Jake Burns formed Stiff Little Fingers (the band’s name was taken from a 1977 Vibrators lyric “If it wasn’t for your stiff little fingers nobody would know you were dead”…) In 1978 after seeing the Clash play in his hometown Belfast, and the band released the classic ‘Suspect Device’ and ‘Alternative Ulster’ singles that year. Exactly twenty years on from becoming the first band ever to hit the UK top 20 album charts on an independent label – with their 1979 debut ‘Inflammable Material’.
Stiff Little Fingers, along with the likes of the Clash, Sex Pistols, The Jam, Skids, Buzzcocks, Undertones, Sham 69, Stranglers et al – were at the forefront of the punk movement. They enjoyed six years as one of the biggest ticket draws in the UK and recorded three more studio albums – Nobody’s Heroes (1980), Go For It (1982) and Now Then (1982) – before Jake Burns took a sabbatical to work as a BBC Radio One Producer.
SLF reformed in 1987 and booked a huge reunion tour in 1988, including two sold out Brixton Academy gigs, which persuaded Jake to make the reunion permanent.
When original bassist Ali McMordie bowed out in 1990, just as SLF were about to tour Japan, former Jam bassist Bruce Foxton jumped in at the last moment, playing on the group’s subsequent five studio albums ‘Flags and Emblems’ (1991), ‘Get a life’ (1994), ‘Tinderbox’ (1997), ‘Best of all… Hope Street’ (1999) and ‘Guitar & Drum’ (2003).
2003 saw a new studio album, the extremely well received ‘Guitar & Drum’ (EMI Records), said in some circles to be their best recorded work in years. This was followed by the first ever book on the group ‘SLF: Song By Song’ written by Jake with Alan Parker (Sanctuary Publishing), which the pair promoted on radio and via UK book stores, it was later turned into a CD release by EMI Records. If that wasn’t enough, a DVD in the shape of ‘Handheld & Rigidly Digital’ (Secret Music) followed later the same year!
2004 started with a triple disc box set ‘Wasted Life’ (Secret Music) featuring two audio CD’s and a bonus Jake interview DVD. It was followed in September by the re-issue of three classic EMI Records albums, in the shape of; Go For It, Now Then and Hope Street, all these albums have bonus songs and interviews. At the end of the same month the group set out on another UK tour, the last show at The Ocean in London was filmed for another DVD release, again by Secret Music, which was released in March 2005.
In 2005, Bruce Foxton left amicably to pursue other directions and the band welcomed back original bass player, Ali McMordie. Reaction so far has been fantastic.That year also saw EMI Records issue Jake Burns’ first ever solo album.
The intervening period has been spent writing and constantly touring. 2010 saw the band visit 10 different countries, some of them more than once ! The 2011 tour will see them present more new material from the long awaited next studio album, the dates are as follows:
Tue 15 March – Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree
Wed 16 March – Dundee, Fat Sam’s
Thu 17 March – Glasgow, Barrowland
Sat 19 March – Newcastle O2 Academy
Sun 20 March – Leeds O2 Academy
Mon 21 March – Wolverhampton, Robin 2
Wed 23 March – Oxford O2 Academy
Thu 24 March – Cardiff Millennium Hall
Fri 25 March – London HMV Forum
Sun 27 March – Bristol O2 Academy
Mon 28 March – Leamington Spa, The Assembly
Wed 30 March – Cambridge, The Junction
Thu 31 March – Norwich, The Waterfront
Fri 1 April – Manchester Academy 2
Sat 2 April – Nottingham Rock City
*Tickets are £17.87 and are onsale now at www.gigsandtours.com / 0844 811 0051
Check out web-site: www.slf.com