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The Bad Shepherds


Folk-punk jesters The Bad Shepherds are once again winging our way for a string of dates, including The Odd Fellow on Thursday, April 24; Fairbridge Folk Festival on Friday, April 25; and The Rosemount Hotel on Saturday, April 26. We caught up with lead singer – and, let’s not mince words, quite famous British comedian – Adrian Edmondson.

The Bad Shepherds schtick is reworking old punk and new wave classics as folk songs, with a repertoire that includes the likes of I Fought The Law, Making Plans For Nigel, No More Heroes and God Save The Queen. It may sound a bit gimmicky, but in truth it fits quite neatly with Adrian Edmondson’s longstanding interest in British history and folk traditions. That interest has also led to Edmondson hosting a number of television documentaries on the subject in recent years.

“My bedside table,” he tells us. “It’s full of kind of… I don’t really read much fiction, I read what my wife (fellow comedian Jennifer Saunders) calls textbooks. It’s just kind of books about traditions and past times in Britain. So I do this thing called Ade In Britain and I go around looking at things that are disappearing and things that we’ve forgotten about and I am, bizarrely, the conduit for Morris Dancing on television. I’ve had about 10 Morris sides on.

“I think I’ve always had it.” he says of his abiding interest. “I remember in school, doing local history, and finding out that the little market town where I went to school which only had about 2000 inhabitants used to have 37 pubs and thinking, ‘Ooh, that’s interesting!’ I’ve always had a fascination for mindless facts and trivia. A lot of people call it trivia, but I find it very interesting. I’m reading about beer at the minute, actually. Beer is endlessly fascinating – not just to drink. Do you know that they started brewing beer in Iraq? Iraq and Egypt – that’s where we started brewing beer. Used to put all kinds of psychotropic drugs in it as well.”

A conversation with Edmondson – still best known in Australia for playing the anarchic punk Vyvyan in The Young Ones – is peppered with such asides and historical detours. Indeed, it takes a bit of work to bring him back to the matter at hand, which is The Bad Shepherds’ upcoming Australian tour, a surprisingly quick return following their 2013 trip.

“Well, we had a good time,” Edmondson says. “Coming back, we’re a lot better organised about it. What we did when we came last time was just play the state capitals, doing one gig in each – which was an awful lot of flying for not much gigging. Most of the tour seemed to be spent checking in and checking out of airports. We’re coming back with the same promoter and I had a good chat with them beforehand and said ‘Why don’t we do this and do some shows a bit further away from the state capitals?’ I don’t really know where these places are, whether they’re suburbs or towns, but places like Ballarat and Katoomba and Cronulla – you might be able to tell me. But they sound interesting!”



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