THE UNDERTONES have sent a defiant ‘Fuck You, Feargal‘ message to their former frontman over his decision not to rejoin them.
The Derry punk outfit, considered by many to be the best Irish band ever, are enjoying a renaissance of late, having played a comeback show in their Derry hometown late last year, a main spot at last month’s London Fleadh and look forward to a forthcoming slot at the Witnness Festival in Dublin on August 5.
Guitarist John O’Neill told nme.com:”It was always the four of us and Feargal anyway, that was always the way. It just got worse as we got older and we all kind of went different ways. But there always was the four of us like a gang, and Feargal was slightly outside of us. There’s definitely an element of like ‘Fuck you, Feargal.'”
Bassist Mickey Bradley added: “I get the impression that he doesn’t quite approve. And to be honest, there’s a wee bit of me that’s glad it’s going well because… it shows that we weren’t sort of dependent on him.
“In any band there’s always tensions and I think we would be liars to say that it never annoyed us that all the focus was on Feargal, because it was John that wrote the best songs, and me and Damien wrote songs as well. Feargal didn’t write any songs.”
Referring to other instances when Sharkey‘s refusal to rejoin has killed off other comeback attempts O’Neill went on: “Whenever he says no, he doesn’t want to do it, it’s almost as if he’s deciding for us. And [this time] he hasn’t decided for us.”
The comments fuel a war of words between the band and their erstwhile frontman that kicked-off just prior to the Fleadh show. Sharkey, on hearing of the planned Fleadh appearance remarked: “I have a healthy disrespect for ageing pop stars”. Sharkey‘s replacement, local Derry singer Paul McCloone, responded, saying: “If Feargal thinks he can’t cut it, if he thinks he’s rubbish these days, then that’s grand, that’s his lookout.”
Of the chances for a longer tour and even some new material Bradley would only say: “I think I’m still weighing it up and I think John [O’Neill] is still weighing it up as well. That’s why we’re not saying, ‘Well, next year we’re doing a 30-date tour’. We’re still playing it by ear and seeing what kind of reaction we get at each show. I don’t want to be too precious about it as well, because, after all, it was only a band. It’s not as if we were pioneering heart surgeons. But you don’t want to do anything that’ll embarrass you, so it’s a thin line between love and hate. So far we’ve nothing planned after Witnness and if we get any more offers, we’ll consider them, and by consider, I mean really consider them.”