A fair while in the making, Serious About Men neatly ties together nine years’ worth of pranking, hip-hop and social commentary from the manic bag-wearing anti-heroes that are The Rubberbandits. Their comic caricatures have become a controversial yet well-loved reflection of many aspects of Irish society over their last few successful years, showing a grotty but relatable reflection. Happily, in interview the pair – Blindboy Boatclub and Mr Chrome – have no trouble delivering every bit of that charisma, whether they’re talking about their politics or their fixation with the duality of waterfowl…
We’ve got your lovely new pink album here. How did you choose the cover art and the name?
Mr Chrome: It’s Pantone. That’s what makes it stand out. Not a lot of people go for Pantone. The name, we asked ourselves, who are we serious about?
Are you serious about Adolf Hitler? And Colonel Mustard?
Mr Chrome: We’re serious about them, yeah. We’re serious about Adolf Hitler being a shit. Colonel Mustard… isn’t that from gay porn? Fisting Cluedo?
Blindboy Boatclub: Gay porn and Cluedo, yeah. We’re serious about a lot of men. A few boys, too.
You’ve been getting some good promotion around town, on the pavements and stuff.
Mr Chrome: Oh no, that’s not us. I don’t think it’s just one person. I think it’s someone with a stencil and they’re passing it around on message boards online. They’ve been popping up in Limerick and Galway and Cork. It can’t be just one guy. And he’s not using a power washer either, he’s using a chemical burn. He’s getting a vinyl stencil and caustic soda and it burns into the ground. I think.
We saw a great video of you for MTV sat right here in the Library Bar.
Blindboy Boatclub: Yeah! We drank so many tea that I had heart palpitations, and had to stop half way through and have a small lie down. There was so many caffeine inside of me. They were like do that there and drink more tea. It would have been better if was fucking whiskey or something and I wouldn’t have had the heart palpitations.
Mr Chrome: That’s the interview that made us do all promo here. Before that was when ‘Horse Outside’ came out, and we was doing interviews everywhere. We got thrown out of Dundrum Shopping Centre because we went in with our bags on, to do an interview upstairs at 2FM. The security said take off your masks and we were like ‘fuck you’.
Blindboy Boat Club: He said its policy. And we were like who the fuck ever else has come in here with bags on their heads for you to invent a policy? And then our manager Coco made us look like fools, he kept shouting “Do you know who they are? Do you know who they are?” and children came over with camera phones. Awful. So from then on we said we’re doing all our interviews in the Central Hotel and the press has to come to us.
We’ve picked out a few key issues from the album that I’d like to ask you about. There’s a lot of stuff about drugs, let’s talk The Rubberbandits and drugs…
Mr Chrome: Is there a lot on drugs? What have we got? ‘Bags of Glue’, ‘Double Dropping Yokes’. We smoke crack in ‘Pure Awkward’. And do gay things as well.
You got a bit of stick for your yokes line in ‘Horse Outside’.
Blindboy Boat Club: Yeah, funnily enough your man in that, the first line, that was him just talking about it, and we were just like yeah fuck this, it wasn’t us! We put that in the video like. A bag of yokes in 1992. You know what, we were only having a laugh ya know? ‘Double Dropping Yokes’, that’s about doing ecstasy with the ghost of Eamon De Valera. I mean, can you do yokes with a ghost? Maybe it’s a metaphor for something deeper. Yokes could be anything in that song. What else have we got. ‘Bags Of Glue’. That’s just about sniffing glue.
Mr Chrome: Glue isn’t a drugs. It’s for sticking stuff to ya wall. You know what I mean. That’s not drugs. We smoke crack with Ice Cube but that’s his fault. It’s a piece of fantasy, that’s all.
You also have a political angle, with the IRA, Eamon De Valera…
Mr Chrome: I don’t think ‘Double Dropping Yokes with Eamonn De Valera’ is a political song, though! ‘Up the Ra’ touches on politics lightly. ‘Willie O’Dea’, that’s a true story.
Have you gone all deep with your equality stuff? With your ‘Black Man’, and your ‘Spastic Hawk’…
Mr Chrome: I suppose so! ‘Black Man’ was meant to be China man, but it has one syllable too many (sings “China man, China man in my gang”). Black. Beautiful.
Blindboy Boatclub – ‘Spastic Hawk’ is a true story unfortunately. I have a hawkery, and I had a physically retarded hawk. Here’s the problem, right, in real life, he was getting bullied by my other hawks, and one morning I went in and he was dead. They pecked him to death. The song is about his spirit, he never got to fly away. Birds will do that, if there’s a runt they’ll kill it. All animals in cages will do that, hamsters as well. If anything that song’s telling God to fuck off. Because God invented bully hawks.
Emotional stuff. Let’s get a little base for a moment. How does the bag on your head affect your sex life?
Blindboy Boatclub: It heightens it greatly.
Mr Chrome: It’s good when it comes down and you can’t see your girlfriend anymore. Also, a man is never expected to wear plastic on two of his extremities, so we don’t have to wear Johnnies.
Blindboy Boatclub: It’s a head condom. For shifting. It drives bitches wild. Absolutely wild.
You’ve made your tips for the ladies very public now (they’re on the inside cover of the album). Tell us about them.
Mr Chrome – There’s an upside down cat, because ladies love cats and they just can’t make sense of the world. They think we’re doing them a service but actually they’re doing us a service by cleaning up their fucking faces a little bit. If the ladies don’t follow the tips, they won’t get a shift. You’ve no excuse now. It’s right there for them, you should see a lot of beautiful women walking around town. We’ll be raising our standards.
Has fame changed you?
Mr Chrome: We’ve become complete cunts.
Blindboy Boatclub: And we box around our Coco. Coco and his helper. We still don’t know his helper’s name. I buy Hot Press now I’m in it.
Should we be taking you literally?
Blindboy Boatclub: Yes. If at all possible yet, please. Especially that part about taking drugs with Eamon Devalera’s ghost. That’s completely literal.
So when people come on the radio moaning…
Mr Chrome: It’s more fun for us if they take it literally. If they want to come on the radio moaning about us taking drugs with Eamon Devalera’s ghost, that’s fun. They say that’s taking the piss out of everything we struggled for over 800 years. He died 100 years ago, you know what I mean?
How’s your fish? The No Craic Trout?
Blindboy Boatclub: Awful, awful boy.
Mr Chrome: He’s on holiday at the moment. He stole a load of money off us.
Blindboy Boatclub: A lot of money. He stole €700 off Coco’s wife and never gave it back. Never work with friends. We’ve known him for years, he’s just a bad egg.
Mr Chrome: He’s a mackerel as well. You can tell everyone that. He puts an extra flap on his belly to look like a trout but he’s a mackerel.
You seem to be animal lovers in general.
Blindboy Boatclub – Yeah! What are there – horses, greyhounds, hawks, fish, we talk about swans every second day.
Mr Chrome – We’re big into waterfowl. Who are the funniest cunts in the world? Waterfowl. Swans are gas man. They think they’re noble but you know, they shit on each other and eat dirty bread. Give them the dirtiest bread in the world and a swan would eat it. And then they go around acting like Prince Philip.
The Rubberbandits’ debut album Serious About Men is out now.
As published on State.ie, January 2012.