After playing three benefit shows at the tail end of last year and closing The Cave at this years 2000 Trees festival, mclusky* have announced and subsequently sold out a gig at The Garage in London tonight (3rd December).
Formed in 1999, the band released three albums before their timely split in 2005. Guitarist/vocalist Andrew Falkous and drummer Jack Egglestone went on to form Future of the Left while bassist/vocalist Jon Chapple shyed away from music. They’re a band, like Oceansize, Jarcrew and Million Dead, whose importance has swelled since their demise. It’s why mclusky*, featuring Andrew and Jack alongside fellow FOTL member Julia Ruzicka on bass and The St. Pierre Snake Invasion’s Damien Sayell has been so warmly recieved. It’s also why the asterisk is there.
mclusky* isn’t a reunion. It’s old friends playing old songs and enjoying it for what it is. While speaking to Andrew Falkous about all things Christian Fitness and Future of the Left, his two current concerns, talk turned to mclusky* and where that stands.
“The way we looked at it, a lot of the experience of being in a small band is, by necessity, quite selfish. You have to try and make some money or, at the very least, not lose money. We get asked to do charity shows frequently enough to have a stock answer of no. If we’re being asked to do charity shows, chances are it’s in Cardiff or London because they’re the places we could make money, for obvious reasons. If we do that, we’re not able to play there again for a year. With the best will in the world if you go and see a band, and it’s for charity, the only people there who are really giving up a chunk are the band. With the mclusky* shows the thought process was that we’re not going to be doing those shows anyway, why don’t we do something nice for somebody. It’s not as explicit as putting something back but when you get the chance to do something nice for somebody you like, you should try and do it.
“It’s the sort of the thing that can be really good fun, if done once or twice a year. It can easily overstay it’s welcome. As great fun as it was to do at 2000 Trees the problem is, because of how it’s regarded, it does overshadow FOTL. That’s fine occasionally but FOTL is the real, ongoing concern.”
With mclusky*, Jack contacted Jon Chapple who said he was fine with us doing it. It’s not a holy script but it’s a name you don’t really want to take in vain because it was, and is, special. You can guarantee that if we did end up touring it, we’d end up being paid quite well but just for the sake of playing shows, it’s left for special occasions and having fun. All four of the shows were a fantastic experience. People were singing back to the songs which mean a lot to them for different reasons. It was a really friendly crowd and, especially at a couple of the shows, it felt like something special had happened.”
Talk turns to the last mclusky* show in the capital, at London’s now deceased Buffalo Bar. “That was special. I’m not abuot to break down crying, but some of it was very special and it’s nights like that that make rock music magic to some people. I’ve been to lots of very good gigs where I’ve come away saying ‘that was good’. Even as a person in a band, I’ve had maybe ten special shows where you come home, sit down, stare into space and just remember the show. That was one of them. It was quite lovely. And Julia, I’m not just saying this because she’s my fucking wife, but she did a very good job and Damian’s fantastic as well.”
And as for the their upcoming London show, “There won’t be any different songs because we can’t write new ones but for me it’ll be a question of, just like every show, trying to make it even better. I know that sounds ludicrous, especially when you did a good show somewhere last time. This time it’s got to be 4.9% better but only up to the theoretical limit of 100%. We shan’t be exceeding 100% at any time during a performance, that would be an impossibility.”