Melbourne Celt folk-punks The Ramshackle Army broke onto their local scene in 2010 and quickly set about playing to diverse crowds up and down the East Coast of Australia, finding themselves equally at home in front of a festival crowd as the dark seedy punk rock shows that they knew and loved. Setting out to create party music they combined Aussie folklore with personal experience, while drawing inspiration from the sounds of Australian and Celtic folk, with a heavy dose of the punk rock which they had grown up on.
The band steadily began to get runs on the board and in 2011, they trekked into the studio to piece together their debut EP Life Lessons And Drunken Sessions [recorded by Sam Johnson - Mindsnare, Toe to Toe, A Death in The Family, House Vs Hurricane - and mastered at Blasting Room, Fort Collins, Colorado by Jason Livermore - Rise Against, A Wilhelm Scream). The record was universally supported by a number of international podcasts and radio shows including Shite N Onions [Boston], Irish Power Hour [Syracuse, New York] and PaddyRock.com [Chicago], who gave Life Lessons…an honourable mention on the PaddyRock.com Best Of 2011 list; an encouragement to accompany its No 5 position on Rock Kultur Magazine’s [Germany] “Top 10 Releases Of 2011” and a distribution deal into Japan via Celtic punk label Uncle Owen.
The band kicked off 2012 in most unexpected way, playing to over 40,000 people as guests of the Dropkick Murphys – the scene icons who invited the RSA along for the ride, first in the younger band’s hometown of Melbourne then along the United States East Coast as part of the Dropkick Murphy’s St Patrick’s Day 2012 tour.
Considering that The Ramshackle Army only celebrated their third birthday in the middle of 2013 the band has had quite a ride. With Dropkick Murphys and Frank Turner, Ramshackle ticked a couple of life-dream boxes by playing Boston’s legendary House Of Blues and Washington DC’s Shamrock Fest (RFK Stadium), not to mention hearing thousands of Celt punks roaring their support in arenas along the way.
Arriving home to become the first Celt punk band to event be invited to play CherryRock Festival, in Melbourne’s rock heartbeat AC/DC Lane, alongside Fu Manchu and Black Cobra was an unexpected boon for the 6-piece, who soon realised that genre adjectives like “Celtic” and “punk” meant nothing to music fans who wanted a to party. All the while, The Ramshackle Army kept local home fires burning as they hit the road to play to punk fans in Melbourne [supporting Anti-Flag, Strike Anywhere and The Flatliners], Sydney and Brisbane.
Writing “Shamrock Fest” and CherryRock” on a festival list already boasting Dead Of Winter Festival, Anglesea Music Festival, Illawarra Folk Festival, St Kilda Festival, Sydney Road Festival, Blood Sweat & Beers Festival and Drunken Moon Festival, not to mention entertaining new friends at events like the Melbourne Ice Season Opener (on ice) and Victoria Roller Derby League Final, made it apparent that genre wasn’t as important as getting in front of people who loved great party music or a band that was having fun making it.
Having been invited to play their first ever Port Fairy Folk Festival in March 2013, The Ramshackle Army were perched to move on with their next recording when they went through the first lineup change of the bands short life. Once whole again, the band picked up where they left off, writing and tracking for their debut full length to be titled “Letters From The Road Less Travelled” at Head Gap Studios (Preston Victoria) with Loki Lockwood (Brothers Grim & the Blue Murders, Graveyard Train) ready for an early 2014 release date.
November 2013, saw the RSA extend their international reach by joining the family of US label East Grand Records ( Michigan) for the release of ”Letters From the Road Less Travelled”. Joining the likes of Continental (ex Dropkick Murphys guitarist Rick Barton), Celtic punks The Tosspints, and punk rockers Hex Bombs, the band are excited to push back into the US and reached the audiences which offered this little band from Melbourne such support. In the same month The RSA also reached agreement with Swedish label Heptown Records (label of Celt punk powerhouse Sir Reg) for the Europe wide distro of the forthcoming release.
The future for these Aussies, still relatively early in their career, certainly has more questions than answers but the ride is sure to be a long and wild one.