Punk legend Jake Burns today revealed Stiff Little Fingers scrapped plans to use an Aberdeen show on an album due to crowd trouble.
The influential Belfast formed band played the now defunct Capitol Theatre in the late seventies.
Recordings of that Granite City show were scheduled to be used on the Hanx! Album which was released in 1980.
However, Burns – who will return to Aberdeen to play the Lemon Tree with the band on Wednesday March 20 – revealed the audio was shelved.
That was due to overbearing bouncers at the old venue – a problem so common during Stiff Little Fingers tours they had to employ a bodyguard to protect fans, he said.
Talking to Society from his home in Chicago, Burns said: “We recorded a show at the old Capitol Theatre in Aberdeen and that was going to be part of the sessions that became the Hanx! Record.
“However it wasn’t the world’s greatest performance because back in those days there was a lot of enthusiasm from the audience.
“And a lot of misunderstanding on behalf of the security.
“The security in those days, they all looked like nightclub bouncers and turned up wearing tuxedos.
“Then they spent the night standing at the front glaring at the audience.
“Our audience were young and just out to have fun and that led to a flashpoint.
“I seem to recall there were lots of instances of the house lights being turned up as there were running battles with these kids and lads with the tuxedos.
“We got a bill for a lot of broken seats at the end of that night.”
Recordings from that show would emerge however on the bootleg Broken Fingers/Live in Aberdeen.
Formed in Belfast in 1977 the band’s early songs tackled growing up at the height of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Their material was an honest dissection not just of teenage angst but the political turmoil gripping their country at the time.
Live they were renowned for the energy, power and commitment of their shows.
With the emergence of punk there was the inevitable clash of cultures and that fission between the old and new often erupted at shows.
Burns said: “It was a constant battle back then not just between the audience and the bouncers, but between ourselves and the bouncers.
“It sounded ridiculous at the time, and we even had to explain it to other bands, but we actually carried a bodyguard with us.
“You would mention this to someone like Captain Sensible (The Damned, bassist) and he would fall about laughing.
“We had to explain it was not for us, it was for the audience.
“We had a big guy who came with us and he would sit down with all the lads in the tuxedos before the show and explain to them what would happen.
“He would tell them the kids would get excited and jump up and down but they are not violent, they are just having fun.
“He would tell them he is in charge, the bouncers are now working for him and we don’t want anyone getting hurt.
“It was us trying to make sure people who came out to have fun, actually had fun.”
Stiff Little Fingers released Suspect Device and Wasted Life on their own Rigid Digits label in late 1977.
They sent a copy to influential Radio One DJ John Peel who started playing it every night.
It was the catalyst for a rise that would see Stiff Little Fingers became the first band ever to hit the UK top 20 album charts on an independent label with their incendiary debut album Inflammable Material.
Burns said: “By the time punk rock rolled around in 1976 pop music as we know it had only been going for 12 to 15 years.
“People were still learning and a lot of those bouncers, particularly the ones who used to work the old dance halls, were still expecting a crooner.
“Then they get the Rolling Stones and then the Sex Pistols – they must have thought they were staring down the barrel of Armaggedon.
“Security that works now are a lot better.”
On the subject of “staring down the barrel of Armageddon” the uncertainty of Brexit is looming little more than a week after Stiff Little Fingers headline Aberdeen.
In Burns’ home of Northern Ireland Brexit could have repercussions with a potential “backstop” designed to prevent a hard border which could reverse the Good Friday pact and possibly set Irish peace back decades.
He said: “Like a lot of the consequences of Brexit that was one I don’t think they even saw coming.
“The whole thing was a knee jerk reaction and a campaign based on slogans rather than facts.
“I don’t think anyone thought it through to its logical conclusion.
“There is a lot more to it than just getting a blue passport.
“There are consequences in everyday life and I think the Irish one particularly was a thorny problem they managed to put a Band Aid on and keep the lid on it.
“I have family over there and life has changed so much for the better.
“Even the thought of that raising its ugly head again has got people not unreasonably worried.
“Politicians did not think it through – but there is no surprise there.”
Having been based in Chicago for almost 15 years the political landscape in the United States is also concerning Burns.
So much so that on the night of Donald Trump’s election, Burns decided to apply for USA residency.
That was finalised a few weeks ago.
He said: “One of my neighbours had an election party and the idea was we go in, get drunk, then by two in the morning Hilary (Clinton) would be president and we would all waddle off to bed.
“It rapidly turned into a wake.
“At first there were laughs at the television but then the jokes started falling very flat.
“I have lived in America for nearly 15 years now and I have never, ever felt the need to become a citizen.
“I always kept the green card because with that you still have the same right every citizen has, except to vote.
“On that night of the election I thought I need to become a citizen so that I can vote.
“I can’t just complain about this for the next four years without actively taking part in the thing.
“As a result of that I became a citizen a few weeks ago.”
Now 61, Burns is determined to keep Stiff Little Fingers propulsive and relevant.
He is currently working on new material, the follow up to 2014’s No Going Back, and aims to unveil a new track on the upcoming tour.
Burns said: “I working on a new song to take this call.
“We are hoping to get that together to play on the tour.
“We will also tip the hat to the first record as well, as people keep pointing out it is the 40th anniversary.
“So we will play a couple of songs from that album that don’t normally feature in set as a thank you to our history.”
Click here for more music news and features.