presents... Interesting Motherfucker: (noun)
An individual exhibiting such uniqueness or individuality that he or she will cause a roomful of bar cronies to exclaim, "That's one interesting motherfucker!" Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required.

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By John Saleeby

The Undertones’ Story couldn’t be more dramatic if it was a bad Hollywood Movie - Teenage Punk Band sends a Homemade Recording to the Biggest DJ in Radio, he goes completely out of his Mind over it, introduces them to an International Audience, and Cyber Assassin Jennifer Lawrence travels into the Future to . . . Sorry, that was the bad Hollywood Movie part.

The Undertones (Feargal Sharkey-Vocals, John O’Neil-Guitar, Damien O’Neal-Guitar, Michael Bradley-Bass, Billy Doherty-Drums) began playing Music together in 1974. But this Band didn’t come out of some Comfy Cozy place like Liverpool or Seattle. No, The Undertones are from . . . DERRY!!! (EXPLOSION). Yeah, The Undertones are from . . . NORTHERN IRELAND!!! (EXPLOSION, MACHINE GUN FIRE). You think Aerosmith would have had the GUTS to stay together if they had been in as violent a place as Derry, Northern Ireland? Dream On! Maybe The Undertones had the BALLS to make it in as hazardous a place but Aerosmith? “My God! Look at the face on that Lead Singer!” (EXPLOSION). “The Lead Guitarist can barely stand up!” (EXPLOSION, MACHINE GUN FIRE). If The Undertones could make it out of Derry they could have been shooting up Heroin all this time without us knowing it. For all I know they could have been killed in a Plane Crash without making any kind of fuss over it. Has anybody in The Undertones gotten Married to Yoko Ono or Courtney Love? They can handle it!

So when you hear about a Punk Band from Northern Ireland in the Late Seventies you naturally expect the usual Angry Street Riot stuff about Anarchy and Police and Thieves and . . . God, no wonder Joe Strummer dropped dead. I couldn’t get through that sentence without having to lie down and take a nap between the “Police” part and the “Thieves” part. We’d all gotten used to that sort of thing after “Never Mind The Bollocks” and “Never Mind The Jam” so when The Undertones came along (We had so many good Bands coming at us in those days we’d check out nine or ten a Week. It wasn’t like today when we have the Leisure Time to spend Five or Six years trying to decide if we like Queens Of The Stone Age or not) we were like “Wow! These guys make Angry Street Riot stuff FUN!!!” “Let’s go out in the STREET and throw bricks at COPS!!!” “No . . . Wait a minute! The Lyrics . . . This isn’t Angry Street Riot stuff . . . This is . . . This is HAPPY TEENAGE ROMANCE stuff!!!” “Let’s go find PRETTY GIRLS and ASK EM OUT!!! The Undertones hadn’t just made a Good Record, they had TRANSCENDED REALITY!!! Wow! Punk Rock plus Adolescent Heartache? The Undertones were kind of like Cheap Trick only they really were Heartbroken Adolescents instead of Thirty Something Wise Guys snorting Coke and passing around Groupies with KISS and Van Halen. That might be why Cheap Trick never really caught on with the Kids - Rick Neilson and Bun E. Carlos hanging out Backstage with Joe Perry and Alice Cooper - CREEPY!!! But The Undertones really were Nice Kids. If they had tried walking around Derry in Black Leather Pants and Tiger Skin Platform Shoes after a Six Month Tour of the US (EXPLOSION, MACHINE GUN FIRE, SCREAMS OF AGONY).


The most distinctive part of The Undertones’ sound is Fearful Sharkey’s Voice. Even Geddy Lee makes Jokes about Feargal’s Voice (We asked Geddy to Write an article about Fearful Sharkey’s Voice but he was too busy rolling around the floor giggling to get any Writing done). But it’s not just Feargal’s Voice - Everything about that guy is weird. For one thing, his name is “Feargal Sharkey”! Is that a typical Irish name? Does “Typical” apply to anything in Ireland? For all I know Feargal Sharkey is a typical Irish guy and it’s the rest of The Undertones who are Freaks. I mean, look at those guys - They look like a bunch of kids playing in a Late Seventies Punk Band! I take it all back, Feargal Sharkey is a nice fellow who would have had a successful career as a Dentist if only he had never fallen in with those Dorky Ass Undertones guys. Oh, I forgot - They don’t have Dentists on that side of the Atlantic. That’s okay, they don’t have Dentists over there and we don’t have good Bands over here. And The Undertones had all the same problems with Feargal that practically every Band has with their Lead Singer. Are we really supposed to hold it against Feargal for not fitting in with those guys? Why are the Fans obliged to take a Side in these silly Rock Band squabbles? Yeah, Mike Love might be an asshole compared to you and all the guys you hang around with but are you and all the guys you hang around with members of the Wilson Family? The Brains behind The Undertones are the O’Neil Brothers but, as we’ve seen from from the Bands ruled by Brothers - The Beach Boys, Van Halen, The Kinks, The Doobie Brothers (Otto and Danny Doobie are ASSHOLES!!!) - once you join a Band with a couple of Brothers in it your Life is going to be a Living Hell. Let’s just be grateful Gene Simmons doesn’t have a Brother. “Paul Stanley is his Little Sister!” Shut the fuck up, Ace!

Legendary BBC Radio DJ John Peel made an overnight success of The Undertones when they sent him a tape of their “Teenage Kicks” Song and he announced to the World that it was The Best Song In Music History. This lead to a Big Money Record Deal, a US Tour with The Clash, Albums, TV Shows - I hear one or two of em even had GIRLFRIENDS! Yes, The Undertones were doing just fine until the Late Eighties-Early Nineties which were not a Good Time for Late Seventies-Early Eighties Bands and they split up. But in 1999 they got back together because that is what Bands that have Broken Up do. Except for Feargal because it had finally occurred to him that nobody likes him and he has some Self Respect. “Self Respect”? You know, he really is WEIRD, ain’t he? The Lead Singer is now Paul McLoone who was already the Star of a popular Radio Sketch Comedy Show. Good thing Lorne Michaels never heard of this guy, he’d be Hosting “The Tonight Show” and Jimmy Fallon would be Singing with The Undertones.

So, is “Teenage Kicks” really The Greatest Song In Music History? I don’t know, if “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is really that Big a Deal half the Tunes on a Billy Squier’s Greatest Hits CD are in the running. There’s a place for people who don’t like The Undertones and if you don’t Love “Teenage Kicks” we’ll slide you into a Nice Shallow Grave in the Woods that will fit you just right. Oh, Look - We dug up Billy Squier! But “Teenage Kicks” isn’t the only great Undertones Song. There’s “Jimmy, Jimmy” (Runs around the room hollering “Now Little Jimmy’s gone! He disappeared one day! Nobody saw the Ambulance that took Little Jim away!”), “My Perfect Cousin” (Runs around the room screaming “My Perfect Cousin! What I like to do he doesn’t! He’s his Family’s pride and joy! His Mother’s little Golden Boy!”), “I Know A Girl” (Runs around the room yelling “I know a girl! I see her all the Time in the Street! She makes me feel! I’m in Love every Time that we meet!”), “Get Over You” (Saleeby gets kicked out of the room after all the noise he made over those other Undertones Songs). So now they’re all in there playing a goddam Red Hot Chili Peppers CD while I’m sitting on the curb Writing an Acid Logic article about The Undertones. But now I’m all finished and it’s Time for John Saleeby to show em who’s Boss! (EXPLOSION, MACHINE GUN FIRE, SCREAMS OF AGONY, SALEEBY SINGING “Get Over You”)

What do you think America? Leave your comments on the Guestbook!

John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email -

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And there's even more on our main page!

Additional Undertones stuff:

The Official page
Filled with tour info and merchandising.

The Teenage Kicks video on YouTube
It's a cult classic!

The wiki on the Undertones

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