Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Thurs 18 July, Dublin – Mark Dennehy had been sound engineer on early Racketeers gigs way back in the last century. I recall those hot nights in Eamonn Dorans, Temple Bar 1996. The pool table in front of the stage peopled by folks with shady motives. Staff would move the table after soundcheck and some dodgy CD’s would be played, then support band, then ourselves  and our gig would invariably be followed by all sorts of shenanigans in the dressing room. A motley crew of dealers and delinquents, DJ’s, hangers on, friends, the posessed and the disposessed, pissing into the sink rather than brave the unruly mob trying to get to the toilets, counting out the notes trying to do the split, paying the driver, plans for later in the night, leaving pint glasses of piss beside the monitors for unsuspecting techno twat skangers to swig in the idiotic dancing frenzy. Good times......generally. So it was good to have Mark along to take care of recording tonights gig in the Leeson Lounge. Also on the job, Niall Hoare, another stalwarth from the early Dorans days. He later toured with Al in Caliban and they’re still on speaking terms, so it can’t have been too bad.

Cliff Roslyn joined us for a few songs on his magnificent Hammond organ and although it wasn’t my favourite gig of the year, looking back at the film everything seems cool. Its just the headspace I was in. The sound was really good (for a change) and its a pity there wasn’t a better turnout. Next time hopefully, if there is a next time. Didn’t hang around for long afterwards, hit the road pretty much after getting the gear and the money sorted.


Fri 19 July, Dublin – Called a taxi and they asked for my address and I got confused, but the lady on the phone said “ I think you might be in XX Dunsink Avenue, you called a taxi from there this time yesterday.” Ah yes, it all makes sense now. So I got into town dodging the delinquents and I spied a BBQ ready to roll in the courtyard where Sonic Studios and a few other businesses share space and park their automobiles of various colours and sizes. Veggie sausages, salad, and liquid of a refreshing nature were the order of the day and we all had a chat in the blinding sun and the vibe was good indeed and the guy across the way was blasting out Thin Lizzy and old rockabilly records.  Listening back to the recording of last nights show we are pleasently surprised, and the film looks good too. We look rather well for a bunch of old fellas.

Did vocals on 5 songs, and not an auto-tune in sight. That took a few hours. Went on a ‘research ramble’ checking out different bars / venues as potential places to play gigs, collecting business cards, chatting to bookers and the like. Walking down Fleet Street I decided to reward myself with a pint bottle of Bulmers and that is indeed what happened, but I also bumped into Donal Molloy and his missus. He tells me he’s living “out in the bush” near Melbourne, still making sculpture and by the looks of it, enjoying life. We have a drink and a chat. Good to see him again after so many many years. He’s got a great memory too. Still intact. Out at Al’s place we eat and the wine is flowing and I taste the hottest sauce Ive ever tasted. Its called ‘Insanity’ and it suited me down to a T. 


Sat 20 July, Ennis – Slept most of the way to Ennis, then set up real quicky and we were ready to roll. Met Jonathan from Kerry who I used to know in Galway all those long years ago when it seemed to rain every day of every week. I remember when I first saw Ridley Scott’s ‘Bladerunner’ I thought to myself, thats Galway in the future.

We managed to play ‘Iron City’ twice. My mistake. So many songs, so few brain cells. We were supposed to play ‘Wicked Wind’ but both songs start in Am and I somehow sang the wrong words and off we went with the guys following me along and it was too late to stop. Enjoyed the gig. Hopefully the folks in the bar did too.


Paul was down from Headford and Mr Dooley and some of the crew from our previous visits to the town. We went out to Debra’s house in Spancill Hill afterwards. Sang a song or two. Went out for a ramble in the fields just after sunrise and greeted the solar disc like an old friend. When I went back into the house Debra and Les had disappeared to their respective rooms. Ed had nodded off in a chair. Didn’t know where my room was and it didn’t seem appropriate to go around opening doors at random, so I lied down on a sofa and closed my eyes and the world disappeared.



Sun 20 July, Lisdoonvarna – Spent the morning sitting out in the garden, a pot of tea on the table and slices of toast looked excellent. The conversation revolved around magick, judaism, religion, belief systems, the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, atheism, witchcraft, censorship and the like. Never did get around to eating any toast, but I borrowed 4 of Ed’s chips when we got into town and gathered at Tom Steeles. Al and Mercedes arrived in from the night in Feakle. Swiftly we moved through the countryside in our metal wagons. We had a vague agreement to stop off at the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon for a drink but this never materialized. So many plans down the drain.


Arrived into Lisdoonvarna and checked out the Roadside Tavern. Nice place, good crew. A UK band whose name I can’t recall were setting up. Went for a walk up town and ate a disagreeable veggie burger. With a few hours to wait before our show i decided to leave the world and slept in Ed’s car and later awoke, batteries recharged and well focused.
It wasn’t the best P.A. in the world but the gig was great. A very appreciative audience, people up dancing and shouting things like “lets rock” and “rock it ...rock it!”. So we rocked it and it rolled too. Sold CD’s and then we hit the long black road back east. Best gig of the week by far. 



Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Sat 14 July, Wicklow Town – As mad as it might sound, there's a heatwave in Dublin. As good as the Martha Reeve's song it is too. Everybody seems happy, even those pasty people wearing track suits, but it can't last. Knives will be drawn on Friday night and the blood will spill.

The Kilfenora Ceili Band are playing a show in Dublin to promote their new album entitled "8". According to the flyer it's their eighth since the band formed in 1909. That's not a lot of LP's in 104 years. I have one of the precious eight on vinyl, a bargain bin job but it gets the odd spin. Not sure what year it's from and I can't dig it out to share this information with you as I'm currently nomadic and home is a long way away.

Met Nick Seymour of Crowded House on the street. He gave me a big "Hiya mate" as people do from that part of the southern hemisphere and a clap on the back as is the fashion with some friendly folk. I've been drinking with Nick a few times. Nice guy, but alas his music is not for me.

According to Olaf Tyaransen in the current issue of Hot Press  I’m “one of the great survivors of Irish rock ‘n’roll”. The award-winning journalist, writer / poet said this in his piece reviewing “Things Aren’t The Way They Used To Be.” Thanks Olaf, I owe you a drink. He’s also expressed an interest in doing an interview for Hot Press, but there wasn’t time on this trip to the Emerald Isle. Maybe next time.

A few days were spent in County Kildare where amongst a litany of strange activities I visited and got lost in a maze. I was lost for a very long time, but then I was found and all was forgiven. In the wild west of Ireland I rambled through the fields of Rockfield and later visited Grace O Malley's prime residence during her reign as the Queen of the Pirates in the 17th century. Rockfleet Castle is an impressive building but unfortunately the Office Of Public Works are fixing it up and we couldn't get hold of the key to open the door. Some other time. Over at Newport we had a drink and travelled on our merry way down twisty roads with the sun uncharacteristically beaming down like a blow-torch.
After rehearsals in Sonic Studios I had a quick bottle of cider in L. Mulligans Grocer in Stoneybatter where they boast of having over 100 imported beers. I’m told the proprietor had a falling-out with the Guinness folks (Diagio) and they don’t sell any of their products anymore. Apparently the food is great too. Les Keye’s pad is nearby so we drop over, taking photos along the way. In Mr & Mrs Keye’s back garden i drink a beer and chat to Jessica and Corina. The light summer breeze brings a sweet waft of incense, but moments later it smells of shit. I mention this to my comrades and Corina tells me the sweet smell is not incense but Ruby Elixir (Pitta) that she has in her hair. She kindly hands me her bottle and I liberally rub it into my own scalp, unaware that a bottle costs $125. Jessica tells me that the less enchanting other smell is dog shit curtesy of her 3 legged barking friend. I taxi to Harolds Cross, eat Indian food, rest, and hours later walk over to the Magic Glass Bar in O'Callaghans Hotel on St Stephens Green for the Pagans in the Pub Moot, which morphs into Politicians in the Pub.

Out in Wicklow Town we discover there isn’t a PA for tonights show and tell. After a bit of running around and a few phone calls the problem is sorted out and on we go. I enjoyed what Al describes as a “chicken-wire” gig.


Wed 17 July, Kildare & Dublin – Walked a few miles into Straffan in the blinding sun. Nothing much to do but visit the graveyard and take photographs. Worked on a few songs getting the lyrics for Fiery Frank and a few others which shall remain nameless.

Off on a ramble in the jam-jar. At the Hill of Tara we visited the Lia Fail (Stone Of Destiny)one of the four treasures of the Tuatha De Danann and the place where the High Kings of Ireland were coronated. Across the field we located Cormac MacAirts former dwelling place and down the hill, Grainne’s rath. Cormac was High King of Ireland around the time of Finn MacCool and apparently reigned for forty years. Grainne was Cormacs daughter, a femme fatale by all accounts and caused a lot of hassle in her time.  In the gift shop I bought a bag of damaar white incense and a piece of jewellery engraved with a triple spiral - ‘the intestines of the goddess’. You can never ever have enough jewellery.

Drove down through Dunshaughlin and Curragha, but we couldn’t find Garristown. We were lost and all the maps in the world couldn’t save us, but trusting ones instinct works and I listened to the little quiet/loud voice in my head and eventualy we located Four Knocks (Fuair Cnocs – the Cold Hills) a megalithic burial mound near Naul. Got the key from Mrs White and unlocked the door and greeted the ancestors. It may have been better to visit on a dark bleak winters day. Death and sunny summer days dont go well together.

Back in Dublin Lorrain McColgan from The Winters arrived in to Sonic. Al and I had spent a few hours laying down five songs. Lorrain sang on two, sounding sultry and cool.