Edinburgh Popfest
Suicide Highlife

Suicide Highlife – Return of the Angry Young Men

Ronan McBride – Vocals

Guy Rigby – Bass

Sel Callister – Guitar

Phil Reynolds – Guitar/keys

Ross McDonald – Drums

Suicide Highlife Formed in Douglas, Isle of Man in 1987. Guy, Ronan and Phil had previously been in indie hopefuls Slaughterhaus 5, while Selwyn had formed the Disco Laxatives – arguably the Island’s first punk band – and latterly the Klever Shirts, by way of proto-goth epic miserablists The Cry. Ross played drums and listened to a lot of Reggae, and was the prime mover behind local freaky psychedelic weirdos The Distant Relations of Daphne. Inspired largely by C86 luminaries like The Wedding Present, McCarthy, The Mackenzies and Half Man Half Biscuit amongst others, they cut an impressive, if largely ignored, rug across the Isle of Man’s otherwise pretty staid gig scene for a couple of years in the late 1980s, all Jesus Christ pose and feedback attitude.

In 1988, they braved the wilds of Kent to record tracks for a 12”ep. This momentous trek was responsible for, amongst many other notable events, introducing some of the band to the dubious joys of recreational drugs and caviar. Also to Dutch home cooking and the vagaries of London’s fine underground system. Or not. But anyhow, Trafalgar Square seems quite nice at half one in the morning.

They split up following a gig in Peel which was, rather depressingly one of their best. Ain’t that always the way? Selwyn went on to form Ways of Stephen with Mike Seed and recorded hundreds of wonderful songs, some of which saw release on a stunningly limited 7” ep on the Finnish label Winter Cow records. He’s currently recording with Karl Collins as the13th Pillar who recently released a storming CD. If we find out how you can get a copy, we’ll let you know.

Ronan, Phil and Guy formed the short-lived Suicide Highlife with Jo Thorn on keys and Dave Beynon on drums and women. Er. Yeah, we know. Not too imaginative, name-wise. After this (sadly unrecorded) combo split, Ronan kind of dropped off the scene, while Guy moved to Liverpool to get a degree. Which he did. He also did pretty well, ultimately playing bass for Shack on their definitive album “Here’s Tom with the weather”. Phil, well, if you’re on this site, you’ll know what he’s been up to. Ross went on to study Art at St Martin’s college and ended up (briefly) working with The Shamen (we think he may have mixed this).

Now, there’s a retrospective compilation available, lovingly compiled and buffed up by Small Bear Records’ resident studio monkeys, called “Where’s the matter“.   We’re really happy with it, and we think you will be too.