Archive for December, 2014

Jenne Lennon (Singer/Songwriter).

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

jenne

Jenne Lennon is one of a rare breed. See, she’s an Irish/Italian/American singer/songwriter (and user of most of our backslashes it would seem, doesn’t she know there’s a recession on?). The Chicago-based songstrel, that’s what we call singer/songwriting-type young ladies round here you see, is well-regarded in her field as being something of an expert in Celtic/World music, with some critics even referring to her as the ‘Janis Joplin of Celtic music’, no really, they do. In 2009, the hard-working artist even founded her own record label, Glencoe Records (www.glencoerecords.com), which she intends to use as a base to promote and develop the recorded works of Celtic and World Music artists worldwide. Her latest single, ‘Bonny Portmore’ is currently on sale at iTunes, Amazon.com, Rhapsody and most other online outlets, and is featured on the ‘Going Back Home Volume 11’ compilation album through Quickstar/Sony Productions. In the midst of all this musician-type business however, she was kind enough to step aside and answer some ridiculous questions for us. Jenne, welcome to ‘At The Mike Stand’.

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

Gaelic and Garlic. I’m half Irish and half Italian.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?
About 5 seconds ago when I read your question about my tribute act!

What act would you like to have seen perform live?
I’ve never seen Sting or The Police live. Had the privilege of jamming with Sting once, but never had the chance to see him perform. I would also love to see Lisa Gerrard, Dead Can Dance, or Afro-Celt Soundsystem.

What team do you support?
Unfortunately, none at the moment! This year has really gotten away from me and I’ve found practically no time to follow sports. I used to follow The Chicago Fire and The Cubs, but I don’t think I’ve watched The Super Bowl in years.

What period in history would you most like to have visited?
I would have to say late Medieval to early Renaissance. Joan of Arc is my favorite historical person and I am fascinated with the time that she lived in. This was also a very important time in history for music. Ancient choral music and notation was starting to form and become more uniform.

What song would you most like to have written?

Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” I could never have written anything like that. That song is not even my style, but damn! It is one hell of a song!

Who or what, would make you leave a room?

Spiders! Absolutely no exceptions! Big, small, whatever color! If I see one, I jet!

What decade rules (and why)?
The 80’s, it was the decade I was born! Seriously, I hope this next decade coming will rule and prove to be the best. I think the world and America particularly has come quite far in the past couple of years. I really hope the next decade will be a special one for all of us around the world.

What cover version do you most enjoy performing?
U2’s “Mysterious Ways”.

What movie role would you like to have played?

Any female role in ‘The Lord of The Rings’.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?

I’m told on a daily basis that I remind people of someone. The two women I get the most are Anne Hathaway and Norah Jones.

What’s the first album you remember buying?
Oh, dear. I think I received a Wilson Philips tape on my 10th birthday! On my 11th, I bought myself a recording of Beethoven’s 3rd, 7th, and 9th Symphonies.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

Most people would think it was John because we share a last name, but my favorite is Paul. I think he is an incredible songwriter even after his work with the Beatles, and to this day he has such a sweet voice that really speaks to me. He never disappoints when he performs.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
‘O Holy Night’.

Who’s the most rock and roll person who ever lived?
That’s a tough one. My favorite rock star is Bono, but if we’re talking lifestyle, I think Elvis, Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger, and Jimi Hendrix were very rock and roll.

What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?
I love Asteroid Galaxy Tour and Muse. I don’t think anyone would expect me to say that!

Who would you most like to meet/have met?
Deceased, Joan of Arc. Living, Barack Obama.

What book can you read again and again?
‘The Pillars of The Earth’ (Follet).

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?
Damn, that’s tough! In my humble opinion, it would be the Beatles White Album and U2’s “All That You Can’t Leave Behind.”

What artists would you most like to have played with in the band of your dreams?
That’s a great question! Sting, U2, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Ella Fitzgerald, R.E.M, and Bonnie Raitt.

What do few people know about you?

I have an identical twin sister named Dani.

What sitcom character can you most identify with?

Daphne from “Frasier”. She’s quirky and silly, but kind-hearted like me. Though, my friends and family think I’m a balance between Rose and Dorothy from ‘The Golden Girls’.

What movie can you watch over and over again?
‘Stardust’ and ‘The Proposal’. I really like films that are innocent and fun. Those kinds of movies never get old.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
Homer Simpson and Spongebob Squarepants.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

That’s the toughest question yet! My favorite city is Vienna, but Cornwall is the most powerful place I have ever been. I cannot remember being so moved by an area’s history and landscape.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?
It’s a tie between written word and flight. Two things that changed mankind forever.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?
Fax machines. I don’t see the point especially with email attachments in existence. They’re loud, unreliable, and you can’t get through to someone on a landline if a fax is going out. That terrible screeching sound it makes over the phone pierces the brain!

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?
Without a doubt, Robin Williams.

Who’s your favorite namesake?
I don’t know if anyone shares my name. Mine’s pretty unusual, though the root of my name is a form of Jennifer, which comes from the Welsh form of the Cornish Gwynefaar-i.e. Queen Guinevere, so let’s go with Arthur’s Queen Guinevere.

Jenna Nicholls (Singer/Songwriter)

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

jennaYou know, we really ought to quit opening this piece with the phrase; ‘’You know’, but also, this week’s ‘Standee’, Jenna Nicholls, is one of those girls you really should be jealous of, but couldn’t possibly be. Unless of course you don’t particularly like the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they keep winning stuff, then you could perhaps be a tad envious of Miss Nicholls (she’s a fan you see). A phenomenal singing talent, the Pittsburgh native, since transplanted in New York, and now a staple of the live music scene, is one quarter of the New York City-based musical act, Fairplay Collective, alongside fellow artists, Michael Brunnock, Brendan O’Shea and Mark Dignam. Fairplay Collective, is an organization/group/movement, made up of Irish immigrants and US natives, which came together several years ago in New York City as a new musical venture, designed at helping fellow artists out with songs, ideas, gigs, equipment and all-round mutual support. Founding member Jenna’s next local (solo) gig is at the downtown venue, Rockwood Music Hall (Allen Street between Houston and Stanton) on Sunday, May 18th (at 8pm), sure we might even see you there. So without further ado, and even less adon’t, Jenna, welcome to At The Mike Stand.

By Mike Fitzpatrick (picture by Debra Reschoff-Ahearn).

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

Almost Genius (!).
When’s the last time you laughed out loud?

About 10 seconds ago, while wondering what my tribute band name would be called.


What act would you like to have seen perform live?

Ray Charles during the Atlantic years performing with his backup singers “The Cookies”.
What team(s) do you support?

Any team from Pittsburgh, my home town. Go Steelers!!

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

The early 60s in Greenwich Village, or 16th Century England.
What song would you most like to have written?

There are too many to choose from, I tend to live my life in envy of others.
Who or what, would make you leave a room?

I’m pretty shy actually, so it wouldn’t take much. I’m not a big fan of large crowds and small talk. I also love to sleep so that usually makes me leave the room rather early too.
What decade rules (and why)?

I’d have to say the 1960s, it was a great time for music, fashion, freedom of expression, and no cell phones.
What cover version do you most enjoy performing?

I love covering old jazz standards like ‘Stormy Weather’, or ‘Prelude to a Kiss’.
What movie role would you like to have played?

Scarlett O’Hara in ‘Gone with the Wind’.


Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?

People tell me I look like Liza Minnelli, or Audrey Hepburn (it’s the hair) I hope people are referring to Liza at 30 and not at 60.
What’s the first album you remember buying?

Duran Duran’s ‘Seven and the Ragged Tiger’. I bought it right after I got my first “boom box” for Christmas.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

I’d have to say George. John and Paul were amazing, but best as a team. George’s guitar playing was heavily underrated. I love that you can sing his solos from start to finish. 2nd choice would be Paul, it would have been John if not for Yoko.
What’s your favorite Christmas song?

‘Carol of the Bells’.
Who’s the most rock and roll person who ever lived?
Joe Strummer.

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

I love opera, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I think I got most of my musical training by listening to classical music in general, but I’m a sucker for a good aria.
Who would you most like to meet/have met?

Probably John Lennon/ Paul McCartney: Once I had a dream that I was riding in a Cadillac convertible with the two of them across Nevada, we were having a great chat, it was so vivid, I remember waking up and it was like I’d actually done it. Very cool, the closest thing I’ll ever get to the real thing.
What book can you read again and again?

I don’t really read books twice, but if I had to choose I’d say “East of Eden” by Steinbeck or “The Jungle” by Sinclair.
What’s the greatest album ever recorded?

‘Astral Weeks’ by Van Morrison.
What artists would you most like to have played with in the band of your dreams?

Radiohead with the London Philharmonic , wow.

What do few people know about you?

That my sister was the first child model for the Easy Bake Oven, and my other sister was published in the Library of Congress Poetry Anthology at age 13. I’ve got pretty smart and sassy siblings.
What sitcom character can you most identify with?

Grace from ‘Will and Grace’. An interior designer with a bunch of gay friends who is a complete scatterbrain.
What movie can you watch over and over again?

I think I’ve seen “The Red Shoes” about 150 times, I loved it as a kid and it’s really not that great of a movie, good dancing/ music though, but I guess I related to the idea of seeing a pair of shoes that take over your soul and make you do their bidding, like buy them.
Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

She-Ra (Princess of Power).
What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

Tulum, Mexico ….aka paradise.
What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?

The pedicure (haha). I would have to say indoor plumbing is up there, or the printing press.


What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?

The cell-phone, the TV, the iPad.

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?

Thats tough, I don’t know everyone who’s ever lived, but I have a couple of friends who make my sides hurt whenever I’m with them. I like people who are spontaneously funny, not really comedians.


Who’s your favorite namesake?

I don’t know anyone who shares my first name. I wish I did, then I could call them and say “hey is jenna there? Its Jenna.”. And we’d laugh and laugh.

Natalie Herman (Music Writer)

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

natAlthough music reporter Natalie Herman was born in New York (of Spanish and Indian descent no less), she considers herself “Irish by desire.” Having been fascinated with Irish culture for over fifteen years, and since discovering the Irish independent music scene (not that it was her who founded the genre of course, well, you know what we mean), she has immersed herself in Ireland’s contemporary artists in addition to the greats such as Joyce, Wilde, and Heaney. Since February of 2008, Natalie has worked alongside Shawn Fitzmaurice, as the news reporter for Paddy-Whacked Radio™  (to be found athttp://www.pwradio.net ), tirelessly fighting in the corner of many an independent musician, spreading the word and giving them that much-needed shot of publicity. When not listening to, writing about, or collecting music, Natalie can be found reading, drawing, painting or camping in South Florida, which she calls home. Miss Herman, welcome to ‘At The Mike Stand’.

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

A tribute act? For me? Would likely need to be called A Good Psychiatrist.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?
Reading Christopher Moore’s “Fool.” Laughing out loud is what I do best.

What act would you like to have seen perform live?
I almost got to see Frank McCourt do a live reading, and I regret that I missed my chance.
Musically, I have been really lucky to have gotten to see some really great bands and most of my favorites. When The Police reunited in 2007, I fulfilled a longtime dream. I look forward to seeing The Frames / The Swell Season live too.

What team(s) do you support?
I don’t really do sports. I cheer on the teams that my friends love. So The Lakers and Liverpool FC. But I have a soft spot for some people who support Man United.

What period in history would you most like to have visited?
I’d have liked to catch a U2 show when they were still struggling.

What song would you most like to have written?
“Hallelujah,” by Leonard Cohen, I think. Although the majority of songs by Rick Springfield, U2, and Michael Brunnock make we “wish I’d written that.”

Who or what, would make you leave a room?
Racism, or other stupidity being spouted off at the mouth.

What decade rules (and why)?
80’s. The hair and fashion, while laughable when looked back upon, is still cooler than a lot. And the music just lasts.

What cover version do you most enjoy performing?
I don’t perform, but I do collect covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and will encourage everyone I know to send me their version. Even if they just call me and sing it over my voice mail!

What movie role would you like to have played?
Jo in “Little Women”.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?
Just my auntie. And there was a girl in my 6th-grade science book that could have been my twin.

What’s the first album you remember buying?
Rick Springfield’s ‘Living in Oz’.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?
John.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
“It Wasn’t His Child” by Skip Ewing. Over the past few years, I have tended to lean more toward the religious Christmas music. I love “Mary Did You Know?”

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

The Edge. Cos brainy rockers are incredibly attractive.

What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?
There is no secrecy about the music I like. On shuffle, my iPod can loop through The Monkees, The Ramones, Jane’s Addiction, Michael Brunnock, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, Quincy Jones and Ricky Nelson in an hour. People are amused that I actually have N*Sync on there, though.

Who would you most like to meet/have met?
Abraham Lincoln, Frank McCourt. I’d love to have a chat with Larry Mullen.

What book can you read again and again?
I haven’t really re-read a lot of books since I was a teen. It’s been more an attempt at moving forward. I have read A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, a couple of times. Ireland: A Novel, by Frank Delaney is one whose story will be with me for a long, long time.

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?
For me, there are so many “perfect” albums – where every song is just amazing and they all go well together. But for my answer, I will choose “Achtung Baby.” Ask me tomorrow and it might be different.

What artists would you most like to have played with in the band of your dreams (supergroup)?
I’m still holding out to see Michael Brunnock (guitar + vox) , Gavin Fox (bass), and Pete Wilhoit (drums) perform together.

What do few people know about you?
For kicks, I like to teach myself foreign languages. I can turn a phrase in about 15 different languages.

What sitcom character can you most identify with?
Dorothy Zbornak from The Golden Girls

What movie can you watch over and over again?
Monty Python’s ‘The Holy Grail’. And ‘Stand By Me’.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
Woody Woodpecker.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

New York City, no doubt. I haven’t been to Ireland yet.

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?
John Ritter, RIP, was essential in the crafting of my sense of humor. Tom Hanks gets honorable mention and Wil Wheaton cracks me up. But Eddie Izzard makes me wheeze and cry, even while watching something I have seen 100 times.

Who’s your favorite namesake?
My mom named me after Natalie Wood. She was an interesting lady. I do appreciate Natalie Portman, though.

Dan Donnelly (Singer/Songwriter)

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

dandBelfast boy Dan Donnelly is no stranger to our New York readers, having carved out a successful solo career on the east coast for almost a decade. The singer/songwriter, having first come to the attention of the music press in Europe as vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with Irish indie act, Watercress, Dan moved on once the band broke up in the late 1990s. Out on his own, Dan released 2005’s ‘Bootleg’ and ‘Yearning A Living’ two years later, as well as an acclaimed live album (‘Live in NYC’) last year. Currently fronting his own touring and recording outfit, Sonovagun, Dan, a favorite at many a British festival, has played Glastonbury, Beautiful Days and The Big Session on several occasions. He’s now based in the UK, having supported Duran Duran, Ian Dury, The Darkness, The Levellers and Air, as a solo artist, and as part of Sonovagun, Joy Zipper and The Invisible Swords Men. A phenomenal songwriting talent, look out for more Donnellyesque information atwww.sonovagun.com.

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

Hmm, Don Dannelly might be a good one!

 

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?

I laugh out loud all the time. The world reduces me to tears of laughter on a very regular basis.

 

What act would you like to have seen perform live?

I’d love to have seen the Beatles and The Doors.

 

What team do you support?

Manchester United, I know everyone will boo, but when I was young in Northern Ireland, George Best was a hero and Norman Whiteside was on the team.

 

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

I wouldn’t have minded kicking about ancient Rome for a bit and attending a few feasts and orgies.

What song would you most like to have written?

‘The Witchita Lineman’, with ‘Pancho and Lefty’ a close second.

 

Who or what, would make you leave a room?

Racism, or a really bad smell.

 

What decade rules (and why)?

I totally loved the 90s!! I had a blast, was in a great band and playing all over the world and was carefree as you like. The music was fantastic too, Smashing Pumpkins, Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr plus the whole rave and ecstasy scene was great fun!!

What cover version do you most enjoy performing?

At the minute I love doing MGMT’s ‘Time to Pretend’.

What movie role would you like to have played?

I think every kid wants to be Luke Skywalker but as an adult? I dunno, maybe The Sundance Kid.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?

Yeah!! I get Rick Astley and Conan O’Brien all the time!

What’s the first album you remember buying?

Buddy Holly’s ‘Greatest Hits’.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

McCartney by a long shot with Harrison second, then John, then Ringo.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

‘The Little Drummer Boy’.

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

GG Allin, Johnny Thunders and Keith Moon.

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

I have a secret soft spot for Lily Allen.

Who would you most like to meet/have met?

Would love to meet Bowie or Macca or Neil Young, I’d like to have met Jesus to see what all the fuss is about.

What book can you read again and again?

‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ or (the work of) Bukowski or Henry Miller.

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?

Abbey Road.

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

John Bonham on Drums, Malcom Young on rhythm guitar, McCartney on Bass, Neil Young on Lead Guitar and Randy Newman on keys.

What do few people know about you?

Very little. I have a big mouth and no censorship.

What sitcom character can you most identify with?

Has to be Larry David from ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, sometimes I feel just like him!!

What movie can you watch over and over again?

‘Dumb and Dumber’.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

Peter Griffin from ‘Family Guy’.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

As Johnny Cash says ‘I’ve Been Everywhere Man’, but New York was so good I moved there. I <3 NY.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?

Music.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?

The parking ticket.

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?

Billy Connolly.

Who’s your favorite namesake?

Sir Dan Donnelly, the first heavyweight champion boxer.

Lauren Klemp (Actress).

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

klempYou know, we’ve really got to have a word with the guy in charge. All this hanging out with hot young actresses such as this week’s ‘Standee’, Lauren Klemp, well, it really takes its toll on a guy. Well, it doesn’t really, so don’t be going saying stuff to the boss now, you hear me? Otherwise we’ll be back to doing that god-awful gardening column, and turnips and parsnips are no fun this time of year. Anyway, Jersey girl Lauren’s wanted to be an actress since she was eight-years old. Having pursued drama studies throughout high school, she went on to graduate from Fordham University with a degree in Theatre. Since completing her studies, she’s worked with the Moscow Art Theatre at NYU’s Stonestreet Studios, as well as having had roles in a number of music videos and short films. More recently, she landed a lead role in the feature film, ‘Last Days of Simon’, which won the prestigious ‘Best Home Grown Feature’ award at the Garden State Film Festival, and recently took home the award for ‘Best Featured Actress’ in a play she starred in called ‘Run For Your Wife’. Next up is the role of ‘Susie’ in ‘Wait Until Dark’ at New Jersey’s Bickford Theatre in January/February. Lauren, welcome to ‘The Mike Stand’. Susie in “wait until dark” at the Bickford Theatre in nj January/February.

Who would be in your supergroup?

Janis Joplin on vocals, Fiona Apple on vocals and piano, David Gilmour and Angus Young on Guitar, Roger Waters on Bass, and then just fill in the rest of the band with members of Muse and Radiohead.

 

When was the last time you laughed out loud?

This weekend.  I took my boyfriend to a Russian restaurant in Brighton Beach for his birthday, and there was this 70 something year old man who karate chopped his way through the dance floor.  This man was dead serious, and his moves were fierce! He was hilarious to watch, and surprisingly hard to keep up with!

 

What act would you have liked to have seen live?

Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin and Michael Jackson.

 

What team do you support?

I am not much of a sports person, but I guess if I had to pick, I would side with whatever New York team was playing.  Unless they are playing against a New Jersey team.  Then I gotta represent the home state.

 

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

I would have loved to live in the 70’s.  I love the style and the music! Everything was just so funky!

What song would you have most liked to have written?

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

 

Who or what would make you leave a room?

Loud-mouthed, obnoxious people.  I have no tolerance for annoying idiots!

 

What decade rules (and why)?

The 80’s ruled!! When I think of the 80’s, I think of fun! The movies were great, tv sitcoms were classic, the music was fun, and the style was absolutely insane. Just a total party.

 

What movie role would you like to have played?

Jenny, from “Forest Gump” and Scarlet from “Gone With the Wind”.

 

Have you ever been told you look like somebody?

I am told I look like everyone! I used to get Christina Ricci all the time.  Now I get Rachael Ray a lot.  I have been told I look a little like Angelina Jolie once or twice, not so sure that I agree, but I am definitely flattered!

What was the first album you remember buying?

My first CDs were “Beauty and the Beast”, and Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous”.

Who is your favorite Beatle?

I love George, but John is too amazing not to be my favorite.

 

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

“Oh Holy Night” and John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas”.

 

Who is the most rock and roll person who ever lived?

Keith Richards.

 

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

I listen to a lot of sappy, girly music, and really cheesy 80’s power ballads.

 

Who would you most liked to have met?

Michael Jackson and John Lennon.

 

What book can you read again and again?

“The World According to Garp”. John Irving is a genius.

 

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?

Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”.  It’s like listening to a movie.  It has a beginning, middle, and end, and by the time the last song finishes, you want to start it over and go on the journey again! It’s one of the true modern masterpieces.

What sitcom character can you most identify with?

I think that I would have to say Al from “Married with Children” and Eric from
“That 70”s Show”.  Is that weird?

 

What movie have you seen the most times?

“The Princess Bride”.  No question.  Has been one of my favorite movies since I can remember, and I can quote the entire thing!

 

What’s your favorite cartoon character?

It’s really a three way tie between Garfield, Ren from “Ren and Stimpy”, and Cartman from “South Park”.

 

What is the greatest place you have ever been to?

I think that I would have to say Spain, because they really know how to live life: work a little, eat, sleep, work a little, eat, party, sleep, repeat.  Right up my alley.

 

What’s man’s greatest invention?

Aside from the internet? Indoor plumbing.  I don’t even want to think about what life was like before flushing toilets and running water.  Nasty!

 

What’s nature’s most useless invention?

The Chia Pet.

 

Who is the funniest person who ever lived?

I think Robin Williams is hilarious! He just keeps going and going!

Brendan O’Shea (Singer/Songwriter).

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

brenoEvery so often, the Mike Stand (that’d be us, unless you’re being unfaithful with another chap called Mike Stand, then you’re just being rude) bumps into one of those New York City-based individuals that just oozes calmness, creativity and well, a certain aura of County Kerry-ness, that, when expertly mixed with a little East Village coolness results in a masterful blend of singing and songwriting. See, Brendan O’Shea , a transplanted troubadour from the Kingdom of Ireland’s southwest, now based in New York City’s lower east, is one of those rare talents that has kept the image of the Big Apple’s singing/songwriting scene, so vibrant. Continuing upon a long (and winding) road of such talents from the bygone days of Dylan, Hardin and Buckley, Brendan O’Shea, and other masterful tunesmiths of his generation have continued to pump energy, vitality and soul into a genre that every so often, produces a diamond from a stack of pearls.  Brendan, welcome to ‘The Mike Stand’.

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

The Beatles (!).

What song would you most like to have written?

Any song by Leonard Cohen.

 

Who’s your favorite namesake?

Brendan Behan.

Who’s your favorite character from literature?

Jesus Christ.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

Japan.

Who would you most like to meet/have met?

Thomas Jefferson.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?

Yesterday, actually. I nearly got in a head-on collision on the Long Island Expressway, and I was in deep conversation when it happened. The whole thing went right over my head, so when we got to our destination, my friend and I literally laughed our heads off.


What act would you like to have seen perform live?

Nina Simone, yeah.

What team(s) do you support?

I don’t really support any.


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

I would say the days of the Roman empire. I was in Italy some time ago, and I did the whole thing, so, I’ve quite an interest in it.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?
Ignorance.


What cover version do you most enjoy performing?

I would say ‘Crazy Dreams’ by Paul Brady.

Have you ever walked out on a movie?

Oh yes, and what’s the movie’s name? I couldn’t tell you. I put it out of my mind. I’m a movie snob, definitely!

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

The lead in Citizen Kane!.

 

Who do people say you look like?

You know, I don’t get that a whole lot.

 

What’s the first album you remember buying?

I think it was U2’s ‘Boy’, and the first single I bought was ‘Message In A Bottle’, by The Police.

 

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

That is a drawn-out question I have to say, because each of them had such a different offering to bring to the table. I’d have to say I definitely warm to Paul McCartney more, just because, I suppose, of his sanity during the whole era.


What’s your favorite Christmas song?

‘Fairytale of New York’ would be up there I’d say.


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

Probably Jimi Hendrix.


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

I would say the whole Motown scene, or even disco. Yes, ‘70s disco, big time.

 

What book can you read again and again?

What’s his name, I’d have to say, this one, someone gave me tonight. And knowing me, I’ll read this book ten times, ‘Franny and Zooey’, by JD Salinger, so let’s go with that. A singer friend of mine said she’d read it twenty times, and dropped it into me.

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

Well let’s see, I’d have Mark Knopfler on guitar, I suppose Paul McCartney on bass, Leonard Cohen, on backing vocals of course! And we’d have to have a raffle for the drummer! That’s a good question.

What’s your tipple?

Tea, I don’t go for the booze at all.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Ah, there’s so many. ‘Rear Window’, I’d say.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

Jerry, as in ‘Tom & Jerry’.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?

That’s a lovely question! Transportation, the bicycle of course. I’d be lost without it!

 

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?

I would say, the cellphone, for me. It’s the abuse factor.

 

What actor would play you in a movie about your life?

Well, who should play me, or who would do a good job of playing me, that’s a different question! I would say Daniel Day Lewis, sure why not?!

Dennis Driscoll

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

dddNew York-born, bred and buttered, Dennis Driscoll, is not an easy man to describe in one paragraph. In fact, one would need a wizened storyteller as good as the man himself to give his immense talents any justice at all. An acclaimed man of words, Dennis has played with many bands in his day, though in recent years (or is that decades?) he’s focused more towards the spoken word, telling tall tales and short stories relating to his life growing up in the Big Apple. With another trip to his beloved Dublin just around the corner, where he’ll perform at iconic Wexford Street venue, Whelans (June 6th, upstairs), Mr. Driscoll is a busy man indeed. He was however, kind enough to put down his trusty microphone, stroll away from his avid listeners for a minute or two, and join us ‘At The Mike Stand’.

Photo by Debra Reschoff-Ahearn

What would you like your own tribute act to be called?
The Dennis Driscoll Experience.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?
I recently saw an Australian comic named Jim Jefferies, I think. He was really obscene but really funny, I definitely laughed out loud during his HBO special.

What act would you like to have seen perform live?
Derek and Clive. Dudley Moore and Peter Cook’s irreverent comedy act.

What team(s) do you support?
Yankees, Giants, Rangers.

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

The Roaring 20s. Those people knew how to have a good time.

What song would you most like to have written?
‘A Pair of Brown Eyes’ by Shane MacGowan.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?
A person that tells really bad jokes and then laughs at them.

What decade rules (and why)?
Mid 60s to the mid 70s. The music was great and people were more open back then.

What cover version do you most enjoy performing?
Well it’s hard for me to perform covers as I am a spoken word performer that mainly tells stories from my own life, but I used to be in a country band that did a killer version of ‘Viva Las Vegas’ that was always fun to do.

What movie role would you like to have played?
I always wanted to be in a western, the role Slim Pickens had in ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’ would be something I’d like to have done.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?
Not recently, but when I was heavier I’d be mistaken for other fat people. People think all fat people look alike.

What’s the first album you remember buying?
‘Meet the Beatles’.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?
John.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
‘Fairytale of New York’, and not just because I am in the video for that song.

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

What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?
My father used to have a record called the German Army Chorus , lots of brass and voices. Loved that stuff.

Who would you most like to meet/have met?
Brendan Behan or Keith Richards.

What book can you read again and again?
‘The Basketball Diaries’ by Jim Carroll

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?
The White Album by the Beatles

What artists would you most like to have played with in the band of your dreams?
I want to have a band called the Gemini Snakes with Bob Dylan and Charlie Watts. As we are all Geminis born in the year of the Snake. Plus I’d love to have a drummer like Charlie to play with.

What do few people know about you?
My first words were horse shit.

What sitcom character can you most identify with?
Jed Clampett in ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’. He had it all.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

‘Gunga Din’.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
Homer Simpson.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?
I love Dublin. I would love to live there, if I could afford it.

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

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

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?
WC Fields.

Who’s your favorite namesake?
Dennis Hopper.

Marian Thomas Griffin

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

By Mike Fitzpatrick

Marian Thomas Griffin is a girl (or should we say ‘cailin’ because of the week that’s in it?) with many a string to her bow, and indeed, quite a few bows to her string. Or something.

See, not only is she a renowned actress, having played the role of crazy nanny Mary Mennihan on the CBS soap ‘As The World Turns’, she’s also had parts in Hollywood features such as the Brad Pitt/Harrison Ford picture ‘The Devil’s Own’ and many a role in productions staged by New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre.

Having been born in the US, but raised in County Mayo, Marian returned to New York where she developed a reputation as a fine singer/songwriter/guitarist on the local music scene, a standing she’s since nurtured in her adopted city of Los Angeles, where she performs regularly with The Bracken Band.

Formed in 2008 in LA, the group features Marian on guitar and vocals, violinist Chris Murphy and percussion from legendary Cuban musician, Walfredo Reyes Jr.

The Bracken Band, a Celtic-themed act with a Latin twist, has become a staple on the LA scene, further solidifying this week’s ‘Standee’ as one of Irish-America’s favorite entertainers (for more information check outwww.gigmasters.com/liveband/TheBrackenBand).

What would you like your own tribute act to be called?
The Somewhat Confused Paddies!

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?
Last night, while watching mindless sitcoms.

What act would you like to have seen perform live?
Michael Jackson.

What team(s) do you support?
The Jets and the Yankees.

What period in history would you most like to have visited?
The 1920s in the US; seems like it was such a wild time!!

What song would you most like to have written?
“Happy Birthday”.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?
Any ignorant, misinformed, arrogant person, like most right-wing Republicans.

What decade rules (and why)?
The 80s!! My decade!!

What cover version do you most enjoy performing?
“Zombie” by The Cranberries.

What movie role would you like to have played?
Mary Kate Danaher in “The Quiet Man”.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?
See above, Maureen O’Hara.

What’s the first album you remember buying?
Rod Stewart’s Greatest Hits.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?
Paul.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

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

What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?
Country is my guilty pleasure!

Who would you most like to meet/have met?
Bono or my grandparents.

What book can you read again and again?
“Captain Correlli’s Mandolin”, a fantastic epic that was massacred by Hollywood with the forgettable movie starring Nic Cage and Penelope Cruz… ugh.

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?
“The Joshua Tree”.

What artists would you most like to have played with in the band of your dreams (supergroup)?
(Any members of) U2 or the Eagles.

What do few people know about you?
I play the button accordion a bit, the tin whistle too, I’m not great on either but they were the only instruments that my mother would pay for classes in.

What sitcom character can you most identify with?
Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex and the City”.

What movie can you watch over and over again?
“The Bridges of Madison County”.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
Snagglepuss!

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?
While I believe the Cliffs of Moher are one of the most majestic sights I’ve ever seen, Yosemite is pretty fantastic too!

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?
Pinot Grigio? No, probably the wheel.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?
The blackberry. Everyone sitting around at dinner texting, answering emails, talking on the phone. It is horrible!!

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?
George Carlin.

Who’s your favorite namesake?
Maid Marian!!!

Laoisa Sexton

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

laoisa

You know, this job’s not so bad sometimes. There we were hanging around the Mike Stand eating cheese sandwiches and minding every one else‘s business, when who should we bump into, only hot  young actress, Laoisa Sexton. The bubbly Dubliner is currently in New York City preparing to star in Irish playwright Paula Meehan’s play, ‘Cell’, at the Gene Frankel Theatre, situated at 24 Bond Street in lower Manhattan (opening on September 8th, tickets are available through http://www.smarttix.com).  Stepping aside from rehearsals for a few minutes, the lovely Laoisa was only too happy to join us At The Mike Stand.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?

Talking to my Da on the phone from Dublin this morning!

What act would you like to have seen perform live?

Front row seat: Marlon Brando in “Streetcar Named Desire” on Broadway.
What team(s) do you support?

I’m part of a great team right now, doing a play for the 1st Irish Theater Festival. It’s called CELL written by award winning Dublin playwright, Paula Meehan! We open September 8th at the Gene Frankel Theatre, and tickets just went on sale at Smarttix http://www.smarttix.com or throughhttp://www.myspace.com/cellthenypremiereI know- Shameless plug!
What period in history would you most like to have visited?

The French Revolution, a royal or an aristocrat (who escapes the guillotine!), I would have to be able to bring my dogs with me though! They would fit in, they are feisty chihuahuas, Hamlet and Penelope.
What song would you most like to have written?

‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?

Depends on whose in the other room!
What decade rules (and why)?

The Sixties around 1967-1969, the films, Terence Stamp, Julie Christie, the music, the mods, the clothes, Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Mick Jagger, the cars. Just the fact that everything wasn’t done already like now, or so it seems!
What is your karaoke specialty?

I’ve never done Karaoke but does singing in the bath count?
What movie role would you like to have played?

I’d love to have been in a Fellini film, or “On The Waterfront”. I’d love to be in a Roman Polanski film or Mike Leigh, anything by Tennessee Williams, or Jim Sheridan. Even though I’m not a fella, I would love to have played Daniel Day Lewis’s part in “In The Name of The Father”

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?

Yes there’s a new one everyday, everyone from Miss Piggy to Brigitte Bardot.

What’s the first album you remember buying?My Mam had all these Broadway show records I used to listen to, like West Side Story, but I think the first CD I actually bought was LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out”.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

They called him the “Fifth Beatle”- George Best, in his prime!
What’s your favorite Christmas song?

“Wish It Could be Christmas Every Day” by Slade. I love Christmas music! It is mandatory in my house to dance around to Frank Sinatra’s Christmas Collections!

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

Richard Burton.

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

Never a secret when it comes to music

Who would you most like to meet /have met?

I don’t really like meeting people I truly admire. I just love to see their work.”Great artists exist simply in what they make, and consequently and perfectly are uninteresting in what they are” Oscar Wilde. Having said that though, Elizabeth Taylor would be up there. I do love meeting anyone who inspires me.

What book can you read again and again?

‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll, my Da says everyone from your own life is in there, he’s right! ‘Catcher in The Rye’ comes a close second..

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?

Anything and everything by Michael Jackson. Billie Jean is the best song ever.

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

Can we do a play together? Cool, well then Starring Peter O’ Toole, Brendan Gleason, Sean Penn, Shelley Winters, Daniel Day Lewis, Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Ricky Gervais, Albert Finney, James Gandolfini, Peter Sellars, and me! Directed by Mark O’ Rowe, co-written by William Shakespeare, Martin Mc Donagh and Oscar Wilde!

What sitcom character can you most identify with?

Vicky Pollard (Little Britain)…I know not really a sitcom but I don’t really watch TV!

What movie can you watch over and over again?

‘Withnail & I’

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

Winnie the Pooh, the classic version not Disney.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

My dreams
What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?

Bed.
What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?

Reality TV although not sure if it could be classified as an invention, more like a disease!
Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?

There’s no shortage of them in my personal life, or here in NY!

Who’s your favorite namesake?

Well I have a Gaelic name, so I don’t know if there is one for “Laoisa”…hey maybe it’s a one off!

Georgina McKevitt

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

By Mike Fitzpatrick

It’s not easy this ‘At The Mike Stand’ carry-on, you know, asking ridiculous questions to gorgeous, witty and rather interesting people on a regular basis.

It makes me miss my carefree days as a gardening correspondent, when I’d chat with gorgeous, witty and rather interesting parsnips, chrysanthemums and radishes. Or something.

Anyway, this week’s subject, Dublin girl Georgina McKevitt can currently be seen in Laoisa Sexton’s wonderfully dark, tremendously sexy comedy, ‘For Love’, which is playing in its Off-Broadway debut at the Irish Repertory Theatre until April 5, before jetting off to Ireland for a stint at the Derry Playhouse and a run in six theaters around Ireland.

‘For Love’, already named as ‘The Pick of the Festival’ as part of the 1st Irish Theater Festival’s events, also stars Kilkenny actress Jo Kinsella, and Sexton herself, as three young Irish women, and the things that they will, and won’t, do ‘For Love’.

We at The Mike Stand, are blushing just thinking about it. John Duddy also stars, and tickets are available by contacting the Irish Repertory Theatre atwww.irishrep.org/forlove.html.

What would you like your own tribute act to be called?
Genie Mac – A little bit of magic, a touch of Irish and a lot of pop. Just like the play I am performing in at The Irish Repertory. ‘For Love’ by Laoisa Sexton, (who also performs in it). This is the Off Broadway premiere. It’s set in present-day Dublin, four characters looking for love in all the wrong places. It’s real, honest and hilarious!

What song would you most like to have written?
‘Love Song for a Vampire’ by Annie Lennox. It’s on the ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ soundtrack. It’s incredible and haunting.

Who’s your favorite namesake?
I just Googled Georgina and I am not loving my choices so I’ll go for George from ‘The Famous Five’ or ‘Curious George’.

Who’s your favorite character from literature?
I am slightly obsessed with ‘Wicked’ by Gregory Maguire, so I will say Elphaba. I saw the production in Sydney, amazing! I hope I get to see the New York show while I am here. Elphaba and the character I play, Tina, in ‘For Love’ are quite similar, well maybe Elphaba in her later years, OK, they are nothing alike!

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?
I connected very strongly with Los Angeles the first time I went there, hence I have now moved there. However Thailand is pretty great. Great food, great people, great massages and spectacular surroundings. Walking up the waterfall at Dunns River Falls in Jamaica is another phenomenal memory.

Who would you most like to meet/have met?
Marilyn Monroe – to know if you ever got to see the real her. Such an intriguing person with such a tragic life.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?
I laughed out loud today in the green room on a break from rehearsals. John Duddy had the punch-line (excuse the pun). We are doing a UK and Ireland tour of ‘For Love’ straight after the Off Broadway run, I hope we can still laugh with each other by the end of it.

What act would you like to have seen perform live?
It would have to be the Beatles. I didn’t think I was a fan until I went to Liverpool for an arts festival years ago. So of course I did the tours, drank in The Cavern, walked Penny Lane, absorbed the history and the atmosphere.

What team(s) do you support?
You got me there. In reference to sport unfortunately I have no clue. Jo Kinsella wears a Liverpool jersey in ‘For Love’ so I’ll go with that, our director will also be happy with that although my character would definitely not.

What period in history would you most like to have visited?
I would like to have lived in the in the 14th or 15th Century with the Native Americans. My grandfather was made an honorary Red Indian so that may be where the fascination comes from.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?
Hearing someone chewing their food very loudly.

Have you ever walked out on a movie?
Yes I walked out of ‘Happiness’. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the same reaction if I watched it now.

What movie role would you like to have played/play?
All of the roles in ‘Lord of The Rings’ and ‘X Men’. I would like them to create a character for me in the new ‘X Men’ series, if that fails I can play James McAvoy’s wheelchair.

Who do people say you look like?
Holly Hunter and Courtney Cox. Not sure I see it myself but there you go.

What’s the first album you remember buying?
The first record I owned was ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. My first cassette album was Bobby Brown.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?
John was damn cool however for some reason George sticks out to me now. Maybe he could be my namesake.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
I sing Christmas songs all year round. Love when the radio stations play Christmas songs all day. My favorites would be ‘The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot’, ‘Fairytale of New York’, ‘Let It Snow’, ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ and ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’.

Who’s the most rock and roll person who ever lived?
Tina Fey – she rocks, in a different way however she does it all, I admire her. My mammy is also very rock and roll, she just joined Facebook.

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

What book can you read again and again?
‘The Solitaire Mystery’ by Jostein Gaarder.

Who Would Be In Your Supergroup?
Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Niall Breslin, Lisa Hannigan, Tom Chaplin and Annie Lennox.

What movie can you watch over and over again?
‘Overboard’ with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
I grew up on Looney Toons so Daffy Duck is my favorite of those. ‘The Last Unicorn’ is my favorite animated feature.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?
Moisturiser. Gloves. Skype.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?
Doggy Strollers – like, what’s the point of having a dog if you are not going to let it walk?

What actor would play you in a movie about your life?
Please don’t let it be Lindsey Lohan. I would love it to be Aubrey Anderson-Emmons who plays Lily in ‘Modern Family.’