Welcome To Bandit Country
They’re the comedy rap duo who have lit a fire under Irish music, brought the zeitgeist to Limerick and proved that it is possible to be funny, groovy and a little bit scary at the same time. Twelve months since 'Horse Outside', The Rubberbandits are STILL the plastic-bag bemasked twosome on everybody’s lips. Accompanying their exclusive seasonal photoshoot with Hot Press, they talk Christmas number ones, being shadowed by journalists and stuffing a flann under Dolores O’Riordan’s door...
Olaf Tyaransen, 09 Dec 2011
It’s several hours before The Rubberbandits sold-out Galway Comedy Festival show is due to kick off. The boys are already in costume, however, when Hot Press arrives at the Roisin Dubh to interview them. Which is to say that Limerickmen Dave Chambers and Bob McGlynn – better known by their daft stagenames Blindboy Boat Club and Mr. Chrome – are both wearing faded tracksuits, cheap jewellery, and balaclavas expertly fashioned from plastic shopping bags on their heads.
No surprise there. The acclaimed comedy duo have never shown their faces in public, and they always do their interviews in character. Their style is satirical, surrealist and deliberately crude, but also usually scalpel-sharp. This writer interviewed them before a live audience in the Hot Press Chatroom at Electric Picnic 2011, and they effortlessly batted back every question with a witty riposte, delivered in an exaggerated Limerick hardman drawl. Well, almost every question. Whenever they got flummoxed, they simply accused me of pushing “the Viking agenda.” The audience loved them.
Very little is known about Ireland’s least recognisable celebrities, other than that Chambers and McGlynn met while attending Ardscoil Rís in Limerick, and were entertaining their schoolfriends with recorded prank phone calls from their mid-teens. Those calls were compiled into bootleg CDs, which eventually became successful radio broadcasts, both here and internationally. They switched to television: having entertained Irish audiences with weekly sketches on RTÉ’s Republic Of Telly (which spawned the viral YouTube hit ‘Horse Outside’), the ‘Bandits are now doing shows for MTV and
Their debut album Serious About Men – released on their own Lovely Men Music label – has just been released. It will be fascinating to see if their popularity as a live act translates into mega sales. And they are hugely popular. As Róisín Dubh owner Kevin Healy tells me, “The Rubberbandits have been a consistently great seller for us over the last couple of years. One time we had them here, at the height of the ‘Horse Outside’ thing, they sold out two shows in 24 hours. There’s been a slight dip between then and now, but they’ve sold out again tonight, and I think they’re going to be really huge again after
While some commentators dismiss them as a novelty act, The Rubberbandits are deadly serious about what they do. Not that they’d ever say it to
According to a band spokesperson, “The word ‘novelty' is something that gets thrown at them now and then, but it stems from peoples lazy desire to label things rather than deal with the anxiety of ambiguity. Novelty music is gimmick music that lacks substance or talent, ie. ‘Crazy Frog’. The lads make comedy music, or as they describe it, music that happens to be funny. More importantly, their music is not merely a vessel to carry jokes, but rather it is equally as important as the joke. They write, perform, record, produce, mix and master all the music themselves. The songwriting, production and melody are just as important as the jokes and satirical undertones in