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Michael Bradley

Casbah days – a black sunburst bass guitar which was bought in Raphoe thanks to a Provident loan (APR 3,000%).

I wasn’t even there to choose it, Billy and John and Feargal were there so they must have picked it.

No name on it, possibly because the makers were so ashamed of it.

The amp, also bought in Raphoe, was a Selmer. It was the size of a small wardrobe but didn’t sound as good.

In March 1978 I bought a dark red semi acoustic Eko bass guitar, which cost £50. I used this on the Teenage Kicks recording with a  H&H 100 watt 15” combo.

Then when fame and fortune came a calling, I bought a blue Rickenbacker 4001 from Session Music in Derry. I still used the H &H until we employed some proper guitar roadies who laughed when they saw it and went out with the band cheque book and came back with a HiWatt head and a Marshall cabinet. After a year, the same roadie went out and came back with a Fender Precision. A proper man’s bass, that was.

In the dark days of 1983, the producer of Sin Of Pride said I should go out and buy a Wal bass, as they were great. Active pickups, etc. I did. I got one made, and the only input I had was that I wanted it pink. It came back the colour of faded Anglo Bubbly.

From reading this you will realise that if either a roadie or a producer told me to stick my hand in the fire, I probably would.  That’s why it’s taken me four hours to type this.

John O’Neill

Casbah and Teenage Kicks days:

50 watt H&H combo amp and Zenta ( I think) Telecaster copy made in China or Taiwan bought in Woolworths. It was a toss up between that and a Johnny Seven, then again, it was 1976 in Derry, there were too many real guns about and the guitar was cheaper!

Once we were signed: Fender Telecaster x 2. Haven't a clue what amp...Musicman 100 watt combo ?

Damian O’Neill

I only became an Undertone because I had an electric guitar and the rest of them didn’t...God’s honest truth. I bought it in Woolworths and cost £14 and sounded pretty horrible (nothing to do with the player of course). After that I got a beautiful s/hand red sunburst Wilson Rapier 44, a gorgeous Strat copy with 4, yes 4 pickups! It cost £30 at a shop in Raphoe and I foolishly sold it for the same price about a year later. Fast forward about 9 years to 1985 and I spotted the same model selling for £600 at a gtr shop in Denmark St......

Next guitar (‘77) was a sunburst CSL Les Paul copy which I still have for sentimental reasons. I seem to remember it cost an astronomical price of £80 brand new from the same music shop in Raphoe but by then I was an Undertone and we had recently bought all our musical equipment by hire purchase set up in my Dad’s name as a guarantor. This was the very guitar I used all through the Casbah days and on the Teenage Kicks E.P.  Some day I promise to donate it to the Hard Rock Café .

As for amps, we emulated our heroes the Buzzcocks and used 50 watt H&H combos ( although they used the louder 100 watt  versions which were beyond our means then).

After signing with Sire, I bought  2 sun burst Gibson Les Paul’s (custom and standard) and gradually moved from H&H amps to Marshall combo to Marshall 100 watt head with 4X12 cab and  promptly got tinnitus.

By ‘81 with the Positive Touch record, we acquired 3 lovely ‘60’s Gretsch gtrs for a bargain price of only £1000....a  Country Gent (which John used), a Chet Atkins (which I used) and a black duo jet model (featured in the It’s Going to Happen video) which was criminally sold off for a pittance in the great ‘Undertones sale of the century’ after we broke up to pay off outstanding debts. For some stupid reason I agreed to sell the two Les Paul’s at the sale. A word to the wise: never ever sell your cherished choice of musical instrument unless you’re strung out or living in the gutter; believe me you will ALWAYS regret it.

Also in ‘81, being more adventurous, I purchased a s/hand alto saxaphone which was made I believe in Czechoslovakia. Hey I was hip with my horn man! However after an eternity of squeaks, squeals and spit, the sax was thankfully put to rest in the attic where it remains to this day.

Trainspotters fact: my 2 note sax playing can be heard on the outro of Bittersweet.

On the Sin Of Pride record, I played a Korg CX3 which was a more practical, lighter and vastly cheaper version of a Hammond organ. Nick Cave still uses one and I’m glad to say I still have mine although I believe Feargal ended up with the spare (being a professional band we had two of everything). Best used on The Love Parade, the CX3 was also the swirling sound that give birth to legendary Derry supergroup, The Wesley’s. This group comprised of Lesley Wesley on organ (yours truly), Wesley Hunter on bass (Mickey Bradley) and Elvis Wesley (Ciaran McLaughlin - future TPE skin basher) on drums. They dressed in matching yellow striped shirts and wore floppy fringes. They only ever played 3 shows and promptly broke up after Lesley Wesley attained high falutin’ ideas by insisting on doing Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ in the set with his Czechoslovakian saxaphone with the inevitable excruciating results.

Lest we forget though, The Love Parade was initially written for the Wesley’s and I still swear that their version eats the U/Tones version for breakfast.

Billy Doherty

At one time John had suggested that I should be the lead guitar player for the band but I had my heart set on the drums. I always wanted to be a drummer since I was 8 years old. During the fledgling years of the Undertones I didn’t have a drum kit just a set of bongos, which I bought in 1975 from Paddy Rice’s record shop in Carlisle road. It was the only percussive instrument, which I could afford. I had to use them on band rehearsals for songs like  “Ballad of John and Yoko” and “Jumping Jack Flash”. I still have those bongos. Before having the bongos I would have to practice on cushions, arm rests, kitchen tables, school desks, you name it I hit it.


With the provident cheque, which John and Dee’s father secured for us, I bought a second hand jumble of drums from Reynolds Music Shop in Raphoe. It was a gold Hayman snare, a Trixon 24” bass drum, a Trixon 16” floor tom both of which had been recovered with black sticky back plastic. I think it had an Olympic rack tom. My cymbals were a mixture of knackered metal discs and a Premier Super Zyn. I always thought that the bass drum was only used to display the band name; I didn’t realise that you had to play it!! So, I got a Premier 205 bass pedal beater. The bass drum also doubled up as dog basket, which was used by Sparkey to rear her pups. Sparkey belonged to Mrs Simms who was the lady that allowed us to use her back yard shed to practice. I guess the blanked lined bass drum was so cosy for Sparkey. When Sparkey had her litter in my bass drum we couldn’t practice.


In order to pay back the Provident loan which John and Dee’s father had gotten, I had to sell all my fishing tackle as well as a green suede coat that had a fur beige coloured lining and collar, which belonged to my mother. I had to sell it to John so as I could make my instalments.


I was always so precious about my drums; I would have killed if anyone dared look at them let alone play them. However, Vinny, John and Dees’s bother who was in the band until I kicked him out cos he was studying for his O levels, would always sneak a go. I always knew it was him because I could tell that my drums had been moved ever so slightly and when I exploded with rage and demanded to know who had touched my little darlings, Vinny would be the one trying to contain his laughter. I guess the world and his mother had a a bash on them but Vinny was the only one that would own up.


The drums, which I used on Teenage Kicks, were the house kit of the studio in Belfast. I don’t know the make of them but I think it may have been a Premier Olympic kit.


On the strength of Teenage Kicks I got a Premier Polychromatic kit. I bought them from Session Music in Belfast. I had a mixture of Avedis Zildjian and Paiste Cymbals and Premier hardware. I still have my 22” Paiste 2002 ride cymbal and cymbal case.


I secured an endorsement with Premier Drums in 1980, which I still have today, and in 1980 Premier gave me a Red Resonator Kit.

When the Undertones broke up in 1983 that kit was sold to That Petrol Emotion as well as a Blue and Olive Ludwig Black Beauty 14” x 6” snare drum.


Even with success of the band I was never very good at tuning drums and Pete Thomas, drummer of Elvis Costello and the Attractions, would come to the studio to help me tune my kit.

Today I still use Ludwig Black Beauty snares. I still have my endorsement with Premier and I have a fantastic red sparkle Genista kit as well as an orange sparkle Premier Series kit. I’m also an endorsee with Sabian Cymbals and I still love drumming.

Equipment - It sounds like that because of this.