Archive for December, 2014

Enya Song Sees Punk Fired from Band

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

An Enya, or a Hucknall, yesterday

A musician with a New York-based punk outfit has been fired from the group he was a founding member of, after bandmates discovered some questionable material on his iPod. Len ‘Skunk’ Mossart, who formed Staten Island-based five-piece act, Gorefox, in 1983, was relieved of his duties as bassist and backing vocalist on Tuesday last, when, at a wedding reception, during the band’s break, he left his iPod playing on shuffle in the DJ booth.

It was from here that he had hoped to treat the guests to his personal choice of punk anthems. However, after a number of classic punk tunes by The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, GBH and The Exploited, several other tracks surfaced, one of which, ‘Orinoco Flow’, by Irish new age artist Enya, had punters both embarrassed and livid.

The Heraldy Press spoke to one guest, (Bootboy) Billy Flanagan, a long-time fan of punk music, and a one-time possessor of the tallest mohawk hairstyle in the tri-state area. Said Billy: ‘We was just pogoing to the sounds man, it were like 1977 again, me and the boys just havin’ a laugh, when out of nowhere, like a seagull soaring down to chew on a rabbit, was that Enya bird, singin’ about Orinocoes and what have you. I put down me lager-top and went right up there to give them a piece of my mind, but by the time I got to the iPod, a Mariah Carey song came on, that’s when all hell broke loose. Innit’. While Mossart and the rest of Gorefox were outside the wedding venue enjoying a few snakebites on their break, things went from bad to worse, with songs by Nik Kershaw, Belinda Carlisle, Simply Red, Lionel Richie, Val Doonican and Maroon 5 all making an appearance before a shellshocked audience. Father of the bride, Steve ‘The Pistol from Bristol’ Lyons said; ‘F***in’ Enya? New Age? If s*** like that is f***in’ New c***ing age, then bring me back to the bastard middle ages, bubonic plague an’ all. Give’s some more Clash, innit’.

Bridegroom, Dessie ‘Desmond’ Giltrap, ‘It’s disappointing really. We invited Gorefox as we’d been fans for years. Len set up his playlist for us, and the iPod started playing a shuffled mix, and it was then that we saw how dark his soul was. Singing about political oppression and racial profiling, all while maintaining that all-important punk ethos is one thing, but when it’s offset with the thoughts of a member of that band dancing around at home to Bananarama, well, all bets are off, innit’.

As for Mossart, we did try to call him several times, to get his side of the story, but he was unavailable. It was interesting to note however, that the on-hold music for his landline included several songs by Crass, Conflict and Anti-Nowhere League, but also ‘Jolene’ by Dolly Parton. Gorefox, who had two singles, ‘Bastard Sons of the Daughter Electra’ and the punk-ballad ‘Doreen’ skim the lower reaches of the Billboard Top 100 in 1984, are expected to begin interviewing for a new bassist/backing vocalist in the coming weeks.

Phil Chevron (The Pogues)

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

The Pogues Are Pumped!


Mike Fitzpatrick Talked To The Band As They Began Their U.S. Tour

Philip Chevron is pumped. The multi-instrumentalist songwriter, fifty-years old later this year, has retained his boyish outlook on life, and is clearly very much looking forward to more time on the road with The Pogues, a band he’s played guitar, banjo, mandolin and sang with, on and off, for over twenty-two years.

The man who wrote classic tracks such as ‘Thousands Are Sailing’ and ‘Lorelei’ took a little time out from the band’s demanding schedule to speak with The Irish Examiner from Boston last week, and made it quite obvious that The Pogues, for all their hard-drinking, tough-talking and wild-living over the years, the band has lost none of its edge, little of its enthusiasm, and not a hint of its reputation as one of the best live acts out there.

Having returned Stateside, following a triumphant venture across the Atlantic twelve months ago, Chevron, Shane MacGowan and the boys are playing several nights on the East Coast, and at press time, had already performed two dates in Chicago, four in Boston, and were hurtling, practically tornado-like, towards New York for three shows at The Roseland Ballroom (March 14th, 15th and 17th), as well as a gig in Philly, at The Electric Factory, on the night before Saint Patrick’s Day.

Things are good in Pogueland, despite the boys, as well as the aforementioned Chevron and MacGowan, the classic lineup of James Fearnley, Jem Finer, Spider Stacey, Andrew Ranken, Terry Woods and Darryl Hunt are all playing the tour, approaching middle age, they retain the youthful exuberance for their live performances that they’ve had since way back in the early 1980s.

‘We played in Chicago for the first time in fifteen or sixteen years’, said Chevron, ‘It was a great audience, Chicago wasn’t included in last year’s tour, we’d a great time. We’d been there many times before, and I’ve often taken the train from Chicago to San Antonio to visit friends’.

Having commenced with the American series of tour dates in the Windy City, the Dublin-born Chevron was thrilled to be back in a city which holds so many memories not only on a personal level, but also for the band. New York City though, well, that’s a tale that is slightly different. ‘The Pogues in New York City on Saint Patrick’s Night, it doesn’t get much better than that’, claims Chevron.

The guys have played The Big Apple many times over the years, and their March 17th gigs have become somewhat legendary, selling out venues on a regular basis, with not only veteran fans getting in line, but also a new breed, a generation which was barely out of diapers when the band recorded ‘Red Roses For Me’, the group’s first album, way back in 1984.

Indeed, it is material from this recording, now near-legendary tracks, such as; ‘Transmetropolitan’, ‘Poor Paddy’ and ‘Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go’, that have become classic staples of many a raucous Pogues performance. Although having left the group for a short time in the mid 1990s, stressing his desire to return to more traditional Irish music, Philip Chevron has played with them, first as a replacement for guitarist Jem Finer in 1984, when Finer left the band temporarily when his wife gave birth, then as a full-time member, when MacGowan decided to focus on vocals full-time, for over twenty years, and has traveled with the group high into its peaks and down to its valleys during that time.

Having been formed by MacGowan, Stacey and Fearnley originally as a three-piece in London, in the early 1980s, the trio soon had Finer, Ranken, and former bassist, Cait O’Riordan added to its ranks, and in 1984, were invited to play support on The Clash’s tour. After famously changing its name from Pogue Mahone (the Irish language version of ‘kiss my arse’) to The Pogues, the band released ‘Red Roses for Me’ in 1984, following it up with the critically-acclaimed ‘Rum, Sodomy and the Lash’ in 1985. The album title is part of a quotation often attributed to Winston Churchill, in describing conditions in the British navy. The album was well-received, and saw the band move onto a new level, and rather than merely playing cover versions, several of the band’s most well-known tracks first appeared on this recording.

Indeed, it was around this time that MacGowan’s eminent songwriting first appeared. With his poetic story-telling in tunes such as ‘The Sickbed of Cuchulainn’ and ‘The Old Main Drag’, added to now widely known versions of Ewan MacColl’s ‘Dirty Old Town’ and ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ by Eric Bogle, both of which are now probably the most well-known versions of those songs, the recording was a critical success.

Despite the triumph of the album, the group was headed towards troubled waters. O’Riordan left the band, marrying Elvis Costello (they’ve since divorced), their record company, Stiff, went bankrupt shortly after the release of the single, ‘The Irish Rover’ with The Dubliners, and the unpredictable behavior of the band’s chief lyricist and visionary Shane MacGowan was beginning to cause ripples of unrest among the other band members.

Philip Chevron of The Pogues

They weathered the storm however, and in 1988 recorded its most commercially successful album, ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’, which spawned the enormously popular duet with Kirsty MacColl, ‘Fairytale in New York’, recently voted the best Christmas song ever in a VH1 UK poll. 1989’s ‘Peace and Love’ follow-up continued the band’s riding of the waves of success, hitting number five in the UK album charts, although following the release of 1991’s ‘Hell’s Ditch’, MacGowan and the band parted company.

Punk legend Joe Strummer, whose band, The Clash, The Pogues had supported earlier in their career, helped out on vocals for a short time, before Spider Stacey took over on a more permanent basis.

Things were obviously never going to be the same without MacGowan at the helm however, and not long afterwards, despite a hit single with ‘Tuesday Morning’, with just a handful of original members left, the group disbanded. With the individual members all moving on to their side projects, for a time it appeared as if the days of The Pogues, with Shane MacGowan handling vocal duties, were long gone. In 2001 however, they were brought back together for a Christmas tour, and in 2004, played several dates together in the UK.

In 2005, ‘Fairytale of New York’ was re-released, reaching the UK top five once more, showing the song’s enduring popularity. It was March of last year though, that the entire band got back together, with the entire lineup playing with MacGowan for a series of sold-out shows in Washington D.C., Boston and New York, and later that same year, they returned Stateside to play in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Awarded the lifetime achievement award at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards last year, many fans remain hopeful that new material is in the works.

Chevron insists however, that although there is a possibility of a new album being recorded in the future, ‘Like everything in The Pogues, if it happens, it will happen. Once the stars are aligned. We never really have any plans to do anything next, (and that’s) the reason that the reunion has been so successful. Nobody has felt trapped into being in a band again’.

With what Chevron describes as ‘the classic ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’ lineup back in action, New York City awaits a series of thundering performances from The Pogues, one of the ‘Fifty Bands You Must See Live Before You Die’, according to Q Magazine this week. The Pogues playing live in New York City on Saint Patrick’s Night? Mr. Chevron perhaps you were correct, things don’t get much better than that.

Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries)

Thursday, December 4th, 2014


These days, there are several artists from previous eras attempting to raise their respective profiles phoenix-like, from the ashes of past glories.

Whether at the height of their careers they were lionized or lampooned is irrelevant, for 2007 seems, hitherto, the year of the musical comeback.

With acclaimed acts such as The Police, The Eagles, Genesis and Van Halen all planning tours and recording new material, and Bryan Ferry, Rage Against The Machine, Tina Turner and even Fats Domino all spotted performing live in recent weeks, it perhaps came as little surprise then, that Dolores O’Riordan, one-time lead vocalist with The Cranberries, had decided to parade her vocal talents once more before the public eye.

O’Riordan’s impressive return with her first solo album, ‘Are You Listening?’, is a full decade since she experienced worldwide success with The Cranberries, therefore suggesting that she is drifting towards unfamiliar, perhaps even perilous waters. Fans of the singer need not fear however, for the album, inspired mostly by events in her personal life, some heartbreaking (the illness and subsequent death of her mother-in-law), others joyful (the birth of her third child, Dakota), is a striking return to form by the vocalist. “My mother-in-law died of cancer shortly after I left The Cranberries, which was devastating. It was like watching a beast attack from the inside out, so the song ‘Black Widow’ is a metaphor inspired by that. At the other end of the spectrum ‘Apple’ was written about my husband and ‘Ordinary Day’ reflects the birth of my third baby, Dakota.”

On the singer’s website (, she says; “Once the first 7 songs were penned, we went into the studio and had the musicians record first. Then we took it from there. We didn’t rush it. In total, the writing and recording was a four-year period. The album was an awakening for me in my life – a journey that I completed. It’s like I crossed a bridge, which is a great new plateau to be on. My life is so different to how it was 10 years ago and there’s a great sense of acceptance. It’s a very exciting time to be releasing music again too. Song-writing is truly coming back.”

Other stand-out tracks on the album include; ‘In The Garden’, ‘Loser’ and ‘Watch the Stars’, tracks she plays alongside some ‘fantastic musicians, a great bass player, a stellar drummer and an immaculate guitarist’.

Having joined the Limerick-based Cranberries when she was eighteen, O’Riordan spent thirteen years and five albums with bandmates Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan and Fergal Lawlor, before going on hiatus in 2003, allowing her to enjoy family life with husband Don, and to raise the couple’s children, Donny, Taylor Baxter, Molly and Dakota Rain.

The album, released earlier this month, followed ‘Ordinary Day’, the first single taken from the recording, an upbeat tune not entirely dissimilar to her earlier work with The Cranberries, and precedes a North American tour, which begins in July. The Irish Examiner caught up with Dolores O’Riordan recently, where she spoke of her love of music, her family life, and how it feels to be back once more in the public eye. Being out of the limelight for several years, she’s clearly excited to be embarking on this latest stage of her career, the solo aspect. “I’d a good break, and I’ve the hunger back, the whole vibe is back. Most of the material (for the new album) was written in Canada. In winter, there’s four feet of snow there. It’s very cold, but very inspiring. I have a piano in my house, and I use the weather, the ever-changing climate to inspire me while writing,” she claimed.

Her hiatus from the rock star lifestyle was clearly a welcome break, and though satisfied to be back making music once more, she is at once both relaxed and raring to go. “It was the first time since I was a teenager, being a normal human being, away from being an entertainer. There was no pressure. I wanted to challenge myself, to see if I could be a normal mother. It was such a cool experience. I just wanted that normality. I took a break from the music and entertainment industry for the first time in my life (since joining The Cranberries),” she claimed.

Having had children, things ‘slow down a little bit’, and after the group released its greatest hits album, O’Riordan felt it was “the right time to switch off. I loved the whole idea of not being contractually bound. I kind of became myself again.”

The music scene in general however, has changed a great deal while she’s been away. “The emphasis is not on CDs anymore, it’s more on Ipods. It’s always changing, when we were teens, it went from vinyl to cassette. Good music is good music though.”

This current wave of recent publicity however, is not her first return to the spotlight in recent times. Before the release of the album, eagle-eyed music fans may have noticed a cameo appearance by the singer, in the Adam Sandler/Kate Beckinsale movie, ‘Click’, where she performed the signature Cranberries hit, ‘Linger’ in one scene.

Of her cinematic venture, she told us: “Adam (Sandler) is a big fan apparently. It was a blast, we spent ten days (on location). There’s a lot of waiting around for your scene. It’s a good laugh, and very interesting behind the scenes. Every morning, we’d three and a half hours doing make up, it makes you aware of so many different forms of art.”

Of a future in acting however, she said: “Maybe when I’m older, if it felt good at the time. I did like the whole experience, but you’d have to move lock, stock and barrel to Los Angeles.”

A move she’s not fully tempted by, given the fact that with stepson Donny now in his teens, and the rest of her brood growing up, relocating to LA could prove to be a tumultuous maneuver. Recording the album, she says, she “had a great time experimenting,” although as refrained from listening to other music. “I completely pulled myself out. When I’ve been recording myself, I tend not to (listen to music). At home, I listen to Led Zeppelin, Morrissey, when the kids are in bed, but my husband and I have very different musical tastes, so we rarely agree on what to listen to!!” Dolores’ husband, Don Burton, works within the music business himself, having once managed Duran Duran.

With ‘Ordinary Day’, currently doing the rounds on radio playlists on either side of the Atlantic, what is it that chose that track over the others on the album, to release first? “I think that that one kind of has a nice, acoustic, breezy, uplifting swing to it. I think it’s a good song to come out with first. Plus, it’s also got (a positive message). It’s uplifting. To be honest, it’s very seasonal, as well I think, it’s got the sunshine in it, it’s got this time of the year in it,” she claimed in a recent interview.

The album, the accomplished singer/songwriter’s first set of new material for four years, was co-produced by Youth and Dan Brodbeck, and engineered by Rich Chycki, and was written and recorded between the singer’s homes in Canada and Dublin. Youth, who worked on ‘Apple’ and ‘Ordinary Day’, is an acclaimed producer, previously working alongside The Verve, U2, Paul McCartney, Embrace and Primal Scream.

“He certainly brought his own vision to the table and softened the tracks without affecting their integrity or passion,” enthuses O’Riordan. It’s like she was never away.

‘Are You Listening?’ is available at all good music outlets.