The Sisters Of Murphy

Keith Elcombe gets to find out a bit more about this Sisters cover band.

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So why the name “The Sisters Of Murphy”?
Well……. Firstly we were around well before the three young ladies from Murphys brewery. The name literally came about by a friend of ours who had said he had heard someone who was also thinking about doing a Sisters tribute…. And he would call it The Sisters Of Murphy. Worked for me!

How did the band come about, and who exactly makes up The Sisters of Murphy?
Many years ago there was a strictly local Sisters covers band in Huddersfield called Sister Sludge… they were very drunk and very funny…. but didn’t play very often. I got the Idea from them when I started messing around with Cubase on the PC…. This was a few years later (1996). Their guitarist was an old friend of AE and actually auditioned for the real thing.

The 3 founder members are myself, Mark (bass player), and my PC (nurse Landslide no less…)
We started off with a singer called Dave for the first 2 years, but tensions and commitment came into it and he decided to leave, though it was all amicable and if we ever did a last gig I'd hope he’d be there singing a couple! We then got another singer called Sid who to be honest made a huge difference to the entire band as he knew the stuff even better than me…… and lyric wise he knows the stuff inside out, best bass player I know too as it happens! We also acquired the rather stunning talent of Mya as a backing singer and Ofra stand-in and most recently Ian as the second guitarist (Ian, Mark and myself play together and have in the past in other bands). The band now sounds better than ever!

What was the driving motivation to cover Sisters’ songs?
I think I can speak for the whole and when I say we all just like the music. Pure and simple. From there the whole playing in smoke and floods has developed into a bit of a drug for us. For me all of their stuff is good old and new so….. what could be better?

What do you attribute the popularity of the band to? Do you believe it to be down to people’s desire to see and hear Sisters’ songs played live?
What popularity we do have I suspect is a mixture of curiosity, value for money, the songs we do and hopefully how well we do them. Obviously Sisters fans want to hear the songs live…… and that’s what we do!

What are your views on the Sisters Of Mercy given Mr Eldritch’s reported comments about Goths in general?
I don’t really know what his full views are of the Goth movement in general. I have to say that I'm not a huge fan, as I preferred the Goth scene when it was about bands and not vogue. There are a lot of people out there who I like, but I have to say there are many more that I don’t. I’m just a musician by the way…. not a Goth. None of the band are, perhaps that says something. Politics and music are not really for me and I don’t have a political opinion about The Sisters go.

Did the above lessen your enthusiasm to play their songs live?
No way, the quality of Eldritch’s product is more than enough, as I said, his fan base politics are up to him.

What’s the average crowd turnout at one of your gigs?
Between 20 and 300 I'd say…. All depends on venue, type of event, promoter etc. We like doing smaller local stuff as well as the bigger event stuff further away.

Have you ever hit copyright issues from The Sisters Of Mercy, or had any communication from them, or their label with regards to your shows?
There are no copyright issues as we never claim to have written any of the material! I have had a mail from Eldritch once a long time ago with regard to an idea he had, but it came to nothing. I did meet him more recently very briefly at the 20th anniversary gig in York and he seemed to be pleased enough, you might even say “chuffed”

Am I right in thinking that you all pursue separate musical projects? If so, care to let us know about them?
We do indeed. Mark and Mya play in an original metal outfit called Stricken. Ian, Mark and myself have an original punky band called Grinn. Ian and Mark used to do a folky type thing called Dolefin and I write quite a lot of acoustic stuff.

Do you think that interest in the Sisters Of Mercy is waning now, given the musical changes that are occurring in the Goth scene?
I think it has to be really, but they still have appeal. I suspect that if he did put an album out it would have a lot of appeal outside the Goth community, but I still think most Goths would buy it.

How much longer would you see the Sisters Of Murphy continuing?
As long as the gigs keep coming in. We did consider calling it a day in 2001, but got a load of gigs that year!

What are your tour plans for 2003?
See what comes up really. We would love to play in London again at some point, hopefully that will happen sometime this year. Also to play Whitby I guess, perhaps to prove a point to the punters! We were asked this year but unfortunately couldn’t make it happen. Perhaps the next one as it’s the 10th anniversary.

What has been your best gig to date, and why?
The first one was special, very special and our recent gig at The Hallam in Sheffield was amazing (my proffered venue by a mile!) Dublin was also a corker. On the whole I'd have to say that Scottish gigs tend to be the best, the Scots know how to enjoy themselves at a gig! Glasgow (1st time) and Aberdeen have been my favourite so far. Ironically we don’t seem to be able to get a gig up there now!

How often do you spend rehearsing Sisters tracks?
Not very often at all anymore. After 6 years it’s almost a reflex action playing a lot of the songs. We tend to just do a 2 hour session before a gig or when we feel like adding a couple of new songs to the set.

What do you think the chances are of Eldritch & co releasing any more material?
We may get the DVD that’s been touted, but I don’t think we will ever get an album as I don’t think AE will get the record deal he wants……. Crying shame.

What, in your mind, was the Sisters of Mercy’s best line up, and why?
My own personal favourite was AE, Tony James, Tim Bricheno and Andreas Bruhn.

Anything else to add?
Please come and see us if you can, we do what we do very well indeed!