So listen, the Magnificents went from this to missing the plane out of Austin, such was the bonfire they set alight at the Alamo the very next night. Although nobody got invited, as it went ahead behind closed doors, their gig on the most famous grave in Texas had gone down in folklore.
The T-1 ramp was always going to be busy because the South By Southwest whispering wind. A whisper that was pedal kinetic, as hundreds of riders and radmen from all across town called in to collect something other than air. They were drawn by some exciting bands from here, there, far and wide. The widest band being, you guessed it, the Magnificents, whom the Austin Chronicle had already gone crazy about. So it was no surprise when they went on to stir things up at Taj's Off-Broadway bash. By the encore, biker dudes were doing loops upside their heads for the Magnificents dirty circuits of rhythm and indolent frequencies.
When the current cut and they announced to their fans that they wanted to be left alone the next night, the fans were almost amenable. For here was the most electrifying Scottish band following Franz Ferdinand out of dodge. Here was a wheat from chaff act who’d just completed a shock attack by special request for the BMX Texas cognoscenti, the very next night after what was widely received as one of the salient SXSW gigs.
By the Sabbath, all the Magnificents wanted to do was, "kick back, relax, and enjoy the time. Then go serenade the home of Davey Crockett...”
And that is exactly what they did, from 11pm until 12-midnight on Sunday. They played their way into history.
Thunder and lightening was heard in nearby San Antonio, and word was, the four-piece from Scotland were the ones who started it. They jabbed bolts back up, and they started a fight with the night. Of course they won by TKO after 20 three-minute rounds of a peek-a-boo fight. (whether the lightning story is strictly true or not, the light-box that is the Magnificents had battle scarred ghosts wondering, and the gods thundering over their high spirited show of defiance.)
Yet, Davey Crockett and co got only a hint of what has shown on the road since.
For, the rest of the year has seen the Magnificents glinting in the neon,
splintering their convicted intensity across the United Kingdom and Europe.
Six months later, dig family tracked them down to a place called “the bunker.” Six months later, and it's a whole new mind trick. It's very difficult to keep the Magnificents on one subject, as you will see:
DIG: OKAY THEN, SO WHY ARE WE SITTING IN A BUNKER?
Tommy - It's not a place it's a state on mind. We get protection here, protection from the wild. I tell a lie; it's also a place, as well as a state of mind.
Steven - It's in the Leith Ghetto.
Casey - No it's not.
Drew - Aye, it fu*king is.
DIG: SO, THIS BUNKER IS A "STATE OF MIND?"
Tommy - You're not paying attention. The “bunker” is a state of mind; the location is irrelevant. Wherever we bury ourselves is where it is. Retreat, regroup, invent. Give it a name, it's our happy place, where the magic happens. It's become an essential part of our operation.
DIG: FAIR ENOUGH. BUT WHAT SHOULD ONE WEAR IN A BUNKER?
Tommy - Lambswool slacks, and an open-necked Uncle Junior shirt.
Steven - Is that a question?
Casey - I've got my girlfriends tooth in my pocket.
Drew - A white, long-sleeved t-shirt. And see these white shoes? See the red laces? And that stitching?
DIG: WHILE THE ABOVE IS NOT WHOLLY INACCURATE, WHAT THEY WERE REALLY WEARING WAS:
Tom wore precious little, compared to;
Steven, who looked menacing in a grey, crushed tweed, three-piece.
Casey kept that tooth warm in flaming red nylon slacks, beneath a green Matt Hoffman Cockfarm T-shirt.
And Drew. Drew looked the part in shiny white soccer shorts, white socks, patent leather shoes, a long sleeved T-shirt, and a red Pringle v-neck.
DIG: WHAT'S THE BEST THING YOU'VE DONE BETWEEN AUSTIN AND THE BUNKER?
Tommy - We met a music publisher in Austin who believes. He's invested in us, letting us do it all even more, better and faster.
Steven - I grew a moustache for a bit.
Casey - We got to learn a lot of secrets. Not just as the wee ones, but the big, important ones.
Drew - Supporting The Beta Band on their UK tour was one of the best things we've done, there were loads of gigs all over the place. Mani out of the Stone Roses and Primal Scream got to meet me too, which would've been nice for him.
DIG: ISN'T YOUR SOBRIQUET QUITE A STRETCH SOMETIMES?
Steven - There was an LA gang called "the Magnificents" back in the thirties.
Tommy - Which means one day, we'll get hit by some irate gang member in his nineties.
Drew - Doubt it.
Tommy - The name was established first. We've been working under this banner, towards this goal since. It's been something to hold on to in times of crisis, a rallying cry in times of triumph.
Drew - We couldn't be anybody else.
Casey - I could.
DIG: My apologies. So, if I were blind and all the DIG readers were deaf, how would you describe the sound of The Magnificents?
Tommy - Aiee! We are four us's playing what we reckon will sound wisest with the other playings being played.
Steven - How would we describe it?
Casey - I don't know.
Drew - Why don't you describe it?
Steven - I play the lower digital notes on a NORD Modulator, and I use a mixer for the effects. My leads are my instruments.
Tommy - I play two different KORG Analogue Synths. So it's like a space echo versus fuzzy wuzzy across the stage.
Drew - I play the guitar, eh.
Casey - And I'm the stick man.
DIG: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT EACH OTHER?
Casey - It gets on Steven's nerves when Tommy gets on his own nerves.
Tommy - Casey hates dogs.
Casey - Tommy always tells really bad puns, and Drew is always coming up with really long-winded jokes.
Steven - Yeah but Drew's delicate. He's got these porcelain hands, with pale alabaster skin. He has difficulty turning keys, although he's quite robust.
Drew - Steven drinks milky tea.
Casey - Yeah, and Steven's always telling really elaborate lies.
Steven - No I don't. I tell anecdotes. Casey's funny for not being funny.
Casey - No I'm not.
Drew - Steven moves with the planets.
Casey - And he doesn't finish sentences.
Steven - Yes I do. I finish them in my head.
DIG: IS IT TRUE WHAT HAPPENED AT THE ALAMO?
Tommy - Yes.
Steven - No.
Drew - The plaques don't lie.
Casey - I liked the ride there and back just as much.
HOW DID IT COMPARE TO WHAT HAPPENED AT T-1?
Tommy - Well, we were alone at the Alamo. Just us and nobody else. Nobody could hear us, even though we were making a great big racket.
Steven – T-1 was a bit like Grease 2. But without engines.
Tommy - None of us knew much about the way of the BMX.
Steven - That's not true. I once had my own bike. It was like a BMX. I made it.
Casey - No you didn't.
Steven - Anyway, T-1 was really cool because it was like walking into a completely different world and feeling at home.
Tommy - I remember repeatedly asking for a BMX from about the age of five. Eventually I got given this converted Raleigh Grifter. It was painted with black emulsion, and weighed slightly less than Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus. It was the worst bike ever. It was poorly converted and poorly customised. It was almost like somebody had shown Casey a photo of BMX, and he went away and carved it out of granite.
Casey - I walked off the ramp before the end, but I always do that. And I didn't wear my wrestling mask at the Alamo.
Drew - It was a fucking brilliant atmosphere. There were no pretensions. No cliques.
Indeed. From within the confines of their bunker, Casey, Drew, Steven and Tommy Magnificent gave a good impression of maybe the screaming understatement right now in the British music empire. Take it from me; sometimes it's better to leave the crazy fine kids with the nitrous oxide alone in their corner of the universe, safe in the knowledge that they are quite brilliant. If my journey to the bunker taught me anything, it was that I needed to see them (a)live again. But as loud, proud and intimidating as their sound may seem on stage, when you stand close, you can feel the understanding enclosed. Sometimes when they look ready to explode with adrenaline, they lower their voice in an amazing act of understanding. This whispered heartbeat would seem to fuse for their perpetual spark. So if you do find yourself in their company, remember not to get too close, or you'll be mega burned by the cutting of the snark.