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An Interview With - The Bonnevilles

  • Written by  Debbie Sheringham


The Bonnevilles are quite literally on a roll. From their humble beginnings in Belfast, to the heady heights of Mississippi and beyond. I managed to catch a few words with Andy McGibbon, as he was packing for their forthcoming tour of the UK.  

DS: Andy, tell me a little bit about the history of The Bonnevilles.

AMcG: We've been playing since around 2007/8. We both played in another garage band called The Childish Thoughts, playing mostly in Belfast. I wanted to do this two piece thing and was doing it with a couple of other drummers but they didn't work out so I asked Chris [McMullen] would he fill in and that was that. We've released two albums on Motor Sounds Records and one on Twenty Stone Blatt, both UK labels.  

DS: I understand that you have recently signed to an American record label - how do you feel about that?

AMcG: We're thrilled to bits, Alive Natural Sounds is a label we're both fans of, and in fact some of our favourite bands are on there. We have become friends with some of them over the years finding ourselves playing the same festivals and shit so it was easy in the end to make contact with Patrick from the label and agree to release the record. The album is called Arrow Pierce My Heart and we hope it's out in March 2016 (ish).

DS: ..and, you're just about to go on tour.

AMcG: Yes, we gig and tour as much as is possible and we believe in traveling and doing things the old fashioned way putting in the road miles so we had a Benelux tour in the first few months of existence. Rent-A-Car, borrowed gear, no money tours. Good fun but tough. Since then we've steadily building up our contacts and now have played and toured in UK, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, France and just this year we got to play in the US, Mississippi, that was a real blast.

DS: How do you manage to make the band work around your jobs / family etc.?

AMcG: I think when you're both committed to the band it's easy. I'm pretty much full time at it and Chris is going full time next year so we'll be able to tour more, which is good. My wife's Dad was a musician so she knows the life and Chris's partner knows him as a drummer first so I guess it's a part of the package. To us it's a job, a job we enjoy, but still a job. There's a lot of work behind the scenes, we talk, email, skype, text each other all day everyday about band business, trying to make things happen so I think it's about approach to your job and perhaps our families see that and know we're not out there trying to be "cock stars", we're working musicians. Tomorrow morning I leave here to pick Chris up to head off on a two week tour of the UK and there will be a lot of tears in this house, I'm not looking forward to that but what can we do except endure it. 

DS: What inspires you? Who are your biggest musical influences?

AMcG: For me I have a big blues background Robert Johnson is my man, Chris has a more heavy metal background but these days Ty Segal is floating his boat. He met James Hetfield once and turned into a wee girl. I think the same would happen if he met Ty, actually now I think of it he may have met him earlier this year, I wonder did he faint?

DS: You describe your sound as Garage Punk Blues™  talk me through that.

AMcG: I think it's a response to the way blues went in the '80s with the big fucking solos and too much noodling. The garage thing sort of brings it back to a more elemental sound. I had lost heart with the blues thing until I heard the R.L. Burnside record An Ass Pocket Of Whiskey (Ed. - a great yardstick from my own youth) that turned it all round for me. At once realising how vital the blues sound can still be, this band was born in that moment.

DS: What is on the cards for the band in the near future?

AMcG: We've tours being booked now for France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. We hope to get back to the US next year to support the release of the new album.

DS: Who are the band listening to right now?

AMcG: Fuzz, Ty Segal, Left Lane Cruiser, James Leg.

A big thanks to Andy for taking time out to speak to Musos' Guide - we wish The Bonnevilles well on their tour of the UK, details of which can be found here.

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