As part of the 45-year anniversary celebration of their legendary pop-punk anthem ‘Teenage Kicks’, Derry’s finest The Undertones will be heading to Newcastle on the 20th October. Damian Robinson caught up with Undertones drummer Billy Doherty to find out more.
Hi Billy, one of the last times you played at the Boiler Shop you fell ill just before the show, how’s the health and what kind of memories does playing the Boiler Shop bring back for you?
Thanks for asking, yeah I remember it well – we were just about to go on and I’d not long had a heart attack and it felt like another one was coming on. We checked with the paramedics and I got taken to the RVI for attention. I feel much better thank you, but I still have a few health challenges and I’m really hopeful to come back to Newcastle as part of the tour.
You’ve got a great opening act in Neville Staple, do you go a long way back with Neville?
We’ve played quiet a lot with Neville over the years yeah, in fact me and him got told off once when we were on a train and we were chatting on in a quiet carriage. But Neville and his band are exceptionally good, they’re all great players and obviously they’ve got great songs, so it’s a pleasure having Neville opening for us.
In terms of The Undertones, you seem to have a huge hardcore of fans wherever you go?
We do yes, and we don’t take that for granted at all. When we tour we often see familiar faces at different venues which is such a nice feeling. Sometimes though, especially when we play festivals, we end up playing to a younger crowd who’ve never seen us, or to people who knew us when they were young but never got the chance to see us, so it can be a really varied audience. We really do our best to put on a great show.
The Undertones have a great reputation for putting on intense shows
Thanks, we certainly try. We never take a show for granted and we genuinely look to play each show like it was our very first show and that is a huge help. Even when we first started out we used to sit after a show and chat amongst ourselves about how we could be better players, and what we could change live. We still do that. Michael often goes and chats to the audience after a show so when he comes back in we’ll all ask him how people felt about the show; in a way he’s like our barometer. Even today we treat the shows like it’s our first and we take them really seriously.
The Undertones play Newcastle Boiler Shop.