Its March 2009 and I thought 'Time for an update on The Undertones'. Regular readers will know that we haven't been playing live shows recently as we spent most of last year working on a system for winning the Euromillions lottery. Surprisingly we ran into difficulties last week, just as we were ready to test our formula. The numbers we picked were not the numbers that the computer picked. Teething difficulties, I assure you.

In the meantime we're getting ready for the Kelly's live show in April. John, Billy and I - the Derry ones - have been practising. Billy on drums, me on bass and John on guitar. (In case you were wondering) We've been playing cover versions to amuse ourselves. Till The End Of The Day, by the Kinks, Up Around The Bend by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Gudby T'Jane by Slade. I'm not saying we'll do these live as we haven't practiced them with Paul yet.  Of course, there is the danger that we'll spend so much time practising the cover versions that when it comes to playing live we'll forget how to play our own songs. What were they again ?

My Perfect Cushion ? Here Comes The Strimmer ?

Ha ! Only joking chums !  

14th March 2009 - Michael


We're in the process of tweaking the mixes of our forthcoming new Long Player - It's due to be called "Dig Yourself Deep" which is, we were delighted to discover, also the title of one of our new songs!

So far it has passed all the rigours checking which all Undertones records have gone through. The songs are good, so are the performances. We left them in a bath full of cold water overnight, and they all came out very clean. Then we left them out in the sun for a few hours last week and now they're lovely and crisp.

09 May 07, mickey


Sorry for the lack of news on our website recently, it's just that we've been in Blast Furnace recording studios for the past two months, only coming out for some sunlight, to fight off our vitamin D deficiency.

Actually, that's a bare faced lie. But is the sort of made-up crap that people in bands sometimes say. It's sheer incompetence at organising my life has led to a lack of new postings.

We have been working on the record though, and, if I say so myself, it's really good. Thirteen songs, short and sweet, all we need now is a title and artwork - although in my mind, it's done and dusted.

That's the thing with making records. You listen to them so many times that you sometimes forget it'll have a new lease of life when it's actually released. Then you get the opinions from fans, reviewers, family, pets, solicitors and children in the street who throw stones at you. We also have a couple of live shows coming up, the first we've done since the Nerve Centre at Christmas. It's almost like coming out of hibernation, so we'll have to have a good stretch and a good practice sometime this week. We're getting fitted for the glittery suits on Monday as well, so I'll need to wash under my armpits.

08 Mar 07, mickey


Hello my darlings (the greats are dropping like flies). In a first for the Nerve Centre, but not for The Undertones, we played two shows on Friday 29th December.

The first was described by us as a matinee, a word which I must assume doesn't really feature in everyday speech any more.  Just before we announced that we were doing an early show, a local journalist rang me and asked if we were doing a 'nativity'.  I was tempted to say 'yes' and tell him the story of how the four not wise men found baby Paul in a shed in Derry. Instead I had to explain that he was probably told this by some young person who didn't understand the word 'matinee' and got mixed up.

Anyway, we did the early show for under 18s (and any over 18s who wanted an early night) and it was great. Babes in arms , toddlers hoisted onto parental shoulders, and all that. The front row was dominated by half a dozen stern faced ten year olds, who I likened to multiple Simon Cowells.

They didn't show any sign of being impressed until about half way through the show. It was pointed out to me by my better half that they would be a tough audience, as they were completely sober. We did an extra song for a second encore (Teenage Kicks, appropriately) and managed to get the audience out the doors in time for them to go home and see the Simpsons.

Then a break of about four hours until the late show.  What can I say about a Nerve Centre Crowd at Christmas?  We really enjoyed playing, even though we had some tuning problems during My Perfect Cousin. (We did it again at the very end, a little less out of tune).

The new songs seemed to go down well, and it was great to see so many Rocking Humdingers had made the trip across the Irish Sea, enduring long waits at airports in the process.  Anyway, we're going back into Blast Furnace in the next few weeks to continue our recording sessions for the new record.

Happy New Year.

09 Jan 07, mickey


Greetings pop pickers (nod in the direction of the recently deceased, there). We're now back in our respective homes/hostels/cardboard boxes after our gruelling tour of Scotland and Belfast.

Thanks again to everyone who braved the storms and rain to go to the Ice Factory in Perth (should the owner not call it something warmer in winter? The Hot Water Bottle Factory, maybe?).

I thought we played really well, and the new songs were well received. Sometimes it's risky playing new songs. As Paul said to me, a band will say "Here's a new song" but sometimes the audience actually hears "Fire! Fire! Quick, run out of the building". But not this time. I suppose it helps that the songs are great.

It was the first time we were in Perth, and it was wonderful, although Damian was particularly annoyed when he discovered no kangaroos. Next morning it was nice to see that there was a Chinese takeaway in the town called after one of our new songs, "Happy Valley". It was next door to the "Hypnotised" clinic , and the "Get What You Need" pound shop.

Saturday we went to Aberdeen. It's so far away that you actually can't go past it, you have to come back the way you came. The audience in the Lemon Tree was, as the old song says, 'very pretty'. Very young too, at the front row, and were such a lovely audience we'd love to take you home with us, we'd love to take you home. That's actually the line from the Beatles, but admittedly it looks a bit weird and creepy when it's written down. Sorry. Anyway, Lemon Tree. They are so nice to us there, we had to be removed by the police before the next band came on. We were supported there by TV 21, so it was nice to see them again.

Then we flew in an aeroplane to ‘Belfast City Used To Be Called Harbour But Now Called George Best Because He Was A Genius And He Came From Up The Road Airport’. We were playing in the Spring And Airbrake, and again we/the audience/the sandwiches were all brilliant. Terri Hooley came back stage to see us and he performed some of his Talking Blues, which weren't actually that bad. Anyway, Terri's such a good friend that we would watch him even if he was making animals out of balloons. Maybe that'll be a better idea Terri.

Anyway, that's all from me.

Michael / Mickey / Bass Player

04 Dec 06, mickey


Hello, all. Thought I'd do a bit of 'blogging' and save Mickey the RSI. We've been in the Nerve Centre studio with Mik and Nim knocking out some demos, which in turn have knocked us out with their knockoutness.

In fact, the band, or at least Michael and I, think the new stuff sounds absolutely amazing. Now it could, of course, just be our age/the drink/clocks going back,etc. but if the record turns out as good we might even put it out.  The seven songs are the ones we did at the Sandino's show, which MB already listed, and come in at a total of under fourteen minutes. Damian and Mickey have been collaborating on a new song too. No title yet, but what I've heard sounds really good. John also has another bunch of songs which we'll be demoing in the next couple of weeks, so it looks like we'll have enough for the LP- probably fourteen in all. Impressed? I am.

Sadly, my experiments with r'n'b/polka hybrid forms were heartlessly vetoed by the band, but may surface under a pseudonym.

Must say I'm really looking forward to getting back to playing, and catching up with you Humdingers - it amazes me when people go to such lengths to come and see us, and we really do appreciate it. Thanks for your patience this year, everyone.

Okay, I'm getting all teary, so I'm off to heat up last night's Thai curry. See you in Dublin, or Belfast, or Aberdeen, or wherever soon. Mind the gratings.

02 Nov 06, Paul


The second John Peel Day was marked in Derry last night (12th October, of course) with Derry's best group ever - that's us - in Sandino's.

We haven't played there before and boy is it swanky. They even have wallpaper in it, really good quality, none of your £3 a roll stuff, a ceiling full of fancy glass light shades (which the owner, the great Joe Mulheron, denies buying in TK Maxx) and a fine collection of Derry socialists and bohemians.

There's also a cream leather sofa in the dressing room. John O'Neill says he's moving in next week.

We have been practising new songs over the past few weeks and cunningly decided to sneak them into the set list. Seven new songs in all. Do you want a list of the titles? You're getting it anyway.

Dig Yourself Deep

Him Not Me

Precious Little Wonder

She's So Sweet

Easy Way Out

Everything You Say Is Right

So Close (Otherwise known to us as Bish Bash Bosh, The Fast One, Der-der-der-der-der-der, The Other Fast One, That's Wile Hard To Play,  The Johnny Thunders One, The Double Deckers One, and the Stooges One.)

We also decided to play some clips of John Peel from the Radio One show that he played our session on a couple of years ago. Thanks to Vinny Cunningham for supplying the CD. All in all we were very happy with how it went. Well to be honest, we didn’t get the chance for a proper postmortem. I had to run away straight after, because the dressing room was so full of smoke I thought it was some kind of training exercise for the Fire Brigade. It wasn't. Instead it was four devotees of British American Tobacco competing to see who could generate the most chemicals and tar in their mouths in the shortest possible time. Not my scene, man.

Anyway, me and Paul (just like the Willie Nelson song) had a quick analysis afterwards in the corridor outside the men's toilets (they're swanky too) and were fairly happy with the night's performance. 24 songs, one encore (You've Got My Number, shock relegation for one of the best Undertones records !!!) and a great bit of onstage technical repair by Nim Durey, our man with the sonic screwdriver.

Of course, the audience might have hated it. We might have to go into hiding.

13 Oct 06, mickey

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