Around three years ago a Gibraltarian super group was formed under the name ‘The Undesirables 141’ to bring a new musical genre with old roots to the Rock. The band combines punk rock with country music as well as containing elements of flamenco, rock ‘n roll and blues. With their fast-paced and upbeat tones, The Undesirables have already established a strong local fan base merely three years since their inception and are looking to step up their game with a new album as well as planed tours to the UK and Portugal. We spoke to lead singer and acoustic guitarist Adrian Pisarello on how the band formed and its aspirations going forward.
Band line-up: Adrian Pisarello – acoustic guitar and vocals, Nick Richardson – electric guitar, Jonathan Bugeja – banjo, slide guitar, keyboard and harmonica, Jason Belilo – bass and Francis Pecino – drums.
How did The Undesirables 141 form?
It was a culmination of tons of ideas that I had locked away. Nick and I work together, but we also familiarised with one another musically in our other band, ‘The Return of the Punk Zombies’. We were mates basically and there was a period where we were individually listening to a lot of music like Elvis and Johnny Cash. So we discussed it and thought, why not?
How did you come up with the name ‘Undesirables 141’?
The ‘undesirable’ is the person who people ignore when they go out on a Friday night, the one who never receives the call to a party and is left at the back of the line. There are people out there who use you to their convenience and then ignore you when you need them.
Would you say that the Undesirables are within a specific genre?
We’re not really a country band… people haven’t realised it yet but we are a punk band more than anything else. Let’s say, we’re not exactly playing Kenny Rodgers, even though we like his music. I’m more into The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Ramones and loads of others within that style. But it is a mix of genres and we are mostly influenced by the music of Johnny Cash, The Reverend Horton Heat, The Old Crow Medicine Show and many others like these. I have always done fusion and this is no different, but we are not producing something that is too complicated. Some elements of our music can be seen as having some strains of country like bluegrass, o rockabilly. Most of my music collection is composed of bands like Motorhead, Black Sabbath and AC/DC, I love rock and roll, so all these things make their presence known in our music.
What does the rebellious spirit found in original punk mean to you?
It’s not my fault that I was born with such a rebellious spirit. When I was a kid, I loved Greece, the musical, and the badass leather jackets that the group wore. That was the origin of my love for classic rock ‘n roll. The movie also had Elvis’ ‘You Ain’t nothing like a Hound Dog’ song and this was my introduction as an eight-year-old. I loved this stuff and the images behind this music really sunk in with me. Everything I do has a little bit of punk in it. I guess it’s the rebellious spirit inside of me. I like to play music that is raw, free and expressive.
What does your music talk about?
Our music is light-hearted and talks about drinking and having fun. We’ve also talked about the fake forms of rock and roll. One of our songs is called ‘Most People like the Crap that I Hate on the Radio’ and it talks exactly about that. ‘Just to Spend Some Time with You’ is slightly political in the way it criticises the long queues between Gibraltar and Spain. It is about the desire to spend time with a loved one who is on the other side of the border but the delays at the frontier make things, let’s say, complicated. It is a bit lighter politically than what I am used to. ‘Aqui nadie se lo traga’ is a bit stronger and is about a specific period during the Blair administration where the UK was negotiating behind Gibraltar’s back for joint sovereignty. At the moment, I don’t feel too comfortable playing the song as I am in a period in my life where I am sick of confrontation. I am more interested in less serious subjects at this time, like our song ‘Tribute to Quinten’, which is an instrumental that pays tribute to the great director, Quinten Tarantino. We also have songs that talk about the Rock on the Rock club and other fun times around Gibraltar, but they could be applied to anything really.
What’s it like in the band room with you guys?
Normally, Jonathan and I are the first ones there and we catch up on fun stories from our respective social lives. When everyone else arrives, it is quite relaxed as, although we are all different, we are good people and complement one another very well while we have a few drinks and share a few laughs. It is vital to have that chemistry in rehearsals which can then be translated on stage. By having an excellent connection between us, we are able to expand our creative horizons.
What are the band’s aspirations?
We have modest goals to play locally and across the border every so often. We would like to play in Portugal where we have some connections, but the main goal is to play a concert in the UK. We’re not aiming to play at London Hammersmith, but we have some smaller venues in mind. We will start recording a full album with ten to twelve songs as from January and will look to bring out a bonus Christmas track for next year. We’ll work with GBC for that. We are also eager to take part in the May Day celebrations like we did last year as well as the Gibraltar Music Festival. All we want to do is to entertain people and provide music that can be related to.
So, all those undesirables out there, maybe cowpunk is the perfect music for you. With local flair and originality, The Undesirables 141 will claim 2017 as their year and aim to become even more prominent in the local music scene.