In the last century or so, technology has greatly altered how history was passed along, through radio, television, the internet, and movies. There once was a time where storytelling came by word of mouth; from parents and grandparents, to bards that played through the villages and towns. In the era of electronic media and communication, it seems as if the art of storytelling has fallen by the wayside. Luckily, strewn through out this modern landscape are a few remaining bards who are still willing to share with us their superbly executed, original songs.
The Filthy Thieving Bastards' songwriting duo of Johnny Bonnel and Darius Koski are two of these aforementioned bards and share time as punk stalwarts in The Swingin' Utters. Bassist Spike Slawson not only shares duties in both bands, but is also the lead singer for the infamous Me First & The Gimme Gimmes. Producer Randy Burk was called upon to play drums. A Making a very special appearance on The Bastards newest release is Spider Stacy of one of their most cited influences, The Pogues.
Their first recorded full length album, A Melody of Broken Quills and Retreads, was released in ’99 through BYO shortly after the bands debut EP, Our Fathers Sent Us, made waves and stirred speculation about what people were calling the “Swinging Utters side project” could bring forth. Both releases delivered on the promise of Bonnel and Koski as songwriters and the logical progression of each as musicians was clearly evident. The Filthy Thieving Bastards' folk-ballad approach is somewhat of a contrast to the style of the Swingin Utters, but the conviction and refreshing honesty are still there in the Bastards. In place of audio distortion and anthemic guitar riffs is the more traditional timbre of accordion, violin, piano, organ, mandolin, pedal steel and upright bass (a bulk of those instruments is tackled by Darius, who is a classically trained musician).
Often compared with folk rock luminaries, The Pogues, and once described as "Billy Bragg as a crusty old punk on a bender," Filthy Thieving Bastards are heavily influenced by their own experiences and expertise in the punk rock scene.
With their second full length release, My Pappy was a Pistol, The Filthy Thieving Bastards have truly separated themselves from the shadow of their members other bands, and offer up one of the most heartfelt and original records this side of the pub. As it’s been with most music that escapes immediate classification, we suggest that you sit down, give it a listen, and appreciate the modern storytelling of The Filthy Thieving Bastards.