Undertones bass player Michael Bradley tells his own story, from inauspicious beginnings as a band of hopeful schoolboys in Derry in Northern Ireland in 1975, to becoming one of the most fondly-remembered UK bands of the post punk era, and their final break up in 1983.
Fiercely determined to maintain their punk ethos, the Undertones’ adopted a down-to-earth attitude that often brought them into conflict with the trendier – and more traditional – end of the rock spectrum.
Told against a background of the Troubles, Michael’s story is a bitter-sweet, heart-warming and occasionally droll tale of success against the odds, petty feuding and the realisation that being a pop star is rarely as glamourous as the media makes it out to be.
While the Undertones benefited from the support of the great DJ John Peel, whose all-time favourite song was group’s minor 1978 hit Teenage Kicks, this wasn’t enough to sustain them beyond a patchy five-year career of highs, lows and, occasionally, laughter.
Wiser but not much richer, Michael became a bicycle courier in Soho after the Undertones split. “Sixty miles a day, fresh air, no responsibilities,” he writes. “Sometimes I think it was the best job I ever had. It wasn’t, of course.”
Michael ‘Mickey’ Bradley continues to play bass with the Undertones, who reformed in 1999. He is also a radio producer with BBC Radio Foyle, and presents a 2 hour weekly programme on Radio Ulster.