1996 - 20052014 - Present ('mclusky' reunion shows, without Jon Chapple)
|Future of the Left, Shooting At Unarmed Men, Poor People|
Mclusky (often stylized as mclusky), originally known as Best, were a three-piece post-hardcore group formed in Cardiff, Wales. The group consisted of Englishman Andrew "Falco" Falkous (vocals, guitar) from Newcastle Upon Tyne, Jonathan "Thieving Bassist" Chapple (bass, vocals) and Jack "Eccleston" Egglestone (drums), who replaced previous drummer Matthew Harding in late 2003.
According to the band, they originally formed in 1996 when Falkous and Harding met at the Blackwood Miners Institute, a venue in their home town. The pair met Chapple a short time afterwards at the Reading Festival when they caught him urinating on their tent late in the night.
More realistically it has been suggested that Falkous and Harding met when working together at Anglian Windows, a small double-glazing call centre in Cardiff. They discussed their musical ambitions after a conversation about Reading Festival, Falkous gave Harding a tape of songs he had written on his own, and shortly after they formed a band called Best after early Beatles drummer Pete Best. The original bass player for Best was Geraint Bevan, Harding's old musical comrade from The Derelicts.
Best existed in this form for almost a year before Bevan left to concentrate on his acting career, but not before Best had played a show with a band called 'Myrtle', which featured the bass guitarist Jon Chapple.
Shortly after the departure of Bevan, the remaining two members managed to convince Chapple to join the band; this was based on the strength of the three track demo Best had recently finished at 'Ocean Studios' in Cardiff (this cassette - which was sold by the band themselves - was the unofficial debut, entitled the Benedict EP).
Best signed to London label Seriously Groovy and released their official debut record, the 3-track single "Huwuno".
The band changed its name to Mclusky in 1999, releasing their first full-length album My Pain and Sadness is More Sad and Painful Than Yours in 2000 on the Fuzzbox imprint before drawing international attention with their critically praised second album Mclusky Do Dallas in 2002. In 2004 they released their third album The Difference Between Me and You Is That I'm Not on Fire to positive reviews.
They worked frequently with recording engineer Steve Albini.
The band called it quits on 7 January 2005, with Falkous making the following announcement on the band's website three days later:
Little was said of the reasons behind Mclusky's split, but it later emerged that tensions had arisen between Falkous and Chapple. The root of these tensions can be traced back to an incident in 2004 when all of the band's equipment was stolen on the Arizona leg of their American tour (this equipment - worth over £5000 - has still not been recovered).
A compilation of the band's singles, Mcluskyism, came out in February 2006; a limited-edition version came with two additional CDs of B-sides (labelled as B-sides and C-sides), rarities and live recordings from their final headline performance at the University of London Union (The band would make one further live appearance on 01/12/04 supporting Shellac at the Scala in London). This compilation is, without doubt, the final chapter in Mclusky's nine-year saga, as Falkous informs in the Mcluskyism liner notes, "that's it, then. No farewell tour... no premature deaths (at time of writing), no live DVDs..." With the revelation in 2007 that Falkous and Chapple have not spoken since 2005 there is little possibility of a reunion.
The first Mclusky member to release material after the band's demise was Chapple, with his outfit Shooting At Unarmed Men - Chapple had dabbled with the band as a side project to Mclusky in the years prior, and wasted little time in making it his first priority after Mclusky disbanded. The band released two albums before Chapple emigrated to Australia in 2006. He has since revived the band in Australia with a new lineup, and released another album with the Australian lineup. Shooting at Unarmed Men disbanded shortly after the release of With The Youthful Energy of a Zealot. Chapple played drums with Melbourne band Poor People until 2012, and plays Bass and provides vocals for the 6 piece outfit Harmony, who also feature Tom Lyngcoln of The Nation Blue.
After Falkous had conducted a handful of interviews discussing the then-fresh Mclusky breakup, he and Egglestone were not heard from publicly for a number of months. Almost immediately, rumours began to swell that the pair were collaborating with some members of also-defunct Cardiff noise-core act Jarcrew (the project, which received no official title for eighteen months, was jokingly referred to as "Jarclusky") - however, the full extent of the collaboration was not known until Falkous created an unassuming MySpace page for the group under the name Future of the Left, complete with unpolished recordings of the band's first songs. The outfit have since incorporated members of now-defunct British punk rock act Million Dead, and have (after several years of resistance from Falkous) started including Mclusky tracks in their live sets.
In 2014, Falkous announced a benefit gig to help save venue Le Pub in Newport, with a lineup consisting of Jarcrew and a set of mclusky songs played by Falkous and Jack Egglestone, joined by future of the left bassist Julia Ruzicka and Damien Sayell, vocalist of Bristol band The St. Pierre Snake Invasion. This lineup has been referred to by Falco as 'mclusky' (with inverted commas) and announced a second concert at Clwb Ifor Bach upon the quick sale of all tickets for the Newport event. Since, they have played another 'closing venue' benefit gig, in London at the soon-to-close Buffalo Bar. The following year, 'mclusky' were announced alongside future of the left in the lineup of British music festival 2000 Trees.
Now known as Mclusky* (asterisk in reference to missing members), the band reformed to play The Garage in London on 3 December 2015 to raise money for cancer research with Rat the Magnificent (featuring Ian Catskilkin of Art Brut).