ModPopPunk Archives: Do you remember the begining of the Undertones?
Michael BRADLEY: I do. But it's a long story. The short version is - John and Billy and John's brother Vincent had an idea for a band in 1974. Then I started hanging round their house, as I was at school with Vincent. I was asked to join, even though we didn't actually exist. Then we got Feargal to join, who was in Billy's class at school. This was November 1975 and at this time we had some instruments and were learning how to play songs. Then Vincent was told to leave the band by his mother and he was replaced by Damian.
MPP A: Why did you choose this name?
MB: Billy saw the word in a history book and we liked it because it sounded
like a 1960s band. Feargal never liked it.
MPP A: Was the 70s punk scene in Derry/Ulster different than in UK?
MB: It was almost non existent, apart from us and someone called Donal
MPP A: What distinguishes the UNDERTONES from any other Ulster band?
MB: Oh....better songs, a better singer (still a better singer) and we're
MPP A: What was the band who influenced the UNDERTONES in first?
MB: I suppose the Rolling Stones, then the Ramones, then the New York Dolls.
Then the Buzzcocks.
MPP A: What are your best UNDERTONES memories from 70s/80s?
MB: Too many to remember. I liked going to the Netherlands to make records.
MPP A: Why the band split up in 1983?
MB: Feargal thought he'd have more success on his own, and he was right.
MPP A: Do you still live in Derry? Derry in 2005 is it very different than in late 70s?
I live in Derry today. It's better in some ways, but worse in other
ways. We have better shops, and no violence, but there are too many
people getting drunk and behaving badly.
MPP A: The band is now back with a new (and great!) singer - Paul McLoone , could you please introduce him?
MB: Paul is from Lisfannon Park in Derry, which is only a kilometre from
O'Neill's house in Beechwood Avenue where the band was based. He used to
sing in a band with Billy, and I know him through radio in Derry. He's
brilliant , very funny as well.
MPP A: You tour more USA (and of course UK) than in Europe, why? Any chance to see the band in France soon?
MB: I don't know why we haven't been in France. Probably no one wants us. I
love France, and would love to play there. (we've onlly been to America
twice and Germany twice.)
MPP A: Is there a typical UNDERTONES audience?
MB: Don't know. It's a mixture of people over 40 and people under 25. They
all smell nice , though.
MPP A: What do you think of "Get What You Need" CD? Are you satisfied?
MB: I'm still pleased with it, but I wish we would hurry and make another.
MPP A: "Joyland" and "Everything But you" are very brilliant, why there are any M.Bradley songs in the 70s/80s albums?
MB: Thank you for the kind words. I always waited for Damian or John to start a song that I would work on. I think I'm also lazy, or there's always something good on TV or there's a cup of tea to drink before I get round to writing a song.
MPP A: Could you please talk a little about your next album?
MB: If I knew anything about it I would tell you. We're still writing songs. (I mean, John is writing songs. The rest of us are thinking about it)