Friday, December 10, 2004

The Hitchers

From Limerick in Ireland come the Hitchers, the first band to sign to Murgatroid Records. If you listened to Peel much in 97 you were bound to have heard at least their homage to Gordon Strachan ("Strachan") and if you were lucky, their fantastic Peel session including "Human Skull". To date the've released three singles ("Killed With My Bare Hands", "You Can Only Love Someone/Strachan" and "Big Mug") and their debut album, "Its All Fun And Games Untill Someone Loses An Eye". The lineup is Niall Quinn (vocals/drums), Hoss Carnage (bass/vocals), Andy Gallagher (vocals/guitars) and Eric Fitzgerald (guitars/backing vocals). These answers are coming from......... Niall Quinn, Drummer - the Hitchers

NP: How long have you been together?
NQ: Although only Hoss and me remain from the original line-up, a band called The Hitchers did their first ever show on Jan 20th 1989. So nearly nine years.

NP: Who are your influences?
NQ: I listen to eveything from Arlo Guthrie to Sepultura but if I was to say who I think has influenced us I'd say the Housemartins, the Who, Half Man Half Biscuit, Smiths, Wedding Present, Wonderstuff and any old punk, punk/metal stuff.

NP: What was the first record you ever bought?
NQ: "Why" by Bronski Beat.

NP: Did you like the feature film The Hitcher?
NQ: Yeah, though it was our long moved on ex-vocalist Eoin who thought it would make a good name for a band. I don't like it too much. I think it sounds like a country rock pub band.

NP: What Rutger Hauer type qualities do you possess?
Niall: his innovative use of fingers.
Andy: his love of Guiness.
Hoss: his ridiculous Swiss ski-instructor haircut.
Eric: his ancientness.

NP: Was he better in the Hitcher or Blade Runner?
NQ: Far better rounded character in the Hitcher.

NP: Have you ever met Gordon Strachan?
NQ: No, but we've come very close on a couple of occasions. He was fifty feet away from us at the Phoenix Festival but behind a security barrier.

NP: Do you know whether he has heard the song?
NQ: He has and apparently quite likes it. I've spoken to him a few times on the phone.

NP: Peel played it long before it was released. How'd he get hold of it?
NQ: John Peel had a copy of the "..Fun & Games.." LP because it was released in Ireland 3 months before it came out in the UK.

NP: When did you write that song?
NQ: I originally wrote it in 1992 and it sounded like a dodgy ripoff of Teenage Fanclub's "Starsign". So a year or two later when he retired I got all melancholic and re-wrote it. The team-mates mentioned aren't the championship winning side. They'd have played briefly together Sept/Oct 93 when Leeds were about 14th in the league.

NP: Whats the link between you and the Cranberries?
NQ: I'm afraid its rather more tenuous than some would like to believe. Basically back in 1989 myself and the three lads, Noel, Mike and Fergal, started a band called the Cranberry Saw Us! I was singing and playing guitar and, in fairness, was pretty crap. So we had a good laugh with it, did a dozen or so gigs and about five or six months later in Feb 90 I packed it in. It was quite an amicable divorce and I helped 'em out auditioning replacements and all that, one of whom, in April or May 90, was a girl called Dolores and the rest, as they say, is history. So I'm not quite the Pete Best/fifth Beatle type I'm sometimes made out to be. You'd be surprised thought the amount of people who think I used to sing Linger and that.

NP: What did you think of Chelmsford?
NQ: Unfortunately, as with many places we play in, I wouldn't even recognise Chelmsford unless I was shown my hotel room or the venue.

NP: Whats the best gig you've ever done?
NQ: I don't know if I could pin down a "best gig" but for me the Leeds gig (Duchess Of York) this year was special, a sort of spiritual homecoming, but places we usually enjoy would be Cork, Belfast, sometimes London...anywhere but Dublin. Fuckin' dump.

NP: How many telly channels do you get in Ireland?
NQ: We've our own three - RTE 1, Network 2, TNAG (Irish language) and all of yours except Channel 5. The regional one we get is UTV unless you're in Cork where they get the Welsh one (HTV?). So all the football is in Welsh Galic...gingganggullygullygullyRyanGiggsgullygullygullyGarySpeed!GOAL!!

NP: Who is endowed with most Girl Power. Shampoo or the Spice Girls?
NQ: Only a moron will consider me sexist for saying "Girl Power" is a bunch rhetorical bollocks and Slapper Spice, Shoplifter Spice, The Only One I'd shag Spice, Ethnic Minority Spice and The Underage One For Deviants Spice are a corporate sham for fleecing 9 year olds.

NP: If you were stranded on a desert island which band member would you eat first?
NQ: Hoss. Just to shut him up looking for the bright side of this hopeless situation.

NP: Who's your favourite Simpsons character?
NQ: Homer, no competition. I base my life on his example and learned teachings. ("thats lerned, boy" - Homer)

NP: Are singing drummers a dying breed?
NQ: I didn't know we were ever a living breed. I don't sing lead vocals live anymore. Too much hassle. I hope I'll still be singing in the studio though.

NP: What is your favourite Nirvana song?
NQ: Never like Nirvana much. All Apologies is a nice song though and Territorial Pissings off Nevermind is great too.

NP: Are there any Hitchers side project bands?
NQ: Well, Eric plays in a Glam Rock tribute band called The Alvin Purple Love God Experience and they're brilliant. Absolutely wild. I played with them once and loved it. Me and Andy do some pub sessions with a few mates but nothing serious.

NP: Which bands are you friends with?
NQ: As in famous bands? Lets see....well I've met Tjinder from Cornershop - nice bloke. So's Dave Gedge from the Wedding Present. Dr & The Medics are all great folks, went to a party with them once and ended up playing chess with the Doctor. He won. And I s'pose I'd still see the lads from the Cranberries down the pub.

NP: Which band member can drink most alcohol?'
NQ: Certainly not me anyway. I'd say Eric or Andy with Eric winning it by a nose.

NP: Is it true you're on the same label as Shane MacGowan's sister? What's her stuff like?
NQ: Yes, Siobhan MacGowan has jus finished her first album but I've not heard anything yet.

NP: Where are your big heads from the Big Mug video right now?
NQ: They're sitting in one of the Murgatroid offices I think. We may use them again. I was thinking of painting 'em grey and doing a Mount Rushmore type photoshoot with them.

NP: What were they made of?
NQ: Just cardboard and paper, they're quite robust though and weigh a fucking ton! You see out through the nostrils. Me and my girlfriend spent most of July building the damn things.

NP: Who is Easy Going Eric?
NQ: Eric Fitzgerald of course. A completely ironic cartoon as he's one of the busiest people I know. He juggles two bands,, running clubs and probably prostitution, drug dealing and gun running. He likes to wet his beak in entertainment.

NP: Have you ever set fire to your home with "an unattended ciggie"?
NQ: No, I'd be pretty careful with cigarettes and that. Even when pissed. But after a night out last week I did wake up on a chair at 7.20 a.m. with an entire mug of cocoa and an encrusted toasted cheesie down my lap.

NP: Why are you called the Fabian 4?
NQ: The Fabian 4 has been described as a fan club, a mailing service etc. We still prefer to think of it as our military wing. Its named in honour of our mascot guru and single parent Fabian.

NP: Has one of Andy's farts ever killed anything?
NQ: Yes, my appetite, will to live and will to remain in the van, as well as a few other things that are subjudice and can't be spoken of here.

NP: What is the most angry you've ever made anybody?
NQ: Well we got smashed in Galway once and I told Hoss that though we've been buddies 12 years I've only liked him for a couple of months of it and he picked me up, threw me down a set of steps and broke one of my ribs. He was dead right too.

NP: What else would you like to add?
NQ: I'll get even.

Jason Graham (taken from No Pictures 7)


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