Forming a band in the '70s and writing material based around experiences felt during 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland was a tougher prospect than many British punk bands ever had to experience, yet Stiff Little Fingers have been there, done it and survived to sing the tales.
Calling your first single 'Suspect Device' probably deterred many radio DJs from touching SLF material from the outset, leaving trusty John Peel as the sole champion of Jake Burns' political and socially-savvy punksters. After weeks of continued plays on his programme, Rough Trade inked a deal with the band and issued 'Suspect Device' some twelve months after signing on the dotted line. Other powerful, frenetic, visceral and passionate punk singles appeared during their time as independent artists - 'Alternative Ulster', 'Gotta Gettaway', 'Straw Dogs', 'Nobody's Hero' and 'At The Edge' leave listeners in little doubt that these were provocative times. Frankly, no band, punk or otherwise, had as much harmonious rage bottled up as SLF.
Their debut album 'Inflammable Material' became the first independent album to scale the national UK Album Chart, selling over 100,000 copies in the process, and arguably, one of the most influential. But, after securing a major deal for their own Rigid Digits label to Chrysalis, the band's heyday passed, even after the decent 'Nobody's Heroes' and 'Go For It!' albums and they split in 1982. But not for long. Since 1987, Burns and co have continued to tour and record the occasional album, the last of which appeared in 2004 entitled, 'Guitar and Drum'. It must be about time for album number 10 then.
By the end of the year, Stiff Little Fingers will have performed a couple of August shows in Buckley and Dunfermline, a key slot at this year's jam-packed Rebellion Festival in Blackpool (on the 5th August) and (hopefully) finished off that new set of songs ready for an imminent release at around the time of their annual UK jaunt.
First stop at present is Holmfirth on 10th November, followed by Wolverhampton, Belfast (THAT will be some show), Edinburgh and Portsmouth - these shows are all available now, priced at around £15. Just joining the schedule is Leicester for 14th November - this one goes on sale Thursday 5th July at 9am.