The Real McKenzies and their unstoppable malarkey are back

MUSIC by Geraldine Malone


The Real McKenzies
Tuesday 22

There’s not many people out there who haven’t seen or at least heard of legendary Celtic punkers the Real McKenzies.

For nearly 25 years the rowdy Celtic hooligans from Vancouver have relentlessly toured Canada and the world with their raucous, entertaining and passionate mix of Scotsman and Sex Pistols-style music.

With stage-favourite classics and new tunes from their most recent album, Rats In The Burlap, the Real McKenzies are on the road again with stops in Saskatoon and Regina.

Singer and founder Paul McKenzie says it’s a lust for life that keeps them going. “Not to mention we’re all crazy,” he says.

With a quarter-century of playing under their kilts, they’ve built a reputation.

“I think it’s because we have been exposing ourselves literally for about 25 years all over the world. There’s a lot of positive energy going on there. We are really happy to be doing what we are doing.”

Still an 18-year-old (just trapped in a 55-year-old’s body), McKenzie says they continue to get in trouble on the road.

Although a few things have changed. “I don’t like to go to jail anymore for doing stupid things,” he says with a big laugh.

But the heart of the music is certainly the same.

“We are playing the music of our ancestors and, you know, when you get those frequencies happening something magic does actually happen,” says McKenzie.

And that’s not all.

“We are not hiding in the dressing room and all that. We go out there slapping the public about and showing our cock and balls. There’s never anything worn under the kilt. It’s all in working order.”

More than the chance at a peep show, it’s the soaring bagpipes, hard-driving guitar and impassioned Scottish pride that consistently fill venues when the Real McKenzies are in town. Their longevity, outlasting others in the celt-punk heap, comes from more than their rebellious reputation or unbounded energy — they’re also skilled musicians and storytellers.

But really, when it comes down to it, a Real McKenzies show is like having a good beer with an old friend.

“We are looking forward to having a great show with the people of Saskatchewan, as always,” says McKenzie.

“Come on down, and we’ll have a good ceilidh!”