The Time I Found My Favourite Band


“How about you doing the interview via phone for me?”


Words I never imagined I’d read. Here was my mate and former broadcasting colleague Colin Broadbent giving me the opportunity to interview my favourite band, Colonel Mustard and The Dijon 5 (who I will refer to as ‘CMD5’). Furthermore, I was being given free reign to ask whatever I wanted! I had interviewed musicians before, including other favourites Big Boy Bloater, which Mrs Bloater (Lisa) later described as the best interview he’s done, and Bill Carter, which was published by Blues Matters magazine. Yet I had to make considerable efforts myself to arrange those interviews. The chance to interview CMD5 had been gifted to me when I least expected it and I was as excited as Garfield in a lasagne factory!


I’m pleased to report that my interview with CMD5 lead singer (THE COLONEL HIMSELF!!!) Colonel John T McMustard, conducted over Zoom, went brilliantly! We covered topics including the history and future plans of the band, the Peace Festival in Korea that they’ve played at twice (documented brilliantly on YouTube), philosophical recollections about the frustration of lockdown gig cancellations, the importance to the band of their social conscience and whether the number of members in the band (usually at least 11) is a blessing or a hindrance. At the end of the interview The Colonel recorded some idents for Colin to use on his show, which were delivered with typical humour, enthusiasm and eloquence. I was confident the interview between The Colonel and I would be received like the interviews between Frost and Nixon or Parkinson and Muhammad Ali.


Having began the chat informally the whole 30 minutes seemed to pass by in a flash, more like a chat between friends than an interrogation. But how on Earth did I get to this point? How did I become such a massive fan of a band in such a short space of time, a band that relatively few outside of Scotland have ever heard of, let alone celebrate by wearing the apparel of most days?


It’s all down to the way I find new music, something on which I thrive. Yes, I have my old favourite acts like Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Ice Cube, Foo Fighters, Prince and Stevie Ray Vaughan but I constantly need new heroes and these days I feel I have to find them for myself. I can’t rely on MTV since they abandoned music and decided to focus on making series like Watch Someone You Don’t Know, Judge Them Then Abuse Them Online To The Point They Feel Suicidal. I could try listening to a commercial radio station but would then have to suffer the bombardment of adverts saying things like “sell us all of your family’s belongings for a pittance and if you change your mind we’ll send it back to you, no questions asked.” Honestly, it’s only a matter of time before there are companies advising that they can help people get out of debt by selling their actual children! Such a bombardment takes away any joy brought by the actual music I tune in for.


Then there are stations that have such limited playlists that they seem to repeat songs seemingly every hour. They say familiarity breeds contempt but I don’t want to feel contempt for a piece of music I love just because a radio station plays it too often, I want to leave my contempt for the likes of Sweet Caroline and Chelsea Dagger.


I could use my music streaming service, Apple Music, to listen solely to my existing library and then rely on their algorithm to suggest other things I might enjoy. At least that way I’d escape some gonk like Johnny Vaughan or Chris Moyles insulting my intelligence with their banal ‘banter’ in a studio full of stooges. Yet as clever as algorithms are, they do have a habit of failure. For example, they might identify a supporter of Manchester City and suggest that because of their interests they might like to sign up for a Manchester United supporters group on social media. Imagine how terrible it would be if Apple’s algorithm suggested I should be listening to The Struts or Maroon 5 because they once did a version of a Stevie Wonder song in my library. Torture like that contravenes the Geneva convention! They’re also unlikely to point me in the direction of something completely different to my existing tastes. Over the last couple of years I’ve discovered artists like Chico Mann,  Santigold, Made Kuti and many more. I absolutely adore them and would never have found them using the algorithm method. Which is why I stick to semi-traditional methods of discovering new music such as carefully selected radio shows, word of mouth or gig posters.


In the age of the internet I’ve been able to find a multitude of radio stations that love to promote genres and artists that, even though they may have been established for years, are new to me. I stopped listening to mainstream radio about 10 years ago either because of the reasons above or concerns about the agenda of their news content. Turns out that ditching traditional radio has broadened my musical horizons more than I ever imagined. Primoridal Radio and (the sadly missed) Feedback Radio introduced me to a vast array of rock, metal and guitar based bands that were new to me. For increased diversity in my musical spectrum I’d also tune in to Highway 309, which was previously WGLT Blues Radio, an online station broadcast by Illinois State University. There are also some of the specialist shows on the BBC, such as Don Letts’ Culture Clash Radio, the old Uncle Frank show on BBC Leicester, Adam Walton’s BBC Introducing show on Radio Wales and the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show (when listening via BBC Sounds you can skip past the intrusive news bulletins). Every single one of those shows has provided me with a wide variety of incredible artists. And so too has Colin’s A Little Taste Of Soul show on Radio Cardiff.


I first encountered Colin when I volunteered at Radio Cardiff as a sports presenter. Since leaving in 2016 I’ve kept in contact with Colin’s show the most because it’s on when I’m able to listen and contribute. I enjoy texting in with “painstakingly researched” (usually a code for ‘made up’) facts about some of the artists being played. Typical examples are, “Did you know that Gladys Knight’s backing group got their name after they did a demo for Gladys over the phone and their money ran out?” or, “Did you know that Englebert Humperdink is nicknamed ‘The Hump’ not because of his name but because he can trek across a desert for 3 days without needing water?” and, “Did you know that Curtis Salgado decided to record the song Love Man because he’s rubbish at tennis?” I also suggest bands that I’ve found from some of those other musical sources of mine that Colin’s audience might enjoy. Sometimes he plays them. Most notably The War And Treaty (great band, terrible acronym) who are now played regularly on Colin’s show.


Aside from radio I always keep an eye on support bands that are supporting bands I go to see. Mad Caddies, Cantaloop and Troy Redfern have all become favourites of mine after originally seeing them as support bands (to Dropkick Murphys, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Wille & The Bandits respectively). And crucially, I always keep an eye on festivals that my favourite bands are playing at. They share the festival line-up posters on their social media pages and I pick through the line-up for any bands or artists that take my eye. A bit like my mum picking horses for the Grand National I’m not very scientific and usually get attracted to acts with the most exotic name, such as when I saw Joanne Shaw Taylor share a poster where she was on the bill alongside Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. I checked them out and they are sublime, especially when the sun’s shining!


It maybe a hit and miss way of finding new music but my theory is that you’ve got to have some serious confidence in your ability as a musician if you’re naming your band Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & The Golden Eagles, Northside Skull and Bone Band or Psychadelic Porn Crumpets. The more bands I find, the merrier my Apple Music library is. I want it to be as eclectic a kaleidoscope of music as possible.



On 6th February 2020 the Flaming Lips shared a poster for the Fairground Festival they were due to play in Scotland that immediately grabbed my attention. Little did I know it would change my life. Sharing the bill with Wayne Coyne and his buddies would be a band named Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5. As soon as I saw the name I needed to check out everything about them – and kept my fingers crossed they would be good. How had a band with a name like that never come to my attention before?! Not that I’m a fan of Cluedo or mustard (unfortunately I can’t actually stand the stuff) but with a name like that they had to have something about them, right?!


I headed to Google with a speed usually only witnessed when a sumo wrester hears that a buffet is open. The search engine rewarded me with news that CMD5 had released a new single titled G.T a couple of weeks previously. The accompanying video (filmed on location in Outer Space, Glasgow and Helensburgh according to the end credits) was a joyous shock to the system. An explosion of colour across the screen, full of glorious weirdness with references to The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, Star Wars, acid house smiley faces, more aliens than Ridley Scott could imagine, dinosaurs and all eleven or so band members. It was a striking and startling introduction to the band. The fun in that video was evident, but the musicianship left me in no doubt that, much like Madness, this was no comedy band. They had horns, guitars, and a funky tempo that picked up Screamadelica’s baton and ran further with it. On top of that was the voice of lead singer Colonel John T McMustard, very evidently Scottish, that was richer, more soulful and wider in range than most voices heard since the demise of the Northern Soul scene. It came as no surprise when I discovered they were in the Glasgow Barrowlands Hall Of Fame having previously sold out Scotland’s most iconic music venue.


In a very short time I must have watched every single YouTube video, read every review and listened to every song they’d ever released. This was the band I’d been looking for! Lyrics dealing with serious topics such as addiction, same sex marriage and impending environmental catastrophe were delivered with a swaggering wit and glorious groove that reminded me of Ian Dury & The Blockheads, a band whose logo I have tattooed on my arm. Lighter topics, such as the perils of falling in love with ginger people and being trapped in a taxi with a flatulent taxi driver helped them deliver a message through music of hope, unity, fun, tolerance and being true to yourself. They resonated with me more than any other band had ever managed and it wasn’t long before I decided that whenever I was to be at a future gig I would be wearing one of their distinctive bright yellow hoodies or t-shirts. My only disappointment was that their merch store didn’t have more stuff available to buy. More people needed to hear about this band! When I received that first hoodie I sent them a message to thank them for everything they were doing. It seemed there was a feeling of mutual admiration when they replied and then made me the ‘Legend of The Day’ on their Facebook post of 17th April 2020.



Of course, shortly before I was anointed as a legend the world was plunged into chaos. When we entered the first lockdown of 2020 I kept myself entertained by watching the band’s documentary about when they played that peace gig in Korea, I streamed their music while out walking, I tuned in to the DJ sets DJ5 (aka Mark) played as we all gathered from far and wide to party together, albeit over social media. Then as we awaited news of freedom, somehow, in a world where a local government in Canada actually advised it’s citizens to use gloryholes during sex to prevent the spread of Covid, things got even weirder with the unwanted return of racism and a growing number of people believing the Earth is flat. The gig with the Flaming Lips got cancelled due to Covid, as did the proposed ‘in car, drive-in’ gig in Motherwell that CMD5 had planned in an effort to perform safely in a socially distant environment. In a world where I was destined never to see them play live I relied on their social media posts for reassurance that I wasn’t alone in the way I saw the world.


Whether the posts were made by the Colonel himself (an NHS worker during the day) or other band members like the ‘Dijancer’ David Blair or sax-player / chief crowd energiser Fathom remains a mystery. What was beyond any doubt was that my own feelings about topics such as racial equality, social justice and the environment were echoed by CMD5. They would share posts by other groups such as Primal Scream, FC St Pauli, Greenpeace and various Glasgow organisations such as Refuweegee. The posts weren’t just about social matters. Through their membership of the wider ‘Yellow Movement’ (a kind of fellowship of Scottish bands, artists and performers that  promote each other’s work) I found even more bands such as brownbear, Tom McGuire & The Brassholes, Mickey 9s and Dopesickfly and was introduced to the works of people such as Timothy Leary.


In those days where it seemed most of the country was losing its marbles one weekly bang of a saucepan on the doorstep at a time it was nice to have an ally. Even better that they happened to be my favourite band. When they released their triumphant second album The Difficult Number 2 in April 2021 I was hugely excited to take possession of my sole vinyl record and considered buying something to actually play it on. Sadly the Covid lockdowns prevented another sellout show at the Barrowlands to launch the album but they were at least able to film a socially distant performance that they broadcast to those that had bought the album. It seems they find a way to connect with their audience irrespective of the obstacles put in front of them.



It took me until July 2023 to thank CMD5 in person for all they had given me. Despite numerous attempts to see them live my other commitments made it impossible until I headed up to the Tartan Heart Festival at Belladrum near Inverness, a mere 372 miles away. Though I travelled up alone I knew I’d find others up there that felt a similar camaraderie with the band but on the first day of the three day festival I was disappointed that I only saw one other distinctive yellow CMD5 t-shirt, which was a little disconcerting. However, on the second day (the day they played the main stage) I was amazed at how many CMD5 t-shirts were in evidence. It was truly overwhelming! They were by far and away the most popular band in evidence that weekend and as they took to the stage on a hot, sunny afternoon it was like a yellow army had assembled to greet them.


After going over three years wearing their apparel and having to explain what they were (and that no, I didn’t actually like mustard) it was an amazing feeling to be in that field. Imagine being on your own in a crowd that you don’t know but you feel the comfort and safety that everyone surrounding you is your mate. I felt a kinship. I felt like I truly belonged here, a feeling that I’ve seldom had anywhere.


The only person that recognised me that afternoon was the Colonel himself. The hug we greeted each other with had been a long time coming and we then chatted for about half an hour and were joined by other band members as they mingled with other festival goers before playing their set. The whole day was everything I wanted it to be and more. It was such a special afternoon!



Naturally upon my return from Belladrum I was keen to spread the word of how incredible the whole experience was so sent a message to Colin, who agreed to play one of their songs on his show the following Monday. Unbeknown to me, Colin also got in touch with CMD5 who said that Colonel John McMustard would be available for interview. And that’s when Colin sent me the message asking if I would interview the Colonel.


After a couple of messages, the Zoom meeting was arranged and I made sure to select the option that automatically records the meeting when I sent the invite to the Colonel. We were all set. The Colonel and me would have our interview, I could then send the recording to Colin and he could then air whatever parts of the interview he wanted during a Radio Cardiff CMD5 special. Hopefully this would lead to more exposure for the band in Cymru, possible bookings at Focus, Green Man or Unearthed festivals. I envisioned word spreading to Glastonbury and beyond so that Scotland’s undisputed number one festival band could claim their rightful place as the biggest festival band in the United Kingdom (and maybe the world) in the year that marks 10 years since their debut album Party To Make Music To Party To Make Music To Party To was released.


I’d like to think that’s what would have happened had the meeting actually recorded! But, alas, it didn’t. Something that Zoom didn’t tell me is that you can’t record a meeting if the instigator of the meeting (in this case me) uses the app to conduct the meeting, even if the option to automatically record has been selected on the invite. Once I realised that our glorious interview hadn’t recorded I felt physically sick. It’s been a few months since it happened but I still feel like I’ve let down Colin, Radio Cardiff and CMD5, especially The Colonel and the fans that would have enjoyed listening to it. I should have at least made a separate recording so I could write a transcript of the interview if required! As it is, what should have been one of my all time highlights is now one of the most shameful and embarrassing things that I’ve ever done. And that’s saying something!


Fortunately I’m able to put it in perspective. There are far worse things going on in the world these days and I can face them all wearing a Colonel Mustard and The Dijon 5 hoody. I’m going to Drummond’s in Aberdeen, a mere 332 miles, on New Year’s Eve to see them play again. Hopefully I can apologise in person. Who knows, if I can find a way of recording something then maybe I can get another ident for Colin’s show while I’m there?



There may have been no recording made of the conversation but I did make a mental note of the Colonel’s responses to some of my questions. Those are below.


Griff: How did you come up with the band name?

Colonel: The name was bestowed on us at Glastonbury by a mate. There was no special reason behind it. The guy that gave it to us was under the influence of whatever it was and we just thought it sounded funny and that it would make a great name for the band.


Griff: Has the band ever played at Glastonbury?

Colonel: No, that remains the dream. It would be great to get back there in the 10th year since we released (debut album) Party To Make Music To Party To Make Music To Party To so that we could say we’d got back to where it all started with the name.


Griff: I still didn’t know how to describe the sound of the band to those that have asked me about them. How would the band describe their own sound? And who were they influenced by to make them sound like they do?

Colonel: Good question! There’s so many of us so the influences come from all over the place. Some of the band are really into dance music so the Chemical Brothers where others are more into their brass bands and stuff. Then there are the Flaming Lips, Primal Scream, The Beatles, Super Furry Animals and a host of others. It creates a sound that’s quite unique but we just like playing it and hope others enjoy it.


Griff: How frustrating was it to have the support slot for the Flaming Lips taken away by lockdown?

Colonel: We’re all massive fans of theirs so were delighted when we got told we’d be supporting them. It’s kind of surreal to think that they’d be aware of us and our music and it would be an honour to support them. So aye, we were all gutted it got cancelled but it’s one of those things that’s out of your control. Hopefully one day we’ll get to play with them again but we’ve got a lot of other exciting things planned so we won’t get too down about it.


Griff: How does it feel to be so hugely popular in Scotland but relatively undiscovered elsewhere so far?

Colonel: We’re grateful for the following that we have. There have been times we’ve been down south, we’ve played at Focus Wales, We had a great slot to open a festival in Liverpool a few years ago but in hindsight we’d like the festival to have been open for a bit longer before going on. It felt like we were playing before people came in and a few people since have told us how they’d love to have caught us there but it was too early for them. But we love playing down south. Part of the reason we don’t do it more often is that there are so many of us. There are 11 in the band, though we can reduce numbers if required, to about 8 as a minimum. Then you’ve got the equipment and the crew and everything that goes with it so it’s a huge effort to organise anything like a tour.


Griff: So considering those challenges, what are the plans for 2024?

Colonel: We have a few things lined up and will be looking to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the debut album. It’s mad to think that it’s been 10 years already so it will probably surprise a few people when we start doing stuff like that. We’ll be doing a few shows and festivals, we’re always looking to come up with new ideas and will see whether any new music comes along.