CELTIC-PUNK Q AND A : JOSH FROM FLATFOOT 56

Welcome to a new special feature that we will be running for the next few days to celebrate the ninth birthday of our first post. Based on the feature that use to appear in the football magazines of my youth it’s just a short series of questions about stuff’n’nonsense as me auld Nan would have said.

Ten years of the London Celtic Punks site. It’s flown by and life has changed an awful lot. Next month it will be thirteen years since me and my lovely wife went on our first date to watch Flatfoot 56 at the Hope And Anchor and so I’m delighted that today’s Q And A is with Josh, Flatfoot 56’s piper that day and now again on a full time basis.

Name / Nickname : Josh

Age (Estimate allowed!) : 37

Status : Married

Birthplace / Nationality / Ancestry : Born in the Chicago area, my ancestry is the Robertson Clan from Scotland, specifically the Elgin area is what I’ve been told. Although my mom’s side is also a combination of Dutch, English, Norwegian, and a tiny bit of French.

Where do you live : The Chicago area

Occupation : Product Support Rep for a company that makes equipment for testing and troubleshooting the railroad signal system (had no idea this was even a thing until I started there).

First job : Unofficially, I was a laborer for my Uncle’s bricklaying business. My first on the books job, besides working in Flatfoot 56, was in the Prepared Foods department at Whole Foods Market.
A job you would have loved to do : I suppose I would have and still would love to do a remote job that would allow me to work wherever I wanted during the day (including in the van on the way to a show), and then I can rock and roll at night. That would be the dream.

What / Who makes you laugh : Leslie Nielsen in pretty much anything. Also my wife, she can be hilarious.

Favourite movie star : I’ll go with Leslie Nielsen.

Favourite film / TV show : Mystery Science Theater movies, and The Simpsons, Futurama, the Office (fan of both British and US!), Arrested Development, and more.

Favourite band/s : The Pogues, the Adicts, the Ramones, Blaster the Rocketman, the Beach Boys, and more.

Favourite Celtic-Punk bands : The Real McKenzies, Flogging Molly, and the Tossers

Up and coming Celtic-Punk band to watch : They’ve been around for a long time, but the Killigans from Lincoln, Nebraska are so good. We did play with a Celtic punk band from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania called Hold Fast who were great, too.

First and last record you bought : My very first record was Weird Al’s “Dare to be Stupid”, and I still love it. My most recent record is from a local Chicago punk band called Squared Off, the album is “Glory Days”. It’s good!

How many instruments can you play :  Bagpipes, Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele, Piano, those are the main 5 instruments. But I’ve dabbled and a bunch of others ha.

How many bands have you been in : I’ve been a member of 4 bands, counting the bagpipe band where I learned the pipes. But I’ve played as a guest in a whole bunch of random bands over the years.

Favourite venue / gig attended : My favorite venue was the old Bottom Lounge in Chicago. My favorite gig I’ve attended was the “Parting Glass with Shane MacGowan” Pogues show in 2011 at the Congress Theater in Chicago….soooo good!

Favourite venue / gig played : This is a very hard question. But Cornerstone Music Festival gigs were amazing and crazy, we had so much fun. And for favorite venues played, I was very fond of playing at this great place in Grand Rapids, Michigan called the Skeletones, a lot of fun memories there.

Describe yourself in 5 words : Positive, humorous, authentic, creative, loving….those words come to mind and I would like to think they describe me, and hope that’s generally some of the ways people would see me.

Most embarrassing moment : I think I have plenty, but one that comes to mind is the time when Flatfoot 56 was playing a show in Colorado, and I tried a slice of pizza which had “artichoke” as a topping. I had never had that on pizza before, so I figured, ”What the hey?” Well, an hour later, when we were playing, I really had to use the toilet. I also was wearing my kilt, so I really really didn’t want to risk wasting any time. As soon as the song ended, I interrupted the band’s set and told Tobin to play the cover of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, because I knew they could do that without me. I ran to the bathroom, praying the toilet was available. It was, but it was still extremely embarrassing, hearing my band cover twisted sister while I had an emergency toilet break. I am grateful though, cause we all know that it could have been WAY more embarrassing. I’m staying far away from artichokes as a pizza topping too!

Favourite song and why : This question is too hard ha. I think I have over 100 favorites.

Favourite album and why : Also too hard!

Favourite song you’ve been involved in: I really like the song Brotherhood that Flatfoot 56 has. The bagpipe tune played is a traditional tune, “Mason’s Apron”, and that’s one of my favorite pipe tunes. And the lyrics and comradery in the song Brotherhood, and the way the crowd is energized and has so much fun, that’s definitely one of my all time favorites.

Team/s supported as a kid : Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, and I’ll get attacked for this, but as a kid, I also wanted the Chicago Cubs to win lol. I didn’t want a team from a rival city coming in and beating Chicago, it just didn’t make sense to me ha. The rule is, you can either like the White Sox OR the Cubs, but not both. And frankly, I still don’t care about that rule all that much and I definitely get flack for it ha.

Favourite sportsperson : Walter Payton, running back for the ’85 Chicago Bears, loved him as a person and as a player.

Favourite sport : Growing up it was definitely basketball, and now I like playing basketball, but I like watching American Football a little more (too bad the Bears are so terrible though!)

All time hero : This is a hard question! I recently learned more about Abraham Lincoln, and how he had such an amazingly terrible journey and failed so many times during his life, had a very rough go of it. I know historic figures are far far far from perfect, but it’s an amazing story and inspiring. And mentioning Lincoln, I now feel mentioning Frederick Douglass is mandatory as well, who is a legendary absolute hero, who everyone should learn more about. If I think about it, several more will pop up, so I’ll end there.

Favourite book : I love the Out of the Silent Planet series by C.S. Lewis.

Best friend : My wife, it’s cheesy but it’s also the facts ha

Biggest influence on career : Learning the bagpipes influenced my career the most!

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given : Best advice…this is a tough one to answer. There’s a really good book that comes to mind called “Boundaries: When to say yes, how to say no”, and there’s some principles in that book that are so great and so applicable in any and every relationship, it’s really good. I think if more people read it, they would be able to save themselves a lot of grief and pain, and could have a more healthy and functional and fun life.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Honestly, I’m really happy living in the Chicago area, but I would love to go visit everywhere. One of my goals is to be able to step on all 7 continents, even Antarctica. There’s expensive cruises there, so while it’s insanely pricey, it is attainable ha. I’d love to go play a show at one of the Antarctic bases, too!

Your five dream dinner guests? : Wow, another hard question. It would be an eclectic group of people. After some thinking, I would choose: Leslie Nielsen, C.S. Lewis, Walter Payton, Robert Burns, and last but not least, Mitch Hedberg….and I would want them all to give speeches or just go say whatever they want lol.

Your favourite quote: I’m not good with having favorites apparently. But this is one we have hanging in our house that I like a lot: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time given us.” Written by J.R.R. Tolkien

Anything to plug / promote : My wife and I are in a little folk band together called “The Uh Ohs” and we’re attempting to get our youtube channel to 1,000 subscribers. If anyone can subscribe to the channel, that’d be much appreciated! We do some celtic covers, too. We also have some quirky sketches and other songs. Here is a link: The Uh Ohs – YouTube

Many thanks Josh. Here’s the latest video from The Uh-Ohs.

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