The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


General FiascoGeneral Fiasco, consisting of brothers Owen and Enda Strathern and school friend Stephen "Leaky" Leacock, have been setting the Northern Irish music scene alight for the past twelve months. Having already toured with One Night Only and Snow Patrol, and a certain Gary Lightbody singing their praises, this band is destined for big things. Lead singer and bassist Owen answered a few questions for me..

Do you have a specific method for songwriting? Is it usually lyrics first then music or vice versa?
It usually happens all at once, I'll just sit with the bass or a guitar and start playing. The chords and melody come together and sometimes the lyrics too, they generally write themselves. Songs just come, when it works it's good and then at other times you cant squeeze out anything. I guess it's to do with mood or whatever, you need a little something driving the song - a stress or a worry.... or maybe something positive if you are that way inclined.

What are your plans as regards an album?
To make a great introduction to the band, to get across what we are about and also try and include where we are going, to stay true to what got people interested in the band in the first place and a little of where we might go with the next. We really want to stuff it with great tunes but I guess that's up to other people to decide. We've got a lot of material ready for it and we are happy but we've a little more time to make something special, so lets hope we do.

Having been support to both One Night Only and Snow Patrol you're certainly no strangers to the big stage, have you ever had a particularly nerve-wracking gig?
The Snow Patrol gig was insane, I can't really remember being on stage - I think I must have blacked out and went into auto-pilot! I was really nervous playing a festival back home called Glasgowbury, we were on second last and there were about 2,000 people there - a home crowd. I'm not really sure why it got to me but it did, I think it must just be the home crowd.

 .... and what's been your best gig experience?
There's been loads - opening the John Peel stage at Glasto this year, playing with Placebo in London, the Snow Patrol gig. But nothing really beats a headline show when it's rammed and everyone is there for you and knows the words. That's exciting, that's when it really feels like it's working.

How would you best describe your live show?
It's energetic, fast and aggressive but good fun. It should be lively, we should give it as much as the crowd gives - it's only fair.

At present there is a burgeoning music scene in Northern Ireland, did you find it hard to 'break out' of the North?
I don't really think so, you can never really do these things yourself. I know everyone wants to believe that if you just work hard and push your band out there things will happen, but it still takes someone booking you to play somewhere else. People have to want to write about you and want to play your songs on the radio for things to start to break. We were really fortunate that some people really got into the band and wanted to help it happen, so it was kinda easy but it took other people getting behind it to make it happen.

Any ultimate goals? (i.e. magazine covers, playing with a specific band..)
We really would love the album to be well recieved, if people can get into it and come to our shows and pick up our record I guess that's what it's all about. Sure, it would be amazing to be on the front cover of every music magazine and tour with the Foo Fighters, but we just really want to do this for a long time.

And we hope you continue doing this for a long time..

    * General Fiasco play the Ulster Hall in Belfast on the 31st of October.

Aideen O'Flaherty

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2007 - REM live in the Olympia, by Michael O'Hara. Possibly the definitive review of any of REM's performances during their 2007 Olympia residency. Even the official REM website linked to it.