Feature Q&A

The Iain Duncan Smiths

The Iain Duncan Smiths have been prodding the political establishment for a few years now, starting with Smiths covers but moving into wider parodies – and no one is safe!

All political parties and public figures should fear their sharp satire, and they have recently visited Scotland for some dates during the Edinburgh Festival. BM caught up with one of their number to put them on the line…

1. How did this whole thing start? What prompted the ignition of this groop? And who are they, in full?

It started with the sudden realisation that almost all of The Smiths’ well-known hits could easily be tweaked to be about Iain Duncan Smith, so really it was a love of music and puns finding itself infused with contempt for IDS. Left it to simmer overnight and there it was.

The full band line-up is:

Iain ‘Psycho’ Duncan Smith (vocals, guitar, Universal Credit)
Iain ‘Laughing Boy’ Duncan Smith (vocals, guitar, Bedroom Tax)
Iain ‘The Quiet One’ Duncan Smith (vocals, guitar, Work Capability Assessments)
Iain ‘The Other Quiet One’ Duncan Smith (vocals, guitar, data suppression, xylophone)

2. You have a pretty high work-rate, like 3 or 4 tracks a week – how do you keep it up?

It comes worryingly naturally. If we know the original song well enough then it’s quite a quick process to change the lyrics and record it on an 8-track phone app. The more laborious part is putting together the lyric videos, which we’re doing more and more of now.

3. Some of the lyrical content is quite close to the bone, as it were… Do you have a legal dept or lawyer, and how have avoided defamation claims?

No legal department to speak of, but volunteers welcome! So far we’ve managed to avoid defamation claims by not being popular or well-known, so if we can keep that up then we should be okay.

4. Aside from the Fringe shows this year but how many other live gigs have there been so far?

There have been anything up to several, but we only really perform live when we’ve been invited to. Highlights so far include a People’s Assembly event in Manchester and headlining the 7th annual Wellingborough Diggers Festival, where we actually managed to fulfil our Spinal Tap fantasies of appearing on the same bill as a puppet show.

5. The IDS target range is pretty broad and tends to feature contemporary politics – any historical targets planned or fantantised about?

Not really, but now you mention it we’re bound to spend the rest of the day trying to think of punny historical bands. So thanks for that.

6. Given the IDS name, you presumably have some admiration of The Smiths – what do you think of Morrissey now, as a commentator and as an artist?

Funnily enough we were never that into The Smiths before starting The IDSs, but that sparked an exploration of their back catalogue that very quickly became a love affair. We haven’t heard enough of Morrissey’s solo output to comment on it, and his commentary is probably best ignored unfortunately.


7. Are there any subjects which are taboo for parody?

In theory there shouldn’t be, but in practice we’ve had to self-censor on occasion.

8. What do you do in your “normal” life, or are these Bandcamp royalities covering the bills?

No royalties to speak of, so yes we do other things too! But we wouldn’t want to ruin our carefully honed mystique…

9. Have there been events, or people, who you just give up on, like can’t parody, or don’t feel like it?

In terms of events, I suppose tragedies. In terms of people, well, we’re still doing Trump and Boris stuff so evidently we’re not deterred by self-parody…

10. And what can we expect at next?

There’s the Unseat IDS Festival in Chingford on September 15th.

(BM hopes for a repeat of the Eurosceptic Song Contest – a lo-fi Eurovision for Brexit, featuring topical musical performances from the likes of ourselves, Borrissey, Farage Against the Machine, David Davis Bowie, Corbzy, Maydiohead and Snoop Mogg.)

More at