1. How did you get your band name? & 2. How did this band get started?
(trust me - it's easier this way!) We started out in early 1996 – roughly the same time as The Dropkick Murphys & Flogging Molly formed – a bit of an echo there of the original Punk movement when you had The Ramones & Richard Hell doing the same thing in New York As The Pistols & The London SS / Clash in London… I'd come back from Ireland & my 'Tour of Duty' in Shane MacGowan's Popes & I became part of a bunch of Immigrant & second-generation Irishmen who shared a love of loud Punk Rock, & drinking in every Irish bar and Rock 'n' Roll hang-out in North London (mainly the Irish enclaves of Camden, Kentish Town & 'County' Holloway). Over the course of me singing a few ould ballads & a few late-night drunken conversations during lock-ins, etc, it occurred to some of us that a good way of getting a whole rake of free Guinness and perhaps meeting young wans (girls) & maybe even getting our holes was by putting a band together playing a bit of the oul’ diddly-aye Irish music with a punk thing going on as well, so as I was also playing on the Traditional Irish music circuit, I knew some Trad. Irish players that were up for the craic as well, so they hopped aboard & away we went to the fair!
But - we didn't have a lot of money so we were blagging everything really: one of the first gigs we played we didn't even have a name: we were up all night going through all the Irish Gaelic names - until we came to the conclusion that they wouldn't really work outside Ireland - I have enough problems with people mis-spelling my name & that's the English versions! (My name 'As Gaeilge' is Líosain O'Caoimh...). To kinda prove the point - we ended-up deciding we'd call ourselves 'The Craic Dealers', but it soon became apparent that it didn't really work over the phone - particularly when people asked where we playing & we told 'em some of us had a session in The Craic House in Kings Cross... :-D. (I should probably explain that the area surrounding the Central London travel hub that is Kings Cross station is notorious for both prostitution & Class A drugs...it's well dodgy).
So we went back to the drawing-board with no name (we even used the Irish for that at one point: Níl ainm - which would've been gas, but people didn't pronounce it properly - 'Nil Aim' instead of 'Neel Anum' - so we binned it) & turned up at this gig anyway, we didn't have hardly any gear of our own, we had to borrow the drum kit, amps, a bass (possibly even a fiddle) or whatever. We were like "Right! Where's de biddies?" type thing, and the landlord was from Galway or somewhere West Coast (of Ireland, that is - they mumble really quickly & swear a lot...) and he was going, "Jaysus! You've a neck like a jockeys' bollocks youse lot - turning up here with nothing but a thirst and a bugle!" (a 'bugle' is Irish slang for an erection - I think one of the lads may have been a wee bit too excited at the idea of meeting girls yoke...). So we looked at each other & went: "That's it!!! - that’s the name:....Neck!!!". I think yer bugley man may have even kissed him for naming us (- yer man nearly lepped into the wall!) so he thought we were 'a mad shower of eejits & gobshites, entirely!' but he let us borrow the stuff & play & got us drunk afterwards! So we knew we were onto something... Plus, we do like to 'neck' a few pints of the ould gargle as well (too much so at times - but that's another story...), so that's where the name came from - an ould Irish expression...
3. What bands are you influenced by?
Being a London-Irish band, our sound is very much influenced by three other mighty London rebel bands - The Clash, The Pogues & The Sex Pistols. I saw The Clash in 1977 on the White Riot tour, when I was a nipper, & it I've not been the same since - it wasn't a gig - it was something much more vital, dangerous & energising than that - there was a riot outside the venues between the Punks that couldn't get in & the old bill (po-lice). I suppose I've been pretty lucky in a way - I could be wrong, but I think, because the UK & Ireland are far smaller countries, Punk had a far bigger impact on society over here than in the States: The Clash politicised a whole generation over here - there were 200,000 people at the Rock-Against-Racism rally in Victoria Park in the East End in 1978 - including a good few kids that are now high-up in the Trade Unions now, whereas I get the impression they were just a cool band over there - sincere apologies if I'm wrong & being as ignorant as a bag of arses... + I think The Pogues had a far bigger impact too here when they came along: particularly as 'The Troubles' were still raging in the North of Ireland - it wasn't easy being part of the Irish community in the UK in the '70's & '80's: we've been dragged out of the van by two van-loads of armed po-lice (& the cops don't normally carry guns over here) coming back after rehearsals & lined-up against a wall with guns to our heads, just because the 6 of us had Irish names or accents) - & The Pogues were definitely us 'sticking our heads above the parapet' - they even had to change their name 'cos they got banned when someone informed John Peel (God rest him - the man was a saint: if ye don't know who he is, Google him, lads & lasses - he was like the Alan Freed of the Punk & Post-Punk generations - a lot of very famous bands got their first break on his radio show) Pogue Mahone was the phonetic version of Póg mo thóin - or 'kiss my arse' 'as Gailge' / in Irish.
After I came back to London from my 'Tour of Duty' with Shane MacGowan in The Popes in Ireland, I started playing (& singing) on the Traditional Irish music pub session circuit, so all that side of things has been a massive influence on the band - hence the band being formed half from the London Punk scene & half from the 'North London Triangle' (Islington/Camden/Holloway) Trad. Irish session scene. I met The Dubliners through Shane + he turned me on to Finbarr & Eddie Furey (before we got up to Dublin, living-it-up in U2's hotel, we were in a 400-year ould 'cow-shite-&-straw' thatched cottage in the middle of nowhere in Tipperary - haunted-to-buggery too! - & they'd all be off down the boozer while I'd be stuck in the kitchen (the only room with a fire & that wasn't haunted...) with a note-pad, a guitar, a tape deck & a record player working-out how the songs went - buy a Pogues song book?
(a) too easy & (b) we were too far from anywhere that might've sold one i.e. Dublin? nah - it was like the Irish Spinal Tap (yer man's girlfriend sacked the manager & everything + they bought me a THREE channel Marshall Amp - in those days, the most they had was two - so yeh: it was like it went up to 11!) so there was meself on me jacks - but we were doing a Finbarr & Eddie song off one of their albums - The Dawning of the Day - & I feel in love with that album - & the kitchen: we had a real turf fire going & 10 bottles of Poitín in the press (illegal 'Potato Whiskey' white-lightning moon-shine in the cupboard) & Shane could only drink it 'the woman's way' (in hot water, with sugar) 'cos his liver was destroyed & he wasn't able for the spirits, so the smell in the place was magical & so uniquely Irish... - they were a pair of bowsies (one of 'em even had his flies undone on the album photo!) - Travellers, so a mile wide -demons for the drink & unbelievable players & singers - &, listening to it, ye just knew they'd took a handful of magic mushrooms, got a tanked-up on poitín while listening to The Beatles White Album & said "Right! - let's go make the album, so!" & things like 'My Lagan love' is just mind-blowing! - it's Psychedelic Trad music. + we were listening to all Shane's records - loads of reggae (Dr. Alimantado, Dillinger,etc), Them (mighty stuff! - before Van Morrison became a humpy wee fucker), Exile on Main Street by The Stones & watching Rab C. Nesbitt videos - funny as shite! (like James Joyce's oul' fella, his favourite expression was 'Shite 'n' Onions' - which became the name of one of my tunes - &, as a result, was the inspiration for the name of the 'Celtic Punk' website outta Boston, MA!
- funnily, the nearest hamlet, Borrisokane (it's weeshy - there's three pubs in it & ye could hold breath before you entered, & still have enough left to make a balloon stegosaurus on the other side!) is the birth-place of the actor Martin Sheen's daddy, so, like once a year or whatever, the whole tribe descends on the place for a week - Charlie, Emilio, the whole shebang! Mad as a bucket of spiders - the stars of Apocalypse Now, Platoon & Repo Man loose in the bogs of Tipperary! - mad as a bucket of spiders!
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
The Clash (1978 - before they released London Calling & were still a Punk band - I saw 'em in '77 & they meant it man!)); The Sex Pistols (do I need to explain why?); The Pogues (as they were, 'back in the day', as youse all say, rather than now - I saw them then & they were absolutely feckin' mental - chaos kept in a bottle of whiskey & poured out in a stream of ragged glory across a stage!); Johnny Cash - 'cos he wrote '40 shades of Green' about Ireland (which we've covered) & I think he'd approve of us; we've already toured with Stiff Little Fingers, so defo The Undertones (we played with them in Belfast & Derry, but we've not toured with them yet) - they were just a bunch of working class catholic kids from Derry, who just happened to write absolute classics &, pretty-much, invent Pop-Punk; talking of which - Green Day;
+ as we're allowed to go into the realms of fantasy here (any band, past or present) I'm gonna go completely loop-the-loop & invent this: John Lennon & Paul McCartney both wrote songs in reaction to Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry (McCartney's -'Give Ireland back to the Irish'- got to number 1, but was banned by the BBC), - so let's say they re-formed The Beatles for a tour to bring attention to the shocking situation in Northern Ireland (McCartney's Mam & Lennon's Da were Irish + Harrison had Irish family ties too). We've recorded a medley of both their songs (Lennon's is 'Sunday Bloody Sunday') for our next album 'Plastic 'n' Proud'), so it would've been deadly to tour with The Beatles playing their 'pick-of-the-litter' & joining them onstage for a finale of the medley - that would've been something! We'd probably all got arrested, mind...
& then they'd all blame me 'cos it was my idea &, being Scousers, & the witty bastards that they were, Harrison would refer to me as 'The tool on the hill', McCartney would write a really annoying 'binky-bonk' pop song about me slagging me off ("Leeson O'Keeffe, had wobbly teef..." ??) that got to number 1 & school kids still sing today & I'd be mortified & never live it down & Lennon would make-out that he didn't give a shite & say "Don't mind them, La - come round ours for a bevvy" - & then, when I got there, he'd say ''Ere, Yoko luv - O'Tool 'ere's says 'e's really dyin' to hear yer new way-out experimental songs, like - so knock yerself out. I'm just gonna nip down the boozer - it's half eight now, so C U Next Tuesday, mate!" as he skips out locking the door after himself & a thin keening warble starts to emanate from an alarmingly grinning Yoko... "Ah, shite, I've done it again, now I'm after upsettin' somebody!"... as the song goes - ('Always upsettin' somebody' - which - Sultan of Segué, me - happens to be on the album - anyone would think I actually knew what I was doing & planned this, rather than just completely wingin' it!)
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
Jaysus - what a question? I think I'm gonna go with Earl J. Hickey & say a dog, 'cos they like to live indoors & sit on couches...
6. Why should people listen to your band?
Ah - would ye ever get up outta tha'? Because we kill 99% of household germs. I sincerely hope that people reading this blarney at AP.net will be interested enough to check us out - we've made a cracking album with a gifted, name producer who's brought out the best in us - & it's not been easy (hence why the title 'Come out Fighting!' is so apt) but I'm not gonna slag anybody else or say we're better than our mates to do so. We do sound different to what ye may have heard before - because we're London Irish, with all the different influences that means - because of The Clash influence, I can't help being aware of social issues & being prepared to comment on them - that's part of what Punk was all about, & we're also not a 2-dimensional representation of Irish music - with our backgrounds, we couldn't be: we're too close to Ireland & Irish music, in every sense. The music's in me blood & I'll be playing Irish music 'til the day I drop dead - long after all the band-wagon jumpers have moved-on to the next thing. Take it or leave it - no hard sell: you like it or ye don't, & if ye don't, then fair enough - we've got a Hooley to get to, so I can't be arsed wasting time to convince closed minds, when there's a party down the road that requires my undivided attention.
7. If you were chosen to be in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, what song would you want in the game? How hard do you think it would be to five-star on expert?
Jeez - ye have me there! I'll have to be asking my son, Conor - I ain't got a scooby about all that kinda malarkey. I suppose it depends if ye want a song or a tune? The Trad Irish tunes can be pretty fiddly (if you'll, erm, pardon the pun) - especially the ones where we 'put the pedal to the metal', or 'the gun to the baby-sitters head', or whatever it is ye are after saying. 'The Psycho-Ceilídh Mayhem set' then, if I was going to be a bollix (altho' 'The Lilting Banshee set' of Jigs on 'Come out Fighting!' are a wee bit more accommodating). I suppose it'd have to be something you could 'rock out' to: 'The Star of the County Down' - either version: the new one on 'Come out Fighting!' (which sounds better & is how we play it live) or the original, longer version on 'Sod 'em & begorrah!', 'cos it's got two guitar solo's on - the first one's Barry 'Bustah' Hollywood from Newry, County Down (his real surname, but his 'Pimp' nickname - we got bored on one U.S. tour & all adopted Hip Hop names: Marie McCormack - she's a serial retail therapist, & bought so many shoes that half them fell out every time you opened the van door - was MC Shoozzz; Gavin & Derek, from Bally Beg in Waterford, were Gavvy Gav & D-Rek; Marion - our Shetland fiddler - was Catgut Sistah; &, for some reason best know to themselves, the shower of bastards called me Don Juan Libido...) Barry's solo is scorching & the second one's meself - I had a photo on the studio wall of an Cailín rua in the nip while I recorded it, & it seems to have worked, as I've defo stuck one in the onion bag (i.e. scored a goal) & miracled-up a highly original Celtic Rock guitar solo out of my Paddy 'Fyffe Banana' fingers - a small nod to Johnny Feen from Horslips & from Thin Lizzy (the original Irish 'Celtic Rock' bands - they invented the bally thing!)
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Cathleen Ní Houlihan, Willy O'Keeffe, Uncle Joe (Strummer), Shane (MacGowan), me Ma & Da, Tink, the world & Garret Reilly. & every gobshite that's ever slagged us off or put obstacles in our way - what doesn't kill ye makes ye stronger! - for them I'd quote the ould Irish saying that me sweet oul' granny from Roscommon taught me at her knee: "Fuck the begrudgers!"
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Although Peter Grant (Led Zeppelin's manager) cut a one(very large & belligerent)-man swathe through the music industry in the '70's, & bettered things a hell of a lot for bands - the percentage royalty that the actual musicians see from the price people pay for an album in the shops is a pittance.
+ The yoke whereby if a film producer or a festival or a magazine wants a certain big band, then their label or agent says OK you can have them, but only if you also take 3 of our other bands. So for 3 killers, you get 9 fillers - & there ends-up being no room for anyone outside of that monopoly, ya know - the little guy, who might be little just now, but could, potentially, be the next Green Day or Bruce Springsteen...
10. Memorable tour experience?
Moscow - 7,000 Russians going nuts in a park & doing 'The Jakey wave' - they didn't have a scooby what we were singing about (street drinkers in 'Hello Jakey!'), but they waved along all the same.
Getting arrested twice in half an hour - going through the border control between Germany & the Czech Republic: they both nabbed us, the bastards! - I'm convinced the one lot did it just so they wouldn't be out-done by the other fellas ! Luckily, they both let us off with a caution...
Oh yeah - & when our van died in Berlin - it conked-out on the inner-city ring road, which you're not allowed to stop on, & there were 3 of us looking under the bonnet (hood) when we realised that we'd inadvertantly stopped on top of a massive ants nest & the little buggers were everywhere - crawling up our legs, the whole lot & so we started hopping about trying to get them off - then we noticed the German Polizie car pulling-up behind & the two Storm-troopers getting out looking not best pleased: they'd clocked the 'IRL' sticker on the back of the van, & the other 2 lads had bottles of beer in their hands, one of 'em was wearing a kilt, & we were all hopping about, so they thought we'd just pulled-over for an impromptu roadside Hooley... "bedronken Irischer " & then, once we'd explained & they'd calmed-down & the lad in the kilt had regained consciousness (I didn't realise getting tazered could give you a bugle! - & I think the Polizei will defo think twice before tazering someone wearing a kilt in the traditional manner i.e. without skivvies...again), they wanted to swap Euros... (although it's a common curreny & you can use anywhere in the European Union, the coins differ from country to country, so some people - particularly German po-lice - collect 'em: another lot pulled us over on the Autobahn just to do that!).
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
Music mends broken hearts... + finger on the pulse & community.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
Phew - it varies on the time & place - if I've got to pick one, I'd say our version of 'MacAlpine's Fusiliers' - which is on the new album, &, usually, the last song of the live set. It was written by Dominic Behan about the Irish in London - our Uilleann pipe-player Stephen Gara (who fairly recently emigrated to Upstate New York with his missis that he met on-tour in Galway)'s mate's dad actually worked with some of the characters in the song) , so, spiritually, it's about who & where we come from - & we fly the flag for the London-Irish all around the world. The Dubliners do the definitive version, so I'm defo tryin' to 'crack a Ronnie' on it (as in Ronnie Drew - one of two utterly distinctive & remarkable Irish voices in The Dubliners, the other was Luke Kelly - Jeez, I've shivers down me spine just thinking of yer man singing 'Raglan Road') so there's also that aspect of 'carrying the torch' for those boys too, &, if I must say so meself, because it's from the heart & we're doing it from the right place (both spiritually & physically) we do do a crackin' version of it & it does boot serious botty! The breakdown's grand for a breather & when we all pile back in, whoops akimbo, you can see the whole crowd visibly rise about three feet in the air!
I'm also very often overwhelmed by how much people get behind & respond to 'Everybody's welcome to The Hooley!' - which was our Anti-Racism single that got in the UK charts in 2006 &, which we've re-recorded the definitive version of now on 'Come out Fighting!' (it's how we do it live + the original version was recorded on a shoe-string in a rush with one eye on the clock, whereas we've got Pat Collier's alchemy in the studio, Golf's moral bolstering & theirs & Abstract's financial support behind us this time around). It always gets to me when people show that they do give a fuck.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Either County Mayo - it's wild & beautiful & they do a grand drop of Poitín (I went to the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann - the All-Ireland music championships festival - two years running in Ballina, & just before you get to the town you pass Sliabh Nephin on the shores of Lough Conn, & it's just a massive big round hump that gets a snow cap in winter - a typical Irish mountain, but, to me - with the lough & the wild, rugged countryside - when God made Mayo, he kinda just ruffled it up & left it like that - sorta half-finished with all the drumlins & mad folds of the earth, but it's grand - & there's no more beautiful sight on God's green earth... so whenever I sing 'I'll take me back' - off 'Sod 'em & begorrah!' - about going home to Ireland, I think of that), also Donegal - it's just as wild, but there are more mountains - we were on-tour & the band has Donegal links & we were driving through the mountains & we were all gob-smacked & I just spontaneously started singing the beautiful Trad. Irish ballad 'The Homes of Donegal' - 'cos it just felt right & it was just one of those moments... (i.e. it wasn't 'raga' like Spinal Tap at Elvis's grave) - which is why we've ended-up recording our take on it for the album - & people seem to like it... ; Dublin (family & all that + it's a party town); or NYC - love the place +, unlike what Boston claims to be, it really is the hub: last time we were over - I popped down to Philly on a Greyhound bus for a solo gig (& managed to catch-up with my 'ex' from New Jersey, & then piggy-backed the Bolt Bus back up to NYC & the Boston to hook-up with Ken Casey from The Dropkick Murphys - he'd invited me to a Red Sox game - had a great time: he co-owns a really cool sports bar 'McGreavy's' - one of only 5 bars in the US I've encountered, so far (&, I'm here to tell you, I've made damn sure I've encountered a few!), that do a decent pint of Guinness (the other 4 are all in New York) - & was really cool. But yeh - NYC's great. We haven't done the West Coast yet, but I know we should. A dream I had once was to get in a car & just drive across America - to see how different is all was - the Cities, the Great Lakes, the Deep South, the Plains, the Rockies, the Redwood forests, the California beaches, etc. but you need loads of nothing-else-to-do-time (probably at least a couple of months) to do that...
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
My parents record collection: The Everly Brothers ('Til I kissed ya', 'Cathy's Clown'- I love that Kentucky keening); 'Mr. Tambourine Man' by The Byrds; The Beatles ('Help', 'Get Back' & all the rest - if you were around then, they were just always there - part of the aural furniture: apparently, one of the first musical things I did when I was a wee dribble of snot was running around the back yard singing 'She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah' over & over...); (& all big on harmonies - something not gone un-noticed in Neck); the bubble-gum stuff kids always notice - the dafter moments from The Beatles & The Small Faces (Lazy Sunday Afternoon & Itchycoo Park - mighty stuff!), 'Johnny Reggae', The Archies - the first gig I ever played was me & me mates putting on a one-song gig (just like on the telly!) singing 'Sugar Sugar' - two of us had guitars we couldn't yet play, one guy had a strut he'd broke off one of the chairs(!) & the brother 'played drums' on a Space Hopper(!) - yeh: we were kinda miming the playing bit - but it was a real buzz & I think I got snogged after by Diane Clough - so I was hooked!; TV show themes - Thunderbirds, Batman, Stingray, The Banana Splits, The Magic Roundabout, Blue Peter, Magpie (I'm still superstitious about Magpies now, the post-hippy bastards - altho' I'll let 'em off 'cos Susan Stranks never wore a bra ) oh yeah - & Disney yokes like songs from 'The Jungle Book', Top of the Pops &, erm, The Sweeney! ; weird, spooky noises I heard on the radio that I didn't understand but sent a thrill right to my wee soul: I now know them to be 'Good Vibrations' by the Beach Boys', 'I can see for miles' by The Who, 'Nights in White Satin' by The Moody Blues, 'Layla' by Derek & The Dominoes, 'All Along the watchtower' by Jimi Hendrix... & my mammy's voice - she sounded like Enya (her mam was a Brennan, so we might be related) so & she'd sing to us (I have a younger brother - when we were kids we used to fight like cats & dogs)
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Can I nick someone else's reply? The one that most impressed me was Shirley Manson from Garbage - she said Invisibility, & not to put right wrongs or save the world or to spy on folk, but just so she could find Jeff Bridges & rub her **** all over his face. She's a real Scots lassie - what can I say?
Apart from that, I reckon like Mr. Methane (no - that's not right: wrong movie - erm - Mr. Manhattan!) the dirty great blue fella from The Watchmen (great movie) but I try not to be so daft about yer wan & so up me own arse that I let her go off wid yer man Night Owl, the world go to shite & overlook flash matey-boy gettin' one over on me. Basically, the power to be able to foresee really bad shit & then being able to stop the mammy-shagger from pushing the button/pulling the trigger/givin' his missis a dig/havin' that last glass too many of Bells (yuk!)/eating the peanut butter & jelly sandwich, or whatever.
+, altho' it's not a super power, I'd really like the ability to be able to transfer the tunes in my head directly into my MP3 recorder by ESP - 'cos a lot of the time, the physical process of transferring 'em from your brain to yer gob means that the focus shifts & they don't quite end-up as good as the way you hear 'em. AND, the ability to 'rewind' your brain - if something distracts your attention, they're gone & you can't get 'em back: I've lost so may that way - Shane once said that Christy Moore once told him that "...tunes are like leaves wafting by on the breeze & you have to grab 'em as they go past, or you'll miss 'em & some **** like Paul McCartney'll get 'em..." but he thought he'd had a few drinks taken when he said that. I think he's right, tho'.
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
Not on your nelly! Nah - we're still at the coalface of Rock'n'Roll chipping away... it depends on your definition of having 'made it'? I'm sure there are bands further down the line than us who're gigging 300-odd days a year straight that still haven't 'made it'. At this level, although the band is obviously progressing, & things are, quite obviously moving forward, I think there are also other ways of counting success - travelling to places I'd only seen in the fillums, like Texas, D.C. & Nashville - & Moscow! The first time we were in New York playing Irish music we were driving along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway - & Manhattan was over beyont & that skyline's so shaggin' big! - it don't matter how many times you see it in the movies, nothing prepares you for real life - ye can't put a price on that!
Having your songs played at people's weddings & being asked to sing one of your songs at people's funerals - always the same one 'I'll take me back', the last track off of 'Sod 'em & begorrah!' about going home to Ireland: & I sang it in Manhattan a week after 9/11 - which was something I'll never forget either. I've got a lot of time for New Yorkers. Getting respect off your contemporaries - a lot of the bands over there, from our mates, The Murphys & The Mollys, to people that have helped us out along the way - Black 47, Seanchaí, Ice Wagon Flu & The Ruffians in NYC; The Gobshites, Beantown Boozehounds & The Swaggering Growlers in Boston; The Pubcrawlers outta New England, & The Charm City Saints down in 'Bodymore, Murderland' (yeh - I was hooked on The Wire too...) &, most importantly, Shane - he thinks we're a good band, so end of... . We're in there swingin', for sure - &, I'm an O'Keeffe: we don't when we're bate!
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
I'm vegetarian; + as well as the obvious Celtic in the SPL, I support Chelsea in The Premiership (which I get a lot of stick for) but I was a kid - ye don't know about all the politics & demographics & shite when yer 8 years old - & you don't change your team!
18. What's your favorite holiday?
Isn't that the same as 13., but in different clothes? Oh -sorry: just copped-on - the old cultural difference: sidewalk/pavement; subway/underground or tube; tomayto/tomarto; erbs/herbs; color/colour; rest room/jacks, bog or loo; American football/rugby; Soccer/football (forget yer World Series, lads - it's the F.A. - Football Association - Cup & it's been going since 18summink...) ; Budweiser/piss, etc - gabh mo leithscéal - sorry, my flippancy overflows & runneth over & I'm after bein' a gob-shite...
What ye call vacations, we call holidays & what you call holidays, although we have 'Bank Holidays' (public holidays) we don't really have a collective name for. We only use the term holiday for a weekend or a Monday, rather than a festive period, hence my confusion - would I be after pushin' the boat out too much by sayin' St. Patrick's Day? Is St. Patrick's Day classed as a holiday? Christmas is desperate - if you're on your own (I have been a couple of times - the first time the year after me mam died) it's the loneliest day of the year & so many people die around Xmas - the food's shite, the telly's shite. Bah humbug! I've never had a thanks giving, so I don't know what it's like - but it kinda looks like it means youse have two Xmas dinners every year? The first time I was in the States was just before Halloween (I was over seeing my girlfriend in South Jersey) & you guys really make a fuss of it - it was great! I was well impressed. - We kinda do it in a smaller way over here, altho' it's ,increasingly, going more your way - like a lot of things. Vive le difference & all that, but there are some things you guys do have down to a tee & credit where it's due - I wouldn't be boring the bejaysus out of ye now, if it wasn't for a wee American invention called Rock 'n Roll... (I also play a Gibson Les Paul & a Fender banjo, & one of my amps is a Fender too. Those automatic Dodge vans we hire when we're over are pretty nifty too - Sara-Lou's just bought one, in fact (steering wheel on the wrong side 'n' all) to go with her Mustang!
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I would like to finish-off writing songs, but I don't seem to be have the spare time to do that, altho' I do try & do a bit of 'sifting' when I can (thur' all me 'Diddly-ayedeas' files)... I do love playing Trad. Irish sessions - especially in my local: I get to play exciting, inspiring music I love, have great craic, get langered & it's that close that I could probably crawl home after if I had to + it's one of my favourite boozers in the world(!), along with Wild at Heart in Berlin, Whelan's in Dublin & the old Rocky Sullivans in NYC. I don't think it's a secret that I like a pint of Guinness...
I do like to watch a good game of football - the FA Cup games at the weekend were good - particularly Spurs v Leeds (altho' some of their fans are well dodgy...)
I'm absolutely gutted we got knocked-out of qualifying for the World Cup by a blatant bout of Gallic basket ball play - alliteration aside & all that (shite! I've done it again!)
I also love taking my son, Conor, out to the woods now & again, trying to see wild deer - he's grown-up in the city, so it's not something he's used to & it's great to be able to show him something different - y'know trees, bushes, muck, that sorta carry-on. Listening to XFM's good &, to switch-off completely, a few cans & something decent on the Goggle Box - you guys have come good with the TV shows: BBC 2 showed all 5 series of The Wire, virtually back-to-back, last year just gone & it was brilliant stuff. Jimmy McNulty's
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
I'm a good listener, altho' I'm so shite-fer-brains, what wid the drink & the PTSD, that I'm not after remembering anything I've been telt (ask Sara-Lou when we're trying to arrange a rehearsal) - which is probably no bad thing, as people are always saying to me - "If I tell ye this, please don't tell anybody else..." so - Happy Days! ...I can make a mean London-Irish stew - it's quite severely turbo-charged with a whole can of Guinness, some sweet chilli sauce, a whole rake of condiments - topped-up with a fair old wallop of Jameson's Irish whiskey! - ideal for the snowy weather we've had here recently, & ye don't have to worry about the booze content & driving, 'cos the ye can't drive anywhere anyway 'cos the whole country's come to a shaggin' standstill! You guys must wet your pants laughing at us! (Just don't do it outside in this weather or yer mickey'll freeze-up & snap off!) &, apparently, I'm a cunning linguist... grand merci / dank u wel / muchas gracias / danke schoen / deolch yn fawr / go raibh mile maith agat , a cairde, agus sláinte! - O'Caoimh x