The Rumjacks

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The Rumjacks
The Rumacks (2020)
The Rumacks (2020)
Background information
OriginSydney, Australia
Genreshardcore punk, Celtic punk, folk punk, punk rock, hard rock
Years active2008 (2008)–present
  • Mike Rivkees
  • Johnny McKelvey
  • Gabriel Whitbourne
  • Adam Kenny
  • Pietro Della Sala
Past members
  • Anthony Matters
  • Will Swan
  • Frankie McLaughlin

The Rumjacks are a Celtic punk rock band originally formed in Sydney, Australia, in 2008.[1] Known for their loud and energetic live shows, the band have released five studio albums, two live albums, and a series of EPs and singles. In 2016 the Rumjacks relocated to various parts of Europe where they currently live and tour.

One of the band's best-known songs, "An Irish Pub Song", became a viral hit, generating in excess of 60 million views on YouTube.[2]


Formed in 2008, the Rumjacks combine a variety of musical influences, including elements of punk rock and traditional celtic folk. The band quickly released their debut EP Hung, Drawn & Portered, which was followed by their second EP 'Sound as a Pound' later that year.[3] The Rumjacks quickly developed a strong local following through their constant touring and energetic performances, becoming a must-see group of the Sydney and Australian music scene. With their strong local support and burgeoning international awareness, The Rumjacks secured international supports with punk legends U.K Subs, GBH and Gypsy punk legends Gogol Bordello amongst others.

After some early lineup changes, the band settled on and maintained their line up of McLaughlin, McKelvey, drummer Anthony Matters, guitarist Gabriel Whitbourne and banjo/mandolin/bouzouki player Adam Kenny, recording three critically acclaimed albums together: Gangs of New Holland (2010); Sober and Godless (2015); and Sleeping Rough (2016), before Anthony's departure following their 2016 European tour.[4]

In addition to performing shows in many Australian cities,[5] The Rumjacks have embarked upon many sold-out European tours. The first European tour in 2015 featured the legendary Jarocin Festival in Poland and the enigmatic Boomtown Fair UK. Quickly followed by their mammoth 2016 Euro tour, that saw The Rumjacks perform on the main stages of festivals including Woodstock Poland; Mighty Sounds; Punk Rock Holiday; and Lowlands Festival.[6] The Rumjacks embarked on their first-ever U.S. tour in March 2017, which included performances at San Diego's Shamrocked Fest and Austin's South by Southwest Music Festival. The band continued to tour across Europe through 2019.

'An Irish Pub Song'[edit]

A major international breakthrough for the band came with their 2011 single, ‘An Irish Pub Song’ which was lifted from the 2010 album 'Gangs of New Holland'. The song is an observational commentary on the fact that there are Irish-styled pubs in every part of the world. The song's official music video exploded on-line, amassing over 70 million views and counting on YouTube, and is the catalyst to the groups growing success and popularity in Europe and the United States.[7]

In both 2017 and 2018, YouTube announced its most popular songs on St. Patrick's Day (17 March). 'An Irish Pub Song' was listed as number three in the United States ahead of songs by Dropkick Murphys, House of Pain, The Corrs, and many more other global giants of music.[8]

Anthony Matters[edit]

Anthony Matters joined The Rumjacks as their full-time drummer in 2009, and worked with the band up until the end of 2016. The pressures of full-time touring, and playing every single day was difficult physically for his body, and he decided to bow out. Anthony was replaced on drums as a full-time member by Pietro Della Sala.

Matters continued to play music in Sydney, Australia, yet due to untreated health issues he died on Friday 7 June 2019.[9]

'Saints Preserve Us'(2018)[edit]

In early 2018 the band recorded their fourth studio album Saints Preserve Us over 2 weeks in Milan, Italy, at Crono Sound Factory.[10] It was the first album to feature new drummer Pietro Della Sala. Paul McKenzie from The Real McKenzies featured on the duet ‘The Foreman O’Rourke’, and Mickey Rickshaw appeared on the song ‘Billy McKinley’. The album includes a version of the Irish classic ‘An poc ar buile’ (The Mad Puck Goat) which is sung in Gaelic. The album was released on 12 October 2018. At the end of 2018 the band toured South-East Asia for the first time, going to Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.


The Rumjacks featured on the song 'Shandon Bells', from The Moorings' 2014 EP Nicky's Detox.

The band also featured on The Rumpled's ‘The Ugly Side’, from the 2018 album Ashes & Wishes.

In 2019 The Rumjacks recorded their version of 'Christmas in Killarney' for Punk Rock Christmas, Volume 2 released by USA label Cleopatra Records.

McLaughlin featured on the song 'True Story', from The Clan's 2016 album All In The Name Of Folk, and also on Maleducazione Alcolica's song ‘Hometown’, from the band's 2019 album Chiacchiere da bar.

Live albums (2019)[edit]

A huge drawcard for The Rumjacks has been their live performances. The band has performed at major festivals all over the world including Byron Bay Bluesfest; BIGSOUND Australia; Jarocin Festival Poland; Boomtown Fair UK; Montelago Celtic Festival Italy; Exit Festival Serbia; Woodstock Poland; Mighty Sounds Czech Republic; Rock Marathon Hungary; Punk Rock Holiday Slovenia; Open Flair Festival Germany; Taubertal Festival Germany; Lowlands Festival Netherlands, South by Southwest USA; and Street Mode Festival Greece.

In 2019 the band released two live albums:

Live in London – Acoustic Sessions was recorded in the YouTube Space in Kings Cross, UK. The band recorded 10 songs from across their catalogue in unplugged mode, which were released on 18 April 2019.

Live in Athens was recorded on tour in 2018. The band played at the Piraeus 177 Academy in Greece on 3 November 2018, which was one of their biggest ever headline shows to date. The album was released on 15 November 2019.

Frankie McLaughlin (2008-2020)[edit]

Lead singer Frankie McLaughlin was sentenced for three domestic violence [11] offences in 2012: an assault occasioning actual bodily harm committed on 2 March 2010; a further assault occasioning actual bodily harm committed on 18 August 2010; and a common assault committed on 26 September 2010, of which the band addressed publicly through their Facebook page at the time. Due to a belated public backlash The Rumjacks also released another statement in 2016 [12] He was removed from the band in April 2020 due to bad behaviour and acts of violence towards band members and support crew.[13]

Mike Rivkees (Joined in 2020)[edit]

In 2020, The Rumjacks presented their new singer Mike Rivkees. Originating from Boston, Massachusetts, Mike is also the singer of Boston band 'Mickey Rickshaw' and has numerous music influences from old school hardcore to traditional celtic music.

'Hestia' (2021)[edit]

Hestia, the fifth studio album from The Rumjacks, marked a new era for the band. The album introduced new lead singer Mike Rivkees, whose songwriting skills rejuvenated The Rumjacks collaborative spirit.

When writing Hestia (named after the Greek goddess of home and hearth), the band applied their diverse American, Australian, Italian, and Irish perspectives to create a new, globalized iteration of the Celtic punk legacy dating back to The Pogues, with the punk, ska, and hard rock sounds pulsing through their veins.

The album was recorded in Milan, Italy where the band stayed and created this new album through August, September and October 2020.

Lead single ‘Sainted Millions’ was released November 20, 2020 and gave longtime Rumjacks fans exactly what they needed; something loud, fast, rousing and fun.

Sainted Millions is a drunken chat between the living and the dead. The intro was written to be reminiscent of a soldiers’ song from wars of yesterday, all of whom lay resting. With imagery of fresh spirits carelessly walking through battlefields, mid-fight, as tracer rounds whistle by overhead, the sentiment is that there is peace once on the other side.

The military references arise from the writer's walk through an old New England cemetery- and some of the characters you would chance upon in such a place.

Sleeping sainted millions, can you tell me what you know? Sing to me a song you wrote beneath your pile of stone.” The dead's response, “I wouldn’t trade it for another, and I would do it all again.”


Studio albums[edit]

  • Gangs of New Holland (2010) - Laughing Outlaw
  • Sober & Godless (2015) - FOUR||FOUR [14]
  • Sleepin' Rough (2016) - FOUR||FOUR [15]
  • Saints Preserve Us (2018) - FOUR||FOUR
  • Hestia (2021) - FOUR||FOUR


  • Hung, Drawn & Portered (2009) - Shite & Onions
  • Sound as a Pound (2009) - Shite & Onions


  • Crosses for Eyes (2012)

Live albums[edit]

  • Live in London – Acoustic Sessions (2019)
  • Live in Athens (2019)

Music videos[edit]

  • "I’ll Tell Me Ma" (2009)
  • "Green Ginger Wine" (2011)
  • "An Irish Pub Song" (2011)
  • "Crosses for Eyes" (2012)
  • "Blows & Unkind Words" (2014)
  • "Plenty" (2014)
  • "Home" (2015)
  • "One Summers Day" (2015)
  • "A Fistful O’ Roses" (2016)
  • "Fact’ry Jack" (2016)
  • "Patron Saint O’Thieves" (2016)
  • "Saints Preserve Us" (2018)
  • "A Smugglers Song" (2018)
  • "Billy McKinley" (2019)
  • "Cold London Rain" (2019)
  • "Sainted Millions" (2020)
  • "Hestia" (2021)[16]
  • "Light in my Shadow" (2021)
  • "Rhythm of her Name" (2021)


  1. ^ Deming, Mark. "The Rumjacks on AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  2. ^ Pol'and'Rock, Pol'and'Rock. "The Rumjacks at Pol'and'Rock". Pol'and'Rock. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  3. ^ "The Rumjacks - Sober & Godless".
  4. ^ "The Rumjacks biography".
  5. ^ "The Rumjacks - Upcoming Shows". Troubadour Music. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016.
  6. ^ "The Rumjacks Announce Massive 2016 Europe Tour". Frontview Magazine. 23 March 2016.
  7. ^ "An Irish Pub song". YouTube.
  8. ^ Jones, Abby (15 March 2018). "The Most Popular St. Patrick's Day Songs in the U.S., According to YouTube". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  9. ^ Giffin, Brian (11 June 2019). "R.I.P. ANTHONY D'ETTORRE". Loud Mag. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  10. ^ Vaim (25 September 2018). "THE RUMJACKS CELEBRATE 10TH ANNIVERSARY AND ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM "SAINTS PRESERVE US!"". Grimm. Grimm. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Aussie Band In Crisis After Frontman Jailed For Attack On Girlfriend". Tone Deaf. 7 April 2012.
  12. ^ "The Rumjacks Respond To Boycott Campaign Over Singer's Domestic Violence Convictions". MusicFeeds. 23 August 2016.
  13. ^ "The Rumjacks Part Ways with Singer Frankie McLaughlin". ReadJunk. 19 April 2020.
  14. ^ "The Rumjacks Discography".
  15. ^ "The Music".
  16. ^ "The Rumjacks - Hestia (Official Music Video)". YouTube.

External links[edit]