Cutthroat Shamrock closes out 13 years of Irish-acoustic punk-rock mayhem with a farewell performance on Market Square March 17. Shamrocks Derek McRotten and Marcus remember some highlights — and lowlights — from a long and fruitful run.
Derek: “Our first tour, we went all the way out West and back. That was an eye-opener. I’d never been past the Mississippi. We had four or five shows fall out, but we didn’t care. We had a blast.
“We had a scheduled show fall out in Los Angeles, so we went to a place called Molly Malone’s — that’s the club where Flogging Molly got started — and waited for the owner. When the owner came into work, we hit him up for a show. He asked for a CD, then got into his car and listened to it on the car stereo for a few minutes. Then he got back out and said, ‘Okay, I guess you guys don’t suck; I’ll let you play in the corner tonight.” So we played that night, then slept in the van on the streets, which everyone told us not to do.”
Marcus: “It was very freeing to live like that — six guys in a van, sleeping in all kinds of circumstances. And even when the shows fell through, we could usually find someone who would let us play at the last minute.
“The best show I remember playing was at the 9:30 club in Washinton, D.C. That blew my mind. We weren’t expecting the hospitality. We had our own dressing room, and a menu where you ordered what you wanted to eat and drink, and when you wanted it. I’m a cupcake guy, and they had cupcakes with ‘9:30’ icing. To top it all off, we opened for a really good band, and played to a sold-out crowd — just a sea of people. It was an awesome show.”
D: “We played a rockabilly festival in Winston-Salem once. When we got there, we found out that when the crowd really likes you, they throw half-empty beer cans at you. In an hour, we had all taken a PBR shower. We came back the next year, and it had changed. Instead of throwing beer cans, they drank whiskey from a flask and spit it all over you.”
M: “I had never gotten drunk from inhaling whiskey out of the air until that night. I guess I can check that off the bucket list.
“We’ve had people get hurt at our shows a lot — broken bones, born ligaments. Everyone’s leaping off the stage and beating the crap out of each other. And we’re all like, ‘You realize we’re up here with acoustic guitars, right?’ You get all the crazy stuff you expect at a punk-rock show. Except we’re up here playing this weird bluegrass.”