Friday, 19 June 2009

Indietracks interview #14: Mighty Mighty

Mighty Mighty were formed in the early 80s by Mick Geoghegan and Hugh Harkin out of their shared love of soul music, Postcard Records, The Velvet Underground and Socialist Worker Party politics. By 1985 the band had settled with the line-up of Mick (guitar and lyrics), Hugh (vocals), Russell Burton (bass and backing vocals), David “H” Hennessy (drums) and Pete Geoghegan (Vox organ and guitar).The band recorded their first single (‘Everybody Knows The Monkey’/’You’re On My Mind’) for the princely sum of £40 and released it in 1986 on their own Girlie Records. This was followed by ‘Is There Anyone Out There’ (4 track 12”). Around the same time, they also featured on the NME's C86 compilation tape.

The band then signed to Chapter 22 Records, releasing a string of well-received singles and the album Sharks in 1988. Continuing interest in the band saw the reissue of Sharks in 2000, the release of a compilation of BBC session tracks in 2001, and two compilations of singles and unreleased tracks in 2000 and 2001.Today we’re joined by Russell and Mick from the band.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves
Russell: Older (clearly), but just as groovy if not groovier.
Mick: I'd much rather stay aloof and mysterious.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?
Russell: I keep coming back to Laura Nyro (New York Tendaberry) which I recently 'discovered', but best recent pop single I thought was 'The Promise' by Girls Aloud.
Mick: I'm listening to a lot of American songwriters, mainly country/folk - Jolie Holland, Handsome Family, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Joanna Newsom, Joan As Policewoman, Bonnie Prince Billy. Also love the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs. There isn't much new British music that I'm into. The likes of Bat For Lashes and Laura Marlow seem like second rate versions of the 'real thing' from the States. I'm looking forward to the second Victorian English Gentlemen's Club album and anything from Radiohead and the Arctic Monkeys.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past
Russell: I suppose The Thekla in Bristol in 1985 (our first 'out-of-town' gig) was unusual - on a boat - but maybe on a lorry by the perimeter fence at Aldermaston at a CND rally beats that.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
Russell: To play Indietracks of course!
Mick: Me too (really, really genuinely!) I'm going to New York on Friday! My first time to the States. For my daughter's 16th birthday last week I did her a compilation of songs about NY and/or by New Yorkers:

Yeah New York - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Manhattan - Ella Fitzgerald
Native New Yorker - Odyssey
The Boy From New York City - The Ad Libs
Walk On The Wildside - Lou Reed
Dance Like A Monkey - New York Dolls
Rockaway Beach - The Ramones
Up On The Roof - Carole King
Harlem Shuffle - Bob And Marcia
In The Flesh - Blondie
Summer In The City - The Lovin' Spoonful
Baby, I Love You - The Ronettes
Run Run Run - The Velvet Underground
Bring The Noise - Public Enemy
Last Night - The Strokes
Theme From New York, New York - Frank Sinatra

And we're going to the Notting Hill Carnival in August.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
Russell: Hugh is Grade 8 on the Haitian Nose Flute.
Mick: Russell is Mr Memory - that's why he was tasked with the biog on our MySpace.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?
Russell: I've just done a 'mixtape' CD which I’ll still be listening to in July as follows:
Yvonne Elliman, Vicky Leandros, Todd Rundgren, Anne-Marie David, Jamiroqui, Shed Seven, Sterephonics, Julian Cope, David Bowie, Human League, Clifford T Ward, Don MacLean, Ronan Keating, Spice Girls, Elvis Presley, Glenn Tilbrook, Go-Betweens.
Mick: I'm pretty much alone in my household with my love of country and dub reggae, so it will be a compromise. We all like the Clash, 70s/80s disco and soul, the Smiths (my son insists they ripped us off), Echo and the Bunnymen, Dizzie Rascal.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?
Mick: We start rehearsing this week so who knows what we might come up with. I don't suppose it will be much of a surprise that we are balder and fatter than we used to be.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?
Russell: It's something that our children can come and see (that's if they want to come) and if they don't like the music they can look at the trains!
Mick: My kids have never seen us play, so this is ideal for them.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?
Mick: I'm just looking forward to seeing new bands and hopefully finding my next favourite band.

Thanks Russell and Mick – look forward to seeing you at the festival!


  1. Who is Hugh Harkin?

  2. Its an alias for Hugh McGuinness. Two n's. That was his stage name i believe. massive fan.

    love 1980's chris