Local ensemble The Rumpo Kidz are pretty unique; an anarcho-punk, skiffle, country and Sid James tribute band? The Whitley Pump visited them rehearsing at Katesgrove’s Rising Sun studios to at least try to classify them.

Some band members seem a tad familiar to Reading live music fans. Think Oizone, Cuckooland, 45RPM, Shelley’s Children or Kazoopremes; the list is nebulous. They have a mere 12 band members, so royalties could be a problem; no swimming in a guitar-shaped pool is in prospect.

“We are up for fun and capers but we also want to walk as if Sid James, John Wayne and Charles Hawtrey were in the Supremes and sounded like Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash,” said Katesgrovian Green Party candidate, musical grandee and band spokeperson Louise Keane. “This is the best band I’ve ever been in!”

Despite the air of jollity, there are some amazing musicians and exotic instruments in the band, including a Peruvian cajón, a vibraslap, a mandolin, a banjolele, a violin, a squeezebox and some rather lovely solo vocals on the slower numbers too.

When asked about ambitions, history man Stephen Haines simply said “Nashville” while Chewy Newton felt that they were due “at least a shot on the One Show”.

The Rumpo’s songs are all covers, but done with brio and country-style bombast. They include numbers from the Clash, Cash, Ramones, Diamond and some great country classics. Their version of Kirsty MacColl’s Chip shop and the Clash’s Rudie can’t fail evoked the sort of vitality felt in the heady days of the late 70s when punk and new wave made Britain’s courtly foundations shake.

They have some gigs coming up soon, starting with the Rising Sun on 28 April and an album being recorded in May. Go and see them play and just enjoy it. They mean it, man.

Louise Keane

Matthew Farrall, the author of this article, died on 20 April 2018.
We are grateful to his family for allowing us to continue to display his work online.

  1. Rumpo Kidz website and Youtube channel
  2. Rising Sun Arts Centre
  3. Silver Street Studios