Fingers

Current lineup of the Stiff Little Fingers (L-R): guitarist Ian McCallum, drummer Steve Grantley, frontman Jake Burns, and bassist Ali McMordie 

Irish-punk legends Stiff Little Fingers, the force behind undeniable anthems like "Alternative Ulster" and "Suspect Device," is coming to Gainesville for their "40 years of Inflammable Material" tour.

They will be running through their classic debut album "Inflammable Material" from start to finish. The tour will be a trans-Atlantic punk alliance with support from West Coast agitators, the Avengers. Stiff Little Fingers’ Nov. 3 set at FEST 18  will be their Gainesville debut. 

The group, which is comprised of frontman Jake Burns, guitarist Ian McCallum, drummer Steve Grantley and bassist Ali McMordie are set to join Jawbreaker, Against Me!, AJJ and more at Gainesville FEST 18, taking place from Nov. 1- 3.  

FEST is an annual music festival in Gainesville, Florida. It is a predominantly punk-rock and pop-punk festival, though there are also ska, indie rock, hardcore punk and meta artists who perform. Bands play across a variety of venues, from small bars to large concert halls in the downtown Gainesville area. 

Stiff Little Fingers is an influential punk rock band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Groups like Green Day, Idles and Nirvana  have mentioned Stiff Little Fingers as dominant influences on their music. 

Stiff Little Fingers initially formed in 1977 as a high school band. The group recorded a single at a local radio station; a cassette of the single "Suspect Device" landed in the hands of the great John Peel, who played it frequently on his BBC Radio 1 show. 

Stiff Little Fingers signed with Rough Trade records, which later went on to represent bands such as The Smiths, The Strokes  and The Libertines. Stiff Little Fingers recorded their debut album, “Inflammable Material,” within two weeks.

The album reached number 14 in the UK Albums Chart and reached Silver status, selling over 100,000 copies. Released in 1979, it was the first independent album to chart in the UK. Forty years later, the band is bringing its bright and punchy punk-rock presence to Gainesville for the first time. 

Stiff Little Fingers have been on a unique tour. Ali McMordie, the bassist for Stiff Little Fingers, said this is by far the most extended tour they have ever done in the states, seeing new places like New Orleans, Nashville, and of course, many areas of Florida.

McMordie reflected on what it is like to play these songs he helped write in his early twenties. 

"It was all done in less than two weeks from start to finish,” McMordie said. “What resulted is a completely blisteringly-angry recording. I listen back to it now, and it's scary. It's odd playing these songs now in a sense because sometimes I look back and I wonder who that person was that was in the studio recording this album. Who was this 19-year-old kid who didn't really know what he was doing, now we are trying to recreate that — and we still don't know what we're doing, but we just get away with it a bit better now." 

McMordie also talked about the tour they are currently on and how grateful they are for their long-devoted fanbase. 

"The tour is going very well so far. We sold out LA, San Francisco, Boston, and attendance has been good considering that many of these shows are during the week. We are very much a weekend band. I am very grateful to everyone that is showing us support on this leg of the tour. And they're showing appreciation for us, celebrating 40 years of ‘Inflammable Material.’ The title of which, I'd like to add, was my idea — one of my small creative contributions to the process," he said. 

McMordie also talked about why Stiff Little Fingers chose to play punk rock over every other genre. 

"If you like the word ‘Punk Protest,’ that's the way we saw punk ― a vehicle. It seemed to match our social and political situation perfectly. Music is way more than entertainment; it can change lives; it can change political direction ― I think it's that strong."