With a long list of big names on board, ready to spill the beans of their encounters with one of the most notorious bands of their time. Forgottenbee talks with film producers “Low Flying Geese” about their story so far in the making of their film. Good news too… You can be involved…
So with no further ado… Never Mind the Bo**ocks. This is “James Coburn and the Rum Bastards”…
Check the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIWy_weI-7M
FB 1/ I have to say, the concept of this film is brilliant, and you’ve done incredibly well to get some big names involved.. How did you ‘sell’ the story to them to get them to participate?
Most of the faces in the film were into punk or have been associated with the punk scene. In one way or another, most of them are also from Manchester too so I think the idea of a punk band forming in Manchester’s notorious Strangeways prison was quite intriguing so they bought into that. Obviously they wanted to know more because it could have been shit. Luckily everyone liked it and were well up for coming on board so it’s worked out really well.
FB 2/ Let’s talk about the “James Coburn” character… Is he a creation of someone’s imagination or based on a genuine person?
Everyone and everything in this film is based on elements of truth, people situations even names but like it says on the poster “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story”. James Coburn’s real name is Billy Joe Docherty. He demanded to be referred to as Coburn in prison after the actor in his favourite film, Segio Leone’s a fistful of dynamite AKA duck you suckers. I suppose you could compare it to that of the prisoner Charles Bronson.
FB 4/ Some may suggest that the film could almost become a ‘Spinal Tap’ like clone. What are your thoughts on what will make ‘James Coburn and the Rum Bastards’ different?
In Spinal Tap you follow them around gaining an insight into their life in the band, mockumentary style. In our film we look back and tell a story of the band through the poetry of JB Barrington (@JB_Barrington). This is backed up by all the straight to camera stories and memories of the band told by all the popular faces involved. Spinal tap is also an American perspective of an English band, our film is pure Manchester, honest dialect, and Northern to the bone…more authentic in that sense.
FB 5/ There was recent talk that you may go down the Kickstarter/Crowdfunder route to finance the rest of the project. Is this still a possible plan?
It’s going up on kick-starter 12/11/14 at 8pm under the title ‘Strange-days in Strange-ways’
FB 6/ Speaking of finance.. How have you funded the project so far?
By blagging and out of our own pockets. With this project I wasn’t going to make the mistake of creating outside of our means. The film was always going to be doable, no big explosions, moon walking robots, or talking fucking poodles.
FB 7/ You are now collaborating with Mr Peeps (@MrPeepsSays) to promote the film, how did this come about?
As we approached the final stages of the film our producer got a job opportunity he couldn’t refuse so I needed a right hand man to see the project to the end so I brought on Mr Peeps. We first met when I was shooting a promo for The BackHanders (@TheBackhanders1) at Vibe studio’s in Cheetam Hill (http://www.vibe-studios.co.uk/) he was there to interview them for his podcast. We chatted very briefly about the film and then mainly about Frank Sidebottom for some reason. After that I met him again at Blueprint Studio’s in Salford (http://www.blueprint-studios.com/) again it was with The BackHanders who were recording some stuff and he asked us to shoot one of his nights so we did. He was easy to work with and I noticed how pro-active he was and savvy when it came to organising and promoting stuff so asked him to come on board and he said yes, there we were now here we are type vibe. He’s a sound geezer who tut’s at my hangovers and gives me a kick up the arse when needs be, but it works.
FB 8/ If you’d be so kind I’d like to explore James Coburn And The Rum Bastards characters in more detail in an interview style…
These questions will be answered by Keith Stone the co-founder and guitarist from the Rum Bastards……..
FB 1/ Tell me briefly about where each of you were born and your upbringing.
Keith Stone flatly refused to answer this question …….
FB 2/ Where and when did The Rum Bastards form?
I got this really shit job at a glue factory in North Manchester, it was the night shift and I met this lad called Ed West. He was into music like me, he played the drums and I played the guitar. We both started getting off our heads and jamming together then started busking on Market Street in town as ‘The Likely Bastards’. We got banned from doing that cos our songs were like ‘You Fat Bastard’ and ‘Your grannies a cunt’ but it was punk wasn’t it?! We also got sacked from the glue factory after our supivisor caught us in the toilets pissed and stoned doing bucket bongs but using the bog instead of a bucket. To cut a long story short it was Thatcher’s Britain so we couldn’t find another job so we started running drugs around the country for some dodgy bastard from Cheetam Hill. We got caught, got sent down, that’s where we met James Coburn and our original bass player Jimmy Somerville (not that Jimmy Somerville). We were allowed access to musical equipment once a week if we behaved ourselves. James Coburn was this barmy rum fucker who was having anger management classes, he came to our sessions cos his prison shrink had introduced him to poetry to vent his anger. He started writing our songs, then singing them, then pretty much took over, we didn’t really have a choice, he was border line psycho but he was more punk than anyone we’d ever met before. We liked him. It was then he changed the name of the band to ‘James Coburn & the Rum Bastards’ we didn’t mind, he got his name in there, and he wasn’t wrong, we were Rum Bastards there’s no denying that. That’s how we formed although we did sack Jimmy on the outside for not changing his name and for fronting a weird sex gang that gauged on a weird fantasy involving Ian Botham. He was replaced by Martin Speed who is now a cleaner at the Arndale Centre in town. All this was late 70’s early 80’s I think…might be wrong.
FB 3/ Your one and only album ‘StrangeDays in Strangeways’ received some critical acclaim yet was somewhat overshadowed at the time due to James unconfirmed links to terrorism… What is your account of that time, and what damage did it cause for the band?
The album was alright, you can’t find it anywhere now. A few bods claim to have it but I don’t know. Coburn played on all that terrorism shit. He used to say he had affiliations with certain heads but nobody knows. When accusations were thrown at him we used to piss ourselves cos he would always say “I’m a musician not a fucking terrorist” in that mad Belfast accent he had. He didn’t know what the fuck he was half the time. The real damage to the band though was his constant violent out bursts and then finally his smack habit which fucked it all up, thanks to that silly bitch he was knocking about with, Isobel the rainbow witch. She was an “experimental” poet who later died from some infection after using dirty needles to shoot up. It was her who got him on the gear claiming it would cure his anger issues.
FB 4/ If you could do it all again, would you do things differently?
Take a shit load of steroids, lift some weights, learn Karate then tell Coburn to shut the fuck up!
FB 5/ And finally, what are you all doing now? Are you still involved in music?
I’ve gone back to busking under the name Gaz Stanley and the Piccadilly Rats. You’ll find me up top of town. Coburn went missing and is presumed dead after another stint inside. Jimmy now does a drag act on Canel Street with his backing band ‘The Screaming Brigadiers’. Martin Speed is a cleaner at the Arndale Centre. He’s a mad fantasist nowadays, he tells everyone he’s a writer and reckons he wrote Crocodile Dundee 2 under a different name but was stiffed out the money…too much acid back in the day. He also said that Steve cram is now a crack head street hooker in Sheffield and he only charges £7.50 for a five knuckle shuffle.
Back to the project…….
FB 9/ Bringing things around to the film again.. What has been the most challenging thing in getting this film made so far?
Peoples’ availability cast and crew. Everyone’s got day jobs so it’s hard getting everyone at the same place at the same time. It’s also been a bit of a waiting game with certain faces in the film as they are all busy artists. I think it took nearly a year to finally pin John Cooper Clarke down for his contribution to the film. He was great though, without a doubt the coolest fucker I’ve ever met, we had a few drinks with him and his manager Johnny Green afterwards who was the old tour manager for the Clash so you can imagine some of the stories that were flying about. Cooper Clarke was drinking Martini’s, we would ask him if he wanted another drink just to hear how he says Maaarrrtini !! Proper sound fella and a gent.
FB 10/ Let’s say that the film has been produced and your ready for release… What are your hopes for it? Critical acclaim, Cult status, Fame and Fortune?
Critical acclaim would be nice and to be able to put ourselves in a situation where we can make another cool film. With critical acclaim I suppose you’ve gained peoples trust and are in a better position to attract funders. I created this film because it’s something, me and my mates would want to watch so to put a smile on their faces and like minded boys and girls from round our way would be great. A wider audience would be a bonus really. Cult status? Who knows, time can only tell. Fame? Fuck that shit you’d have to be a bell end like those reality TV idiots and those X factor arse lickers to have fame in mind. Fortune? Yes please!
FB 11/ Social Media is widely used by musicians, writers, poets and artists to promote their work, however I personally can’t say that I’ve seen a film promoted in this way, is this a new approach for yourselves?
Not really thought about it but I suppose our whole approach to this project has been unorthodox. I used to diss the hell out of social media and think everyone on it were twats…what a complete twat I was because I swear by it now, it’s a fundamental tool in this game if used properly.
FB 12/ Are you still up for story suggestions? Only I have this idea where, let’s say for instance, ForgottenBee interviews the band about their notorious wild ways! 😉
That could be a possibility, what did you have in mind?
FB – I’ll get my people to talk to your people.
FB 13/ As a spin off from the film, will there be a release of the ‘StrangeDays in Strangeways’ album using the band you use in the film or otherwise?
There will be some tracks released, as far as I know it’ll be these ones:
– Duck you Fuckers
– Belfast Cherry Reds
– Split Arse Thatcher
FB 14/ Right at the beginning of the promotional film, the acclaimed contemporary Salford Poet J.B.Barrington is seen performing an incredible poem. How did J.B. become involved?
I accidentally stumbled across him on twitter. I’m a bit of a mod me, not a full blown mod, but I like all the gear and that, and I saw this poet with his mod haircut and Fred Perry clobber so I was drawn in. Soon as I started listening to his stuff I thought it was fucking brilliant, I could relate to what he was on about. We both grew up on council estates in the North of England so his observations and descriptions of characters and situations within those environments were bang on for me. I asked him to do a poem for the film and he said yes, then I got to know him a bit, shot some stuff for him and he ended up having a lot more involvement in the film. He’s a good lad he also lent me 11p for the phone box once too yer know. Isn’t that right JB? 🙂
JB -I never at any point lent 11p to him…..he stole it off the mantel piece whilst I was polishing his brasses as part of my community service. I had 11p in change in my pocket and the copper plated steel in the coinage was irritating my scrotum, so in order to somewhat alleviate the stinging I simply placed the change on the mantel piece. That 11p was for a single cig and a match from Little Hulton Food & Booze on me way home.
FB 15/ Staying with the poetry theme, you are invited to take the ForgottenBeeBlog challenge and create your own poem in no more than 20 words… However your poem must include the words ‘James Coburn And The Rum Bastards!.. Are you up for it?… Go!
Hickory, dickory, dock
the lead singer of ‘James Coburn & And The Rum Bastards’ is a cock
(JB will be shitting himself now won’t he?)
FB 16/ ForgottenBeeBlog would like to thank you for being such good sports and taking time from your very busy schedule to answer the questions. You’ll be happy to know that this is my final question.. However did you come up with the name of ‘Low Flying Geese’ ?? 😉 F.Bee x
I was working with another independent production company on a TV pilot and the fella who was in charge turned out to be bit of a tool so I decided to form my own production company so I could work on my own ideas and have creative control. I’m a Noel Gallagher fan me and he brought out his solo album ‘the high flying birds’ so I ripped that off in me own little way and called us ‘TheLowFlyingGeese’.
FB – On that note I’ll duck for cover….
Photographs of James Coburn and The Rum Bastards courtesy of Elspeth Moore @emmoore
Photograph of Nathan Cunningham and JB Barrington courtesy of Shay Rowan @shayster57
Twitter: @LowGeese, @MrPeepsSays