Men of the holy haggis 

Loch?d and Loaded shows Real McKenzies not short on ideas

WHO: The Real McKenzies

WHERE: The Boot

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 7

Forget the Thanksgiving turkey. This Sunday celebrate with haggis!

Those Celtic heroes of punk, the Real McKenzies, are back in town to dress up the holiday with kilts, whiskey, bagpipes and loud ? really loud ? music.

The Real McKenzies have a lot to be thankful for this year: extensive touring, wider record distribution and a new CD. Loch?d and Loaded is the quintet?s latest onslaught of twisted traditional tunes and original numbers steeped in history. Described as "The Sex Pistols meet Robbie Burns," this 16-song effort could establish the McKenzies as modern folk legends worthy of monuments and epic films. But don?t expect to see Mel Gibson as the leading man.

"If I could make a movie, that would be so cool," says lead singer Paul McKenzie. "But I think I would prefer to do it as a series of short stories. Scottish folklore is speckled with all sorts of stories. You could do that forever. That?s basically what I?m doing with this band. But as of yet, I?ve just released a thimbleful of a well."

One of those stories would have to include the history of the McKenzies, a tale of leadership and bravery. McKenzie loves to boast about his ancestor, Kenneth McKenzie, who hunted with kings and was bestowed with a great stag on his coat of arms.

"Kenneth was part of a royal hunting party. The King took the first shot and just grazed the stag," explains McKenzie. "The animal turned around and stared at him and just started bolting at him with his antlers. The whole party ran away leaving the King all alone in the clearing. The only one to walk up, and who was courageous enough, was Kenneth McKenzie. He shielded the King behind his cape. He took out his special McKenzie bow and put one right through the stag?s eye."

Each of the songs on Loch?d and Loaded make for interesting tales unto themselves. What would Scottish lore be without the Loch Ness monster? Track one is a double-edged sword, weaving the legend of Nessie while connotations about how we interact with our environment lie just beneath the surface.

Perhaps you prefer a sports action flick, or tales of excess, or a little Celtic history? How about a social commentary?

"Number nine is one of my favourites. It?s called Get the Bitch Off the Money. It?s about the queen," says McKenzie. "It?s a punk rock song and a very simple little story about why we should have the queen off our money."

And while Loch?d and Loaded has enough material for several sequels, McKenzie has a few more ideas of how his clan should be enshrined in history.

"We would be the first band in space. The first wicked party on the moon. Vomiting live on the moon. Imagine what that would look like inside a space helmet.

"Of course this would be a true story. We would also be the first band to tour in a huge zeppelin shaped like a haggis, called the Hindenhaggis," continues McKenzie.

"Ok, imagine this scene. You buy tickets and stand out in a field with a conglomeration of people. You have a little bar set up, get the beer going. And all of a sudden, as the sun goes down, you can hear the engines coming over the horizon. And there?s a huge haggis. It lands down. The upper level would be living quarters and the lower level would be a stage. It would just be permanently set up. All you would have to do is drop the draw bridge. Run the lighting equipment out to play on the fuselage of the zeppelin itself. It would be a fucking great rock show!"

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