Friday 8 November 2013

From the Rebellion Archives: Runnin Riot Interview 2012

One of the best things about writing for a festival programme is that it gives you the perfect opportunity to get back in touch with people you may have only met on the odd occasion. This is what happened with the Runnin Riot boys. I'd met Marty and Colin forever ago but never really had the chance to get to know them properly. They were as lovely as I remembered them and gave some cracking answers. An absolute pleasure to share a Bucky or two with them and carry on our chat at Rebellion that year.

Belfast's finest Oi! band have been described as producing songs that "revere booze, brotherhood, and politics and their combined effect on the working class". A band set apart from the other Oi! bands who sing on these classic themes by their overriding sense of fun, their experience in gigging and by having the knack of writing bloody catchy anthems, they have become firm Rebellion favourites. They will be playing with Rancid later this year and with a new album due later this year, things are looking good for Belfast's premier bovva boys. Rebellion had a chat with singer Colin over a large Buckfast. It ended better for him than us.

Rebellion: Welcome back to Rebellion boys! When was the first time you played here? Has it changed?
Runnin Riot: We played at H.I.T.S way back in 2001. we played Rebellion in 2009 and 2011. We love the festival! It's good to see so many great and colourful people in one place, it's a great time for catching up with our mates. We wouldn't change a thing about Rebellion.

Rebellion: What's your favourite Rebellion memory?
Runnin Riot: That first year we played we'd been across to England a few days before the fest and had done a few gigs around the North of England and Scotland, so we had been partaking in quite a bit of Buckfast. Anyway, the day we play, our bassist is nowhere to be found. So with various search parties dispatched he is eventually located asleep on the beach. He is then virtually carried back up to the venue about a half an hour before we play. Incapable of speech he plays an absolute stormer of a gig, then promptly disappears again as the rest of us retire to the sanctury of our Buckfast.  Then around 3-4 hours later the bass player reappears with those immortal words (which still bring a smile to my face!) "alright lads? What time are we on at?" Laugh?.....I even bought Watford Jon a drink that day!!

Rebellion: Who do you recommend not to miss on the line up this year?
Runnin Riot: We're big Social Distortion fans so we'll be front and centre for them, The Slackers, Argy Bargy, Gimpfist, Booze & Glory, Control, Marching Orders, The Blame, Los Fastidios, Hardskin and of course Rancid! Far too many great bands to mention!

Rebellion: Who would be on your ideal line up?
Runnin Riot: All of the above with the addition of 'Sparrer, Cockney Rejects, The Skints, Patriot, and from Oz, Plan of Attack and the mighty ROSE TATTOO!

Rebellion: What are your live shows like?
Runnin Riot: It's somewhat of a Buckfast fuelled sing-a-long! We have the odd stage invasion too! I guess if ya really wanna know come down and watch us play.

Rebellion: Are you happy with being described as an Oi! band?
Runnin Riot: We don't really care how people describe us or label us, but the roots of the band and the music we produce are based firmly in the hey day of good old fashioned Oi! of the early eighties. It would be fair to say that our music has evolved immensely since the release of  "Reclaim the Streets" in 1998. Oi!, Punkrock, Streetpunk! We play working class street music! Oi! Oi!

Rebellion: You appear tread the very careful line of carrying a strong social message in your songs without being overtly political. How important is that to you?
Runnin Riot: We think its important to be responsible with lyrics. I think nowadays we have a lot to be pissed off about! We try to strike a balance with our songs. We have songs about injustice and working class struggle but we also have songs about George Best and getting pissed!

Rebellion: How would you describe the state of punk and Oi! in Northern Ireland right now? Any bands we should watch out for?
Runnin Riot: With the recent opening of the new Warzone Centre Belfast's scene is looking healthy! It's a drop in centre with a stage and huge sound system, a great place to put on gigs or play with a great atmosphere. There are a lot of great bands doing the rounds at the minute! Hardcase, Excuses, Thee Radicals, The Jollars, Section 4, 1000 Drunken Nights are all worth checking out.

Rebellion: You are all renowned for liking a beer/vodka/bucky, how did you celebrate completing your last album 'Boots and Ballads'?
Runnin Riot: Think we had a few bottles of the monks' finest to celebrate. We're very proud of the album. We have a great engineer who knows what we're looking for when we record. We're in the middle of writing our new album at the minute. We hope to have it finished and out by the end of this year. The new tunes are shaping up well and we're looking forward to airing a few at Rebellion this year.

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