Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Punkrocking around the Christmas tree...old stars bid to pogo all the way to No.1

Punk band The Defects

"We've still got it" – the punks are back and vowing to take on the Christmas charts.

With the festive season in full swing the familiar sounds of Slade, Shakin' Stevens and the obligatory X Factor pop track have been blasting from sound systems everywhere.

Now there is a homegrown group who want their festive alternative to blow away fans.

The punk rockers of Northern Ireland have put together a festive alternative, with more than just a few familiar voices taking part.

It's the generation which started a musical revolution, bringing a vibrant creative scene to a Troubles-torn region.

This year they are Belfast's answer to Band Aid, as throats are warmed up, guitars tuned and A Merry Jingle by the Punkerama All-Stars recorded – a fresh take on the version by The Sex Pistols and Thin Lizzy.

The godfather of punk and Good Vibrations record label founder Terri Hooley appears on the track – even doing his best Bob Geldof impression to wish us a Merry Christmas.

"All those ageing punks doing something useful for a change," Hooley told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I can't sing a note but I did my bit as the grandfather of punk in Belfast.

"I think it's brilliant that it's going to such a good cause and to be honest, it wasn't a surprise that we'd all go together – it's a surprise that it's selling so well.

"I've had friends in Germany asking me to send over copies for their Christmas stockings.

"It was good to get back together with Protex, and yes, I admit I may have brought a party to the recordings.

"But I do have a reputation to keep and it is a bit of a tradition."

More than 20 of the best punk musicians the province has to offer have rallied around for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund For Children.

They are hoping the alternative to the schmaltz and manufactured pop of Christmas soundtracks this year is punk.

Buck Murdock from The Defects recorded and produced the track at Doghouse Studios, Lisburn, less than a month ago.

"We had car-loads come up every night to do some recording. I have to admit, Terri Hooley brought a bit of a party with him.

"Most of us may be celebrating our 50th birthdays these days, but there's no doubt about it – we've still got it."

Gary Fahy of Punkerama Records, which has released the single, was the brainchild behind the electric idea.

"Over the last year I had been ill and I still am. I was diagnosed with haemocromotosis, a condition that is created by an iron overload in the blood stream, which can cause tiredness, arthritis and pain in the joints.

"I knew we would be short on time, getting everyone together, but when the first few voices were laid I realised, I have to do this."

Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children fundraiser Natasha Walsh is "touched that proceeds from this exciting and cool Christmas project will benefit us".

She added: "It will also go towards our brand new short break centre for families affected by cancer, Daisy Lodge, which will open in 2014. I would like to thank everyone involved in this project."

FACTFILE: WHO TOOK PART

Gary Fahy & Jaime Fahy (Punkerama Records), Billy Roit (Hard Case), Paddy O'Doors & Ryan Singleton (Buck Eejit), Deko Dachau & Aoife Destruction (Paranoid Visions), Colin McQuillan (Runnin' Riot), Paul Rowaan (Stop! Stop! Start Again), Geordie Walker, Dave McMaster & Aidan Murtagh (Protex), Davy Treatment & John Rossi (Shock Treatment 21), Charlie Reilly (Stage B); Aidy Fudge, Glen Kingsmore & Buck Murdock (The Defects); Greg Cowan, Marty Cowan & Petesy Burns (The Outcasts), Brian Young (The Sabrejets), Steven VX, Steeky & Savage (Pocket Billiards).

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