MCLUSKY* The X-Press Interview

For the first time in fifteen years Welsh post-hardcore trio mclusky* are returning for an Australian tour, hitting Badlands Bar on Wednesday, January 8. After mclusky* disbanded in 2005, vocalist and guitarist Andrew “Falco” Falkous and drummer Jack Egglestone went on to form Future of the Left, but the two are now back at the helm of mclusky* with the assistance of Damien Sayell (St Pierre Snake Invasion) on bass, and are set to take Aussie punters on a journey through the legendary post-hardcore group’s three albums. While the group may not have made any new music, their hunger to destroy on stage is unabated as they look set to serve up another round of gigs to shock and awe. To find out more, MICHAEL HOLLICK chatted with Falco about nostalgia, the differences between the group and Future of the Left and what audiences can look forward to on their upcoming tour. 

Was bringing mclusky* back a difficult decision to make?

Well for a start, I have to point out that it’s technically not a reformation in the sense that John (Chapple, original mclusky* bassist)… isn’t in it now. He lives and flourishes in Melbourne himself now, so there was a consideration whether we should bring it to Australia because while I’m sure it didn’t affect his day-to-day life when we were doing shows in Britain, there was a consideration that maybe we shouldn’t do it in Oz as that’s kind of his backyard.

But then that consideration is overridden but how fucking much we wanted to do it and how much people wanted to see it. But you do have to balance things sometimes and work out what the best things are for people. But in terms of ourselves, it was a really easy decision to make.

What similarities are there between mclusky* and Future Of The Left (FOTL)?

mclusky* is generally a more standard bard in most ways, most of the songs are in normal guitar tunings though there’s songs from the last album, The Difference, that have a silly slide tuning and the songs You Should be Ashamed Seamus and Falco vs. the Young Canoeist are in a tuning which I subsequently went on to use in FOTL. This is probably why these are songs that foreshadow FOTL… they have some of the same elements on it.

And which is the harder gig for you; FOTL or mclusky*?

FOTL is harder because there is more to think about, the peaks and troughs are a lot more different, whereas mclusky* is a lot more constant and full on. That’s basically the problem. By the time of writing (mclusky*’s third album) The Difference Between You and I Is That I’m Not on Fire, I was deliberately writing intros to give myself a break, to give myself a chance to get my breath back and just play my guitar.

Luckily, You Should be Ashamed Seamus, is possibly one of the best things that I have ever written, it’s certainly in the top couple as far as I am concerned anyway and that song has a minute long intro. So that song, it’s not only my favourite thing to hear, but because in a mclusky* set it basically says to me, on a subliminal level, “you’ve got a chance just to get your breath back” (laughs).

What is your M.O. for the upcoming Australia tour?

People are coming along armed with nostalgia, but if they are coming away still thinking of that show they saw at The Zoo in Brisbane in 2002, or The Corner in Melbourne in 2004…if they’re going away still thinking about that show then we have totally failed as a rock band you know? Because it’s not just a bunch of memories on stage.

Do you see playing live a bit like entertainment then?

In a way… Like, the paying punter, especially in Oz, where I respect the fact that the tickets do cost a little bit more than they do here for various reasons, but that is still taken into account you know, and it’s respected by me. Now that doesn’t mean a better show but I understand the proper money that people have spent, and these are not necessarily people that have always got a lot of money who have paid to come to those shows.

That kind of thing also has a competitive element with me because I don’t even consider myself a good capitalist but I want people to come away feeling as if their expectations are met, but also that it’s a night out. You don’t necessarily get that many nights out in the current economy, so you want to come away saying, “we spent all that money on that shit and it was fucking great.”