not a member? click here to sign up
A live man who plays the bass from Crumlin
He's not a Christmassy guy, he says, but perhaps the season has made Jape's Richie Egan reflective. Patrick Freyne talks to him about the past, present and future.
Patrick Freyne, 11 Dec 2008
Despite an online campaign to give him a Christmas number one (with ‘Phil Lynott’ a song about another “[dead] man who played the bass from Crumlin”), Richie Egan isn’t the most Christmassy chap in the world. On the other hand, he’s more than eager to reminisce about times past over a Yule log and mulled wine (actually a cup of coffee in the Central Hotel – we met in November).
“When I was a kid I was mad into American hardcore – The Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat and all that stuff,” says Richie Egan, aka Jape. “I got into it through the Hope Collective [idealistic Dublin punk collective in the early/mid ‘90s]. I’d started off being into REM and Nirvana, but then started going to Hope gigs and seeing small little bands that were really, really good. There were two scenes back in the day. There was the one surrounding Hope, who were more political, and then there was the Old Chinaman scene. That was the pub where the street punks went. I used to hang around with this guy called Fletch and we managed to skirt between the two crowds. There were good points and bad points to each of them. The Old Chinaman was a strange and scary place. I remember Blackbelt Jones [his early hardcore band] were doing a gig there, and Glen our drummer said that there was a smell of benjy in the place, and someone shouted in a scary voice ‘If you don’t like it FUCK OFF!’ That kind of summed the place up. There’s a pub up near Smithfield market – an early house filled with really hardcore dudes that look like they’re just out of prison and on E, and they’re in there with their grannies who’re also on E. It reminds me a bit of the Old Chinaman.”
Apart from a healthy sense of fear, punk rock also gave him an important feeling of old-fashioned, DIY agency. He went from Blackbelt Jones to instrumental post-rock Dublin behemoths the Redneck Manifesto, and then at some point during the last half decade had his life-affirming, guitartronic solo act, Jape, signed up to V2, and when that folded, Co-operative Records.