Stiff Little Fingers celebrate their anniversary of rocking the Barrowlands

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Punk veterans Stiff Little Fingers grew up in a shower of bullets, bombs and rebellion.

Hailing from Northern Ireland, the four-piece used their upbringing as inspiration to push themselves to the forefront of the punk movement, airing their views on ‘The Troubles’, police brutality and the animosity that was rife in Belfast at the time.

Grab it and change it, it’s yours

Catching the eye of record label Rough Trade, Stiff Little Fingers were signed and released their debut album ‘Inflammable Material’.

The record chronicled the band’s anger and frustration at the situation in their home country.

“Grab it and change it, it’s yours” they sang on ‘Alternative Ulster’; it became their battle cry.

Despite a brief split and a few line up reshuffles, Stiff Little Fingers have been a firm fixture on the punk music scene, releasing over 30 albums.

The band are bringing their latest tour to Scotland playing Aberdeen The Garage (March 14), Inverness Ironworks (March 15) and Glasgow Barrowlands (March 17).

Singer Jake Burns is looking forward to the warm welcome from Scottish fans.

He said: “We’ve been out on the road for a while now and the response is fantastic – people obviously still want to come and see us! We’ve had shows right across Europe as part of this tour, but we love coming to Scotland – it’s like a second home for us.

“Maybe it’s because there are so many similarities between the Scots and the Irish, but it’s always such a party atmosphere; it’s great craic.”

This tour has a special significance for Stiff Little Fingers as it coincides with the 25th anniversary of their iconic St Patrick’s Day gig at Glasgow Barrowlands.

“I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love that venue,” Jake said. “Whenever you mention it, people break into a big smile. We’ve played a gig there every March 17 since ’91, and just to make it extra special, we’ll be recording it for a live CD/DVD.

“We’re always amazed at the loyalty of our fans, so I hope that we capture the terrific atmosphere that they always bring to our gigs.”

The tour set list is shaped by what the fans want to hear as Jake explained.

“We have some younger fans coming along to our shows, so because of that, we always try to incorporate new material alongside our classic hits,” he said. “When I was growing up, we tended to like the same music our older brothers or parents did – we didn’t know any better!

“But now it comes from who other bands cite as influences which means we have teenagers coming to check us out.

“I’ve always been inspired by musicians myself, especially those that wanted to make a difference such as Bob Dylan and The Clash – I remember hearing them for the first time and my world just changed.

“Punk made such a huge impression on me, and it was what the world was crying out for at the time.

“Rock ‘n’ roll had forgotten what it stood for; what it was supposed to represent, but Punk arrived and gave everything a right good shake.”

As with most bands of the genre, Stiff Little Fingers had a reputation for speaking their minds.

“I was only 19 when we first started out,” Jake added.

“Perhaps looking back, there are things that I shouldn’t have said but we didn’t go out of our way to annoy anybody – at least I don’t think so!

“I think we’re a bit misunderstood until someone comes along to one of our shows and sees firsthand what we’re about – then they just love us!

“We aren’t there to preach to the crowd, we’re there to entertain and that’s exactly what we do. Let’s go for it!”

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