I was in 3rd year in school, playing bass in a band that I wanted to play guitar in. Someone told me that a guy called Cormac in 2nd year played bass. First time I met him, he had glorious black eye from a schoolyard fight. Turned out he played orchestral double bass – not exactly what I was looking for, but he was enthusiastic so he was in.
That was 1986. We’ve been playing music together ever since. It would be around twelve years before we met Stephen, our drummer, who joined the band I think in 1998 direction. So the three of us have been doing the rounds now for the bones of twenty years.
We’ve practised everywhere, mostly in abandoned places, like some kind of parasite that creeps in with the nettles and the dry rot. An abandoned aerodrome, an abandoned Magdalene laundry, abandoned cow houses … any amount of warehouses, garages, corridors, good rooms, a couple of remote cottages, even the odd rehearsal studio.
We played all over Dublin (Ireland) and beyond through the first decade of the millennium, with the community of bands that made up what they call the underground – the likes of The National Prayer Breakfast and The Redneck Manifesto and Mumblin Deaf Ro, plus the odd touring act like Calexico and Explosions in the Sky (when the latter were playing grimy punk venues rather than huge festival stages). We recorded various singles and EPs (one with a singalong chorus of friends and surpised Sunday afternoon drinkers in The Library Bar in The Central Hotel), and then put out our first album, ‘Future, Come and Get Me’, in 2005.
We took our time over the second album, distracted by children and jobs and grown-up stuff. In the meantime some of our old comrades, like Delorentos and Jape, went on to bigger things, but most gave up long ago. We needed the lend of an amp a couple of weeks ago and Stephen put out a call on Facebook. His mate Colm came back and said we could have his, but Stephen would have to call round to his parents’ house and get it out of their attic. That’ll tell you. Most of our cohort have retired and warehoused or sold off their gear, while we’re still humping bass cabs into the backs of fiestas and forgetting to buy plectrums and negotiating time off with our wives.
When the album was done we brought in my oldest friend, Jamie – a real musician. PhD and all, like – to help us play it. He and Cormac used to play in the same orchestra together in their teens, even did a tour performing Sibelius’ Finlandia.
When we get together, we do an awful lot of laughing. Pretty cool.