Indietracks interview #1: The Bobby McGees

From fighting in cages to designing dresses for the stars, via Lego-percussion and candle-lit concerts, The Bobby McGees have always entertained and intrigued in equal measure. Their debut EP ‘Yes Please!” was a masterpiece of charming, twee brilliance and last November’s follow up EP ‘S’Amuser Com des Fous’ reached new heights in twisted ukelele pop. They’ve been described as ‘Domestic Violence with Ukuleles’ by Totally Bored and ‘Dostoyevsky doing Lonnie Donnigan’ by Everett True.

So where better to kick off our series of interviews with Indietracks’ Class of 2008? Over the next few months, we’ll be chatting to all your favourite favourites, from the familiar faces to the new kids on the block. But first of all, please welcome Jimmy from The Bobby McGees to kick things off in bizarre style…

Hi Jimmy, tell us about an unusual place you’ve played a gig in the past

I did a 24 hour ukulele marathon in Bath three years ago, playing just about everywhere in Bath. We’ve played quite a few nice art galleries in and around London, and we played what was basically a sex show in New York (ask Eleanor!).


The first time Eleanor and Frankie had ever been in a studio of any kind was in John Peel’s old studio at Maida Vale for Radio One, that was very nerve racking and weird. Because we are basically an acoustic band, we can and do play pretty much anywhere (though we have never busked!!!). One night in Camden at a show for Spiral Scratch all the power in the venue blew just as we went on stage, we got out lots of tea candles, made everyone sit down and played acoustically, it was lovely and we like to think of it as more Twee than Hippy!…It was also the first time ever anyone in London had ever sat down and shut up at a gig.

Oh, and we’ve also played on a steam train!!!!

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

I used to fight in cages and set up one of the first clubs in the country teaching about it. I have trophies for cage fighting, judo, kung fu, karate and thai boxing. Eleanor is a dressmaker to the stars, she has made dresses for Natasha Khan from Bat For Lashes to wear at the Mercury Awards, for Theoretical Girl at the Guardian new music awards and has sold two dresses to Paul McCartney’s ex wife Heather (though maybe best to keep quiet about it).

What’s going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?

Lots of old Klezmer, you know Klezmer? It’s old eastern European, mainly Jewish music, like early jazz and gypsy music…very cool, not only because no-one else, not even the cute girl in the record shop, knows about it!

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?

1. We will surprise people by only being the second-best band this year, the Kabeedies really are brilliant!
2. Girls with bobs (Bobs not boobs….that could be our next badge!!! We will have our “It’s like Morrissey Died In Vain!” badges and t-shirts ready for the festival) and girls in pretty dresses…and cider…and steam trains…wooooh!

3. This years Indietracks is going to be really brilliant, The Kabeedies really are brilliant, We have known The Mai 68s a long time and they should be great and a bit louder than everything else without being ATP wank!:-) Ballboy write some of the best lyrics since Pulp and I think they are going to have lots of new stuff? I love Ballboy! Darren Hayman is wonderful, I wonder if it is possible for him to play at the same time as the brilliant (and not at all Hefner like!) Esiotrot, or if some strange matter/antimatter thing will happen! I loved The Just Joans since I first heard them on MYSPACE, they are from the same part of Scotland as me, if it rains, it’s going to be their festival! Used to love Helen Love, so that will be nice, Retro Spankies are ace and good friends, Hope they bring the lovely Mr Winston Echo with them! M J Hibbett is just the loveliest man in the UK and always makes me smile and cry a bit! Never really been a Wedding Present fan, but I am happy to have that changed….these are just the bands off the top of my head! It’s going to be really fantastic! Think I will try and get El’ drunk and pregnant….would be the perfect place for it!

… and thanks for agreeing to share an MP3 with us!


Yes, here’s a song for you, it’s called “Not whole, 1/2 of something”…it’s got ME playing melodica and my 10-year-old uke student Louis playing and singing… The percussion in the background is LEGO, and the second line is “There’s LEGO monsters all over my floor”…..it’s never been heard anywhere outside my close circle of friends before!

Free MP3 download: The Bobby McGees – Not whole, 1/2 of something

Thanks very much Jimmy!

Next up: Brontosaurus Chrous share their views on haircut indie and woodland gigs with stage invasions!