'Rubberbandits' prophecies might set us all free'
Limerick duo on repressed Irish homosexuality and their love for Gabriel Byrne as they sell out 30 shows in Edinburgh
THEY began their career making prank phone calls and wearing plastic bags over their heads, but the Rubberbandits have become a cultural phenomenon after selling out 30 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Their musical Continental Fistfight also sold out 15 shows in London's West End before being staged in Scotland, and they are due to return home to play Electric Picnic at the end of August.
The rise of the irreverent Limerick duo comes on the back of their latest hilarious release, Fellas, which has gone viral online.
In an interview with the Sunday Independent just before one of their weekend shows, the 'Bandits - Blindboy Boat Club and Mr Chrome - said Irishmen's repressed homosexuality was the inspiration behind the song.
"Fellas is about the right of a fella to f**k a fella despite the protestations of another fella who doesn't like fellas f**king other fellas," they explain.
In the video, a puppet of the actor Gabriel Byrne acts as the voice of reason for his puppeteer's repressed homosexuality.
But Blindboy says: "Lots of people assume that it's a puppet of Gabriel Byrne in the video - but it's actually him. Gabriel has spent many years out of the public eye, during which time he has received extensive plastic surgery. In particular Gabriel is insecure about his height, so in 2009 he travelled to Eastern Europe to have his shins sawed off. He is now roughly three-foot tall. His ultimate goal is to become subatomic."
However, he refused to elaborate why they chose Byrne as the liberating voice of Ireland's closet gay men.
"Sometimes when viewing our videos it helps not to explore the subtext but rather accept them passively like you would a strange dream.
"Ask yourself why Gabriel Byrne is the voice of repressed homosexuality in your dream," he added.
"If two wrens, whose noble little chests are stained with the blood of Christ from picking thorns out of his forehead, arrive on your window-sill - then you will have understood the true meaning of your dream about Gabriel Byrne."
The 'Bandits have always been reluctant to explain their 'art', preferring instead to leave it open to interpretation.
Blindboy added: "Just read the YouTube comments to see what the lads there have come up with as a reason, that's what I do. The sum of all human knowledge is contained within YouTube comments."
Mr Chrome was, however, keen to stress that both 'Bandits are big fans of the Usual Suspects star.
"How could you not be a fan of Gabriel Byrne? He's a gas c**t."
One might expect the true voice of reason for a man coming to terms with suppressed homosexuality to be found in the likes of Panti Bliss, Russell Brand or Stephen Fry, not a puppet with a hand up its posterior parroting the Rubberbandits.
But then the Limerick pair have always defied social norms in their own hilarious way.
And in a further sign of their growing acclaim, Panti, Brand and Fry have all expressed their admiration for the 'Bandits' work since the release of their latest online hit.
Brand even tweeted: "One day their prophecies may free us all."
Blindboy and Mr Chrome have come a long way since they burst on the scene with the song Horse Outside - which was almost a Christmas number one hit - and their infamous YouTube prank phone calls.
"Horse Outside got us a load of fans we didn't want so we've been trying our utmost to isolate them ever since. It's worked really well," said Mr Chrome.
The duo say they are content with their new role as social commentators, which they said came about after they gave up taking ecstasy
Mr Chrome explained: "We've stopped taking yokes and started colouring cigarettes in with permanent marker and smoking them out of traffic cones."
They insist their unique style enables them to creatively tackle key issues.
"We just like writing songs about things that people don't write songs about, and we also like to musically explore as many different genres as possible," said Blindboy.
"We're just as capable of writing a song about clearing a nest of ferrets out of a garden shed with the end of a tennis racket and some people will choose to see it as a metaphor for ridding the Government of corruption."