On the 13th December, Bad Manners bring their truly mad blend of ska, reggae and punk to the Academy in Dublin. You can expect an energetic display from the crowd, egged on by Doug Trendle and his troupe of exceptionally talented musicians.
Trendle has been touting his wares around the world solidly as Buster Bloodvessel, for the last 33 years. Formed in 1976 (and making their debut at Stonehenge) Bad Manners have not let up for more than a few weeks at a time. Their brand of goodtime music with all the frills but no pretense has been a constant for the entire period even though they only enjoyed a relatively short period of chart success: Between 1980 and 1983 they were in the charts regularly from February 1980 with their infectious -Ne-Ne Na-Na Na-Na Nu-Nu’ followed up by -Lip Up Fatty’ and the classic -Special Brew’. Their biggest hits were instantly recognisable cover version – -Can Can’ and -My Girl Lollipop’. With the largest (-Can Can’) featuring hardly any vocals at all, just a great dance beat. On the back of these they have partied (and continued to release material) solidly ever since.
State caught up with Buster to discuss life, land and the best pint in Dublin.
Why do you continue to tour and records, bearing in mind the toil it has taken on your life, the small matters of heart attacks, 300+ band members and other obstacles?
I always had a desire to perform. On stage, probably as an actor more than a singer, but I chose singing because I didn’t have to lug around or buy equipment.
I don’t understand how bands can stop touring. I love it. ‘¦I will gig ’til the day I die, I absolutely love it. I suppose I’m a prime candidate for dying on stage, whilst I hope it’s in the distant future, I’d rather go that way than an old persons home!
Your live performance and recorded work maintains a constant party fever, but you’ve also had your fair share of controversy. You were banned from the now defunct Top of the Pops as well as Italian TV during your peak. Is there truth in this or is it an urban myth?
We were playing on the same set as Barry White and I didn’t want Barry White to out do me. So I moonied on TV. And there were nervous gasps, then everyone got into the performance. But everyone was so shocked because -the papa’ was watching; The Pope. But I would not have known the Pope was watching TV, least of all [watching] Bad Manners!
So Italy might have it in for you considering you collapsed on stage there then subsequently caught meningitis and died for 11 seconds..
Yes, I collapsed on stage and subsequently had a gastric bypass, not band, and lost some 15 stone. I lost so much weight people thought I was dying of AIDS or something and was about to die.
I was so used to carrying 32 stone that I found it easy to carry around less weight. When I got down to 12 stone I looked like a ballerina on stage. But looked quite gaunt and everyone was very worried about me. So you know what I turned to? That magical old drink called Guinness. And it podged me to 15 stone.
So you are looking forward to Dublin for that reason alone?
Dublin gets me in a party mood and once I am in a party mood I give it back to the audience.
And which pubs do you like in Dublin?
Ryans Bar on the corner, near the university used to open a 7 O’clock in the morning and the old boy who used to open up, he would swear at the sunlight. Possibly one of our finest pubs.
Buster recently purchased a plot of land in London and plans to hold a few festivals next year – weekends of reggae, ska, punk, his annual Badfest, an 80’s weekend and Halloween Bash. Bad Manners are headlining the Saturday night at each of these – but a few of the provisional names make it sound appealing: ASWAD, Musical Youth, Captain Sensible and John Otway to name just a few. If you can’t catch them in December then get across to one of these events next year. As Doug himself said: ‘I don’t think there is a better band than us for partying!’ and having seen them a few times it is hard to disagree with him.