Archive for November, 2014

Shimmy Marcus

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

The North’s Got Soul… And It’s Not Just In The Soundtrack

Director Shimmy Marcus Talks To Michael Fitzpatrick About ‘Soul Boy’

There’s a healthy buzz about Dublin-born sound engineer turned writer/director Shimmy Marcus. There’s just that feeling that he may well have gone and created something quite special, and is about to unleash it onto an unsuspecting world. You see, the award-winning filmmaker will this week introduce his latest project, ‘Soul Boy’, to the American moviegoing public.

The feature film with the killer soundtrack, is set during the downtrodden days of 1970s era Britain. It revolves around the relationships of several young people who live for their Friday and Saturday nights, and their weekly fixes of all-night dancing to the non-stop beat of northern soul, an exciting brand of music, which transformed the lifestyles of thousands of working-class youths from the north of England.

It’s the story of Joe McCain, who, like so many of us, found his one part of the world where he felt he belonged, where everything clicked into place, and all was right with the universe. Joe had found Northern Soul.

Mike Fitzpatrick: ‘Soul Boy’ is set several years before most of the film’s young cast were born, how was it immersing them in the Northern Soul culture?
Shimmy Marcus: They took to it really well, I mean, for nearly all of them, it was an education. Because they’d no prior (Northern Soul) experiences, they immersed themselves completely in it. And because the music was so good, they didn’t have to work so hard to get into it, they just adored the music, and I mean, they’re just such great actors.
They did a huge amount of research, to get into it, they talked to as many people as they could, and most of them had relatives who were around (the scene) at the time, uncles and aunts and grandparents who wouldn’t shut up talking about it! So they’d no problem at all getting in touch with that whole world, you know?

MF: You’ve quite a musical background, having previously worked as a sound engineer, did such experience come in useful in directing a film where music played such an integral role?
SM: Well, it certainly helps, when you have to listen to the music a million times! But we were listening to something good.
One of the big attractions for me, was the fact that it was about a music scene, and falling in love, and something we can all relate to as teenagers, like when you find your first band, you know, where that excitement, that obsessive nature with the records, well, it’s all CDs now, comes from.

MF: There’s a great mix of acting talent involved, with young up-and-comers like Martin Compston, Nichola Burley and Alfie Allen, alongside more seasoned pros like Bruce Jones and Pat Shortt, how was it working with such a varied group?
SM: There really weren’t any problems, because they were all so totally focused on what they were doing. They got on like a house on fire, which helps. Particularly, Martin and Alfie, that friendship came through, they were joined at the hip, those two.
So, it wasn’t a big stretch for them to get into the relationships. They come from different backgrounds, Felicity Jones did a lot of theater, she just won a Best Actress at Sundance. She’s from Birmingham, so, she was kind of reared in the whole thing. They were a joy to work with.

MF: What did you initially set out to create, a film set Britain in the ’70s, that Northern Soul just happened to be a part of, or was the music scene always going to be at the forefront of the story?
SM: It actually started with the original writer Jeff Williams writing a book about the soul scene, and thought there’d be something in there.
We saw the passion he had for the scene, and if you tie that in with the raging hormones of teenagers anyway, there’s great potential for a drama there. He wrote a play then, about the scene, and about eleven years later, we finally got the film made!

MF: We’ve seen a number of great Irish and British music-related films over the years, such as Quadrophenia, The Commitments, 24-hour party people, Control and Breaking Glass, have you any particular favorites from that genre?
SM: ‘Gimme Shelter’, also (the rare and controversial Rolling Stones documentary film) ‘C***sucker Blues’, I like. It’s not a great film, but it’s extraordinary behind the scenes stuff. Any of those kind of old school films, there are a lot of interesting documentaries around at the moment.
I’ve just finished one about an Irish band called Lir. I mean, it’s kind of the story of every band, you know, that comes up short for whatever reason.
So, music documentaries, I’m a big fan of, and obviously, the one I did years ago, ‘Aidan Walsh: Master of the Universe’!

MF: With regards to casting the picture, how familiar were you with the work of the actors who eventually took on the roles?
SM: I’d have seen most of them in stuff before. I was very lucky in that I got a brilliant casting director, Shaheen Baig, because there were people like Felicity Jones, she was starring in ‘The Tempest’ with Helen Mirren, and I was just worried that her star had risen too much, you know?
So, we went after her and we got her. So we knew most of the people there, I think one or two of the smaller roles, would have been people I hadn’t worked with before, who’d just come in for an audition and blew us away. Then there was Pat (Shortt), his work speaks for itself.

MF: I first saw Martin Compston several years ago in ‘Sweet Sixteen’, that was a stunning performance.
SM: He was extraordinary. For someone who’d never acted before. What attracted me to him was, at the time he’d just signed a professional contract with a Scottish football team, so I knew he was nimble on his feet. So, he took to the (dancing) right away!

“We saw the passion he had for the scene, and if you tie that in with the raging hormones of teenagers anyway, there’s great potential for a drama there. He wrote a play then, about the scene, and about eleven years later, we finally got the film made!”

MF: It’s set during a difficult era in Britain, with industrial strikes, football hooliganism, high unemployment and other troubling social issues at the forefront, was the Northern Soul movement a form of escapism for many?
SM: I’m sure it was, I mean, that expression, “living for the weekend”, was more appropriate then than it was at any time.
For those who were lucky enough to have a job, it was usually a dead-end job. There was no, you know, “let’s go out, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday”, it was just about the weekend.
So I guess it was just pure escapism for many of them, not just the music, I guess, the drugs as well. You know, a lot of them were going crazy on speed. I think 1974, had the highest rate of chemist robberies in Britain as well, and it was all related to the northern soul thing.
People just were breaking in and getting their slimming pills and their amphetamines, and head off to the club, it was just mental! It’s also mentioned that ’74 was the time of the Guildford bombings, it was not a good time to be Irish in Britain.

MF: You’ve gone on to work with Pat Shortt in the Irish series, ‘Mattie’, is he somebody you enjoy working with?
SM: Yes, it’s not a huge role, but it’s very important. He plays Brendan, who basically works with Martin Compston’s character. They have a day job, which is delivering potatoes, and he’s kind of like an older brother character. It’s a serious role, but has its comic moments. I saw Pat in a film called ‘Saltwater’ about eight years ago.
After I saw him in that, I went up to him and said “Listen, I know you do mostly comedy, but this is more of a serious thing”, and he told me about his upcoming role in ‘Garage’. As it turned out, we didn’t end up filming for a couple of years anyway.
What’s funny is, when he came over to filming, all the other actors were like: “How’d you get Pat Shortt?” They had no idea of his comic background, ‘Killinaskully’, ‘D’Unbelievables’ and so on. They only knew him from ‘Garage’.

MF: Northern Soul’s been described, I think by yourself, as being something of a forerunner to the rave generation, how similar were the two movements do you think?
SM: I think they’re identical, except for the music. I mean, what you had in the late ’60s and ’70s, were hordes of young people getting on buses, going to secret destinations, you know, traveling through the night to get there, turning up at midnight to this incredibly loud thumping music, taking loads of pills, dancing their tits off, until eight in the morning then going to chill out on a beach by going swimming.
You know, that’s pretty much what the rave culture is! Except, the music isn’t as good unfortunately! There was no slow-sets at these events, it was just one hard-hitting song after another. They were all about two minutes twenty long, so, there were a lot of similarities.
I just find it funny, you know, all these kids in the late ’80s and ’90s, thinking themselves to be so original, it’s really just history repeating itself!

MF: The film’s got quite the soundtrack has it been released?
SM: It has, yes, it’s available. It’s just a compilation of some of the best stuff (from the film). I mean, there’s a lot of favorites I have that didn’t make it into the film, because I couldn’t make it work right to the scene. But there was such a great range to choose from.
A lot of people will hear ‘Tainted Love’ and think it’s the Soft Cell version, they don’t realize that was a cover. It’s amazing the amount of stuff, when you listen to contemporary music, how much of it is borrowed from Northern Soul.
Even on television adverts, so hopefully there’s an appetite in New York for this type of thing.

The American premier of ‘Soul Boy’, Directed by Shimmy Marcus, and starring Martin Compston, Nichola Burley, Alfie Allen, Felicity Jones and Pat Shortt, will be the feature presentation at CraicFest’s closing night gala at Tribeca Cinema, in downtown Manhattan.

The after-party will feature legendary Irish DJ BP Fallon and Shimmy Marcus spinning Northern Soul disks.

For more information go to www.thecraicfest.com, or to read more about the movie, log on to www.soulboythefilm.com

Brian Dennehy

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Bringing O’Neill To Life

Actor Brian Dennehy will be honored with the 2010 IAW&A Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award next Monday (Dan Littlejohn/©2001 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Mike Fitzpatrick Talks To Actor Brian Dennehy

Actor Brian Dennehy, the barrel-chested behemoth of Broadway and beyond, is to be honored next Monday (October 18th) by the Irish American Writers & Artists Inc., a non-profit group whose main aim is to promote and celebrate the work of Irish Americans in the arts, at a special ceremony to be held in New York City.

Dennehy, a forty-year veteran of stage and screen, is to be presented with the 2010 IAW&A Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, for his continued commitment to bringing to life the roles created by the legendary New York-born playwright.

It is just the second time the award is to be presented, having been established in 2009, in an effort to recognize an artist whose performance best exemplifies O’Neill’s illustrious body of work.

The winner of the inaugural award in 2009, was William Kennedy, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘Ironweed’, and this year’s event, which will be staged at popular midtown Manhattan venue, Rosie O’Grady’s (just blocks from where O’Neill was born), will be attended by numerous renowned figures of the Irish and Irish-American writing and performing fraternities, including William Kennedy himself, Irish actor Gabriel Byrne and writers TJ English, Michael Patrick MacDonald and Malachy McCourt.

The Connecticut-born Dennehy has performed dozens of memorable roles throughout the course of his acting career, ranging from Sheriff Will Teasle, the nemesis of Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo in the 1982 hit, ‘First Blood’, to that of Big Tom Callahan in the 1995 Chris Farley vehicle, ‘Tommy Boy’, and the corrupt lawman, Sheriff Cobb, in 1985’s ‘Silverado’, in which he starred alongside Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Danny Glover and John Cleese.

He’s also featured in dozens of made-for-television movies, including his starring role in 1992’s ‘To Catch A Killer’, where his stellar performance as serial killer John Wayne Gacy earned him an Emmy nomination (one of six such Emmy nods to date).

His role in the 2000 televised version of another great American play, the Arthur Miller-penned ‘Death of a Salesman’, catapulted him back onto the pages of the arts publications, as his portrayal of Willy Loman saw him again nominated for an Emmy Award in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie category, while he won Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe and PGA Awards for the role.

It is his continued work bringing the plays of Eugene O’Neill to life however, that he is often remembered, something, the actor himself is probably quite comfortable with.

It’s no walk in the park though, even for someone of Dennehy’s wealth of experience and knowledge regarding the work of the playwright. Speaking to The Irish Examiner recently, upon hearing of his upcoming award, Dennehy told us how challenging a role in a Eugene O’Neill play is:

“O’Neill has always been fascinating to me for lots of reasons. Being an Irish-American, was one of them. He’s a very difficult writer to perform.

“He even said repeatedly throughout his career, and he wrote, certainly, that the actual performance of his lines, from his characters, were not his problem, they were the directors.

“His writing is complicated, it’s packed with qualifying clauses and afterthoughts that a writer might have to try to squeeze into one sentence, it’s not easy stuff (for an actor) to do, which is one of the reasons why (his plays) are not done very often, and when they are, they’re not always done very well.

“However, it’s beautiful and extremely powerful writing. So, it’s endlessly fascinating.

O’Neill never does anything easy, he doesn’t ever give the actors a break, he doesn’t give the director a break. He requires very imaginative and constant attention to what’s going on, so a performance can work.

“The passion and the intellect have to be constantly engaged, there are no easy ways to do it, there’s only a hard way”.

In his sixty-odd motion pictures and over 100 appearances in television series and made-for-TV movies, Dennehy has brought an aura of working class realism to many of his roles.

The former marine, truck-driver, bartender and salesman has proved able to bring qualities and personality traits from each of his former professions to his longest-held position as one of America’s most popular and recognizable character actors.

He has proven himself to be at ease either beside lesser-known but equally committed performers on the stage, or alongside leading lights of the Hollywood set.

Indeed, over the course of his career, Brian Dennehy has featured alongside, as well as the aforementioned individuals Kline, Costner, Glover, Stallone and Farley, Don Ameche, Lee Marvin, William Hurt, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Ethan Hawke, Leonardo DiCaprio and a host of others.

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in July 1938, Dennehy’s family relocated to Long Island when he was a child, where he went on to become a football star at Chaminade High School, in the town of Mineola.

His football talents earned him a scholarship to Columbia University, and after graduating from there, he joined the US Marines, where he served for four years.

He went on to work odd jobs as he enrolled in Yale Drama School, and it is believed that much of this working class background has found its way into the roles he’s been offered over the years.

On film and television he has gone on to portray cops, firemen, union organizers and, just for good measure, a sadistic killer of over thirty young men who dressed as a clown in his spare time (‘To Catch A Killer’).

Of his love for the theater, Dennehy said: “It’s funny how O’Neill (continues to be) rediscovered. And I’m always amazed how theater somehow hangs on. It gets battered and the crap gets beaten out of it. But somehow it always hangs on, and a revival will come along and make people think, so that’s what theater’s all about.

“O’Neill was around for the beginnings of television, and he understood the art form of theater, he also understood, and this is important, that what happens in a theater, can only happen in a theater.

“If you see an extraordinary production of Chekhov, or an extraordinary production of O’Neill, or of Shakespeare, something happens to you, and I don’t mean just people like me that love the theater, something happens to you that can’t happen to you in a movie theater, or in front of a television screen, I don’t give a damn how good they are. It’s not the same thing.”

No stranger to Irish literature, he’s featured in several challenging theater roles created by Irish writers, including well-received parts in Samuel Beckett’s ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ and Brian Friel’s ‘Translations’ and ‘Inherit The Wind’.

In the early 1990s he made waves in Ireland, by commencing upon his ongoing relationship with the work of Eugene O’Neill, by starring as Hickey in the Abbey Theater’s production of ‘The Iceman Cometh’.

A time he enjoyed immensely, speaking of the performance, despite it being a very dark play in general, Dennehy once claimed that the Irish audiences understood what O’Neill was getting at, and roared with laughter, having recognized where the humor was coming from.

Two Tony Awards, both times for Best Lead Actor in a Play soon followed, the first for his part in 1999’s ‘Death of a Salesman’, and his second in 2003, for his performance in ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’, both directed by Robert Falls, productions which had originally been staged at Chicago’s Goodman Theater.

He’s also renowned as a Shakespearean actor, having taken on roles in ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ in recent years.

As well as the award-winning side to his persona, Dennehy also holds the rather unique distinction of having been lampooned by two hit animated shows, ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘South Park’ (the latter in the motion picture, ‘South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut’.

As far removed from the likes of O’Neill creations he’s starred as, such as; Willy Loman (‘Death of a Salesman’), Hickey (‘The Iceman Cometh’) and Erie Smith (‘Hughie’), as one would have thought possible.

With no plans on slowing down just yet, the 73-year-old Dennehy’s next move, after Monday’s awards presentation of course, will be to begin preparation for his role in ‘Twelfth Night’ at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, as well as a leading role in Harold Pinter’s ‘The Homecoming’.

For now however, it’s on to Rosie O’Grady’s, in midtown Manhattan, where Brian Dennehy will be recognized once more for his services to the theater, and in particular, for his ongoing role in maintaining the high standards of Irish-American literature set by Eugene O’Neill.

About The Contributors

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Bosco Coppell likes to think that he was conceived just before a David Bowie show in Los Angeles in the mid ’70s and born during the second encore, midway through a track from ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps’). Naturally, he wasn’t, as that’d have been impossible. Bowie didn’t even release ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) until 1980. Little is known about his early life, nor indeed his middle ages, and now, as most of his former colleagues, lovers, cellmates and siblings have either passed on or moved to Sligo, there’s a chance it’ll stay that way.  With a fondness for words and a severe loathing of numbers, Bosco, who models himself on the likes of Hunter S. Thompson, Flann O’Brien, Spike Milligan and Philomena Begley, seems to have settled into life at The Heraldy Press, no matter how often we ask him to leave.

Moving to New York City from Dublin, Ireland in 1997, Michael Fitzpatrick achieved the unholy trinity of jobs for Irishmen; construction, moving and bartending, before clinching his first journalism gig, as a sportswriter with the Irish Echo. He then went on to help establish Irish weekly ‘Home&Away’, with a number of other Irish media-types in New York City, where he worked for several years as a writer and editor, before moving once more, to The Irish Examiner, where he was employed primarily as an entertainments correspondent. Among his career highlights, were interviewing Noel Gallagher, Maeve Binchy, The Corrs, The Script, Ed Burns, Bell X1, The Cranberries, Brian Dennehy, Paul Brady, James Galway, Phil Coulter, John Duddy, Laoisa Sexton, Colin Broderick, Ardal O’Hanlon, Shane MacGowan, Tommy Tiernan, Colm Meaney and Brendan Gleeson. Throughout his time in New York he’s had pieces published in other publications, some still going strong, others not so, before establishing The Heraldy Press with his friend and colleague, protege and mentor, Bosco Coppell in 2014. Married with two young boys and another child on the way, he lives in New York City, but visits Ireland as often as possible.

 

 

tayto

Not Bosco Coppell, but some crisps, and the Cliffs of Moher, the Crisps of Moher, if you will.

 

About The Site’s Contents

Heraldy Press Articles: Bosco Coppell’s (mostly) satirical news stories.

Interviews: Old and new interviews by Michael Fitzpatrick, including his ‘At The Mike Stand’ series, from his time working with the Irish newspapers in New York.

Miscellaneous: A new category, which will include mostly human interest pieces written by both Michael and Bosco, as well as some special guests.

 

 

Joan Burton to Quit Politics For Fitness Career

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

‘Hurtin’ With Burton’ star Joan Burton.

An Irish politician is alleged to be calling her parliamentary career to a halt, in order to promote one of her hobbies instead. Joan Burton (31), one of Ireland’s longest-serving deputies, is said to be in the process of relocating from her 19-room penthouse apartment in Edenderry, County Offaly, which overlooks the main street and a field, to move to her workspace/studio in Roscommon, which is probably one of the counties between Dublin and Galway. It is here that the popular young pol, will continue working on her series of exercise videos. So far; ‘Jivin’ With Joan’, ‘Jumpin’ Over Stuff With Joan’, ‘Hurtin’ With Burton’ and ‘Applied Yoga for the Metropolitan Male Unsure of his Place in a Society Dominated by Alpha Females and Lads Who Don’t Like the Oul’ Yoga’, have been recorded.

Young Miss Burton has rarely been out of the news recently, due to several high-profile television appearances. In September she starred on the genealogy show ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, where it was revealed she was distantly related to 12th century Mongolian leader Genghis Khan (on her uncle-in-law’s side), the guy who made all the weird noises in the ‘Police Academy’ movies, retired German tennis player Boris Becker’s girlfriend and one of the puppets from 1980s American kids TV show ‘Fraggle Rock’. With the combined personality traits of those individuals, her personal assistant Mugsy ‘Derek’ McGrath (82), says of Miss Burton: ‘Ah sure, ’tis a soft oul’ day, thank God’.

‘Hurtin’ With Burton’, by far the most popular of her fitness videos, having sold four copies, with another two out on rental, was just released on videocassette on Tuesday last, with the scheduled release date for the DVD expected to be announced some time in 2024. One can, however, obtain reasonably legal downloads of the footage, which shows Joan and her pals in tracksuits getting up to all kinds of leppin’ and jumpin’, on DailCraic.com. On this version however, there are weird farm animal noises in the background, most likely carried out by Miss Burton’s young cousin Seamie (9), who works part-time as a farm animal impersonator, in between Ministerial positions within the Labour Party. Only those with incredibly expensive phones, what do have lights and funny noises and all, will be able to view this way however.

The unassuming young Miss Burton is allegedly reported to have hinted at a retirement from politics after her recent role on reasonably popular Irish talent show: ‘So You Think You Can Juggle With the Celebrities (On Ice)’. That show ended abruptly however, when several thousand protesters burst past the elderly security guard, and Thelma Mansfield, and stole the ice from the rink to melt it down and sell as water on Ireland’s black market.

With just 68 paychecks to go until the next General Election, and only a government pension to rely on after that, Miss B is hopeful that her exercise videos sell as well as one of her contemporaries, Jane Fonda’s, did, back in the ’80s. We asked keep-fit enthusiast and occasional squirrel breeder, Dermot ‘Dermott’ Hedge (19) from Enniscorthy, County Wexford for his opinion on fitness videos in general; ‘Jane Fonda has one out? Jayziz, Cher too? My God, next you’ll really make me day and tell me that Morgan Freeman’s moved into the game. No? Ah right. Yeah, I’m fairly busy here, push off’.

Words by Bosco Coppell. Picture by Oliver’s Bouquets and Snooker Tables. 

Report Finds Lucan Girls Among Worst Dancers in World    

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

A study carried out by Princeton University in conjunction with Donegal College for Hair Styling, has determined that Lucan women are among the worst dancers in the world. The study saw professors from the two institutions travel across the globe, where they studied girls dancing on the beaches of Rio, in the nightclubs of Ibiza, the lounges of Las Vegas and in a dirty oul’ field on a damp morning in County Leitrim.
Professor Clem Irvstein, a psychologist and part-time colorist at Mandy’s Hair Creations, said: ‘We see a direct correlation between witnessing thousands of bronzed beauties in bikinis celebrate the World Cup on the beaches in Brazil, to watching a mad oul’ one slow-dance with an injured calf on a freezing morning in Airlie Heights’.
While in Milan at a party during Fashion Week, he observed the models dancing to some of Europe’s best DJs, and then in Lucan, County Dublin, he went to local woman Jacyntha Brennan’s 57th birthday party, where Jacyntha and her pals danced on the bar of a local establishment, before they were asked to leave when one girl kicked over an oul’ lad’s pint by accident, and another fell from the bar’s ceiling fan and fractured a barman’s kneecap.’Watching 14 oul’ ones dancing around little white handbags, and indeed, the occasional Supervalu carrier bag, one with the groceries still inside, was just as exciting as observing Gisele and her pals bust their moves, but sure, it’s all a bit of craic’, said the Professor’s assistant Clive, as he continually smelled his hands.

Among the other regions ranked in the dancing stakes, were: Colombia, where the study-team took in a private event at pop singer Shakira’s residence, Ukraine as the World ice-skating championships was going on and Tullamore, County Offaly, during calving season.

Speaking of Lucan’s low ranking in the dancing charts (only Ceylon, which doesn’t technically exist anymore, North Korea, which the lads weren’t allowed into, and Palmerstown ranked lower), one local politician said; ‘Ah that’s me hole’.

Story by Bosco Coppell, pictures by Denise’s Carry-On Luggage and Removable Wallpaper Store. 

At The Mike Stand with Peter Coonan.

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

 

Young Irish actor Peter Coonan’s been a busy man these days. Currently preparing himself for a flying visit to New York, where he’ll join the festivities for this year’s CraicFest, Pete will be among the cast and crew showcasing hot new Irish movie, ‘Between the Canals’.

Having made his debut back in 2000, in the highly-acclaimed Brendan Gleeson/Brian Cox vehicle, ‘Saltwater’, Pete’s since gone on to earn great reviews for his role in the Nick Kelly-directed ‘Shoe’, which was one of the ten films initially shortlisted for Oscar contention in the ‘Short Film (Live Action)’ category this year.

In ‘Between the Canals’, an Irish crime drama written and directed by Mark O’Connor, Pete plays Dublin tough guy Dots Fennell, a young gangster eager to enhance his reputation as an up-and-coming gangster. Also starring Dan Hyland, Stephen Jones and singer/songwriter Damien Dempsey in his first acting role, ‘Between the Canals’ is featured as part of this year’s Craicfest, in lower Manhattan, and will be screened at The Tribeca Cinema (54 Varick Street), on Friday, March 11th, at 7pm. For more details, check out thecraicfest.com.

Pete, welcome to ‘At The Mike Stand’.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?
Just Saturday gone, when they were counting votes (in the Irish general election) and I saw so many politicians fall on their arses!

What act would you like to have seen perform live?
I’d probably say, The Stones in the early ’70s.

What team(s) do you support?
I support Liverpool, Dublin and Ireland. My brother and I got into it way back when we were kids, and sure, you have to stick with your team!

What period in history would you most like to have visited?
Probably the 1920s, in New York, when the place was flooded with Irish.

What song would you most like to have written?
‘A Day In The Life’.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?
Manchester United scoring against Liverpool!

What decade rules (and why)?
I’d like to visit the 1950s, to have seen what it was like when my dad was young.

What movie role would you like to have played?
Marlon Brando’s part in ‘On The Waterfront’.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?
Yeah, yer man Sean Astin, from ‘Lord of the Rings’!

What’s the first album you remember buying?
Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’, the tape of the album!

Who’s your favorite Beatle?
George.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
‘Fairytale of New York’.

Who’s the most rock and roll person who ever lived?
Oliver Reed or Richard Harris.

What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?
Probably a band called The High Kings, it’s Finbar Furey’s son’s group. They sing a few songs, they’re pretty dodgy on one or two, but they’re good on a few others!

Who would you most like to meet/have met?
The guy who played Fredo in ‘The Godfather’, John Cazale.

What book can you read again and again?
Probably ‘Waiting for Godot’, I know it’s not really a book, is that a cop-out?!

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?
Probably ‘Revolver’. One of my favorite Beatles albums. Always go back to it when I don’t know what to listen to.

What artists would be in your supergroup?
Let’s see, I’d have either John Bonham, Keith Moon or Ginger Baker on drums, hmm, probably have to go with Bonham, then Rory Gallagher on lead guitar and Paul McCartney on bass.

What sitcom character can you most identify with?
I was going to say Smithy from ‘Gavin & Stacey’, but is that on over there?

What movie can you watch over and over again?
‘The Big Liebowski’.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
Daffy, no, Donald Duck!

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?
Vietnam.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?
The teabag.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?
The iPhone.

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?
John Belushi.

Who’s your favorite namesake?
Peter the Great! No, make that Peter O’Toole.

Who’s your favorite character from literature?
Probably Leopold Bloom.

At The Mike Stand with Colin Broderick

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Colin Broderick, first and foremost, is a writer. You know, the type of guy who puts words together for a living. Not merely a blogger, or a typist who happens to be a half-decent speller, or one of those guys who ‘like, works in media (and stuff)’, but a real, honest to goodness, down and dirty, writer of words, books, plays, articles, prose and, well, you get the drift. Having recently seen his critically-lauded memoir, ‘Orangutan’ (which tells of his 20-odd years spent in The Big Apple, much of it in a self-imposed alcoholic stupor), published to great acclaim, the County Tyrone-born, New York-based former hell-raiser and current survivor, sometime carpenter and full-time author-du-jour, is preparing for the release of volume two of his life’s tales of craziness, sadness, mirth and recovery, ‘That’s That’, which will be published by Random House, Three Rivers Press, in September of next year. For more of Colin’s work, including his blog concerning his current self-imposed (so he tells me) twelve-month stint into celibacy, check out his website (www.colinbroderick.com), or better yet, go ahead and read ‘Orangutan’ (available at most booksellers). Colin, welcome to ‘At The Mike Stand’.

By Michael Fitzpatrick

What would you like your own tribute act to be called?

Bad Broderick and The Poet Posse.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?

Last night and I can’t remember what it was about.

What act would you like to have seen perform live?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

What team(s) do you support?

If you ever catch me watching football please call a doctor immediately.

What period in history would you most like to have visited?

Paris in the 1920’s so I could have had a drink with Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

What song would you most like to have written?

Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley’s version.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?

I recently made a vow of celibacy for one year so anything in a short skirt sends me running for cover these days.

What decade rules?

I’m hoping it’s this one.

What song do you most enjoy performing?

I do a stirring rendition of ‘The Birdy Song’.

What movie role would you like to have played/play?

Mickey Rourke’s role in ‘9 and a Half Weeks’ opposite Kim Basinger.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?

Yes, Worzel Gummidge.

What’s the first album you remember buying?

Meat Loaf’s ‘Bat out of Hell’.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

John, but Ringo’s been growing on me over the past fifteen years or so.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Lechaim from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’.

Who’s the most rock and roll person who ever lived?

Bill Clinton.

What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?

Lady Gaga.

Who would you most like to meet/have met?

Lady Gaga

What book can you read again and again?

Lady Gaga, sorry, Hemingway’s, ‘A Moveable Feast’.

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?

Brendan O’Shea’s ‘Songs From a Tenement’, due for release next month.

What artists would you most like to have played with in the band of your dreams?

Hole.

What do few people know about you?

I have severe social anxiety.

What sitcom character can you most identify with?

Cliff Claven from ‘Cheers’.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

‘True Romance’, it gets better and better every time I see it.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

George W.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

St Petersburg, Russia.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?

It’s a tiebreaker between the potato peeler and the turf cutter.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?

The sun-visor.

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?

He’s still alive, Chris Campion.

Who’s your favorite namesake?

Colin Hay

Who’s your favorite character from literature?

Oisin.

Damien Dempsey

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Between Albums, Dempsey Goes ‘Between The Canals’

Damien Dempsey in ‘Between The Canals’

 

Described in some quarters as one of Ireland’s great singer-songwriters, and in others as one of the greatest lyricists of his generation (that doesn’t leave many quarters left!), (Northside) Dubliner Damien Dempsey, may well have another string or two to an already somewhat overcrowded bow before the year is out.

The former amateur boxer, as known for his survival of Dublin’s mean streets as he is renowned for his musical talents, Dempsey, or ‘Damo’, as he’s affectionately known by most of his adoring fans (including Morrissey, who has long championed the singer’s cause), is currently starring in Irish gangster movie, ‘Between the Canals’, which premiered last week at CraicFest, the festival promoting Irish movies, music, comedy and everything in between, in downtown New York City.

Written and directed by Mark O’Connor, the Dublin-based film (which also stars young up and coming actors Pete Coonan, Dan Hyland and Stephen Jones) tells the story of three small-time Irish criminals, and their (mis) adventures around Dublin on a boozy Saint Patrick’s week.

Dempsey, in his first film role, plays Paul Chambers, an inner city crime boss. The Irish Examiner’s Michael Fitzpatrick spoke with the artist recently about the picture.

Mike Fitzpatrick (MF): Can you tell us a little about ‘Between the Canals’?
Damien Dempsey (DD): Yeah, well, I was just approached by the director (Mark O’Connor). He wanted me to play a gangster, and, I’d never acted before, so, you know, I said to him that I didn’t think I could do it justice, but he kept on at me, and said, come on down and do a rehearsal and see how you do, you know, see how you like it. So, I tried it out, and he said, you can play it, and so, I said to myself, well, I’ll be a long time dead, and it was only one day’s filming, so I just went and did it! (At first) I wasn’t really into it. I didn’t think I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off, you know? I was afraid that I’d have been ****in’ sh**, you know, that’s what it was, fear.

MF: Growing up in Dublin, music was obviously a large part of your life, were you as passionate about films?
DD: Well, about some films maybe. I mean, the amazing ones really touch you, you know? I mean, the first time I saw that movie, ‘Blade Runner’, Jesus, I was blown away, it really touched me. I mean, it’s like a good song, a good movie can really touch your heart, or your soul, you know?

MF: It’s not the first Irish film set in inner-city Dublin, but it’s been described as one of the most realistic, why do you think that is?
DD: Well, one of the reasons that I took the part, that I agreed to do it, because (the director) said that he was using all locals. 90% of the cast were from Sheriff Street and Sean McDermott Street. Most of the movies portraying the inner city, they’d use like, 5% of locals. So, when I heard that, you know, I said I’d do it.

MF: How’d you enjoy the filmmaking experience?
DD: Brilliant, yeah, it was great! I mean, you had to loads and loads of different takes, or even the same take of the same scene, again and again, but, if you think you’ve played it right, and then you see that you’ve done the part justice, you know, it’s a great feeling. It’s interesting to try and work up an emotion, out of the blue, you know, get angry, or sad. Just to push yourself a certain way, even if you’re not feeling that way at the time, is something.

MF: You play the role of Paul Chambers, a crime boss, how much, if any, of the character was influenced by other such figures, either real or fictional?
DD: Ah well, I knew a few, you know, a good few hard men. In my time I’ve come across them, just from growing up on the northside (of Dublin) I’d have met them. So, you know, I’d have thought of them when I was playing the character.

MF: Is acting something you’ve always wanted to pursue?
DD: No, not at all, I’d never really thought about it, but I’d always sort of knew I could play an angry part, you know, a role that had to be a bit of a tough, someone with a bit of aggression. I always thought that if I ever was to be in movies, I could play that part, you know, I’d just think of my father, you know?!

MF: Are there other roles in the pipeline?
DD: I’m not too sure, I’ve not heard of anything yet. But, sure, I did enjoy it, so I think I would do it again if I was approached, but I won’t go chasing it. I think I could have played the part a lot better though, but we only had a day to do it.

MF: We’ve seen some great Irish films over the years, have you any particular favorites of your own?
DD: Hmm, Irish films, let’s see, what’d be a favorite? I suppose ‘Adam and Paul’. I thought that was ****in’ brilliant. It was the most realistic film I’ve seen about heroin, ever. I mean, it had its humor, there were funny parts. Very like a Greek tragedy, a tragicomedy, or something. So that’s one of the best Irish films I’ve seen, then ‘The General’, of course, and that other one, ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’, there were some great ones. Brilliant movies.

MF: You’re not the first Irish singer to venture into acting, we’ve seen Glen Hansard, Bob Geldof, Don Baker, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Andrea Corr and Gavin Friday to name a few, did you look to any of those for inspiration?
DD: Well, I suppose so, I mean, Glen’s a good friend of mine, and I saw him doing so well, so I thought, sure I might as well give it a lash myself! I think though, that ‘Between the Canals’, was more of a comedy, for me, you know, you’ll get a bit of a laugh out of it.

MF: What does the 2011 hold in store for Damien Dempsey?
DD: A new album, I’m just working on that at the moment, just writing away, then when we have ten songs or so, we can start recording. C

‘Between the Canals’ opens at the IFI in Dublin on March 18th. For more Damien Dempsey-related news, visit www.damiendempsey.com, and for more about the film, log on to www.betweenthecanals.com

Maeve Binchy

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

mb

How About Maeve

Mike Fitzpatrick interviews best-selling author Maeve Binchy, prior to the US release of ‘How About You’, the Anthony Byrne-directed, Noel Pearson-produced, film version of her short story, ‘The Hard Core’.

Maeve Binchy is excited. A world-renowned best-selling storyteller she may be, but the Dublin-born writer of such hit novels as ‘Circle of Friends’, ‘Tara Road’ and ‘The Lilac Bus’ (all made into movies), still retains the youthful vigor and enthusiasm of a first time author, as she awaits the American release of ‘How About You’.

Directed by Dublin filmmaker Anthony Byrne (‘Short Order’), and produced by Noel Pearson (‘My Left Foot’, ‘The Field’, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’), ‘How About You’, perhaps best described as a dramatic comedy (or comedic drama?), was adapted from Binchy’s short story ‘The Hard Core’, by screenwriter Jean Pasley.

Featuring superb performances from such respected actresses as Academy Award-winners Vanessa Redgrave (Oscar-winner for her supporting role in 1977’s ‘Julia’, and a five-time nominee) and Brenda Fricker (Best Supporting Actress for ‘My Left Foot’), Irish actress Orla Brady (‘Nip/Tuck’, ‘Proof’), veteran English stars Joss Ackland (‘Lethal Weapon 2′, ‘The Hunt for Red October’, ‘Surviving Picasso’) and Imelda Staunton (nominated for an Oscar for her lead role in ‘Vera Drake’), and rising young star Hayley Atwell (‘Cassandra’s Dream’, ‘Brideshead Revisited’), ‘How About You’ is a charming Irish film, cleverly adapted from the original story.

The Irish Examiner chatted with Maeve Binchy just prior to the film’s US release.

Mike Fitzpatrick (MF): ‘How About You’, is an adaptation of your short story, ‘The Hard Core’, what can you tell us about it?
Maeve Binchy (MB): The story is about a whole lot of people at a retirement hotel. It’s not exactly a nursing home, it’s a retirement hotel. They’re all very set in their ways, and four of them are really bad tempered, and driving everybody else mad. So, what happens, is, over one Christmas, the manageress has to go away, and her much younger, and much more irresponsible sister takes over. And what she ends up doing is giving them all a wake-up call, and losing her temper with them and frightening the wits out of them, and they all become much nicer people. As a result of this, they’re forced to look at themselves through the eyes of somebody else.

MF: So, you’ve seen the film, how did you feel about the big screen version of your story?
MB: I was absolutely delighted when I saw the movie, because it’s got such a wonderful cast! Vanessa Redgrave is wonderful. She plays Georgia, the old bitch, who’s very cold and dismissive to everyone else! Then there are two sisters, played by Imelda Staunton and Brenda Fricker, and they’re such a comedy act, they’re so good.
There’s a retired drunken judge played by a very fine English actor, called Joss Ackland. I’d seen him in a lot of historical things, and on television and in the cinema, lots of times, and he’s perfect for the part. Then there’s a pretty little girl, who plays the younger sister who takes over, Hayley Atwell, she’s very bright. She’s in Woody Allen’s new film, and featured in ‘Brideshead Revisited’, and she’s very good, and she plays the part of a real hare-brained ‘I-don’t-care-about-these-people-let’s-tell-them-the-truth’ (character), and yet she’s kind at the same time, and she’s determined that they’re going to enjoy Christmas. So it’s not a film that will send people out depressed!

MF: There’s certainly a feel-good quality to the movie.
MB: Well, I know, because I’ve been around a long time, that there are an awful lot of beautiful, married rich women, who are as miserable as sin, so happiness is nothing to do with money or beautiful things, or clothes or anything like that. So I think about old people and how they make their lives more cheerful.
I was traveling in a taxi in Dublin recently, and I said to the taxi-man: “Are you going to go to my movie?”, and he said, “Ah sure, it’s about an oul’ people’s home, full of oul’ ones!” So I said, yes, it is full of oul’ ones, but it’s great fun! So I told him to send me a postcard if he liked it, and he did, and he said he loved it, but he thought it was going to be about old ones, and he didn’t want to depress himself. But you see, there’s old ones, and old ones, so I hope people will like it, I think they will.

MF: When you wrote the story originally, did you feel that it had the makings of a film about it?
MB: No, I didn’t, I never know what’s going to make a film. The only thing I can say in favor of myself is that I don’t try to do anything that I don’t know anything about. I’ll never try to get a job as an executive producer or a screenwriter, because I don’t know how to do that. I have to wait for other people to choose them for me. I would have thought some of my books (for example), ‘Evening Class’, about a whole lot of people going to do Italian lessons. I thought that’d have made a lovely movie, but nobody’s ever made that into a movie, yet, ‘Circle of Friends’, ‘Tara Road’, ‘The Lilac Bus’ and ‘Echoes’, have all been.

MF: You had a cameo role in ‘Tara Road’, didn’t you?
MB: I did have a cameo in ‘Tara Road’! I was playing the very difficult part of someone sitting at the bar having a drink! You can imagine how much rehearsing I had to do for that, and how hard it was!
It was very good fun. I was going to have a part in this one too, but unfortunately, I wasn’t well. When they were filming I wasn’t able to be there, I was supposed to be, again, a customer in a bar. Maybe it’s all for the best that I wasn’t able to do it, as I might have been typecast!

MF: What do you think Imelda Staunton and Brenda Fricker brought to their roles as the spinster sisters?
MB: Well, they actually looked like sisters, and (in one scene) they held on to each other, it was like they needed each other, you’d swear they’d known each other all their lives.
I couldn’t believe they were only acting, I almost thought they were sisters by the time it was over. They’re both terrific actors, and Vanessa was very good too. She’s the most beautiful face. Vanessa is seventy in real life, and she doesn’t look fifty.

MF: Do you still get excited about the whole movie process, or are you nervous that the film people might change your story and adapt it to fit their own agendas?
MB: Well I was nervous when it was shown in Ireland. When it opened (in Dublin), I was nervous that it wouldn’t do well and that people wouldn’t like it, but it did do well, and people liked it. But, you’re more nervous about your own, and about Ireland.
If my health was better, I’d go over to America. I’m a great celebrator of things. Unfortunately, I’ve been in poor health the past few years, so they don’t let me fly now. I’d normally be thinking, you know, I’ll go (to New York) and stay in Fitzpatrick’s Hotel, and we’ll have a party, and see all our friends. I almost had everything organized until I remembered I can’t travel now! I’ll just have to let all of you do it for me instead!

MF: So you’ve happy memories of New York?
MB: Oh very much so. I’ve been in New York dozens and dozens of times, I love New York. I mean, I’m not at all an energetic or a fit person, but I get a lot of energy in New York. I don’t (normally go for long walks) at all, I’ve never walked much but I get great energy there, and everyone seems to be purposeful and busy and going somewhere there. I love that, I love the feeling of it. I’d love to be there!
I’ve been going to New York since I was nineteen, normally I’d go about twice a year.
I always think that I might have worked there and been able to enjoy it. I have lots of good friends in New York, not just in the publishing business, but all over, and I really do enjoy that.

Noel Gallagher

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Football, Family, Fame And The Bass Player From Maroon 5

An Interview With Noel Gallagher Of Oasis

Noel Gallagher

By Mike Fitzpatrick

To some, he’s a working class superstar who helped save rock and roll. A cunning master of the seemingly impossible who can be self-deprecating while still maintaining an air of arrogance, never fully committing to any one component of his personality, leaving some wondering whether he’s just another patronizing rock star pretending to be close to his roots, or a humble, hard-working northerner, who knows how to play guitar, and has made a decent living from doing so.

The arrogance, he’ll tell you, doesn’t really exist. It’s merely self-belief, a confidence and pride in one’s achievements, which pushes him towards what he deems to be excellence.

Noel Gallagher, the lead guitarist, principal songwriter and occasional vocalist with Oasis, may also tell you that his band’s latest album, ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ is genius, and that it is the latest in a long line of classic records from his group, who he’ll probably inform you are the greatest band to have come out of the UK in the past couple of decades.

But then, being a somewhat supercilious, wonderfully wealthy and supremely successful rock star, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

The founder of Oasis (he came up with the name, after kid brother Liam had played in an earlier version of the band called Rain), has been at the top of his game for much of the last decade and a half.

Since releasing their 1994 debut album, ‘Definitely Maybe’, a recording universally considered to be one of the best British albums of all time, Oasis have gone on to produce six more albums, each of which debuted at the top of the UK charts, shifting over 50 million units in the process.

In the mid ’90s, they rode the waves of the often turbulent ocean that was Britpop, emerging victoriously through the storms, while other acts, such as Pulp, Blur, Suede, Dodgy, Cast, Shed Seven and The Boo Radleys all, despite varying levels of success, succumbed to break-ups, poor record sales and a general lack of interest from the record-buying public, before sinking from view altogether.

What this also means is that few of Gallagher’s contemporaries remain on the music scene, so he has to aim his near-legendary grumpiness and most often tongue-in-cheek criticism towards younger acts, many of whom were barely in their teens when Oasis released ‘Definitely Maybe’, and its hit follow-up album, ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory’.

Oasis, at times fueled by the tempestuous tabloid-friendly relationship between the Gallagher siblings, have lasted the pace, and now, though no longer the angry young men of rock that they once were (Liam’s 36, Noel’s 41, the rest of the original members, ‘Bonehead’, ‘Guigsy’ and Tony McCarroll have all long since left the group), are still pulling the crowds in and outselling many of their younger rivals.

Indeed, the day Noel Gallagher spoke with us, Oasis had just hit the top spot in the UK album charts, knocking, The Kings of Leon, from Number One.

Talking to Noel Gallagher, one realizes that the passion for life is still there, despite the ups and downs of the rock and roll lifestyle, and the hurdles he’s overcome in his personal life.

His joy at watching his two children, Anais and Donovan grow up, berating brother Liam just for the hell of it, and watching as Oasis return to what they feel is their rightful place at the forefront of the rock scene, are seemingly, what keeps him going.

With ‘Dig Out Your Soul’, the band’s seventh studio album, continuing to match its predecessors, judging by its early sales records, could music critics and fans of the future look back and proclaim it a classic album, after, Oasis were somewhat knocked off their stride following their successes of the mid to late ’90s? Only time, and perhaps, Noel Gallagher, can tell…

Mike Fitzpatrick (MF): After the band’s six previous albums all went to number one, how was the news received that ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ had also done so?
Noel Gallagher (NG): Well, if there’s a chart, you might as well be at the top of it I suppose. We don’t celebrate them as much as we used to though, because, you can only celebrate them about four different ways, and we’ve done that already, so, you know. What do you say?

MF: It’s been receiving mostly positive reviews, what, if anything, do reviews mean to you at this stage of the band’s career?
NG: Good reviews? Really? You must have been reading better ones than the ones I’ve read! Well, you know, they’re not something that I seek out from the office. I don’t go and say like, “Go get me all the reviews”, but we’re avid readers of music magazines anyway, so if there’s one in there, I’ll read it. They still kind of follow the same path, I mean, the ones that don’t like Oasis tend to focus on the negative aspects of ‘a record’ you know, and the ones who do, well they tend to focus on the positive aspects of ‘a record’. In general, it’s just someone’s opinion, so who gives a s**t at the end of the day?

MF: Who indeed. Much has been made of the psychedelic feel to the album, with ‘Bag it Up’ and ‘To Be Where There’s Life’, in particular, containing something of a ’60s feel to them. Where did that idea originate from?
NG: Well, I’d written a bunch of songs for what we thought was going to be the album and then, right in the middle of recording those songs, were three songs that were very psychedelic, and our producer Dave, said, “Why don’t you write some more songs like that”, and so I did, and there you go!

MF: With lineup changes, and songwriting duties being spread out. How has the writing and recording process changed for you over the years?
NG: Well, the actual process has never changed for me. It finds me, I don’t go looking for it. You know what I mean? I just always have a guitar around, and I kind of pick it up, and if something comes out, it comes out, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I don’t kinda sit around and dream up concepts for albums. I leave that to students, I do it from the soul. I know it must be real then.

MF: Of all the bands that broke through in the UK in the early to mid ’90s, Oasis is one of the few still touring and recording on a regular basis. What do you attribute the band’s longevity to?
NG: Yeah, what do I attribute that to? Em, stubbornness? The fact that, you know, I haven’t had another thought of what I would do with myself since then. I’m not one for going away and saying, “Right, I quite fancy being an actor, or a playwright or write an opera, or a f***ing reggae musical”. I like being in Oasis, besides it gets me away from the missus.

MF: Fifteen years ago, Oasis were the bright young things in British rock, do you feel anyone’s risen to the challenge of stepping in to that position as you’ve moved onwards?
NG: No. Well, I mean, there have been a few good bands that have come along since then, like Kasabian, but no, I don’t think that anyone will really have the impact that we had again. I don’t think we’ll see the likes of this group again. All the mania between ’94 and 2000, you know, it’s not possible in this climate. We came along before the Internet, you see. We came along before every **** had a mobile phone with a camera on it!

MF: You recently commented on the current political climate affecting music. How do you feel about the music scene of today?
NG: In the UK, well, a lot of modern music doesn’t do it for me, but, I’m forty-one, so it’s not supposed to be aimed at me, you know what I mean? I mean, for the definitive opinion, you’d probably have to ask some nineteen-year-old I suppose. A lot of the newer bands, they kind of, they look good, but they sound s**t, you know what I mean? But that’s just to my ears, I don’t really hear a great deal that I like. Although I do like Kasabian and Primal Scream, and Paul Weller and all that, but I haven’t heard a great contemporary record that’s blown me away for, well, for quite a while.

MF: Speaking of Paul Weller, you’ve performed live or recorded with him, The Who, Ian Brown, Paul McCartney, Chris Martin and Richard Ashcroft, among others. Is there anyone out there with whom you’ve yet to enjoy the pleasure of sharing a stage or studio with?
NG: The keyboard player out of the Kaiser Chiefs. No, that was a joke. Neil Young and Bob Dylan, but that ain’t ever gonna f***ing happen, is it? So, I’ll have to say the bass player from Maroon 5.

MF: Well, you never know.
NG: Well, you do never know (thinks for a moment). Bono, that’d be good.

MF: Bono, really?
NG: Yeah, I love U2, I’m a big fan.

MF: You’ve traveled the world many times over with Oasis but do you ever feel an urge to return to Manchester, and visit your old haunts, where it all began?
NG: Well, we just spent three days there, and it’s really great to go back and walk the streets that you walked as a young man. Yeah, I do sometimes wish I’d never moved to London, you know, coz it’s full of idiots. I guess though, I feel that if I was to spend more than three days in Manchester, I guess, the reasons why I left there in the first place would soon resurface, you know what I mean? So, I guess I’m happy being in my own skin wherever I live really. But me and my lady, well, we have toyed with the idea of moving from London on many occasions really, but we’ve never quite gotten around to it.

MF: Manchester has provided us with some of the most influential acts over the years though, with Oasis, The Smiths, Stone Roses, Joy Division, The Fall, The Buzzcocks, all hailing from the city. Why do you think it’s been so prolific, where music is concerned?
NG: I just think the Irish have had a lot to do with it. I was talking to a friend of mine, a journalist, from Manchester about this. There’s not just one thing. There’s a lot of tiny little things involved in it. It’s history, and Manchester people are grafters. You know, the people want to better themselves, but it’s funny that many many many great bands came out of Manchester, and maybe only one or two came out of Liverpool, and (geographically, as cities) they’re so close to one another. But I think the Mancunian ethic and psyche is kind of unique to anywhere else in the country, you know, we are workers, we like to just go and f***ing get it done, we’ll worry about it later.

MF: Speaking of Manchester, do you still keep an eye on Manchester City’s fortunes?
NG: Oh absolutely yeah, we’re going through very exciting times at the moment. We’re the richest club in the world! Though, I’m not sure whether things are going to start moving for a few seasons yet. I think that the current crop of superstars that were mentioned that we were going to buy, they’re very settled at their current clubs. I don’t think any of them are going to be coming to Man City any time soon, but the next generation of superstars, the kids of today who are gonna be the superstars of tomorrow, they’re all gonna be up for grabs, so I think City could well be a very glamorous destination in a few years, but I can’t see anything happening any time soon.

MF: Last season must have been tough, what with the other Manchester side (United) accomplishing what they did?
NG: Well, we’ve a long way to go before we compete with them, they’ve won seventeen league titles, and we’ve won two, I think, or three, or something like that. It’s nice though, to see United fans get really p***ed off with the fact that City are the richest club in the world. That in itself, is a blessing, and long may it continue!

MF: You’ve had several lineup changes over the years, how does the current Oasis compare with previous incarnations?
NG: Everybody always thinks it’s the best, coz everyone always thinks your new album is the best, and everyone thinks this new lineup is the best. I’m too close to it to be honest. For my own part, I think I’ve always been f***ing brilliant. But yeah, it feels right, and natural, I think we’re on our seventeenth drummer now, so it’s just something you’ve got to get used to in this band, the ever-changing line-up!

Incidentally, Noel Gallagher’s favorite ten bands at the time of writing, were, in order; 1: The Beatles, 2: The Rolling Stones, 3: The Who, 4: Sex Pistols, 5: The Kinks, 6: The La’s, 7: Pink Floyd, 8: The Bee Gees, 9: The Specials, and 10: (Peter Green’s) Fleetwood Mac.
No place in his heart, at least this week, for Manchester predecessors, The Stone Roses, The Smiths or Joy Division, nor trailblazing acts The Clash or The Jam, nor even The Verve, for whose lead singer (Richard Ashcroft) Gallagher dedicated the classic Oasis track, ‘Cast No Shadow’ to. Still, it’s only Wednesday, perhaps time is still on their side. Not so sure about Maroon 5 though.

MF: You recently listed your favorite ten bands of all time. Is that list something which changes on a regular basis?
NG: Every day. Oh yeah, you know, when I come up with those things, it’s usually drunk at f***ing, four o’clock in the morning. But I think it was quite spot on, I’m not sure if I put The Specials in there though. I think we were just listening to them that night and we were going, they are the greatest band of all time, you know what I mean? But, you know it changes all the time.

MF: Your brother Liam claims to be very much into running and watching old British comedies as a way of relaxing, how do you wind down?
NG: He said what?! Well, I don’t know what he’s running from. I guess I’ve got a one-year-old son, so I don’t really relax. But, my favorite pastime would be just sitting watching television really, but in saying that, I don’t really watch it. I just kinda stare at the void and think about, I don’t know, stuff! Hanging out with my family though, that’s a good enough pastime for me.

Despite the fame, the headlines, the hit records and the lifestyle though, Noel Gallagher is still merely a 41-year-old bloke from Manchester of Irish parentage. It’s just that he also happens to be a world famous musician. Upon finishing our conversation, I told him I looked forward to seeing Oasis live at Madison Square Garden in December. We wished one another well and parted company. We’d have bid one another adieu, but, well, working class people don’t do that. Not even the superstar ones.