THE UNDERTONES – Part 1
The Undertones emerged from Derry in 1977, the result offive friends learning
how to play guitar and drums in time with someone singing.
Even by the standard of that decade Derry was not the rockand roll capital of
anywhere. With no live bands worth watching, they learned bylistening to mail
order records, reading one of the few copies of NME thatmade it to Derry but
most of all from listening to John Peel’s wonderful show onBBC Radio One.
Practicing in their bedrooms eventually led to the bandrecording ‘Teenage
Kicks’ in 1978 on the Good Vibrations indie label inBelfast. The legendary DJ
John Peel received a copy and liked it so much he played ittwice in a row on his
The Undertones signed with Sire Records and ‘Teenage Kicks’was re-released.
For the following five years, John O Neill, his youngerbrother Damian, Feargal
Sharkey, Billy Doherty and Michael Bradley crafted furthernumerous punkpop
gems such as `Here Comes The Summer`, Jimmy Jimmy`, `MyPerfect Cousin`,
`You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It)’ and four LPs.They almost
enjoyed the life of professional musicians.
In 1983 Feargal Sharkey left the band to pursue a solocareer and the remaining
members decided to call it a day. That was the end of TheUndertones, part 1
THE UNDERTONES – Part 2
In 1999 The Undertones reconvened, without Feargal Sharkey,to once again
perform their two-minute, three and a half chord songs to anew generation of
fans in Derry. Fellow Derryman Paul McLoone replaced Sharkeyon vocals and
his vocal prowess and electric onstage presence soonconvinced any doubters
that he was more than capable of doing the job. Afterrealizing that playing live
was good fun the band repeated the experience in selectedlocations around the
After much consideration the band released a new CD of newsongs called `Get
What You Need`, which was critically acclaimed by Qmagazine, Uncut, Rolling
Stone and Hot Press. From that CD the songs ‘Thrill Me’, ‘INeed Your Love The
Way It Used To Be’ and ‘Everything But You’ have becomefavorites of the bands
In 2003 ‘Thrill Me’ was released as a limited edition 7”vinyl single and found its
way to John Peels turntable. He introduced it on his showcommenting, “And
these are words I thought I would never be saying on radioagain, a new single
from The Undertones”. He liked it so much he played ittwice, just as he did with
‘Teenage Kicks’ in 1978.
In 2007 the band recorded and released a collection ofshort, sharp songs under
the title “Dig Yourself Deep” on the Cooking Vinyl label.The LP was critically well
received at home and abroad.
Both ‘Get What You Need’ and ‘Dig Yourself Deep’ had theirdigital release in
In April of 2008, the band were asked to play a fund raisingshow for Terri
Hooley, the Belfast record shop owner who ran the GoodVibrations label, which
released the ‘Teenage Kicks’ EP in 1978. “Good Vibrations” Afilm about his life
was released this year and features various tracks from TheUndertones.The film
has been a great success and has created even more interestin the music of The
In 2008 The Undertones signed a license deal with UnionSquare Music, the band
released the four original LPs, ‘The Undertones’,‘Hypnotised’, ‘The Positive
Touch’ and ‘The Sin Of Pride’ all with addition tracks andvideos.
The band spent 2010 working on new songs and performingaround the world to
old and new fans, including a first visit to Japan
In 2011 the band embarked on 35th Anniversary tours in theUK, America and
Europe that included, for the first time, the completeperformance of their
eponymous first LP.
2013 was the 35th anniversary of the release of “TeenageKicks”. The band
released an enhanced compilation “An Introduction to TheUndertones
CD DVD (SalvoSVX016) and another highlight last year was a7” vinyl only
release on record store day(20th April),’Much Too Late” soldout within hours of
In 2014 the band will continue to maintain their scorchinglive reputation with
some festivals and club shows already confirmed and more tocome.