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Buckfest 2015 : The Interviews, Part One

I wasn't just sitting around watching the bands & drinking tea in McChuill's at the weekend, oh no. Interviewing the bands was all part of the day and first off I caught up with Alan Gemmel, guitarist of The Bucky Rage, bassist of The Kosher Pickles, and one of the organisers of Buckfest 2015.

DS - Alan, tell me about Buckfest i.e. how it got started and why you think it is able to carry on year after year? Also, as it's a free event, what are the incentives for the bands involved to come and play?

AG - Buckfest has been running for the last five or six years, it’s basically an annual all day party. We invite a bunch of our favourite bands to come play and get messed up with us. We started it with a view to getting some out of town bands over to play with the bands we played with loads, looking to forge links with places a bit further away so that all the bands involved could get to meet each other and all benefit from travelling to new places for return gigs. It’s quite an easy affair to organise, and depending what the Bucky Rage have been up to kind of decides for us who we book. It’s basically a big excuse to get a bunch of our friends together and listen to the kind of music we all like!

I think it manages to do well and keep going because it’s a simple concept, and brings together a bunch of like minded people and has always been organised with a good, fun day out as the most important aspect. The bands are always looked after, treated with the warmth and respect that The Bucky Rage look for when we are playing.  

A lot of these bands we have been playing with for years, and like ourselves it’s great to see how everyone progresses. As everyone gets more gigs further afield and releases new records and CDs, as well as their own lives moving on, having kids etc., it can sometimes feel that Buckfest becomes the time of the year when we all catch up. Years ago it would not be uncommon for The Rage to play gigs with a lot of these bands a few times a month, certainly speaking for The Bucky Rage we play less gigs than we used to now that 3 of us have young kids, and jobs that are a bit more full time etc. that kind of limits how much time you can spend away from home.

DS - And so to The Bucky Rage. What can we look forward to in the not too distant future?

AG - We have a new EP coming out fairly soon. It’s all been recorded, just finishing the mixes. We’ve started organising gigs for next year, got a couple of shows booked down South and looking to organise some more European gigs. Got a few things booked up for the rest of the year, and just getting on with the usual stuff. Practicing, writing and bamming each other up!

Next in line for a chinwag was guitarist and singer of Geek Maggot Bingo - Acid Maggot

DS - Can you tell me why your band are supporting Buckfest this year?

AM - The Bucky Rage are good pals of ours - they may deny it to keep their street cred but they love us really! Hey, they must at least like us as they keep asking us back to Buckfest! Between my old band and Geek Maggot Bingo, I've played at most (if not all?) Buckfests and it's always wild, riotous and sometimes (always) a bit (a lot) on the chaotic side. We wouldn't have it any other way!

DS - And what are Geek Maggot Bingo are up to at the moment, what can we look forward to? It sounds like you have a lot of exciting things happening just now ...

AM - We recorded an album's worth of material last year at Angus McPake's Ravencraig Studio and we're still looking at how to release it properly. We've had some label interest and that's definitely the road we'd prefer to go down for the sake of releasing on vinyl and having some distribution.

One of the songs ('Where It's At') we recorded was written as a thank-you for Elvis Shakespeare [the Edinburgh book and record shop] and we self released that on CD along with four covers. There aren't many copies left now but if anyone wants one (we're not making any more once they're gone), they can get a copy from the New Hellfire Club shop (Glasgow), Elvis Shakespeare, our gigs, or our Bandcamp page.

Another of the songs from the Ravencraig session has been used as the theme tune for a documentary called ‘42nd Street Memories’ which is available on the DVD and BluRay of ‘Anthropophagus’ from 88 Films and is getting an American release on the BluRay of ‘Pieces’ from Grindhouse Releasing.

We've got enough songs ready for another album so we're looking to record that as soon as we can and we've also got some film related things happening but that's all very hush-hush for now.

The next gig that we're really looking forward to (we look forward to all gigs but this one's extra special) is with The Bonnevilles at the Franklin Rock 'n' Roll Club (Edinburgh) on 28th November. Tickets are on sale from The Parlour Bar in Edinburgh. Last time we played there with The Bonnevilles, it sold out and a fair few people who turned up to pay on the door were unfortunately turned away, so anyone who wants to go should get in there and buy a ticket right away.

Later on in the day B-Side Boy was happy to answer a few questions.

DS - B-Side Boy, please introduce yourself ...

BSB - Well basically B-Side Boy is just me on my own. I'm a one man music machine who makes music because I have to or my brain will explode. I sing and play along to specially prepared backing tracks while jumping about in a dress and heels. Oh and I wear a top hat too :) Having been in and out of bands for many years, I thought I'd give going solo a try. I've been doing B-Side Boy for a year and this will only be my fourth gig. Also I've put together two albums in this time (The Other Side of B-Side Boy & Throw Enough Shit, Some Of It Sticks) and am midway through a third as yet untitled one. They can all be streamed or downloaded (name your price) from my bandcamp page.

DS - And what does playing Buckfest mean to you?

BSB - I've known the Bucky Rage for many years and I especially love playing Buckfest because of the consistent quality line-up they procure. I feel honoured to be a part of it, that's probably the primary incentive. It's always a great night! Secondly I honestly do love playing music, I tend to be rubbish at everything else.

DS - What is next for B-Side Boy?

BSB - As for gigs the only other one I have at the moment is Sinister Wink at The Bungo bar on Sunday 29th November where I may throw in a Serge Gainsbourg or Technotronic cover. That will be an acoustic show so I may wear a slightly more informal dress at that one!


Buckfest 2015, McChuill's, Glasgow

  • Published in Live


Once again the back room at McChuill's played host to the madness engendered by unleashing Buckfest, free, upon all who dared venture across the threshold. Seven hours of some of the finest garage, rock 'n' roll and drag acts that Scotland has to offer were here in plain sight if you had the courage to only but look and listen.

Sporting highlights were still being broadcast behind them when Geek Maggot Bingo got things off to a flying start with 'Stupid Is As Stupid Does' and other numbers all delivered at high speed (and a volume that was thankfully lowered as the day progressed) & with a voice described as lie "a corpse being dragged across gravel". This is an act that reaches you in places you don't normally think about, but in a positive sense of course.

Next up came to solo performers back to back. First off was the very Joe Meekesque The Locarno Big Beat, laying down some Link Wray guitar over beats seemingly provided from a Bontempi. A string breakage in what proved to be his final number put paid to what was a very short set that was beginning to get interesting. Following on from that point came B-Side Boy, all decked out in dress, heels and a traditional Welsh woman's hat. Go figure. Beginning with what sounded like an ode to pretty active S&M his was a set of sustained wit and good humoured banter that never faltered for pace and definitely entertained.

Throughout the latter part of the day, as is unavoidable with the scene in question, cover versions were thick on the ground. 'Mongoloid', 'The Crusher', 'Monk Time', 'Mr. Pharmacist' and a bunch of others all got good treatment from the bands that made use of them. That first one featured in the set of the youngest act on the day's bill, The Phlegm (previously much enjoyed on the opening night of the first Franklin Fest back in June). Other than their upright bass not enjoying the best of sound this afternoon they were as tight as when last seen, playing with possibly a greater amount of confidence and once more showing they have great prospects.

Hosts The Bucky Rage made their appearance next in the line-up. Veterans of the scene, masters at the use of a luchador mask (or a pair of tights over the head) they embody the spirit of the Dwarves and The Mummies and deliver it with their own dollops of abuse, cheek and, above all, vibrant songwriting. Seeing them today for the first time was an experience too long in the realisation and one that deserves to be repeated at the earliest opportunity. A great example of just getting out there and doing it yourself.

Building to a close The Creeping Ivies were tonight's penultimate act. Also last seen at Franklin Fest they've undergone a change of bassist since the Summer but with no loss of energy or pace. New material featured in the set and so it's safe to say that it's business as usual from the trio and their The Witch House EP may well see a follow-up release alongside it in the coming months. Last on stage, with a nice line in blonde wigs and a suspiciously familiar looking bass player, were the excellent Kosher Pickles. Assuredly a band who need to get some more of their own material released as soon as possible, so authentic a garage sound do they produce. Backed by projections more akin to what you'd expect from a metal band and amid a slew of punchy cover versions and abuse their own 'Let's Get Pickled' and other originals had the audience bouncing around and calling for more. As free shows go you can only hope that they mostly come off as well as this one did and we heartily recommend that you make your way along to the 2016 version.

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