In 2019, Alexandros Anesiadis will be releasing Crossover the Edge, a book chronicling the crossover hardcore movement of the '80s. He recently reached out to me and asked if I would be down to host a series of new interviews he's done with a host of Oi! bands that didn't fit into his book's theme. Here is the debut installment of what I'm calling "The Oi! Files" on No Echo. —Carlos Ramirez
What's the quick story behind the formation and evolution of The Feckin Ejits?
I always wanted to be in a band but never got around to it till '83/'84. I was watching a local band and thought I could do that. I shouted "play something faster," and the singer said "try doing it yourself, mate," so I jumped on stage and asked the other fellas if they knew [Stiff Little Fingers song] "Alternative Ulster" and they said yes, I said "play it as fast as you fucking can," and away we went . A few lineup changes and I was in a band. We called it the Feckin Ejits, which is Irish slang for fuckin' idiots. We did our first gig in Aylesbury and went on to support all different kinds of acts, including the Pogues, The Exploited, UK Subs, The Business, The Last Resort, Dr. Feelgood, etc.
What were the common musical influences you guys shared as a band?
Influences were diverse since we all loved punk rock, so that was the common denominator. Everything from The Clash to The 4-Skins, with a bit of everything in between.
The term "Oi!" gets thrown around a lot, but if you had to pick, which is the band that firstly deserves that tag?
It doesn’t get more Oi! than The 4-Skins. They blew me away the first time I saw them in '81.
In the beginning of the band, did you see yourselves as a band reviving the first-wave skinhead era, or did you doing something new which happened to be rooted to that time period?
I was the only skinhead in the band at the time. My sister was a skinhead before me in the sixties, and I have always loved the early ska, so we have all of that going on. Footy was boots and Levis ready to rock in the old days, but I liked a Benny and a tonic suit if I was going out.
What did you think of other youth subcultures like mods, teds, rockabillies, punks, and metalheads? Was there a lot of conflict back in the day?
As the band started in a small town with a famous reputation for putting on concerts (Friars Club), we all kind of mashed in togethe. All sorts came to see the Ejits and that’s the way we liked it. On a personal level, and before the band for me, it was just skins and punks I mixed with and everyone else was a potential fight.
In your humble opinion, who are the all-time best Oi! bands?
As I said earlier, The 4-Skins just blew me away. They spoke the same langue as me and put it into song. I love The Last Resort, Blitz, The Screws from Bracknell and, these days, Angry Agenda and Argy Bargy, but not many bands like the term Oi! But the kings of it all are the Cockney Rejects. They've stood the test of time.
What did you think about the political division that went over Oi! in the '80s with the different factions in the UK?
I have no time for any extremists and all politics do is fuck music up. Anyway, that’s my opinion. We are about drinking and having a good time and all the rest means nothing to me.
What American bands do you think that need to be specially mentioned in regards to Oi! in the 1980s?
I was very insular regarding Oi! and punk. We had so many good bands I never listened much to American stuff and that’s just the truth.
What were some of your favorite shows back in the day?
Far too many good ones come to mind for many different reasons with too many good friends I shared those times with are gone now. The Pogues were always brilliant for the massive drinking session and the craic. Anti Nowhere League and The Last Resort were great lads and down to earth. Same thing with The Business, but I think the gigs abroad sometimes are the best. A crowd of people you don’t know yet when you play the songs, they all sing along... fucking brilliant.
What was your favorite place to play and what club do you miss the most?
By far, my favorite was a dingy seaty little venue in London called Dingwalls. The water was running down the wall and the place was always tightly packed with people, even on a weekday. It was a great rock 'n' roll venue.
Can you share a funny story from all the years you've played in The Feckin Ejits?
We didn’t get on with one of the members of King Kurt so after a few words, I shit in his shoes when he was on stage and pissed in Buster Bloodvessels' orange drink, too. Lesson is don’t talk to people like cunts and they might just behave.
Do you think that Oi! is still relevant today?
If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be doing this interview today and bands wouldn’t play and people wouldn’t buy the music.
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Tagged: the feckin ejits, the oi files