Tom McFaull - The Bar Stool Preachers - Uber Rock Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Sunday, 12 July 2015 03:00

BSP band


Here’s a back story and a half for you. Just over a year ago I was on a weekend beano for Uber Rock to review Cock Sparrer on foreign soil as they headlined a Rebellion gig in Amsterdam. The night before the show I got chatting to someone I have kind of known for a couple of years now about his next musical venture. Said individual told me his previous band (The Jons) were over and he was forming a ska/2tone influenced beat combo, albeit the music would be played with the vigour of a punk Oi! outfit and be full of melody and heart. That person was Tom McFaull, and the band he was referring to, The Barstool Preachers. Next month the guys bring that wonderful musical vision to the annual Rebellion punk festival in Blackpool, and ahead of their Arena Stage Saturday night slot I got the chance to catch up with Tom to find out what has been happening since that fateful night in Amsterdam.


Hi Tom, thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.


Thank you John for giving a young upstart the chance to have a chat.


Let’s start with a little background on The Bar Stool Preachers because whilst I know who you guys are a lot of people will not. So how about a quick potted history of the band for the uneducated out there?


Sure! So whilst all the boys come from some pretty varied backgrounds, in a nutshell, The Bar Stool Preachers are a bunch of mates from Brighton that were lucky enough to all not be in a band at the same time… Bungle is a proper south coast Brighton boy, he and I met through Pirates and my sister Hannah, as soon as we had, it was fucking carnage. [Laughing]


He’s since been sober for about 6 months, but he still plays the bass like a boss so we managed to work something out. As we began writing, we quickly got a sense that we were onto something pretty fucking cool and went from playing around my kitchen table, to looking for the other parts to fit the puzzle. I met Gibbs DJing at the Brighton Dub Club, and in terms of ska and reggae, the guy’s a genie. Tetley and Rory joined a little after and we began to piece the first tunes together properly. Alex finished the puzzle with his hammondy style of key mastery and here we are today with an album underway and touring up and down this fine country!


So what’s your aim or mission as a band then? What about world peace, you reckon you can help deliver that?


Fuck yeah! We can do that. We can at least give it a go without being as much of a dickhead as Bono. I’m actually asked a surprising amount if we’re looking to be a voice of the generation or trying to change the world, but in all honesty our mission as a band is pretty simple. We’re here to play good music. We love touring, writing and meeting new people. The fact that people seem to be relating to our sound and lyrics in that way is fucking amazing. That we get the opportunity to interact with people and the band is kind of a soapbox to spread positivity is the best kind of bonus we could ask for.


It’s funny you should say that because every time I hear you guys I immediately smile, and let’s face it it’s almost impossible to stand still to your music.


[Laughing] Thanks for that. Like any new band, we’ve had our share of crossed arms and “impress me” faces though! I remember one big skinhead lump at a particular London show looking at us with our beards and spiky green hair that looked seriously unimpressed before we’d even started. It took him a few songs, but by the end he was properly dancing away, all the while trying to look like he wasn’t enjoying himself!


Tom proflie


What do you think is your special ingredient then? A lot of people are currently tipping you for big things right now.


The films of Monty Python, marijuana, and large doses of alcohol. [Laughing]


I honestly don’t know that we have a special ingredient mate! Since day one it all just clicked. The guys in the band are brilliant musicians that have been through the ring before, as well as top blokes that all enjoy each other’s company. I guess it comes down to some simple facts. We all really want to do it, we all love it and we’re all committed to writing good music. We also all realise that what we have is pretty rare so it’s up to us to take the opportunity.


You’ve played quite a few shows so far as a band, and next month you play Rebellion 2015 which will surely be one you’ll all be looking forward to. Tell us the story behind what happened last year…you were due to play but didn’t…how come?


We can’t wait for Rebellion! We’ve been given a 10:15 slot on the Saturday night in The Arena and we are all honestly just counting down the days. As for last year I fucked up. I had a rather large bust up with our now ex-drummer. He didn’t want to go to Rebellion in the back of a van and I got pissed in Bruges and acted like a cock! Woke up the next day didn’t realise anything had happened until Bungle called me... That was one rough hangover that day. We’re all good now, but in typical fashion it all happened four days before Rebellion.


So what can we expect from you guys this year?


This year we’re really looking forwards to having a fucking knees up and bringing the party to a bunch of punks that have not had the chance to see us before. We’re also playing the acoustic stage in the afternoon (2:55pm) so people can expect a lot of pissed up Preachery throughout the day too. [Laughing} I’ve been going to Rebellion (or Holidays in the Sun as it was) since I was a kid, so I’m looking forwards to enjoying everyone else as well as playing. I’ve always felt at home at Rebellion and people are there to have a good time, hang out with their mates and see bands play with some fucking heart. We can guarantee all those things.


From what I’ve seen on the internet you went down amazingly well at this year’s Punk & Disorderly festival in Berlin too, what did you learn from that?


That I need to do some sort of exercise if we keep playing stages that big! [Laughing} We actually surprised ourselves a bit by how easy we found it to adjust to a big stage in all fairness, looking at the lads at the time I remember thinking “fucking hell, this is fun! Look at all this room for bouncing around!” We’d been on the road in Europe for the first time for a few days before then too, so coming off the back off of a couple of brilliant nights in Hamburg, we were all in a great place for P&D. It was top experience for a new band like us to be hanging around with classic outfits like Mad Sin and Argy Bargy too, the older bands are always keeping us in check and on our toes!


I also hear you might be supporting The Slackers this September, has that been confirmed yet?


Absolutely! From the 5th – 12th September we’re touring this great land with them. Can’t wait, a life long goal of mine is to play swear word Scrabble Vic Ruggiero.


Okay I have to ask this, because you guys don’t play on the fact that you have a punk rock legend for a dad. How influential has your father Colin and the Cock Sparrer family been on you personally, and in turn The Bar Stool Preachers?


We try not to play on it at all really, but he’s been absolutely brilliant to me throughout all of this. He’s never once pressured me into doing it and has always been there whenever and for whatever I needed him. He taught me from a young age that if there’s something that you want in this world you need to go out and grab it, because no-one is going to put it in your lap. That in itself is probably the best advice you can give someone starting a band and it was definitely infectious to the other boys. I grew up in and around amazing people and musicians that have still graft and have managed to be friends after 40 years of being in a punk band. I don’t really know what better role models a person could ask for. I never really talk about it, so whilst we’re on it, I’d like to take the opportunity to say thanks to Daryl from Cock Sparrer too, who from day one has believed and supported in me and helped the band whenever he can.


Tom walk away


I remember Colin once raved to me about your previous band The Jons, and to be honest the single I reviewed at the time, whilst very good musically, didn’t exactly blow me away (it was a bit too indie for me), but to have him on your side must be a big plus for you morally.


Yeah but you’re a Welsh Hair Metaller… [Cue much laughter] Look, if people are putting their faith in you, repay that with effort. Also, never take the piss on a rider and smile after a shit show.


You released your debut single via the PledgeMusic platform. Why did you choose that route, and what did you learn from the experience?


We thought about our options and really wanted the first single to be self released in the UK but we knew we didn’t have the funds for it. Crowd sourcing is a great way for people to directly invest in artists/bands they love and believe in and we were knocked bandy by the support from the word go. There are some people that think the old ways are the only way to be a ‘real band ‘ but it’s complete nonsense to me. Yeah you should still tour and put the work in to earn your stripes, that’s what it’s all about, but the whole thing was hugely successful for us and we ended up making around 150% of our target within a few months, which enabled us to get people posters, t-shirts, stickers, badges… Everything that could’ve taken us months to make, we did in weeks. It really helped to get the band off the ground and meant we were able to offer our fans better stuff than they could’ve got previously… Win/win right?!


At the beginning of this chat you mentioned an album Tom? What’s in the pipeline in that respect, and would you be looking to repeat the Pledge route?


Yeah we’re on it. We’re not rushing the album though, we’ve always had the game plan of writing about 30 songs and picking the best album from there. You see so many bands that have a good single out and what looks like bags of potential and then they rush a release an album which is half filler. You only get one shot at releasing your first album, might as well make it the mutts nuts!



I love the video you guys put together for the song ‘Bar Stool Preacher’ how did that all come together?


When we had the idea for the story and it really was just a light bulb moment. Once we got a good friend and talented bean, Dave Thomas, on side to do the filming, we only needed a Bar Stool Preacher. Luckily, I knew the perfectly pickled person to give us a hand. [Laughing}


We normally end with a few silly questions to lighten, but with you guys, I think we also need to just dig a little deeper into what makes you guys tick. I hope this is okay?


Can we still hear the silly questions?!


No… Right, what’s playing in the Bar Stool Preachers’ tour van at the moment?


‘Let The Dominoes Fall’ - Rancid, ‘Dirty Reggae’ - The Aggrolites and ‘Victoria’ by the Downtown Struts are three of our top picks. In fairness though we’re on the road a lot so we get through a tonne of stuff. It’s a great place for the classic “Oi, have you heard this?”


Who in the band is the biggest tart when on the road and why?


Bungle, hands down. Bungle, because he’s just a massive fucking tart. I’ve never seen a bloke spend so long on his hair and making sure his t-shirt sleeves are rolled up the right amount… Most of us just roll out of the van wearing whatever we can find, he brought a suitcase on a 4 day tour once. He’ll probably give me a slap and dispute all of this, but, I mean, come on mate.


If you boys were stuck in Calais like many were this week waiting to get back to Blighty without money and food – how would you guys survive?


We’d become black market barons fronting as buskers. There’d quickly be an empire established underneath some cobbled together 2-tone where we’d sell anything we could get our hands on, specialising in AK47s and Cacti. We wouldn’t sell people though, that’s bad.



What would be on your dream five band touring festival bill that you also get to open up on?


Rancid, Sparrer, Dropkicks, Street Dogs and The Slackers. Don’t all rush at once though if you’re reading lads!


If you guys weren’t doing Bar Stool Preachers what do you think you would be doing?


That’s a tough one! I think we’d be working normal jobs and be pretty fucking miserable in all fairness! Either that or trying to start a band…


And if we were to run this interview again in 5 years’ time what do you hope to have achieved as a band?


I’d hope by then we’ll have finished at least our second album, having taken the first one all over the world and, possibly most importantly, stayed mates. If at all possible I’d also like to keep my hair, but I’d settle for a couple of banging albums…


Thanks again Tom for taking the time to talk with me today, I wish you every success with the upcoming shows and whatever The Bar Stool Preachers do next.


Thanks John, see you at Rebellion!


Rebellion 2015


Tom McFaull photographs courtesy of Kerry Baker, Portraits35

The Bar Stool Preachers band photograph courtesy of Sam Bruce