About The Rumjacks
A rough-hewn Australian band fusing the spirit of Celtic folk music with the energy and punch of punk and hard rock, the Rumjacks became an international success story when the video for the single "An Irish Pub Song" from their 2010 debut, Gangs of New Holland, went viral, amassing millions of streams on YouTube. Their burgeoning career was sidelined for several years by frontman Frankie McLaughlin's legal issues, but they eventually mounted a successful comeback with subsequent albums like 2015's Sober & Godless and 2018's Saints Preserve Us, the latter of which also served to celebrate their tenth anniversary together.
The Rumjacks were formed in Sydney in 2008 by lead singer McLaughlin and bassist Johnny McKelvey, who expanded the lineup to a quintet with the addition of guitarist Gabriel Whitbourne, drummer Anthony Matters, and Adam Kenny on banjo, mandolin, and bouzouki. Within a year, the hard-working band had released its debut EP, 2009's Hung, Drawn & Portered, and a second EP, Sound as a Pound, arrived before the year was out. In 2010, the Rumjacks dropped their first album, Gangs of New Holland, and watched their fame skyrocket as the video for one of the tracks, "An Irish Pub Song," want viral, eventually racking up over 20 million views online. The Rumjacks began touring heavily in the wake of the single's success, in their native Australia as well as Europe.
In 2012, the group was forced to go on hiatus when Frankie McLaughlin earned a 16-month jail sentence for two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of common assault against a former partner. (In a statement released by the band, McLaughlin said, "I fully acknowledge and apologise for my wrongdoing and I regret the long lasting damage to my former partner caused by my actions...I have changed my life for the better since my jail term through focus and hard work and it is my intention to draw awareness to the issue of domestic violence in the future and to actively support efforts to eradicate it from our society.")
Once McLaughlin was freed, the Rumjacks wasted no time getting back to business. They resumed their busy touring schedule, headlining clubs and theaters and sharing stages with the likes of the Dropkick Murphys, Gogol Bordello, the Aggrolites, and the U.K. Subs, and in February 2015 the band released its second album, Sober & Godless. The Rumjacks' unrelenting schedule continued as their third full-length, Sleepin' Rough, was released in August 2016 by Four/Four, a new alternative imprint of Australian Broadcasting Corporation Records. Two years later, in October 2018, the Rumjacks celebrated their ten-year anniversary by releasing their fourth LP, Saints Preserve Us, and heading out on a lengthy European tour. ~ Mark Deming