Mclusky singer/guitarist Andy Falkous performing with the band at a 2004 concert in Kentucky.
|Years active||1996 – 2005|
|Associated acts||Future of the Left, Shooting At Unarmed Men,|
Mclusky (often stylized as mclusky) was a three-piece alternative rock group from Cardiff, Wales. The group consisted of Andy "Falco" Falkous (vocals, guitar), Jonathan Chapple (bass, vocals) and Jack Egglestone (drums), who replaced previous drummer Matthew Harding in late 2003.
According to the band, they originally formed in 1996 when Falkous and Harding met at the Blackwood Miners Institute, a venue in their home town from which they were both ejected for dressing as miners. The pair met Chapple a short time afterwards at the Reading Festival when they caught him urinating on their tent late in the night.
More realistically it has been suggested that Andy and Matthew met when working together at Anglian Windows, a small double-glazing call centre in Cardiff. They discussed their musical ambitions after a conversation about Reading Festival, Falkous gave Harding a tape of songs he had written on his own, and shortly after they formed a band called Best after early Beatles drummer Pete Best. The original bass player for Best was Geraint Bevan, Harding's old musical comrade from The Derelicts.
Best existed in this form for almost a year before Geraint left to concentrate on his acting career, but not before Best had played a show with a band called 'Myrtle' who happened to feature one animated character on bass guitar: Jon Chapple.
Shortly after the departure of Geraint the remaining two members managed to convince Jon to join the band; this was based on the strength of the three track demo Best had recently finished at 'Ocean Studios' in Cardiff (this cassette - which was sold by the band themselves - was the unofficial debut, entitled the Benedict EP).
Best signed to London label Seriously Groovy and released their official debut record, the 3-track single Huwuno.
The band changed its name to Mclusky in 1999, releasing their first full-length album My Pain and Sadness is More Sad and Painful Than Yours in 2000 on the Fuzzbox imprint before drawing international attention with their critically praised second album Mclusky Do Dallas in 2002. In 2004 they released their third album The Difference Between Me and You Is That I'm Not on Fire to generally positive reviews.
They worked frequently with recording engineer Steve Albini, whose influence through his legendary work with bands like Nirvana, the Pixies and The Jesus Lizard, along with his own bands Big Black and Shellac, can be easily recognised in mclusky's dense, raw sound.
The band called it quits on January 7th 2005, with Falkous making the following announcement on the band's website on January 10th:
Little was said of the reasons behind mclusky's split, but it later emerged that tensions had arisen between Falkous and Chapple. The root of these tensions can be traced back to an incident in 2004 when all of the band's equipment was stolen on the Arizona leg of their American tour (this equipment - worth over £5000 - has still not been recovered).
A compilation of the band's singles, Mcluskyism, came out in February 2006; a limited-edition version came with two additional CDs of B-sides (labelled as B-sides and C-sides), rarities and live recordings from their final headline performance at the University of London Union (The band would make one further live appearance on 01/12/04 supporting Shellac at the Scala in London). This compilation is, without doubt, the final chapter in mclusky's nine-year saga, as Falkous informs in the Mcluskyism liner notes, "that's it, then. No farewell tour... no premature deaths (at time of writing), no live DVDs...". With the revelation in 2007 that Falkous and Chapple have not spoken since 2005 (and are no longer on the same side of the equator), it is probably safe to assume that there is no possibility of a reunion.
The first mclusky member to release material after mclusky's demise was Chapple, with his outfit Shooting At Unarmed Men - Chapple had dabbled with the band as a side project to mclusky in the years prior, and wasted little time in making it his first priority after mclusky disbanded. The band released two albums before Chapple emigrated to Australia in 2006. He has since revived the band in Australia with a new lineup, and released another album with the Australian lineup.
Falkous and Egglestone were not heard from publicly for a number of months - after Andrew had conducted a handful of interviews discussing the then-fresh mclusky breakup, the pair were not heard from again for some time. Almost immediately, rumours began to swell that the pair were collaborating with some members of also-defunct Cardiff noise-core act Jarcrew (the project, which received no official title for eighteen months, was jokingly referred to as "Jarclusky") - however, the full extent of the collaboration was not known until Falkous created an unassuming MySpace page for the group under the name Future of the Left, complete with unpolished recordings of the band's first songs.
It was then revealed that Kelson Mathias, former Jarcrew frontman, had taken on the role of bass player (Hywel Evans, a local musician who had played bass for Jarcrew towards the end of the band's career, was also originally listed as a member, but was later removed - he went on to form the instrumental group Truckers Of Husk, which now also contains an ex-Jarcrew member in drummer Rhodri Thomas). The group first appeared live - under pseudonyms to elude large throngs of expectant Jarcrew and mclusky fans - in the Summer of 2006 before finally performing their first headline show in Camden Barfly on September 1, 2006. In 2007, the group released three singles - "Fingers Become Thumbs!/The Lord Hates A Coward", "Adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood" and "Small Bones Small Bodies" - and a full length album, Curses, which surprisingly featured Falkous favouring a Roland synthesizer on some songs over his guitar. The band have - surprisingly, when considering the apathy displayed towards mclusky and Jarcrew - been championed by the UK music press, most notably the NME, who have written extremely favourably of the band (and more recently inviting them to play at their Awards show at the London Astoria in support of Les Savy Fav).