Posted on by Oran

This weekend will see one of Ireland’s pioneering metallic Hardcore artists return to the stage for a highly anticipated reunion. 20 Bulls Each, founding member and frontman, Gareth Cummins tells us about the bands legacy and if there are any plans for the future…

This Saturday night, (July 8th) 20 Bulls Each will lay waste to Thomas House before a sweltering mass of punters who were lucky enough to secure a free ticket to the bands first show in almost a decade.

Originally forming in 2002 the band toured all over the world until 2015, signing with USA Hardcore Punk label Thorp Records, and releasing their last full length album “A Glorious And Bloody Revolution“.

The bands final gig was held in Thomas House in 2015 and now it’s time to open a new chapter, albeit a slower one!

What instigated this reunion gig?

CUMMINSWe decided to call it a day around 2015. I was a couple of years deep into running a bar and venue here in Dublin. Gav was thinking of moving back to the UK, and Skinny had just had a kid a few years previous. Everyone was strapped for time and we felt like we just couldn’t commit to what the band needed.

Also, being honest, we never really fit in with any particular scene here. We weren’t heavy enough to be on metal shows, not punk enough to be on many punk shows, and the hardcore scene had kinda come and gone, and a new generation were running shows with the same circle of mates bands that we never penetrated.

We weren’t bitter about it as we’d been touring the states and made some progression over there with Thorp Records etc, but it may have been nice to be appreciated at home a little bit more.

Around 2019, we decided it might be fun to do a once off in 2020, simply because of the word play with “2020 Bulls Each”. We rehearsed a few times and were getting close to being ready then Covid hit and that was the end of that. We kinda booked a few dates for 2022, but they weren’t going to work out, eventually we just picked a random date in 2023 and now it’s time. 

I think we all kinda missed playing music together, and we are proud of the work we put in over the years. We’re also old as shit now, and want to see if we can do it again. 

Next year will see the 20th anniversary of the demo CD. Have you ever considered releasing it on vinyl?

CUMMINS I didn’t even know it was the 20th anniversary of that to be honest. The only thing I remember about that recording was that we started it in a basement studio in Ballymun, and the city council hit a water mains outside and the whole place started flooding. We had to grab our gear and the engineers mixing desk and equipment and run up the stairs with it. I’d love to press some vinyl, but I have no idea where the masters of those songs are.

Lost to time somewhere in someone’s attic or on a hard disk in the city dump probably. There was a plan to record a new EP to have ready for the reunion show, but the nine day week hasn’t been invented yet. 

With regards to the show this weekend, are you planning to play the entire discography?

CUMMINSTheres a bit from every record planned. Pretty much anyway. It’s the longest set we’ve ever done. Which is a stupid idea, but it’s too late now. Who the fuck plans their longest gig ever after nearly a decade away from the stage. It’s about an hour long set, 15-plus songs covering the earlier punkier stuff, and going into the heaviest stuff we did towards the end. There should be something for everyone covered. I hope. 

When you look back on the bands history, do you feel that if you had kept going that things could have progressed?

CUMMINS  – Nah, not here. The music industry is rotten at the best of times and playing a very niche style wont get you very far unless you’ve got some backing, and some luck.

From an early age, I had decided that I wanted to be involved in music for the rest of my life but all the grand ideas and plans get chipped away until you are left with a tight mobile assault vehicle, capable of jumping up on stage at moment’s notice, and blowing everyone in the crowds head off.

We had that for a while but you can only do it for so long before you have to figure out a way of paying the bills on top of paying for a band to get off the ground. Being based in Ireland is a blessing, and a curse. You hear of bands moving to the UK or the states to get their career started, but if you can’t be the big fish in a small pond, you have no chance in the sea. We had our time, we toured all over the world, and signed with decent labels, and did some mad stuff, and it was incredible for the most part. If we continue to make music after the reunion it will be on our terms.


Having seen many changes in the “hardcore” genre over the last two decades, do you feel that it’s in a good place, or do you feel the blueprint of the genre has been somewhat diluted?

CUMMINS – It’s not what it was, but that’s not a bad thing. There are bands out there that are blurring the lines between this tiny scene called “Hardcore”, “Alternative Rock” and “Metal”. The original bands still exist, either on record, or perhaps even still touring. You can go see them and listen at home if you want, but there’s a whole new generation of bands that are out there doing their own thing, and reinventing the wheel for today’s fans. 

‘The Incompetence to Follow’ and ‘Best Days’ saw a ten year release timeline. So, bearing that in mind, are there plans to release any more new music? 

CUMMINSMaybe. I used to write so many songs that when we talked about doing a gig we said we would bang an EP together over a weekend. I picked up the guitar and tried to write something for three months, and hated most of it. It’s probably a mindset thing, Perhaps if we locked ourselves into a room for a few days we could bash something out. Right now there are no plans to record, but that may change if we keep doing stuff together. 

Obviously, everyone is a lot older now since the self-release of the ‘Demo’. Are there any tracks that have been modified over time from the original or are they true to the originals?

CUMMINS – So we’ve never ever played ‘Bow Down’ correctly live, or been able to nail the intro to ‘AWOL’ properly live. I have no idea why, both those songs have been slightly edited to work live. It’s probably nothing anyone would notice. The chorus to ‘War On You’ can proper fuck off. I have no idea why we did it that way. It sounds great, but try doing that in a tiny room where you can’t hear yourself, and you think you are about to pass out. For the most part, the live versions are the same as the recorded ones I’d say though.

If you could have changed anything over the course of the bands history, what would it be and why?

CUMMINSI wouldn’t have played so much. We suffered the same fate as every other band, we just wanted to play gigs. But playing gigs for the sake of playing gigs is folly. They have to be worth something.

There’s literally no point to playing the same place twice a month unless you are a covers band in the local pub. If you want to make a name for yourself, you have to have to be a little bit elusive. A live show should be a must see event. Take the energy you would put into playing some shit-hole, and put it into a music video. Do some live streams from your rehearsal spot

 Get involved in your fan base and try to grow it. The old way was to play with bigger bands, and try to steal 1% of their fan base over to your side. That doesn’t work anymore because no one cares about support bands unless it’s a named act. You have to walk into a venue with a pile of bodies behind you who want to see YOU. 

For those that have never seen 20BE, what’s the best way to describe the live performance?

CUMMINSBulls was always an attempt to make catchy riff driven hardcore. Because of that it’s not a full frontal assault. Knowing the lyrics and bopping along are as valid as moshing and trying to kill each other.

For the time we are on the stage we are the crowds, we don’t belong to ourselves anymore. We crawl off at the end of the set, and die somewhere for an hour before popping back up. There’s no point in leaving anything up there. At this stage of the game it will be interesting to see if we can still go as hard as we used to. But we will find out on Saturday night. 

20 BULLS EACH will perform in Dublin’s Thomas House this Saturday night (doors 9pm). Tickets are now SOLD OUT. For more information, please message the venue via this link.

Oran O’Beirne

www.overdrive.ie 2023