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1st October 2009
METAL DISCOVERY: Hypothetically, if The Bad Shepherds and its concept fell flat on its face and, say, twenty people turned up to all these gigs you’re doing…
ADE EDMONDSON: Well, it wouldn’t last, would it! [laughs]
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(Ade Edmondson on Troy Donockley's newfound punk fanbase)
"...this bloke came at Troy, and Troy thought, “oh, fucking hell, I’m gonna get beaten to shit!”…and “what are those pipes made of, they’re lovely?!” "
Ade Edmondson in The Drill Hall, Lincoln, UK, 1st October 2009
Photograph copyright © 2009 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Official The Bad Shepherds Website:
Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Methera! (2009)
Thanks to Mike, Shaun, and Simon for their assistance in organising the interview.
A massive cheers to Ade for his time.
MD: …is it something you still would have wanted to continue doing…perhaps playing in corners of small pubs?
AE: Yeah, you can do that, can’t you; it changes the nature of it, you know. To have really good fun with it, you have to be living it don’t you, I think.
MD: Most definitely. I was going to ask if you have any scheduling conflicts with the other people in the band, but your first casualty is obviously Maartin who left recently. Troy seems quite busy with his session work so is that ever a problem?
AE: No, not really. I mean, Troy has two other bands that he works with, Nightwish being one of them…
MD: Of course, yeah, he was in Finland with them recently, wasn’t he?
AE: Yeah, last week or the week before. They’re not touring at all next year. Then he does Barbara Dickson. He does more work with this band, to be honest…[laughs]
MD: Complete polar opposites - Barbara Dickson and Nightwish!
AE: They are, aren’t they…it’s fantastic!
MD: And The Bad Shepherds somewhere in the middle! Recently, you purchased an octave mandola?
MD: Yes.
MD: Is that to fill out the sound more after Maartin leaving?
AE: It’s just one of those things. It gives us more palette, you know, to work with. And we’ve got a double bass in instead which is a lot nicer.
MD: How does the octave mandola work - is it tuned to fifths on two of the extra strings?
AE: No, no, it’s tuned like a mandolin but an octave lower.
MD: Ah right, I see. You’ve played a few big folk festivals around the country, and abroad…you did one in Holland?
AE: We did one in Holland, yes.
MD: Abroad as in just one then!
AE: Yes! [laughs]
MD: Have you had any offers to play punk festivals and would you accept?
AE: Yeah, we played the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool.
MD: Really?
AE: Yeah, it was really good fun. It was huge; there was something like three hundred bands on in five days or something like that. And it was very punky, we were the only band of our type on.
MD: How did you go down?
AE: Very, very well.
MD: Bloody brilliant!
AE: It was extraordinary! And this bloke came at Troy, and Troy thought, “oh, fucking hell, I’m gonna get beaten to shit!”…[laughs]….and “what are those pipes made of, they’re lovely?!”…[laughs]
MD: Obviously you’re very serious about the music but from any feedback you’ve received from audience members, does anybody turn up expecting it to be some sort of comedy show?
AE: I’m sure some audience members might go away disappointed, but most get it. I mean, it doesn’t say comedy show on it; it says “punk songs on folk instruments”. Most people come along and the most general comment we get afterwards is “that was much better than we thought it was going to be!” It’s sort of a backhanded compliment, but we’ll take that! [laughs]
MD: I did a little digging on the internet and found there’s quite a thriving punk/folk scene, obviously with The Pogues and that kind of thing, but…
AE: Well, there’s things like Peatbog Faeries and the Levellers, isn’t there…
MD: …are you aware of any bands who play exclusively punk on folk instruments?
AE: Only what I’ve mentioned. There’s a lot of people who’ve always…I mean, Troy’s been in You Slosh which was a punky type of folk band. The Battlefield Band with John McCusker were kind of, you know…just people making a racket with folk instruments!
MD: There’s a band from the States called Bread and Roses who do a similar kind thing to you with punk songs on folk instruments.
AE: I haven’t heard of them.
MD: Also while digging on the internet I found out that ‘The Bad Shepherds’ is the name of a nineteenth century French play, a tragedy - is that something you’re aware of?
AE: No, I wasn’t aware of that. When we first got our website, when I used to Google Bad Shepherds, first of all you got to a site about naughty vicars…not in a sexual way!
MD: What kind of site was that?!
AE: It was a site that was set up obviously by some disgruntled Christian who thought some of the bishops were not doing what they were supposed to do, you know, and it was a site about the bad shepherds.
MD: With all the different ventures in your career - you’ve directed promo videos for bands and obviously writing, acting, music etc - do you feel the need as a person to constantly express yourself artistically in one way or another?
AE: I feel the need to constantly have as much fun as I can have!
MD: That’s a really good answer!
AE: That’s kind of what drives me. Very few jobs I’ve done where I haven’t enjoyed them, and when they stop being fun I usually stop.
MD: Like cooking with Anthea Turner?!
AE: Well, you know, that was only a couple of days really, wasn’t it.
MD: Did you really hate Anthea Turner?
AE: Yeah! Well, no, like anyone who’s a twat, you kind of realise they’re actually sad little people who’ve got a problem…
MD: But you get on with it for the money!
AE: Well, yeah, but it must be horrible being Anthea Turner! [laughs] She doesn’t know what she wants to do; she thinks she’s got to be bright and showbizzy. When she was a bit vulnerable, she was a lot nicer.
MD: A different kind of vibe to where you’re coming from…completely!
AE: Yeah! [laughs]
MD: Not that you can go on Wikipedia and expect to find the objective truth, but…
AE: Oh, I always like reading Wikipedia notes about me! [laughs]
MD: It’s full of shit…about anybody, but I read on there a couple of days ago that you’ve decided to be called Adrian rather than Ade because you’ve decided it’s time to “grow up”…is there any truth in that?
AE: Oh no. In fact, I’ve always been called Adrian. I was called Ade on the first series of ‘The Young Ones’ by mistake, just because people call me Ade, but I’ve always written my name as Adrian. Actually, it’s the other way round - recently I’ve been calling myself Ade. No real deep, philosophical reason.
MD: Proof, then, that Wikipedia is, in fact, shit!
AE: Yeah!
MD: Finally, I’ve read that you don’t plan too far ahead in your career with anything you do, but do you have any major aspirations for The Bad Shepherds, and would you like to see your popularity grow so you’re booked to play bigger venues…like Wembley Stadium, perhaps?!
AE: No, I wouldn’t like to play Wembley Stadium! We’d like to have adventures. We’d like to…we really enjoyed our little jaunt to Holland; we’d like to do a little tour of Eastern Europe. It would be lovely to take this project to folk festivals in Romania, and Bulgaria, and Norway, and Finland…
MD: Yeah, I can see that going down well because of the history of folk music in those countries.
AE: You know, there’s a lot of places to go out there, but I think this would work quite well. South America would be nice…I don’t know what they’d think of it.
MD: Is your name big in South America?
AE: Absolutely not, no. I mean, it’s comedy. Comedy doesn’t travel to foreign countries.
MD: Not even from ‘The Young Ones’?
AE: I’ve seen it dubbed in Spanish, but no-one would know.
MD: So it would be a new challenge.
AE: Yeah.
MD: Brilliant. Well, thank you very much for your time.
AE: Cheers!