July 14th, 2019

When Mothers are lucky, their boys become men.
But some don’t quite make it, no why, how or when.
With fortunate fathers, of daughters with dreams,
They’ll think of the wonders, not horrors or screams.

It happens in cities, in London, New York.
Not our little suburbs, of Dublin and Cork.
Never our doorstep, this terror unseen.
It’s not what we’re used to, this ungodly scene.

The whispers that follow the police sirens blare.
Her family, forever, stuck with this nightmare.
A beauty no longer, if just in our thoughts,
A life barely lived, a battle long fought.

They’re out there, among us, these monsters, our hell,
But what do they look like, there’s no way to tell,
Just brothers of sisters, sons of good folk,
No way of knowing, their fire, our smoke.

A baby, a beauty, a daughter, in school,
An object, a victim, reminder life’s cruel.
Some parents aren’t lucky, they don’t have a choice,
It’s so hard to whisper, to call with no voice,

A blessing, a wonder, a miracle child,
A nation awakens, forgets for a while,
She’ll not be returning, not now, or again,
To a world filled with beauty, and the evils of men.

Chasing Stars

December 15th, 2019
I wonder does she, See the same moon as me,
As she watches from where she is now.
Didn’t make it this far, Never followed our star,
But I still think of if, why and how.
Are there streams, hills and trees, Skipping ropes and scraped knees,
Puppies, with whom she could play.
Is there laughter and light, Is there love at first sight,
And does evening and night follow day.
Too pure to remain, There’s no sun for this rain,
In my mind she’ll always be there.
While our lives have moved on, She’ll never be gone, I hope that she’s happy somewhere.

Don’t Grow Up Yet

December 15th, 2019

Don’t Grow Up Yet

Don’t grow up yet, there’s too much to do.
There’s coloring, bath-times, trips to the zoo,
There’s bike-riding, goalscoring, things I can teach,
Places we’ll go where we walk on the beach.

Don’t grow up yet, there’s lots on our list,
Bowling and kite-flying, things that we’ve missed,
Places I’ll take you, I’ve made a big plan,
Be a kid longer, stay here if we can.

Don’t grow up yet, I’m enjoying this glory,
I’m missing already, your bedtime story,
Tie your own laces, get dressed on your own,
Don’t be in a hurry to leave me alone,

Don’t grow up yet, there’s wide open spaces,
Where we can run wild, and make silly faces,
I’ll keep making Dad jokes, and watching those smiles,
Our journeys together, so many more miles.

Don’t grow up yet, I’ll help you to be,
A wonderful grown-up, much better than me,
We’ll get there together, don’t leave me behind,
It’s going too fast, wish we could rewind.

Feel Them Roar

November 13th, 2019
Feel Them Roar
They’ll huddle on crowdless platforms, alone.
Or on decks that are windswept, without cry or moan
It’s daunting, on boat rides, with noone that cares.
As rain falls and winds blow,
They’re tired, they’re scared.
With illness, with secrets, nobody to tell,
A foreign land waits,
There’ll be whispers, not yells.
They’re travelers, not tourists, mere patients, on boats,
With no arms to hold them, they’ll shiver in coats.
Generations of beaten, disadvantaged and poor,
Seen as fallen, they’re broken, forgotten, they’re ‘hoors’,
But they’re daughters, they’re sisters, they’re schoolfriends, and more,
And they’re closed off from mankind, as churches shut doors.
800 in Galway, so long they were lost,
Their parents, who were they? And suffered what cost?
For Savita in Connacht, Longford’s young Ann,
Joanna in Kerry, and an unpunished man.
They’d so much to live for, but so little choice,
Remember them, think of them, so they may have voice.

Boy of the Bowery

November 13th, 2019

’m a boy of the Bowery,

I’ve nowhere else to go,

I’ll end up on Hart Island,

In the sun, the rain, the snow.

2nd Verse

I came to New York City,

A young man with hopes and dreams,

But all I’ve got’s the Bowery,

With its nightmares and its screams,


And its hail to the Bowery,

It’s where I’ve lived me life,

With bums and filthy scoundrels,

Where hopelessness is rife,

And it’s long live the Bowery,

Be here when we’re all gone,

Although I’ll be forgotten,

They’ll remember us in song,

3rd Verse

There’s poets, painters, workers,

And brothers, husbands too,

They walk and sleep the Bowery,

Though their weeks and months be few.

4th Verse

And we’ll walk along these city streets,

Look down for coins and bills,

And all we do is drink, sing and talk,

We’ve so much time to fill.

Repeat Chorus

5th Verse

It’s survival of the sober,

But it’s easier when drunk,

It’s often pals forget to wake,

And Bowery hearts are sunk,

6th Verse

And I’ll think of those we’ve loved and lost,

All those poor girls and boys,

To us their laughs were symphonies,

To others, just white noise,

The Boys on the Benches

November 13th, 2019

The Boys on the Benches

I’d see them in springtime, the summer, the fall,

In winter, when sunlight’s reduced to a crawl.

In mornings, when rushing, during afternoon walks,

The boys on the benches, enjoying their talks.

I’d see them, I’d nod, a brief chat or a wave,

And think of their histories, and all that they gave,

As the world continued to revolve and change,

For the boys on the benches, so little was strange.

They’d see us, they’d comment, our own kids now walking.

They’d smile at us, remembering babies, now talking.

Impressions long-forming, their legacies made ,

The boys on the benches, we wish how they’d stayed.

They’re no longer there now, their places are taken,

From dreams of past glories, we all just awaken,

When passing the benches, I’ll offer a nod,

To the memories of Jimmy, Mike, Charlie and Rod.

Empty Nest/Missed Flight

November 13th, 2019

Missed Flight

An immigrant’s nightmare,
That phone call we dread,
Whether out at a movie,
Or wrapped up in bed.

A quest to go home,
To go book that next flight
No chance for advice,
Or to turn wrongs to right.

Things will be abandoned,
Planning futures so strange,
A last minute trip scheduled,
To a lifetime now changed.

Drop what you’re doing,
Pack up turn the locks,
For the one whom we fly for,
We can’t turn back clocks.

There’s what-ifs and how-comes,
If only they’d stayed,
But hope they were proud,
Of the life that you made.

Things never said to them,
But thought every day,
It’s easy to love one,
Though harder to say.

So much was missed,
During times spent away
But remember those feelings,
That don’t go astray.

The feeling of emptiness,
May one day be filled,
Until then just memories,
And tears that are spilled.

Glasses be raised,
And memories shared,
Good times remembered,

But hearts unrepaired.

Empty Nest

No prom dates, no college,

No walk down
the aisle.

No first dance with father,

No first tooth-lost smile.

No driving a first car,

No honk of a horn,

No waving from doorways,

No fix of hearts torn.

No time to be grown-up,

No teen angst or cool,

No playing on beaches,

No splashes in pools.

No rides on the schoolbus,

No homework to do,

No sickdays with mom’s care,

No thoughts how time flew.

No footsteps in snowfall,

No running in rain,

No squinting in sunshine,

No escape from the pain.

No hiding, no seeking,

No playing of games,

No flowers, no dolls house,

No more snaps in frames.

No reasons for leaving,

No harm did they cause,

No anger, but sorrow

Just beauty, no flaws.

Bell X1 Interview…

November 12th, 2019

A Thing About Teapots?

Mike Fitzpatrick Interviews Bell X1’s Paul Noonan

Bell X1 seems to have a thing about teapots. So much so, that were one to type the band’s name, followed by the word ‘teapot’ into a Google search, approximately 400 responses would appear on screen. Not, of course, that I checked. Some guy told me.

Fortunately, New York City seems to be developing a thing of its own about this Irish four-piece, one which hails from the neighboring towns of Celbridge and Lucan (Counties Kildare and Dublin respectively).

Returning to the US once more, following a successful series of dates in the summer of ’05, Bell X1 will play a sold-out show at the legendary downtown music venue, Joe’s Pub, on Wednesday, January 16th, followed by a trip to Philadelphia, for an unplugged appearance, presented by WXPN, at the World Café Live, on the 17th. And all this, after playing live on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

The band formed as the twentieth century was taking its final curtain calls, and a popular five-piece act known as Juniper morphed into a foursome, when lead singer Damien Rice left to pursue a solo career.

Changing its name to Bell X1, the band, comprised of Paul Noonan, Brian Crosby, Dominic Phillips and Dave Geraghty, proceeded to regroup and push forward as a quartet, with Noonan moving from behind his drumkit to take over vocals.

Retaining Juniper’s fanbase, while developing a newer sound, the band was invited to support acts as diverse as the late, lamented Elliott Smith, and some guys from New Jersey called Bon Jovi.

2003 witnessed the release of the group’s second album (after 1999’s ‘Neither Am I’), ‘Music In Mouth’, which was critically well-received, and in between moaning about no teapots in recording studios, playing hurling badly before residents of County Kilkenny (which is akin to sacrilege in that part of the country) and touring with Keane, Starsailor, The Frames, Aqualung and Snow Patrol, the album went double platinum in Ireland, and produced four top forty singles.

With the band’s third album, ‘Flock’, hitting number one in Ireland, more touring was required, culminating in a sensational night at Malahide Castle before thousands of fans, on practically the only dry night of a disastrously damp Irish summer.

With 2008 still in its infancy, things are already looking decidedly bright for Bell X1. The band has been nominated for two Mercury Awards (the Irish Grammies, as it were), for Best Irish Live Performance and Best Irish Pop Act, while multi-instrumentalist David Geraghty is up for two as a solo performer (Best Irish Male and Best Irish Album).

The guys have also experienced something of a surge of renewed interest from a curious American audience, following the appearance of ‘Eve, The Apple of My Eye’ (a track from ‘Flock’) on popular television show, ‘The O.C’ not so long ago.

The Irish Examiner caught up with Paul Noonan last week, where the affable frontman was more than pleased to chat to us, prior to the band’s excursion to New York.

MF: You’ve come a long way from your Sunday night residency at the Kildrought Lounge, in Celbridge, County Kildare. Can you tell me about some of the highs you’ve experienced along the way?
PN: That was a long time ago! We did a tour of the Eastern European states a few years ago, and played in Poland, The Czech Republic and Slovakia as ambassadors for Ireland. Ireland held the presidency of the EU at the time. It was our first time in cities such as Prague, and we were playing in places where they’d rarely get bands. We were looked after incredibly well. There was absolutely none of the jaded industry cynicism evident. Another highlight, was playing at Malahide Castle last summer. In front of over 20,000 people, on the one dry night of the summer. It was such a great sense of occasion, it crowned the ‘Flock’ era, and was a perfect end to that period.

MF: You’ve toured or performed with acts such as The Frames, Elliott Smith, Keane and even Bon Jovi in the past, do you feel the band benefited greatly from such experiences?
PN: Yes, definitely. A few years back, we toured in Europe a lot with Keane and Starsailor, and that was a major challenge. There was no sense of winning people over, as we were already established in Ireland, but as a support act, people would be getting their pints in (during our performance), so it could be pretty rowdy at times.

MF: Are there any acts out there today, with whom you’d enjoy working alongside?
PN: We welcome all-comers, especially in the States. Though we have to balance (performing) with meeting our heroes. Collectively speaking, Radiohead would be our favorite band. I saw this thing they did, ‘Meeting People Is Easy’ (the 1998 Grammy-nominated documentary Radiohead produced detailing their practical burnout while relentlessly touring in the late 1990s). It completely painted their lives on the road as being really miserable, and it really shouldn’t be like that.

MF: How healthy do you feel is the current Irish music scene?
PN: It’s great, There’s always been great things happening here. Things are emerging onto bigger world stages, but not always necessarily out of merit. Lots of acts are making great things though. There’s one girl, called Cathy Davey, she’s just released a fantastic record (‘Tales of Silversleeve’), in the UK and Europe, so hopefully it’ll happen for her. In the past, there was a certain ‘Irishness’ about artists, but that seems to have gone.

MF: So, three albums down the line, what’s next for Bell X1?
PN: Well, we’re always writing, and we’ve a gig at the Bowery Ballroom, and a show in Boston on Saint Patrick’s Day. I’m a big fan of (HBO show) ‘The Wire’, but every time a cop dies, there’s a wake at an Irish bar, and the cop is lying on a pool table. It’s not like that really, is it?

MF: I should hope not. It must have been satisfying to hear that the Joe’s Pub gig had sold out so quickly, so much so, that an additional gig at The Bowery Ballroom, just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day, had to be added?
PN: It was amazing. The power of the Internet is responsible for that. We’ve (great memories of the US). We’ve played the Mercury Lounge in New York, and the Viper Room in Los Angeles before. Also, Sin-E in the East Village, where people knew the songs.

MF: We read of so many young acts who tell us that they first picked up an instrument, after hearing Bowie, or Lennon, or Springsteen for the first time, was there a moment in your youth when you thought, hang on, I could do this?
PN: As a youngster, I was infatuated with David Byrne. Even when I was just eight or nine, I remember seeing the video for ‘Once in a Lifetime’, where he was running in an odd-mannered fashion. I’ve only recently gone back to the Talking Heads records, but (as a child) I was drawn to the wacky nature of their imagery.

MF: So, what are you listening to at the moment?
PN: I’ve come late to it, but I’m listening to The Shins and Modest Mouse.

Business as Usual for the Boys of Bell X1 

November 12th, 2019

Bell X1’s Singer/Songwriter, Paul Noonan

Mike Fitzpatrick Interviews Bell X1’s Singer/Songwriter Paul Noonan

You’ll not see Bell X1’s singer/songwriter Paul Noonan on ‘American Idol’, performing an a cappella version of ‘Like A Virgin’, for the amusement of three insanely wealthy ‘talent’ spotters and an audience starved for entertainment.

Nor will you witness the band’s rhythm section, Dominic Philips and Tim O’Donovan, parade their newly toned physiques, as they stroll in full view along the celebrity-filled beaches of Saint Tropez, desperately avoiding the paparazzi.

As for guitarists David Geraghty and Brian Crosby, well, there are relatively few opportunities to catch a glimpse of either of these two particular axemen falling out of a Hollywood nightclub, with Lindsay, Paris, Britney, or even Dame Judi in tow. It’s not that the Bell X1 boys don’t want to, it’s just, well, they’re a tad busy these days.

The old rock star lifestyle is so much more than just throwing televisions from hotel rooms, driving cars into swimming pools and wearing enormous trousers you see.

Were it not for the usual band business to attend to, such as North American tours, writing, rehearsing and recording new material, dealing with music industry types, interacting with their loyal legions of fans and escaping with their lives as their tour bus goes up in flames (seriously), well, it’s possible that that this act from eastern Ireland (that’s right), would misbehave with the best of them.

With the band having recently embarked upon another successful tour of the US, following a brief jaunt stateside earlier this year, things continue looking up for the guys. Appearances on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’, ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’, ‘The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson’, as well as several radio slots and a live performance on MTV Canada added to their embryonic Stateside fame, and within days of the Letterman show in particular, US gigs started to sell out.

Their songs have been featured on hit shows such as ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘The O.C.’, and such were the audience reactions towards their guest appearances, that it’ll not be so surprising to witness Bell X1 appearing on a late night chat show near you in the coming weeks.

Having suffered several teething problems last time around, the airline misplacing their luggage and instruments, the tour bus going up in flames outside a hotel in Boston, while Noonan and Geraghty were nearby (thankfully the guys escaped unscathed), this time around, things have gone so much smoother.

With three albums; 2000’s ‘Neither Am I’, ‘Music in Mouth’ (2003) and the chart-topping ‘Flock’ (2005), behind them, the guys continue to develop their ever widening fanbase, all the while wowing the critics with their versatility.

We caught up with the band’s lead singer Paul Noonan recently, as he and the band were on their way to another sold out show in Boston.

Mike Fitzpatrick (MF): It’s been quite an eventful year for Bell X1 in the US, with appearances on Letterman, Craig Ferguson, and now an extensive tour, how’s the American adventure been going this time around?
Paul Noonan (PN): It’s taken off in a great way. Especially in New York. Back in January we played in Joe’s Pub, then in March we played the Bowery. Now we’re playing in Irving Plaza. Just how we’ve been embraced, we’ve wanted to tour the US since we started out, and the reason we’ve come back so soon is, we still have that hunger. We’re touring all over this time around. People sometimes say that the record’s over two years old in Ireland, but it’s still fresh here, people are still coming to the album, things are just starting off for us here in the US.

“Touring has given us such a good chance to see the world, especially places like Nashville, a city where so much good music has come from.”

MF: You’ve quite a following in the US, particularly in cities with strong Irish connections, such as New York and Boston. This tour, you’ll be taking in Maryland, West Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee, what does that hold in store for the band?
PN: We’re really looking forward to it. Hopefully, there’ll be plenty of people there to see us. Touring has given us such a good chance to see the world, especially places like Nashville, a city where so much good music has come from.

MF: When Bell X1 started out, as all bands do, you performed many cover versions. Is there ever a time on stage where you just launch into a favorite track from your youth?
PN: Yes definitely, and we do regularly! I have a tendency to break into something, occasionally in the middle of another song. (Tracks such as) ‘Enjoy the Silence’ by Depeche Mode, ‘Boys of Summer’ by Don Henley, and sometimes Talking Heads, I really enjoy their approach to music.

MF: You mentioned the last time we spoke, that Radiohead were one of your favorite acts. How did you feel about their recent decision to allow fans to name their price for their latest album?
PN: I really loved the idea. It’s something that generated a great debate. It really questioned the whole value of music. The fact that you can still get stuff for free, it hasn’t devalued music. I admire so much what they do.

MF: Speaking of all things online, you’re quite the blogger. Is that something you enjoy doing, or is it merely part of the job?
PN: It’s something I enjoy, I enjoy writing, and knowing that there’s an audience for it. It makes me feel as if I’ve enjoyed a tour, writing about it afterwards.

MF: After you’ve completed a tour, or a series of recording sessions, what happens when you return home to Dublin?
PN: Well, we never really switch off. It’s great in a way, it’s not that type of job. We’re always writing or recording. It’s what we want to do, what we’ve always wanted to do.

MF: How is the Irish music scene these days, is it an exciting time for new artists?
PN: It’s always been good, there are great things happening (there). Lots of bands are creating great music. There’s Cathy Davey (for example), who’s got a fantastic record out, so hopefully it’ll happen for her. In New York City, we have Gemma Hayes supporting us, she played with us as far back as 1999 in Dublin, and I play drums for her on occasion.


July 14th, 2019

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

There’ll not be a statue, but maybe a plaque.
A reminder to us, when time seemed to go back,
To an earlier Ireland, a Derry long gone,
An Ulster of which is in poem and song.

Her voice for now silenced, her visions live on,
Ideas, the stories, she’d worked on not long,
All crushed in a second, a coward’s attempt,
At an unknown glory, who knows what was meant.

Give a gun to a boy, make him feel like a man,
He’ll aim it at random, and shoot what he can,
He’ll ignore the murals from a stolen car,
Twenty Good Fridays, we’d really come far.

A mother’s child, a campaigner, a writer,
A partners lost love, now a legend, a fighter.
She’d stood up and won, versus enemies stronger,
Than a child with a pistol, time should’ve been longer.

Her name will go down, with writers on lists,
Whose lives ended early, eternally missed,
Lived with the words, and worked with the pen,
Murdered by cowards, not heroes, not men.