One of the UK’s best-known comic actors talks music and how to make the most of a day trip to the South West with FGW
Most people will know Adrian Edmondson best as Viv from The Young Ones or Eddie Hitler in Bottom. What they might not know is that he spends his evenings as one third of the group The Bad Shepherds, performing brilliantly infectious folk versions of old punk classics.
‘I didn’t get into folk until about ten years ago when we were doing the Sheffield City Hall with Bottom,’ he says. ‘The folk singer Kate Rusby was playing in the same building and when I heard her sing I was properly musically stirred. I’d been learning the banjo at the time and we got chatting. Then I started educating myself in folk and I’ve been at it ever since.’
“I know a lot of great places but I wouldn’t tell people my favourite places because they’d bloody go there”
Making the move from comedy drama to folk-punk hero has come naturally to Edmondson, who quickly cut the jokes from his live gigs. ‘When we started I used to put quite a lot of schtick into the gigs, and I’ve gradually pared that back. Now I just go on as me and it’s very liberating. There’s a real sense that the band and the audience are enjoying themselves equally.’
The punk classics being revisited by The Bad Shepherds my not have been to everyone’s taste first time around, but Edmondson says ‘there’s an honesty and truth’ in tracks which make up their set list.
‘A lot of people think they know those songs and then realise that there’s more to the lyrics than they’d ever noticed. Songs like Down in the Tube Station at Midnight and Anarchy in the UK become more poignant. It’s a glorious feeling. These songs are the ones that I grew up with and playing them again feels like meeting an old friend.’
When he’s not on the road, Edmondson lives in Devon – although he’s not sure he wants to reveal his favourite hang-outs to us.
‘I know a lot of great places but I wouldn’t tell people my favourite places because they’d bloody go there. But if I have to, Mothecombe Beach is the nicest beach in the world, and the second best is the one just down the cliff from East Prawle. You should visit The Pig’s Nose there, it’s a great pub.’
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