Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Bell X1 Interview…

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

A Thing About Teapots?

Mike Fitzpatrick Interviews Bell X1’s Paul Noonan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business as Usual for the Boys of Bell X1 

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Bell X1’s Singer/Songwriter, Paul Noonan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At The Mike Stand with Aiveen Cooper

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Aiveen Cooper

Aiveen Cooper

Irish writer and mammy of two, Aiveen Cooper, is a busy girl. Having studied zoology at Dublin’s Trinity College, the Kildare native went on to work with the Royal Irish Academy, where she wrote articles for Heritage Outlook and Wild Ireland. Her editor there, in search of a piece about Ireland’s longest river, The Shannon, contacted her to pen the feature. When completed, it was spotted by a publisher, who felt that it could be further developed into a book, with Aiveen being the one to write it. Despite having had a new baby at the time, as well as a full-time job and her commencement of a part time MSc course, she ambitiously set out to write; ‘The River Shannon: A Journey Down Ireland’s Longest River’. Traveling the length of the river, from its source in the Cuilcagh Mountains, to its entry into the Atlantic Ocean, passing through eighteen counties, over a dozen lakes, and historic towns like Drumshanbo, Athlone, Shannonbridge, Portumna, Castleconnell and Limerick, she spoke with locals and researched her history to find tales of Viking raids and Napoleonic adventures, as well as important information about power generation, tourism and transportation. With over 250 beautifully-illustrated pages about the story of ‘Shannonland, the book is a must-have for anyone interested in Ireland’s historical landscape as well as its globally-renowned natural beauty. Aiveen, welcome to ‘At The Mike Stand’.

‘The River Shannon: A Journey Down Ireland’s Longest River’, Aiveen’s beautifully photographed, incredibly informative story about the longest river in Ireland and Britain, is available to buy at Amazon.co.uk.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?

This morning, and every morning thanks to my 3-year-old son Danny.

What act would you like to have seen perform live?

Elvis.

What team(s) do you support?

None really, sport isn’t my thing, Ireland in the rugby at a push.

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

Seeing as Middle Earth probably doesn’t count then Ancient Egypt (not as a slave though).

What song would you most like to have written?

Any – I have no musical talents at all!

Who or what, would make you leave a room?

Anyone associated with the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

What decade rules (and why)?

The 80’s – my youth.

What movie role would you like to have played?

Baby in ‘Dirty Dancing’ (mainly so I could dance with Patrick Swayze).

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Nobody puts Aiveen in the corner? Baby from ‘Dirty Dancing’, The role Aiveen would’ve liked to have played.

Who’s the greatest movie star of all time?

Brendan Gleeson or Robin Williams.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?

Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Who would you most like to meet/have met?

David Attenborough.

sophiee

Sophie Ellis-Bextor, or is that Aiveen Kemp?

What’s the first album you remember buying?

Big Country’s ‘Steeltown’.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

Paul.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Not sure if it is officially a Christmas song but Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s  ‘The Power of Love’.

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

Keith Richards – He is a medical miracle.

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

Take That are my guilty pleasure – don’t tell anyoneJ

What book can you read again and again?

‘The Hobbit’ – the first proper book I ever read and what made me think of being a writer.

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?

The Joshua Tree – not just for the music but as a reminder of great times in my life

What artists would be in your supergroup?

Freddie Mercury on vocals, Sting on bass, Dave Grohl on drums, Slash on guitar.

What sitcom character can you most identify with?

A touch of Carrie Bradshaw (the writer side), a pinch of Max from ‘Two Broke Girls’ (for her cynicism), a little bit of Monica (‘Friends’) and a sprinkling of Vivian from The Young Ones.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Any of the 1980s greats – ‘Back to the Future’, ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘The Goonies’. It is great to be able to watch them again with my own kids.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

Snoopy.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

Yosemite National Park in California.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?

Penicillin.

What character from literature is most like you?

Bridget Jones keeps springing to mind but I always fancied myself as Lady Arwen in ‘Lord of the Rings’.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?

The iPhone – it is ruining the world with antisocialism.

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?

Billy Connolly – He’s the only comedian who made me cry with laughter.

Who’s your favorite namesake?

Not sure I have any! Alice Cooper!!

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Aiveen’s namesake, Mr. Alice Cooper.

 

At The Mike Stand with Ian O’Flynn.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

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Ian featuring in an Irish National Lottery ad back in the ’90s.

Where does one start with a gentleman like Ian O’Flynn? Well, I suppose we could start on the left and work our way around, but sure, the guy is like a modern-day Robin Hood. Not the whole, robbing from the rich thing of course, but see, he’s got so many arrows to his bow, that we’re undecided as to where to begin.

The County Dublin native, an award-winning actor (he took home a national prize for his lead role in a production of Martin McDonagh’s ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’ back in 1997), also featured in the television mini-series ‘The Real Charlotte’, which starred Sorcha Cusack, Jemma Redgrave and Patrick Bergin, keeping up something of a family tradition, as his mother, the late Joan O’Flynn, was well-known in County Dublin for her work as a playwright, and was also very much involved in the pantomime scene.

Ian subsequently became a nationally-known face in Ireland, due to his being prominently featured in advertisements for the National Lotto (see accompanying pic). Nowadays however, father-of-four Ian, who runs a volunteer center in County Westmeath, is more known for his association with ‘Facefest’, a family-friendly music and arts festival which he co-founded with his wife Ally, and is held annually at Charleville Castle, Tullamore, County Offaly, which helps raise funds for local causes. This year’s event, which kicks off on June 20th, promises to be the biggest yet, with dozens of musical acts scheduled to perform, and many activities for the kids, and, of course, the young at heart, on offer. For tickets and other festival information, contact: www.facebook.com/facefestirl or email allyofcastle@gmail.com or ioflynn@gmail.com or call 086-1743470. Ian, welcome to The Mike Stand.

What would you like an Ian O’Flynn tribute act to be called?

The Man who shook the world, and then made them better!

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?

Today.  I was testing my Lycra knickers and pulled them up over my head.  Felt totes Iggy Pop!

What act would you like to have seen perform live?

Led  Zeppelin.

What team(s) do you support?

Team Jacob :P, Manchester United, Leinster Rugby, Detroit Pistons, Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Cardinals.

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

Just after the second world war, such a huge opportunity for rebuilding!

What song would you most like to have written?

Let it be by The Beatles

Who or what, would make you leave a room?

Rude and ignorant people, and also, the Dutch! (Austin powers)

What decade rules (and why)?

1990’s by a long mile!

What’s your karaoke specialty?

Way too many as I am that good but maybe, I’ll sail this ship alone. Seasons of Love or currently, my favorite is Just Haven’t met you yet by mickey bubbles but if you are asking for something I nail, it would be Lady Madonna.

What movie role would you like to have played?

Ahh heaor, I am movie nut, I have a few…   At the moment.  Sonny Weaver in Draft Day, I can relate to him as following the passing of his legend parent, his biggest test came against people looking to exploit it but, he was well able and wiley, reminded me of myself during my time after a big flooding damage in 2009, I manage a volunteer centre.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?

Yeah, Brad Pitt ALL the time.  But, that’s by me.  Others have said William Defoe or (Cringes, Mick Hucknall, when I had my longer and redder hair)

What’s the first album you remember buying?

I think the first album I bought was Now 1, the very first one but, the first single I ever bought was Under Pressure by Bowie and Queen

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

George Harrison

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Little Drummer Boy, Bing and Bowie

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

Jaysus, as in famous?  I would think, Keith Richards, personally, I have many legends but maybe Dave Yeates or Ed Griffin..   Ledgeballs both!
What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?

Well, I don’t do anything in secret as I think one should be genuine but, privately, I love to listen to James Taylor.  I just think it’s a special me and him moment.

Who would you most like to meet/have met?

I would love to have met Marvin Gaye.  Loved his music, loved how he did it all, was devastated whaen he was shot dead and why.

What book can you read again and again?

A Short History of Almost Everything by Bill Bryson.  Proper toilet book.

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?

It’s a tie between Sign O’ the times by Prince and 13 songs by Fugazi.  I can’t separate them

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

Drums – Stuart Copeland

Keyboard – Stevie Wonder

Guitar – Angus Young

Lead Guitar – Eddie Van Halen

Other stuff – Bez (Happy Mondays)

What do few people know about you?

I hate confrontation.  I really do.  But I have learned to be diplomatic but thankfully, I can see mad fuckers coming and can deal with them.

What sitcom character can you most identify with? 

Al Bundy

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Draft Day (It’s REALLY GOOD)  Reminds me of growing up and watching NFL and also when I lived in the US and weeing the Mile High Stadium in Denver and Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe Az. Now I am thinking of Jerry McGuire…  Dammit Mike…  Hmm..   Yeah, Draft Day at the moment but I do love the classics too.  Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka etc.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

Tom from Tom and Jerry..   Such an awfully unlucky cat.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

Phoenix Arizona…  It has everything..  And lovely heat!

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?

Language, isn’t it great when we can actually say what we mean rather than grunts, google translate is second!

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?

Grading, it’s overrated!   Seriously, maybe politics?  It leads to many bad things.  It’s not democracy I have a problem with, it’s the politics that go with it.

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?

Robin Williams based on his live shows, not his movies but, who ever runs the Crumlin Shopping Centre Facebook Page is a genius at one liners and responses.  It’s a must look at page.

Who’s your favorite namesake (your favorite other Ian)?

If it is a famous person then Ian McKellen, for some great performances in many of my favorite movies on top of his brilliant you tube stuff with Patrick Stewart,  if it is a real person, I have to say Ian Aston, You cannot get any more genuine, real and just god damn nice than that fella!

 

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At The Mike Stand with Mark Geary

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
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Mark Geary

Mark Geary’s been there. He’s also done that, and while not wearing the actual t-shirt, he may well have written a song about the experience instead. Having arrived in New York City’s East Village in the early ’90s, the transplanted Dubliner soon became immersed in the city’s live music scene, and was, before long, rubbing shoulders and swapping set-lists with the likes of Jeff Buckley and other upcoming stars. During the subsequent two decades, he’s developed a reputation as being one of the most inspiring, hard-working and passionate performers out there, one who’d write a tune as quickly as lend a guitar string to a fellow artist in distress. At first playing iconic downtown venues such as Sin-E alongside the late, lamented Buckley, Mark has progressed, developing his style to suit his ever-growing audience and the advancements in his personal life, as well as his career in music. Often associated with fellow stalwarts of the New York scene Brendan O’Shea and Jenna Nicholls, two long-term friends and fellow NYC-based talents, with whom he’s shared many a stage with, he’s also performed with Joe Strummer, Glen Hansard, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Coldplay, Josh Ritter and many others. An accomplished songwriter and composer, he also created the score for the award-winning 2005 movie ‘Loggerheads’, and along with fellow Irishman Karl Odlum, wrote the music for 2010’s ‘Sons of Perdition’. With four studio albums, two live recordings and several collaborations (including his own tune, ‘Christmas Biscuits’ with long-time friend and collaborator Hansard) already released, Mark will play several dates in New York in the coming weeks to road test a number of tunes from his upcoming, asyet untitled, album. Mr. Geary, welcome to ‘At The Mike Stand’. By Michael Fitzpatrick.

Catch Mark Geary perform live at: The Living Room (Brooklyn) on April 3rd, The New York Irish Center in Long Island City (Queens) on April 4th, and at this writer’s favorite bar in the world The Scratcher, on Manhattan’s East 5th Street, for a free show on Sunday April 5th. Mark, welcome to At The Mike Stand.For more extensive gig details, with addresses, ticket information and so on, check out the artist’s website: markgeary.com.

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

I kinda like the idea that the tribute act might be better than me, ‘Mark Geary Done Better Tribute Act’, has a ring to it

What song would you most like to have written?

Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’, Bob Dylan’s ‘Desolation Row’ and Nina Simone’s ‘I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl’.

Who’s your favorite namesake?

Probably Mark Helprin, author of ‘A Winter’s Tale’ (Which has since been made into a movie starring Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe and Will Smith – Editor).

Who’s your favorite character from literature?

The Count of Monte Cristo

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

I’ve been touring a lot through Switzerland, I’m stunned by how beautiful it is, there is an order and a calm to the place, that is both reassuring and baffling

Who would you most like to meet/have met?

I’m not sure I buy into the whole ‘never meet your heroes thing’. There is an idea that perhaps it’s because your heroes weren’t that impressed with you.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?

I was listening to a radio interview with an Irish politician, who clearly hadn’t read the new party’s press release. It was toe-curling and tragic and f***ing funny, in equal measure

What act would you like to have seen perform live?

I get to see lots of music, bands I think play more now than ever, because basically they have to, records sales have gone, so you work and tour for as long as you can. I saw Bruce Springsteen, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Radiohead all in the space of a few weeks, but sometimes I go months without seeing anything, I just kinda shut myself away from it, so I hear what I’m trying to write. Other times I listen and listen to everything, I write and read everything, in order to rob all the ideas I love.

What team(s) do you support?

I’m a Man Utd fan, should I talk about that this year?? No no, my heart has become hardened and cold, there is no joy, just an awful sinking feeling, kinda like what a Liverpool fan feels every year!!!!

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

Not sure visited, or perhaps a really quick visit, but I’m pretty into history and World War Two. ‘Band of Brothers’, ‘Fury’, not a bad film, it showed the war from the perspective of a tank crew, so required reading is everything by Stephen Ambrose, who wrote ‘Band of Brothers’, ‘D-Day/Citizen Soldier’, just fantastic writer. Woody Allen has a line; ‘In the event of war, I’m a hostage’.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?

Hmmm, well fear always is a good indicator that its time to leave a room, or run from a room. I’m not a fan of bullies and arrogance, that can make me leave a room, I’ve often had to throw a little comment in their direction before I leave though.

Have you ever walked out on a movie?

Oh god, a lot of times. I wished I had walked out of that Terence Malick film, ‘The Thin Red Line’? I think it lasted longer than the actual war, and took place in real time, agony. I think I might have left that “Will Smith and his kid movie, ‘After Earth’ oh my God what a pile of s**t!!

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

Oh I guess I’d like to see how I got on doing a war movie. Which guy I played, everyone wants to be the hero,  and I guess no one ever wants or sees themselves as the geeky nerd with the computer!! I did do a movie ( a horror ) with Christopher Walken and all i wanted was to stay alive in the movie and say some lines.

Who do people say you look like?

Oh please please don’t ask me! I get really odd ones. I’m cringing even saying this- hahaha there has been moments of Ronan Keating, and then there’s a Jamie Oliver thing, I’ll leave it there!

What’s the first album you remember buying?

This sounds like such bollocks and hipster, ( a word I’ve come to hate) but its true, I shamefully stole a “ street legal” Bob Dylan record from a charity shop, years later I bought the charity shop, (that’s not true).

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

John, Paul, George, Ringo.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Mmmmm,  I happen to like mine, but my favorite is ‘The Little Drummer Boy’, by David Bowie and Bing Crosby.

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

Mother Teresa.

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

Oh its no secret, I don’t get into guilty listening and all that. Cheesy pop, awful country and western, the more “tears in beers” the better, soft rock ballads all of it. If its a proper song it will be ok.

What book can you read again and again?

Theres not a lot that I do read again, but ‘The English patient’ and ‘100 Years of Solitude’, I’m also actually re-reading ‘The Virgin Suicides’, the book just destroys me, beautifully written, tragic.

Who Would Be In Your Supergroup?

I have a suspicion I wouldn’t be in it.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

‘The Godfather Part 2′ and ‘On the Waterfront’.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

Spongebob.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?

Compassion.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?

Job interviews.

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

Ronan Keating.

At The Mike Stand with Jo Kinsella.

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
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Jo Kinsella

Kilkenny-born, New York-based Jo Kinsella is one of those busy types that makes us want to buy a faster pushbike. You see, there’s just no way that us folk here ‘At The Mike Stand’ are able to keep up with her schedule on our rusty old Raleigh Chopper. The award-winning actress, no stranger to New York’s, or indeed Ireland’s theater scene, was kind enough this week to slow down for a few minutes and answer some dreadfully nosy questions for us in between readings, auditions and performances. Jo is well-known and respected in dramatic circles due to her numerous lead and supporting roles in US-based and European productions of Laoisa Sexton’s ‘For Love’, John B. Keane’s plays; ‘The Year of the Hiker’, ‘Moll’ and ‘Big Maggie’, Brian Friel’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ at The Irish Repertory Theatre, Jimmy Kerr’s ‘Ardnaglas on the Air’, ‘An Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein’, James Joyce’s ‘Eveline’ and of course her star turn in ‘House Strictly Private’ (also by Jimmy Kerr). An incredibly talented and popular figure on the New York stage, who is currently involved with the ‘A Memory’ series of short story sessions at the National Academy of Television and Science hosted by HBO, Jo has also contributed voiceovers to the upcoming Tara O’Grady album, ‘Irish Bayou’. Jo, welcome to ‘At The Mike Stand’.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.

 

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

Craic, rí,rá agus ruaile buaile with Josie.

What song would you most like to have written?

I don’t desire to have written anyone’s song, I wouldn’t take that glory from anyone but I have to take my hat off to any band who can make a room go mental and that band for me is Chumbawama, for their release of ”Tubthumping”, AKA “I Get Knocked Down’ in August 1997. I spent that summer in Sydney getting down on my hunkers & jumping up again sweat pumping adamant to last the entire song…..Brilliant memories!

Who’s your favorite namesake?

“Josie and the Pussycats”.

Who’s your favorite character from literature?

St. Nicholas.  

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

Sailing the Whitsundays (74 islands in the Great Barrier Reef) Australia

Who would you most like to meet/have met?

God.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?

This morning with my husband.

What act would you like to have seen perform live?

(I’d like to have attended) Woodstock.

What team(s) do you support?

Mooncoin, Kilkenny,and Liverpool.

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

The 1920s.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?

Don’t know about a room but I’ve left a few subway cars with no air-conditioning during the New York summers, and we’ve all fallen victim to that empty subway car thinking we’ve scored a seat until that smell hits…

Have you ever walked out on a movie?

No, but I wish I walked out on ‘The Exorcist’ all those years ago when my friend and I agreed to go together. Later she admitted she had her eyes closed throughout the entire movie. I was disturbed for years later, especially driving home alone at night through Silversprings, the haunted stretch of the road to our house.

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

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

Who do people say you look like?

I was told by an English guy I once snogged that I looked like ‘’Antonia de Sancha” I was so flattered and I couldn’t wait to see what she looked like. There was no Google back then , eventually I found her in “Hello” magazine and was so let down when her head appeared long and she kinda looked like a horse.

What’s the first album you remember buying?

I used to make my own, taping songs from the radio with the tape recorder we got from the stamps we saved up at Texaco petrol station.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

Paul.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

‘Fairytale of New York’.

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

Elvis Presley.

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

I used to think the Saw Doctors were uncool but now I love listening to them while driving alone with our baby. I get so nostalgic, goosebumps and a warm feeling in my heart. Only a voice from your own nation can take you home which I want to pass on to our little one.

What book can you read again and again?

I read scripts rather than books. These days I seem to be lucky enough being busy working on fresh new scripts sent to me reading them over again.

Who Would Be In Your Supergroup?

 Anto, Katlyn and Tomás.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

 ‘Home Alone’.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

 Doc McStuffins.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?

Skype, it’s amazing how families can connect worldwide.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?

Video games

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

Geraldine Hughes.

Who is the most irritating character in literature/movies/television history?

No offense he’s brilliant at what he does but irritates me, Jim Carrey.

 

At The Mike Stand with Brona Crehan.  

Sunday, February 15th, 2015
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‘Pillow On The Stairs’ playwright, Brona Crehan.

Brona Crehan may not be the first playwright to cause a splash in Irish literary circles, she may not even be the first New York-based writer to contribute a ripple or two to the great raging ocean that is Irish drama. She is however, one that is making some considerable waves these days as far as writing and performing in the Big Apple is concerned. And yes, we’re aware that we’ve used a lot of water-based references, but you see, we had them left over from when we reviewed that short-lived ‘Orange Submarine’ extravaganza a few weeks back. Anyway, Brona’s play, ‘Pillow On The Stairs’, currently showing at The Cell (338 West 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenue), an eagerly-awaited production directed by John Keating (and starring Brona, Jacqueline Kealy and John McConnell), has proven to be an exciting performance fully deserving of its rave reviews, with many attendees already looking forward to this compelling writer’s next work. ‘Pillow on the Stairs’ is playing February 18,19,20,25,26,27 & 28, and all shows for the hour-long performance are at 7pm.  For tickets, call (800)838-3006, or online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1165222. Brona, welcome to At The Mike Stand.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.

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

Queen.  Oh, wait a minute – that’s been done – right?

What song would you most like to have written?

‘The Long and Winding Road’.  Sad songs are my thing.  Cheaper than going to therapy!  I also wouldn’t mind being responsible for (what turned out to be) The Beatles’ last hit.

Who’s your favorite namesake?

There aren’t that many Bronas around.  Can I pass on that one?  I never liked my name growing up because it was unusual and I always had to repeat it when someone asked me my name.  Now I love it because of its uniqueness.   I did like Bronagh Gallagher in The Commitments though.

Who’s your favorite character from literature?

Hedwig, Harry Potter’s owl.  I love owls, I think they are beautiful, especially the snowy owls.  Hedwig means female warrior in Norwegian I believe.  Sounds good to me!

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?

Greece, although I haven’t been yet.  I’ve been promised a trip for my 50th – quite a few years away of course, but no doubt it will be here before I know it.  I was supposed to go for my 40th but had a three month old baby at that point so that sort of put a different spin on things.

Who would you most like to meet/have met?

Can I change that slightly?  To who would I like to meet again?  I’d like to see my dad again.  There are so many things I would say to him and tell him if I had my time over.  I’d give anything for him to be able to meet my two little men.

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?

This morning, my kids crack me up every day.

What act would you like to have seen perform live?

I’d love, love, love to have seen Elvis live in Vegas.  Or Les Dawson, apparently he always wanted to be featured on “An Audience With…’ but died before he could.  In 2013 he appeared on it as a hologram!  It was very clever and cool.

What team(s) do you support?

You don’t know me at all do you?  There’s a Liverpool supporter in my house.  My husband is a fan.  The boys are getting interested now too and curse at the TV just as much as he does.

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

1950’s Hollywood.  My idea of and desire to live in the US was formed by watching American movies as a kid. I was fascinated by the stars of the 50s, Ava Gardner, Vivien Leigh, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Gary Cooper, James Mason, Robert Mitchum (my favorite actor), Richard Burton – all of them.  I’d love to have been around then.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?

I don’t know really.  I’m curious by nature so not sure who or what would get my goat enough to make me leave a room.  I suppose if someone insulted me or my family, I might leave.

Have you ever walked out on a movie?

No.  I wanted to walk out of a few but didn’t because I was with other people.  Nightmare on Elm Street is one, I hated it.  I’m showing my age now, aren’t I?

What movie/TV/literature can you identify with?

Marge Simpson, the strong matriarch and because her full name is Marjorie Jacqueline Simpson (nee Bouvier)!  And it helps that she just doesn’t age..

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

Cleopatra in the movie or Wonder Woman in the TV show.  Or the bionic woman maybe.. You’ve figured out how old I am now – haven’t you?

Who do people say you look like?

When I wore my hair long I was told I looked like Monica Lewinsky, Rosie O’Donnell and Linda Carter.  Now that it’s short, some people have said Victoria Beckham.  I’m fine with Wonder Woman.

What’s the first album you remember buying?

‘Nightflight to Venus’ by Boney M.  To be more accurate, it was bought for me.  I wanted the soundtrack to Grease but my mum was a Boney M fan so we got ‘Nightflight to Venus’.  It grew on me, eventually.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

I go through phases on that one.  Sometimes John and sometimes Paul.  John was the more intellectual of the two I think whereas Paul might have had the edge on the upbeat hits.  Together they were dynamite.  I don’t know, it’s a toss-up between the two.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

‘Same Old Lang Syne’ by Dan Fogelberg.   More so because I believe it is autobiographical.

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

My granny, Moll.  She lived to be 102 and just passed away in 2013.  I miss her every day.  She was great and had a huge influence on me.  She was very with it even up until she died, had her own cellphone and knew her way around it.  I’d say she’d have been good with email too if her cataracts didn’t give her trouble.

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

Megan Traynor.  My 8 and 6 year old sons love it when I don’t change the station when she comes on.

What book can you read again and again?

No book.  I just can’t.  Once I’ve read it, I’ve read it.

Who Would Be In Your Supergroup?

Depends on what you mean by Supergroup.  If it is a collection of super people then I would have to say my hubby, my kids, my mum, siblings and my good friends, that’s all I need.  If it is a pop group then I’d take Sam Smith, Lennon and McCartney, Annie Lennox and me.  Ah, go on, throw Megan Traynor in there too, just to make it an even mix.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Pretty much the same scenario as the book option.  I find it hard to read/watch something I already know about.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

I must be the weirdest person.  I don’t like cartoons.  My brother loved Tom and Jerry as a kid and I hated it.  They used to stress me out, one trying to kill the other and the other one trying to outwit him.  Terrible.  I was a very anxious child because of those two!

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?

The cellphone.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?

The cellphone.

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

This is a total vanity fest isn’t it?  Hmm…  My life had better get a bit more interesting before the movie guys come calling.   BUT, if someone did, then Sandra Bullock please.

Who is the most irritating character in literature/movies/television history?

Spongebob.  I hate the little fecker.

 

Interview with Mick O’Dwyer.

Sunday, January 25th, 2015
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Mick O’Dwyer

There is that increasingly rare moment in sport when the completely unexpected occurs.

A chance event, a flash in the pan with odds stacked so greatly against it transpiring, that only a fanatical devotee with a problematic love for extreme gambling, would ever dream of it coming to pass.

Incidents such as golfing great Tiger Woods, losing his nerve and dropping a stroke on the final green, tennis king Roger Federer not actually making it to a Grand Slam final, or a pre-retirement Lance Armstrong finishing in something other than first place at a cycling event.

Many years ago, when a young man from County Kerry, freshly retired from a hugely successful gaelic football-playing career, entered management for the first time, and clinched, not only his first Munster Senior and Under-21 titles, but also the All-Ireland Senior and Under-21 titles, there were individuals across the parishes of Ulster, the stadiums of Leinster, the playing fields of Connaught and even the hallowed training grounds of his native Munster, who felt that not only was this merely an embarrassingly fortuitous form of beginner’s luck, but that there was no way he could repeat his extraordinary early successes.

Mick O’Dwyer, a football-obsessed man from Waterville, however, was to go on to crush the critics, nullify the naysayers and batter the begrudgers for years to come, as his all-conquering Kerry side clinched an astonishing eight All-Ireland Championships and eleven Munster crowns.

Having experienced a hugely successful playing career, in which he won four All-Ireland medals, eight National Football League medals and eleven Munster Championship medals, in an inter-county career which began way back in 1954, Mick O’Dwyer moved, seemingly effortlessly, from his position as a corner forward on a triumphant Kingdom team into the managerial hotseat in 1975, where he remained holding the reins of his beloved Kerry side, until the wells of success began to run dry in the latter third of the 1980s, before retiring from the post in 1989.

It is that particular era of his career in Gaelic Football that naturally takes up the greater proportion of his recently-released autobiography, ‘Blessed and Obsessed’. Speaking with the incredibly down to earth O’Dwyer during a recent visit to New York, where he was awarded a hero’s welcome by scores of Kerry folk, who congregated at Rosie O’Grady’s restaurant in midtown Manhattan, to welcome their hero to their adopted side of the Atlantic, it’s rather easy to forget that here is a man considered a legend in his field, such is his easygoing nature and man-of-the-world attitude towards life.

With regards to the book, O’Dwyer claims to have been reluctant to get involved in its production initially; “I’ll tell you one thing. I’d not much interest in the book at first. Blackwater Press were on to me, but once Martin Breheny was on board (that was enough)”. Co-written with Breheny, the GAA editor of the Irish Independent, ‘Blessed and Obsessed,’ is more than merely a biography of one of the greatest figures the game has produced.

It is a diary of sorts, an outlet for O’Dwyer to vent his feelings with regards to the way the game is played today, how he feels about Irish and international society in general, and of course, dozens of sporting anecdotes to keep the footballing purists entertained.

Currently managing Wicklow, where he’s involved with; “A nice little team. It’s a very young side, nothing will happen over night, but the enjoyment I get out of working with these Wicklow players is unbelievable,” O’Dwyer has clearly lost little of his youthful vigor, optimism and love for the game.

It is the fourth county he has led, following two stints with Kildare, whom he took to a first Leinster title in forty-two years, and an All-Ireland Final in 1998, only to be defeated by an old nemesis of his (Galway), not once, but twice, when the Connaught champions defeated his Lillywhites again in 2000.

Having left Kildare for a second time, after being defeated by old enemies Dublin in 2002, O’Dwyer accepted a management role with Laois, whom he promptly took to their first Leinster title in fifty-seven years, in 2003.

Despite three Leinster final appearances (with one victory) ‘Micko’ felt it was time to move on, and it is to this day that he remains with his new charges, Wicklow, with whom he won the Tommy Murphy Cup Final versus Antrim just last year, despite having just undergone minor cardiac surgery.

With Wicklow languishing in the doldrums for so many years before his arrival, who is not to say that the man with the Midas touch could well be the one to bring the blooms back to the Garden County?

At The Mike Stand with Noreen Ryan

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

By Mike Fitzpatrick

You know, we could write a book on the musical adventures that Tipperary native Noreen Ryan’s experienced during her time in New York and Ireland, but sure, she wouldn’t read it, she’d be too busy gigging, laughing, touring and watching Father Ted.

The multi-instrumentalist Noreen, a renowned whistle and bodhran player from the famous musical Ryan family of County Tipp, is one of those characters you’ll not forget in a hurry.

Seriously, we tried once. Having shared a stage with the likes of Black ’47 and Davy Spillane, during her time as a member of traditional Irish acts such as The Tain and the eclectic Avenging Disco Godfathers (with former ‘At The Mike Standees’ Dave Barckow and Sue Wendelken), and sitting in for countless sessions with Kenny Mannion, her brothers Donie and Pio Ryan, Tony de Marco, Bernie Fay, John Redmond, Dave Fahy and many others, Noreen left her beloved New York three years ago.

She’s now back in Tipperary, where she’s a founding member of Tradstone, a band which plays trad and Celtic rock, with some of their material relating to Ireland’s current troubled economic climate, and the ongoing plight of immigrants to and from the Emerald Isle.

When the documentary about traditional Irish music in America is eventually produced, be certain that Noreen Ryan will feature prominently.

Naturally, you’ll hear her infectious laugh, but also, her wonderful talents for haunting melodies, majestic trad anthems and raucous reels which would leave a centipede with itchy feet delirious on a dancefloor. Noreen, welcome to At The Mike Stand.

What would you like your own tribute act to be called?
‘The Noreen Ryan Experience!’

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?
Ah sure I’m always laughing I even wake myself up laughing. How bad is that?

What act would you like to have seen perform live?
The Man In Black himself, Johnny Cash.

What team(s) do you support?
The All-Ireland Champions Tipperary!

What period in history would you most like to have visited?
I’d like to have had a stint in most of them except the gory medieval times although the garb looked cool.

What song would you most like to have written?
‘I hope that I don’t fall in love with you’, by Tom Waits. So beautiful.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?
A politician and/or banker because they stink of greed and more greed.

What decade rules (and why)?
The ’60s for breaking away from the ’50s first of all, and for music, fashion, freedom to be who you want to be, and just all-round coolness.

What cover version do you most enjoy performing?
I’m a trad-head so it’s tunes most of the time.

What movie role would you like to have played/play?
Anything opposite Robert De Niro.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?
Yes, my mother.

What’s the first album you remember buying?
‘Black Rose’ by Thin Lizzy.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?
I’m not a fan, I know that’s not something I should admit to but they don’t turn me on, what can I say?

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

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

What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?
I love heavy rock and that stiff neck feeling the next morning!

Who would you most like to meet/have met?
Again, Johnny Cash, he rocked.

What book can you read again and again?
Pass ask me a sports question!

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?
There’s so many I’ll go with The Band by The Band though, goosebumps all the way.

What artists would you most like to have played with in the band of your dreams (supergroup)?
This is my Trad supergroup, Well I’d have to have Shane MacGowan anyways just for the craic alone, then John Joe Kelly on the bodhran, Andy Irvine on mandolin/bazouki and vocals, Declan Sinnott on guitar, Andy M. Stewart (vocals, banjo, whistle)… and Trevor Hutchinson (stand-up bass) wow I wonder could that happen?

What do few people know about you?
I sleep with my eyes open!!!

What sitcom character can you most identify with?
Mrs. Doyle (you know making tea and all that).

What movie can you watch over and over again?
‘Withnail & I’.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
Peter Griffin from ‘Family Guy’.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?
New York, I miss it big-time.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?
Music of course.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?
Damn alarm clocks.

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?
Fr. Ted.

Who’s your favorite namesake?
Noreen Bawn is all I can think of not too many Noreens out there.

Who’s your favorite character from literature?
I haven’t done a whole pile of reading in my life but Huckleberry Finn hit a chord it was colorful and profound.

At The Mike Stand with Colin Smith

Friday, December 12th, 2014

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You know, it’s not easy pinning down these singer/songwriter types. One doesn’t just wander into an East Village coffeehouse like the old days, and bump into the likes of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Tim Buckley discussing the works of Byron over a steamy latte or two. Good Lord no, those days are long gone. Take this edition’s entrant to the ‘At The Mike Stand’ hall of fame, Colin Smith for example. Colin, or, The Smithmaster General, as perhaps nobody has ever referred to him, has been writing, performing and recording in New York City for over a decade. As the lead vocalist, principal songwriter and guitarist with transplanted Dubliners MrNorth, Colin, along with his bandmates, Oisin, Emmett and Aido, are currently riding high on the success of the release of their recent CD, ‘MrNorth Live in New York’. With a solo album also in the pipeline, as well as a number of gigs, both as a member of MrNorth (July 28th at downtown Manhattan venue Ulysses) and as a one-man act, Colin’s been quite a busy chap. Lucky for us however, he did take a few minutes out, to join us ‘At The Mike Stand’. Colin, welcome to the pages of The Irish Examiner.

By Mike Fitzpatrick
Picture by Teresa Brink

Who’d be in your fantasy supergroup?
That’s a good one, let’s see. I’d love to have Paul McCartney on bass, Bill Bruford of Genesis/Yes on drums, that’d be interesting. No, make it Dave Grohl on drums and Jeff Buckley on guitar.

What act would you like to have seen perform live?
The three-legged woman from the circus.

What would a Colin Smith tribute act be called?
His Baldness.

What song would you like to have written?
‘Happy Birthday’, I’d be worth billions.

What team(s) do you support?
Manchester United and the New York Mets.

Who or what, would make you leave a room?
(Conservative political commentator) Sean Hannity.

What decade rules?
The 1930s.

What movie role would you like to have played?
The child-catcher in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?
Yes! Through my life it’s been different, but most recently it was the bad vampire from ‘Twilight’.

What’s the first album you remember buying?
The soundtrack to ‘Oliver’, the musical. I bought that, I was obsessed, I thought I was Oliver. That was the first song I learned to sing, ‘Where Is Love’, and on my solo record, I incorporated that phrase into the end of one of my favorite songs from the album.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?
Paul.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
‘The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot’

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

What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?
I don’t really feel ashamed for any music that I like. If I think something will piss people off, I’ll like it even more.

What book can you read again and again?
‘Anthem’ by Ayn Rand.

What movie can you watch over and over again?
‘Lawrence of Arabia’.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
What’s the dog with the long face? Droopy!

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?
The Grand Canyon.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?
The 24-hour news channel.

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?
Aido (Mr North’s drummer) is up there. Maybe one of the writers from ‘Will & Grace’ or some show like that. (There followed a lengthy debate between Aido, Colin and the interviewer about the merits of The Marx Brothers, Ricky Gervais and about 812 other ’funny people’). To be funny without doing anything is amazing. For lack of a better example, I’ll go for Jim Carrey.

Who’d you most like to have met?
Richard Harris.