Stiff Little Fingers
- 11 Jun Warrington Parr Hall
Jake Burns formed Stiff Little Fingers (the band’s name was taken from a 1977 Vibrators lyric "If it wasn’t for your stiff little fingers nobody would know you were dead"…) In 1978 after seeing the Clash play in his hometown Belfast, and the band released the classic Suspect Device and Alternative Ulster singles that year. Exactly twenty years on from becoming the first band ever to hit the UK top 20 album charts on an independent label – with their 1979 debut Inflammable Material.
Stiff Little Fingers, along with the likes of the Clash, Sex Pistols, The Jam, Skids, Buzzcocks, Undertones, Sham 69, Stranglers et al – were at the forefront of the punk movement. They enjoyed six years as one of the biggest ticket draws in the UK and recorded three more studio albums – Nobody’s Heroes (1980), Go For It (1982) and Now Then (1982) – before Jake Burns took a sabbatical to work as a BBC Radio One Producer.
SLF reformed in 1987 and booked a huge reunion tour in 1988, including two sold out Brixton Academy gigs, which persuaded Jake to make the reunion permanent.
When original bassist Ali McMordie bowed out in 1990, just as SLF were about to tour Japan, former Jam bassist Bruce Foxton jumped in at the last moment, playing on the group’s subsequent five studio albums Flags and Emblems (1991), Get a life (1994), Tinderbox (1997), Best of all... Hope Street (1999) and Guitar & Drum (2003).
2003 saw a new studio album, the extremely well received 'Guitar & Drum' (EMI Records), said in some circles to be their best recorded work in years. This was followed by the first ever book on the group 'SLF: Song By Song' written by Jake with Alan Parker (Sanctuary Publishing), which the pair promoted on radio and via UK book stores, it was later turned into a CD release by EMI Records. If that wasn't enough, a DVD in the shape of 'Handheld & Rigidly Digital' (Secret Music) followed later the same year!
2004 started with a tripple disc box set 'Wasted Life' (Secret Music) featuring two audio CD's and a bonus Jake interview DVD. It will be followed in September by the re-issue of three classic EMI Records albums, in the shape of; Go For It, Now Then and Hope Street, all these albums have bonus songs and interviews. At the end of the same month the group set out on another UK tour, the last show at The Ocean in London will be filmed for another DVD release, again by Secret Music, which will be released to the fans in March 2005, by which time SLF will be back on the road on their annual St Patrix's tour.
In 2005, Bruce Foxton left amicably to pursue other directions and the band welcomed back original bass player, Ali McMordie. Reaction so far has been fantastic. The four members of Stiff Little Fingers have barely had anytime to themselves, touring almost constantly they have played to packed audiences in the USA and Europe, while also finding the time to fit in a successful UK tour. On top of this the lads all have musical side projects, finding Jake (3 Men & Black), Ian (The Automatics) and Steve (The Alarm) giving them even busier calendars to fill.