Wailing City Spotlight: Interview with Rogue March

St. Patrick's Day season is upon us... and our area is strong in celebration... parades, events, food, drink and of course... music! 

Enter Rogue March - a multi-instrumentalist duo who play a mix of original songs, traditional Irish standards and sea shanties --hence describing themselves as "rebel songs of Ireland and the sea". The band have a slew of gigs coming up in the area over the next month to get you in the Irish spirit and also a few out of town gigs opening for Irish music legends Derek Warfield & the Young Wolfe Tones and Chicago Celtic punk band The Tossers!

Wailing City recently asked Stuart Fensom of the duo some questions about how the band came to be, the music they play, their favorite local hangs and where we can catch one of their shows... 


Interview by Meghan Killimade


How and when did Rogue March come together and who are the members & instrumentation?
Brian Schiller: vocals, bodhran, bones; Stuart Fensom: vocals, acoustic guitar. 

Pretty romantic story actually…we met last year on Valentine’s Day. It fell on a Monday so I took my wife out to dinner at the Gris in Essex to watch The Shantymen perform. Brian was up there killin’ it with The Jovial Crew and I just immediately knew I wanted to start a band with him. I had already booked a couple dozen shows for the St. Paddy’s season and I approached him as he was packing up his pipe during a break. We practiced one time a couple days later and then he joined me for practically every show.

How would you describe your music/performance to someone that isn’t familiar?
Rebel songs of Ireland & the sea 

Do you perform originals, covers/standards or both?
We do both. I hadn’t written originals in many years but began doing so after starting to feel the fire again with Brian and falling back in love with performing after all that Covid. Currently have about 4 originals in progress, but only a handful that are show-ready. Not much of a process really – it starts with a riff (usually a vocal one), then I put a guitar behind it and start to add words until I realize what the song is going to be about. Everything comes to me in the form of punk rock, cuz that’s what I did for about 30 years, so it has been interesting to try and temper that down into something that’s workable for an Irish song or a shanty.

For the traditional covers that we do, we simply just pick the old songs we like the best. There are so many to choose from. We’ll send some back & forth to each other and when we both agree that, “Yeah man that’s a good one, we should do it,” then we’ll add it to a very long list. When we have a break from performing we’ll summon the list and start picking away at it.

Favorite song(s) to play that seem to get the most audience reaction?
One of Brian’s many bawdy sailor songs, (as long as there are no children present). Some of those old tunes get surprisingly dirty, and often in really hilarious and creative ways that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. It’s awesome to hit a punchline and look out to see people genuinely cracking up and covering their mouths or their eyes. Gotcha!

Favorite places to gig and/or just hang out in New London county?
For my money it’s hard to beat The Dutch Tavern and 33... and Tox Brewery has some really stellar beers. For non-New London digs we really like Scottish Dave’s in Clinton and Strange Brew in Norwich. The Barn in Groton is all about live music so that’s cool too, we used to play there every Sunday.

Any local bands/musicians you’re really digging these days?
Oh man, tough one, don’t have my finger to the pulse like I used to. I have a daughter now so I can’t stay out as late and go to as many shows as I did before. Bards of Gungywamp are at the top of the list, they are our local Irish brothers of bedlam and with whom we play the most shows. Mark Leonard is another brother who really carries the torch for folk punk. I also really like Chem-Trails & Sonorous Rising, and it’s sure hard to beat the old standards: Slyne & the Family Stoned and Fatal Film. Sure do miss The Reducers!

You just walked into The Telegraph or The Mystic Disc to flip through some vinyl – what section are you heading to first and what are you hoping to find?
Well I’m a total addict. It changes, but recently I’ve been really hoping to find some used Outkast or Run the Jewels for under $20. It hasn’t gone well. I’m always on the lookout for one of the few remaining Tom Waits records I don’t own, and of course I can’t stop myself from tackling the folk section with hopes of finding some Irish or Scottish rebel groups like Barleycorn, Blackthorn, or the Corries. Good sea shanty records are surprisingly hard to come by as well. I don’t usually shop for a lot of punk rock. I already know exactly what I want when I want it in that department so I usually either order it or buy it at a show.

Someone’s offered to buy you guys a pint – what are you having?
I know it’s clich√©, but Guinness is just really hard to beat…like peas and carrots for what we do. I’m also one of those IPA-loving douchebags. Brian would probably go for a pint of Scotch with two rocks.

St. Patrick’s Day season is busy for Rogue March – what shows/gigs are you most looking forward to? Tell us what you guys have coming up!

Oh man it’s a lot. Highlights would include shows with Off With Their Heads at 33 (Feb 18) and The Tossers at the Middle East in Boston (March 8). Perhaps most of all though, we are ecstatic to be playing with Derek Warfield & the Young Wolfe Tones in Glastonbury on March 5. The Wolfe Tones are big heroes of ours, we probably play like 8 of their songs so that’ll be a dream come true.

Looking passed St. Patrick’s Day season…what’s up next for Rogue March?
Good question. Been so focused on Feb & March that I have no idea what comes after that. Gonna be hard to beat the schedule we have right now. Probably going to take a nice break in April!

Anything else you’d like to include or wish we had asked?
Q; What’s the white stuff in bird poop? A: That’s bird poop too.


Catch Rogue March Live:

Friday 3/3 @ Niantic Public House 6-8pm
Sat 3/4 @ The Parlour, Providence, RI 6pm
Sun 3/5 @ IAHS, Glastonbury w/ Derek Warfield & The Young Wolfe Tones 1-3pm
Wed 3/8 @ Middle East, Boston, MA w/ The Tossers 7pm
Fri 3/10 @ Judge Roy Bean Pub, Bristol RI 9pm
Sat 3/11 @ McBride's, Providence, RI
Sun 3/12 @ Tommy Sullivan's, Branford 4:30pm
Fri 3/17 (St. Patrick's Day) @ The Barn, Groton 1-3pm
Fri 3/17 (St. Patrick's Day) @ Strange Brew, Norwich w/ Bards Of Gungywamp 9pm
Sat 3/18 @ Olde Mystic Village, Mystic 12pm
Sat 3/18 @ 33 Golden Street, New London 8pm w/ Bards Of Gungywamp
Sun 3/19 @ Bank & Bridge, Mystic (after the parade) 3pm
Sat 3/25 @ Essex CT Irish Parade 1-3pm
Sun 4/30 @ Saltwater Farm Vineyard, Stonington 3-5pm


Follow

https://www.facebook.com/roguemarch
https://www.youtube.com/@roguemarch3481


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