry is ageist to a degree but it’s irrelevant to Punk. Once you get outside pop music age doesn’t matter any more, because pop music is nothing but marketing. In punk you share a bill with bands that are half your age or older on the same day. The mixture of older and younger people is what keeps it alive.


The hardest thing about being in a band: organisation. Getting everyone to be there at once, because we all work, it's not been easy these things never are. But we have such a blast anyway about doing it, it’s like being in the army, 20 hours sitting around and one hour of complete lunacy, then your back to 20 odd hours of sitting around again. You can forget about the arguments and the slagging off.


I don’t like recording. It’s like pulling teeth... which is strange, as I have my own recording set up at home, for my own stuff, that’s OK. I’ve got no-one telling me what to do basically. Nobody saying do that again. We’ll listen to what the producer has to say, but we have a very strong idea of what we want anyway. We’re all old enough not to be cowed by the producer and we can be quite tenacious when we need to be. We do listen and if somebody comes up with an idea that’s outside the band, it will be given due consideration then ignored. But it is hard work in the studio, when you're sat listening to your drummer drumming for 17 hours, trying to get something right, you know it’s gotta be done but it’s kinda tedious.

We’re just finishing recording an album now, and on one of the songs we wanted some special effects, like a sound of a fight. We went into the studio all shouting and yelling, screaming and kicking stuff and Trevor got carried away and chucking symbols at the wall, slamming doors and rolling around on the ground and that’s the only fun we ever had. After 6 months of recording you can breathe a sigh of relief.


Stu Taylor is promoting us. He’s fantastic, he’s like a breath of fresh air because he is so passionate about what he does. His record label STP has took us on. They’re releasing our album in January and he’s got world wide distribution. You couldn’t ask for more.

We do have our own label that we used for releasing our first EP and we’ll use it for other stuff as well, but not for Mardi-Gras Bombers because that’s with Stu’s label. There are people like Stu and Fungalpunk Dave – brilliant. So passionate, Dave gets himself into loads of trouble because he’s frank, but that’s good. There are lots of bands going around thinking they are the bees knees, and he’ll put them straight. If he thinks you’re good, he’ll tell you you but if he thinks you’re crap, he’ll tell you you’re crap. He has is way of doing stuff, which not everybody likes, he’ll open your eyes, if your prepared to have your eyes opened. They’re a lot of people like that out there and there is a bit of longevity about them, they’re obviously doing something right.

These fly-by night promoters, they get found out quickly. There are certain people we won’t deal with any more, you only ever get to stiff us once. We’ve been stiffed a few times by promoters. They’ve agreed a fee and then done a runner, that happens and you then go out of your way to slag them off, and it works eventually people get the message. These people aren’t worth dealing with.

I’ve done it myself as a promoting team and it is a thankless task. I’ve been involved in one in Blackburn called Independent and one called Corrupted, which was not just metal but based on metal. I wasn’t the main boy, but I used to see the hassle the promoters had. They were good guys and they’ll do their best for the bands, pay out of their own pocket if they didn’t make any money. But the grief they got, for no reason. You really have got to love what you’re doing to be a promoter.


With the album coming out in January we’re gonna have a busy year just promoting it. We’re playing all over the UK. There are still places to go, we’ve not played in London yet. There are chances to play abroad, more than likely going to Europe next year and we’re going to America as well, doing the West Coast. It’s something STP, Stu Taylor has talked about, it’s 10 days going to Vegas, it’s just sitting in a minibus basically driving down the West Coast of America, but it’s gonna be great, you can’t pass up stuff like that. If someone said to me 5 years ago, you’ve got a chance playing in the States I would laughed at them.

We’ll be launching our own website soon, we’ll give stuff away. It's a real disappointment with MySpace, the problem was they kept changing it, they couldn’t leave it alone, it would work well and then you’ll open up your page and think where’s this, there’s always Facebook, We use I-tunes and Amazon and Spotify.



I always found listening to punk something I enjoy ‘live’; I think it loses something as soon as it goes on record. I prefer being on stage, once you start doing it it’s difficult to stop - it’s quite addictive. Unless you’re shit scared to go on stage and the thought of getting up in front of people puts the fear of God in you.


It’s the weirdest situation being on stage. When someone is shining lights in your eyes and then expecting you to scream, shout and jump around; it’s an invented situation, not natural, so why should you act natural? Sometimes we play too fast we can make an hour set last half an hour. Basically you do what comes into your head. It’s a bit contrived when people just stare at their instruments, it’s dull, and we struggled with this earlier on when we were a 5 piece. It was the weirdest thing, one side you had guys going mad and on the other side 2 guys just staring at their shoes. It was really lopsided. So this had to change. Now we’ve got a 4 piece we all go daft, depending on how much we had to drink before we go on. It’s all very off the seat of my pants. I've always had it in mind how I wanted it to appear, but I don't like watching videos of myself. Cos, I’m thinking, ‘God, why do I wave my arm around in the air like that, what am I doing with my leg?’ I’ve fallen over a few times, landed on my arse and I just stayed down, rolled around and screamed, kind of ‘that was all planned, I knew that was beer on the floor, I did it on purpose’. We work on the principle that if we’re not enjoying it, why should anybody else.


But never insult the audience for the simple fact they’ve turned up. You see bands complain to the audience that there weren’t enough people, you think, ‘don’t tell them, they’re here.’ If they’re watching, that’ll do me, if they dance bonus, which does happen depending on how much alcohol they’ve consumed. But there have been times when we’ve thought, ‘Christ we’ve given our all and they just don’t like us,’ then we didn’t play so well and they loved us.


The punk and metal scene are quite friendly because of the age range. Punk has been going for so long, you can meet a band that are fresh out of school next to a band that’s average age is 50. Nobody gives a damn who you are and what you look like. Punk tends to be the best audiences. They are more enthusiastic, they don't put their hands in their pockets and say impress us.

It made a really good social life. I’ve made so many friends in the last 4 years that I’d never known right across country.  You find that you cross paths with certain bands, and me and the missus get on with them. I think she comes to keep an eye on me, to stop me drinking so much! Saying that she can put it away so… no, she really enjoys it, she gets on with their wives and it’s all one happy family. There is always someone to talk to.

Although, we did a gig last week with the Subhumans. There was one guy completely off his head, he blagged his way in, he wasn’t interested in the music, he just wanted to cause trouble. He threw his jacket on stage and it landed on the drummers head and it got all entangled up in his sticks and then he tried to unplug one of the monitors, basically being a dick! And I just lost me rag with him, Jed the guitarist tried to kick him in the head.  


It’s a strange place Manchester because it’s a city and has got such a large student population, a lot of music you’re going to see is of the moment. The Manchester scene is a pay to play and there is nothing worse having to pay to play. Night and Day is like a cattle market – next band in, hand over your money, your fans watch you then they all bugger off.  Also a lot of gigs clash, you see it happen a lot, some people set a gig up and another gig will be set up to counter that gig.  Manchester's also very diverse, which isn't a bad thing, it gives you more to chose from. As in Oldham places like Whittles, Jackson’s Pit,  I’ve really enjoyed the gigs we’ve done in Oldham. It hasn’t got that chip on the shoulder that city places have.

There's a lot of bands have this perceived unfairness of, ‘why aren’t we higher up than them?’ and “’’m not supporting them, they should be supporting us’ life’s too short for that. We just get on with it. We’ve been to so many gigs where we were 1st, 2nd band on, we call it warming up the PA and make a joke out of it. We’re not owed anything, you have got to work for it. And a lot of bands seem to ponce around like it was on a plate. Everyone has these perceived insults.


It is a very derivative kind of music punk sometimes maybe because of the whole concept of it, it’s so simple anyone can do it, because it was a real reaction to bands like Yes and Genesis and guitar solos across the whole album.

The first wave of punk bands were very Londoncentric anyway, very big city, London art students and the Manchester end of the punk scene is more honest, like the Buzzcocks, and it is like most things, once you scratched the surface it was never as honest as it first made out to be, there’s a lot of fakery involved. Which is fine - it’s entertainment at the end of the day.   But, the 2nd wave of punk bands were a lot more interesting like The Varukers bands like that, the Subhumans, who actually thought about what they were doing instead of taking heroine like the New York Dolls.  Feminist bands like Penetration and the Slits, but saying that the Slits were at the beginning they were part of the first wave as were Soiuxsie and the Banshees.  I always think there has been a strong female punk element that you don’t find in metal. Metal is a very macho culture, they like to see their women in leather and have their boobs pushed up to look a certain image like vixens. Whereas punk it’s a bit more open, a lot of girl bands like Belle Stars, Selecter. Punk never seems to have any problems with gender, I think we should celebrate our gender rather than deny it.


There's a racist element in punk, mainly in the Oi movement that worries me. I think any kind of fanaticism is bad, they can’t see any others point of view only their own, and they’ll often die for it – which is fine by me.  T here is a whole load of history like Crass, who are very left wing, very anti establishment. Which is all well and good, nothing against them, I don’t mind being pointed in a certain direction, but don’t tell me how to think. People just create obstacles for themselves that are pointless, you think, you’re a dick! There are some promoters like that, but they’re few and far between.


There's lots of things have damaged the music scene. The smoking ban is a massive. Before people could have fag and watch the gig and now people go outside and miss the beginning because they’re having a chat. It does make it easier singing because you’re doing it in a smoke-free atmosphere, but it has killed venues. We played in a place in Bradford and we were the last people

there, because they were all outside, we played to about 3 people and there were maybe 100 outside.

I have certain problems what people think punk is, cos personally I can’t give a damn what punk is. I’m sick of people saying, ‘what does punk mean to you?’ it doesn’t mean anything, if you don’t know by now...  You got 50 year old guys saying, ‘what does punk mean to you?’ just enjoy it for crying out loud.


Some people treat punk as a nostalgic thing, which is unfortunate because some people will only go and watch bands they watched 30-40 years ago. Which is fair enough, but it’ll be nice for people to open up their horizons up a little bit. There are many good bands out there that need encouraging. There are people going to watch The Stranglers and paying through their noses to do it, when they could go to their local pub and be watching someone with real passion, punk does die on its arse. I know that it’s something that Fungalpunk is really passionate about. He has gone to the trouble to put on a gig and only 10 people turn up.

So many people claim there is nothing going on, then they don’t support it when there is. I used to run a venue in Blackburn basically because there was nowhere to play. Back then people used to sit in pubs and would say, ‘there are nowhere for bands to play in Blackburn because it’s crap’ and then you do open something up and then they say, ‘I’m not going down there, cos it’s too expensive,’ we're bringing bands from America and all over the world and they won’t come down or can’t be arsed.


You can take it to a logical conclusion that you shouldn’t call it punk, why does it need a title, but everybody needs something to latch onto. I can assert that I’m not in a punk band until I’m blue in the face, but who’s fooling who. It’s difficult to get your ideas across unless you package for people. I love the idea of anarchy, but someone will want to be in charge and package it.  I’m happy for people to call us what they want to call us, just don’t ask us for an explanation.  All I’ll say is that we play fast rock ‘n’ roll, that’s the best description I’ll put on it.