The Stoutfellows: Kiwi-Celts from New Zealand (Oct’02)
The Stoutfellows are a fine bunch of fellows from beyond down-under, New Zealand to be exact. This interview was conducted by our own Katie Couric, Brian Gillespie with the Stoutfellows headbanger in residence Scott Spatcher-Harrison.
(S’n’O) Tell us about the history of The Stoutfellows?
(Scott) The Stoutfellows started out in or around January 1999. First gig was on St Patrick’s Day of that year. I joined in July that year because the original mandolin player left. The current guitarist picked up mandolin and I took over on guitar! (Make sense so far?). I used to play electric mandolin years ago – a Flying V shaped one too – but I didn’t like it when everyone pointed and laughed at it so I never played it much. I had the option and went for guitar like a bull at the gate. I play guitar and sing for my death metal band “Human” on occasion too. Mp3’s of that are available at http://human.iuma.com/
(S’n’O) I know you might change the band name. Do you have any ideas? Any Suggestions?
(Scott) The names “Sliver Spear” and “Heart Of Chrome” have been chucked around. Nothing really sticking yet. If we can get name that sounds “metal” but not too Irishy, rol de dol de dol, then that’d be cool. “The Stoutfellows” sounds big, although I should add we’re all pretty rake framed.
(S’n’O) How is the music scene in New Zealand? How about the Celtic music scene?
(Scott) Good from what I know of. There’s a few in Christchurch here. Small city by some standards so a small scene. Few bands doing what we’re doing I understand so that’s something – especially in NZ where standing out is everything. Names? Boys From Ballyrag, Dublin Street, Jacky Tar (from Wellington), Banshee Reel (since split but good they were). Enough name dropping now eh?
(S’n’O) Currently, here in the states, Punk bands like Flogging Molly, and Dropkick Murphys, have been experiencing a boom in popularity, What are folks listening to down under?
(Scott) The fuckin’ radio.
(S’n’O) Steinlager, in your opinion, Good or bad? Why?
(Scott) Bad, in my opinion, because I throw up everytime I drink the stuff. Why they sent it out to the rest of the world I’ll never know. By the way, there goes any hope of a sponsorship! Haha! I’m more of a Bourbon or Whisky man. We got Jameson Irish Whisky to help us out with a massive banner for our show. Luckily their drink is a grand drop. The beer of choice for us is probably a local brew called “Speights”. It comes from the southern parts of NZ and some say it’s an acronym for ‘Superior Piss Enjoy In Great Hotels Throughout Southland’. Give me whisky anyday. Steinlager ist sweinlager.
(S’n’O) You guys are sponsored by Jameson’s Irish Whiskey right? How’d you do that?
(Scott) We asked them to help and they said “What?”. So we spoke up a little louder and they said “Oh sorry, we couldn’t hear you very well because some guy is operating heavy machinery in the background here.” We agreed that that was an annoyance but managed to convince them that we could plaster them around our site, posters, flyers, CD’s etc, provided they give us money. They did, and we’re smiling.
(S’n’O) Tell us about the band’s musical influences?
(Scott) There’s quite a wide spread of different musical influences in this group. Simon (Fox, drummer) and Andrew (Boon, mandolin) are big Ozzy Osbourne fans. Andrew, or as we call him “F.B.I.” (Fancy Boy International) is into everything from Red Gum to The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. As long as it’s got RED in the title I think he’s happy. Simon is a little more metal based ie, Annihilator, Iron Maiden, Racer X, Tool. It really shows in his style so it’s cool. Amy (Sutherland) is in Jazz Schooling at the moment. I guess it’s safe to say that she… like jazz. I’m right into the metal thing and will never get out of it ever. I also think Billy Joel had a profound influence on my songwriting, ditto Prince.
(S’n’O) What makes you the best Celtic Rock band in New Zealand?
(Scott) Because we look good in black and play every gig like it’s our last. We like what we do, we’re lucky we have the chance to do it. Ever since that age where you pick up an instrument and you’re told not to waste your time with it. It’s paying off now, believe me, we’re making it a reality for ourselves. That’s what makes us the best in New Zealand. We’re working for it and not taking it for granted.
(S’n’O) I noticed you guys enjoy the heavy metal, will that reflect on the next album?
(Scott) Maybe. There may be a Judas Priest cover on it or something. Who knows? We’ve got a tune called “Maidenhead” (Iron Maiden, Motorhead rip off there) which gets riff laden and rough. Mandolin and guitar swaping solos all over the shop. Fucking great song too.
(S’n’O) What’s the best part about being in a band?
(Scott) See question 8 really! Just the chance to be able to play music in front of different people and have them like it or hate it. You can be who/what you want to be with a band, particularly when all the members of the band are good musicians. It’s a good felling to know that your songs are in someone’s head for the next week, month, or year once they’ve heard it.
(S’n’O) What are the future plans for you guys? How about 5 years?
(Scott) I think we’d like to be seeing the rest of the world while we’re young enough to enjoy it. Europe, USA, wherever – just as long as we’re happy we will keep going. 5 years? I wouldn’t like to speculate. As long as we’re not playing in coffee houses around Gore – that’d suck.
(S’n’O) Any upcoming Aussie tours?
(Scott) Well we’re currently scheduled to play in Melbourne, Australia from the start of December this year. We’ll be there for about 3 weeks or so. That’ll be fun because the Aussies are nuts too.
(S’n’O) Speaking of Australia, I keep hearing about the band Roaring Jack. Have they influenced you guys at all?
(Scott) Nope. Never heard of them sorry…, but send them our best regards please.
(S’n’O) Is it just me, or is Russell Crowe a complete bastard?
(Scott) Maybe he’s misunderstood. Maybe he’s a multi faceted personality with a pant-load of cash and no privacy. Or maybe he’s just a snot nosed twat with bad taste in women and needs to bend over backwards and take a bite out of his own arse. Actor indeed!
(S’n’O) Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Is there anything you’d like to say?
(Scott) Not really. Thanks for the interview Brian! We get a lot of hits from the Shite ‘n’ Onions website and we’re extremely grateful for that. You can check out our site at http://www.thestoutfellows.com/ or download our mp3’s (yes it’s free and okay) at http://stoutfellows.iuma.com/.
I’d like to finish by saying something philosophical about the almighty dollar. But since I’m a bit thick I’ll steal something David Lee Roth said: “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a boat big enough to sail right up next to it.”