One album that is an essential for any collection is Stiff Little Fingers’ Inflammable Material. Released in 1979, Inflammable Material introduced the world to a quad of high energy boys from Belfast, Ireland who had something to say about their home during a time of major political conflict which was often violent and lasted three decades.
Songs like “Wasted Life” and “Law and Order” revealed frustrating and angry realities for Irish youth. Though Jake Burns and Ali McMordie are the only two original members still touring and recording as Stiff Little Fingers, the spirit and rawness of Inflammable Material will always carry through to old and new fans of the band.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor and pleasure of talking to Ali McMordie, the bassist who rejoined the band in 2006 after having been away for about 10 years. McMordie gave me an earful on working in the music industry for over thirty years, playing Chicago’s Metro for the first time, and a bit about getting back into the studio to record STF’s excellent new album, No Going Back.
As soon as I reminded him that this interview would be published at The Vinyl District, he immediately launched into how much vinyl plays into his life everyday.
I buy vinyl records, I always have done and I still have the records that I started collecting as a kid—some of which are still in storage in Ireland. But I bought a lot of them over here. Now I’m based in Brooklyn and I still occasionally DJ roundabout a dozen or so gigs, about a dozen or so pubs and clubs in New York. It’s old school. It’s all vinyl and it’s great because I get to play a lot of all my old records which I have to say are a lot of old punk rock 45s from the late ’70s and early ’80s.
It’s great to be able to get out there and share the love. Sometimes I even get paid! You’ll find that because vinyl is all mechanical you know, it’s all turntables and cables and sort… half the time I spend my time fixing the various rigs that I’ve come across because they are never looked after.
Getting paid to play you’re favorite records, on vinyl no less, sounds like a lot of fun.
Outside of that, it’s a labor of love and I really enjoy it. I’m glad you’ve found it! One of the great things about traveling is that I get to sniff out various record stores and I still like record browsing which, at one point, I think us record browsers were a dying breed.
It’s good to see that it’s on the comeback. You know, you just go into the store without any particular idea of what you want to get and you just pick something up because it has a nice cover or something you know, because vinyl, that 12” format, is really the best for the artwork—and CDs never really cut it, or digital downloads of course. I was amazed to see that places like Urban Outfitters for example, like clothing stores and accessory stores, are stocking albums, and even stranger than that, a lot of kids that are buying albums—some of them don’t even own a record players. They are buying them as collectibles or just for the artwork to display on your wall—and that’s fine! That’s great, and then use the MP3 download to listen to on the iPod.