Viral sensation The Iain Duncan Smiths have added an ingenious twist to what it is to be a Smiths tribute band – fusing flawless imitation with witty political satire to pay refreshing homage to Manchester’s indie icons.
The band, which recently made the revered pages of NME magazine, has made a name for itself online for re-workings of Smiths’ classics, with songs such as Still Ill (No Sick Pay) and Girlfriend in a Coma (She’s Fit to Work) featuring in its ever-growing repertoire.
Consistent throughout the band’s lyrical content is the careful unpicking of the policies and ideas of opinion-dividing Conservative minister Iain Duncan Smith.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mr. Smith has been criticised for his tough-love approach to welfare policy, and represents a government which has come under fire from Smiths founders Morrissey and Johnny Marr on numerous occasions.
The Iain Duncan Smiths also point fingers at the Conservative cabinet member, although less directly, layering irony and sarcasm on timeless Marr melodies to subject the controversial MP to musical ridicule.
The band members choose to remain anonymous and each answers only to the name of Iain Duncan Smith, however they were more than happy to speak to MM about what they do and their recent exposure.
“We met in the Department Of Work And Pensions canteen one afternoon during a particularly heated baked potato,” they said.
“We’ve been close ever since.
“The idea for the band started with a pun, really.
“We first learned how to pun after realising it was the first three letters of ‘punitive sanctions’, and it all kind of took off from there.”
The four Iains, who all claim to be aged 61, make listeners laugh out-loud true to the Morrissey tradition, but musical talent is evident too and has caught the eye of many – not least the writers at NME magazine.
They said: “Making it into NME was quite the honour for us as we were big fans of the magazine during our ’90s days as a Eurosceptic backbench rebel, especially when it was all Blair v Portilloasis – what a time that was.”
However, the band were less sure on whether they’d be appreciated by Morrissey and Marr.
“Alas, we suspect Moz and Marr would hate us on account of our somewhat brutal approach to welfare reform,” they said.
“But then they always were such rudderless hippies.”
Gaining access to the men behind the masks (yes, they own Iain Duncan Smith masks) was proving difficult.
However, they eventually allowed MM a more serious glimpse into what they do… sort of.
“The political side of what we do is critical to us because we’ve got nothing left to fall back on following our unsuccessful stint as a thriller writer in the early ’00s,” they revealed.
“It’s definitely the USP (unique selling point).”
The band is soon to perform in the city where the story of The Smiths all began – as they explained with an attempt at sincerity.
The Iains said: “As it happens, we’ll be performing in Manchester at the Acting Out Against Austerity event at the Dancehouse Theatre on Oxford Road for The People’s Assembly next Saturday (October 3rd).
“It’s hardly ideal since we so actively advocate and participate in said austerity, but we’ll take whatever gigs we can get at this stage.
“Be there or be sanctioned!”
The band’s first album Devil’s Tunes: The Very Worst of The Iain Duncan Smiths was released earlier this month but the guys have no plans of slowing down and are constantly working on new releases.
The recent allegations surrounding Prime Minister David Cameron inspired the band to add This Charming Ham and Pig Mouth Strikes Again to their catalogue, and a second full album is on the minds of the guitar-wielding satirists.
“The big plan was to become Prime Minister but we made a right old mess of that, didn’t we?” they said.
“Our next mission as a band is to rework the entire Meat is Murder LP, since we used none of its songs on our first album.”
The band’s recent release Pig Mouth Strikes Again is available to buy for £1 with the proceeds going to a yet-undecided charity.
Details regarding the band’s appearance at Acting Out Against Austerity can be found on the event Facebook page.