Archive for book

VOX Anthology 80-83

Posted in Music with tags , , on February 21, 2019 by Fanning Sessions


Founded by Dave Clifford in 1980, Vox was a seminal early-eighties Dublin magazine featuring avant-garde art, post-punk music and youth subcultures. Hi Tone Books has just published an anthology featuring facsimiles of all fifteen issues published between 1980 and 1983. Vox 80-83 is a 416 page volume which also includes additional insights, reflections and academic analysis from Stan Erraught, John Byrne and Orla Fitzpatrick, Steve Averill, Michael Murphy, Paul Cleary, Cathal Coughlan, Eoin Freeney, Helen Fitgerald, Sean O’Hagan, Roger Doyle, Elvera Butler and Gareth Ryan. There are also interviews with Dave Clifford, Stano and Con O’Laoghaire. The 300 copies printed have all but sold out so if you’d like get your hands on a copy we recommend moving fast, we found our copy at the Gallery Of Photography. John Fleming has an extensive piece in today’s Irish Times; ‘Dark dispatches from Dublin’s post-punk scene‘ which features the following playlist.

In Concert – Favourite Gigs of Ireland’s Music Community

Posted in Books, Music with tags , , , , on January 8, 2017 by Fanning Sessions


Niall McGuirk of the Hope Foundation needs no introduction. He and Micheal Murphy decided to do something to support Syrian refugees and the result is an excellent new book titled ‘In Concert – Favourite Gigs of Ireland’s Music Community‘. As they say in the introduction they put the word out to friends and family asking – What was your favourite gig? The book features 105 of the replies they received arranged chronologically making for a must read book for the Irish music fan. It features contributions from members of bands many of whom have featured on this site – Those Handsome Devils, The Babysnakes, The Gorehounds, Engine Alley, That Petrol Emotion, The Undertones, Rocky DeValera, Paranoid Visions, Mexican Pets, Jam Jar Jail, In Tua Nua, The Devlins, Stiff Little Fingers, Bellx1, Thin Lizzy, The Frames, Lir, DC Nien, Tokyo Olympics, The Golden Horde, Whipping Boy, Pleasure Cell, Sultans of Ping, Luggage, The Pogues, Radiators from Space, Stano, Into Paradise, The Fountainhead, Aidan Walsh & Cactus World News. Also featured are a bunch of folk we know from the internet like Tony Clayton-Lea, Dave O’Grady, Colm O’Callaghan, Jim Carroll, Justin McDaid, Pete Murphy, Eoin Devereux, Paul McDermott and Garry O’Neill. Anyway you get the picture, the book is a great read, will have you kicking yourself you missed some of these shows, making your own list of fave gigs and maybe even get you up off the couch to go see some of these acts before they call it a day. The book is for a very good cause – all proceeds go to the Irish Red Cross and can be purchased for €15 including post+packaging here. Update: The official launch is in Liberty Hall at 7pm on January 24th.

Dan Hegarty – Buried Treasure Volume 2 (2016)

Posted in Books, dan hegarty, Fanning, Music with tags , , on October 5, 2016 by Fanning Sessions


Hard to believe it’s been a year since 2fm’s Dan Hegarty published his first book ‘Buried Treasure‘. 12 months on Dan is back with Volume 2 and the standard is just as high. We won’t spoil the surprise but we thought you might like to know which Irish acts feature.

Dan chose albums by Lethal Dialect x JackKnifeJ, Something Happens!, Stano, Cuckoo, The Edge, Japanese Popstars, Nina Hynes, Kid Silver, Melodica Deathship, The Frank & Walters, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, The High Llamas, Dr Strangely Strange, Electric Penguins, The Immediate, Scheer, Interference, The Fat Lady Sings, Hinterland, Funeral Suits, Mark Geary, Cane141, Joe Chester, Jape, Jacknife Lee, Sultans Of Ping, The Thrills, Giveamanakick, Snow Patrol, The Hormones, Sleep Thieves, U2. In addition there are features on Setanta Records and God Is An Astronaut.

Dan’s guest contributors (who themselves make for an interesting list) chose; One Day International, Jinx Lennon, Declan O’Rourke, The Stunning, Perry Blake, The Divine Comedy, Paul Brady, The Plague Monkeys, Goodtime and David Holmes.

The book is out now on Liberties Press and will be in your local bookstore by the end of the month.

Dan Hegarty – Dave Fanning interview (2016)

An Oral History of Grunge (Mark Yarm Interview)

Posted in Fanning, interview, radio with tags , , on September 28, 2013 by Fanning Sessions


On the 20th anniversary of ‘In Utero’, Nirvana’s third studio album, Dave Fanning talks to Brooklyn guitarist and author Mark Yarm about the history of grunge. Mark is the author of ‘Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge‘.

Mark Yarm (2013)

Beautiful Noise

Posted in Music with tags on February 27, 2013 by Fanning Sessions

“Beautiful Noise is a captivating novel, funny, sparky and full of life. Set in Dublin in the 1980s, Seymour plunges into the story of Elliot, Iris, Squirrel and the gang, who decide to create a pirate station in Dublin that will not only rival the might of RTE, but surpass it.

A love letter to 1980s music and Dublin itself (the city is lavishly captured), Beautiful Noise has echoes of Roddy Doyle in its style, but ultimately signals the arrival of a fresh new voice. Six years in the writing (Seymour quit her high-powered marketing job and moved in with her mother for the duration), a film version has already been optioned by A Good Day To Die Hard director John Moore. Available in paperback for under a tenner, radio heads and Dublin denizens should rush out to buy this one: you’ll enjoy yourself immensely.”

Nadine O’Regan, Sunday Business Post, 8 February 2013


‘Beautiful Noise’ by Helen Seymour, €10.99 in your local bookshop.

Helen Seymour (On The Kiosk with Nadine O’Regan)

Andy Kershaw ‘No Off Switch’

Posted in Music, radio with tags , , on January 19, 2013 by Fanning Sessions

I’ve just finished reading Andy Kershaw‘s autobigraphy ‘No Off Switch‘ and wanted to say how enjoyable it was. I first came across Andy as a DJ on BBC Radio 1 on who’s shows you never knew what to expect, he played anything and everything from African folk to US new (and old) country. I also knew his as a TV presenter on ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ which I still remember fondly watching of a New Year’s Eve. Andy introduced me to Dwight Yoakam and Lyle Lovett and that US new country segment is still etched in my mind. But Andy’s career is much longer and wide ranging than this as I was to learn when reading this book. Living in Ireland means that I was thankfully spared the media attention for which many probably think they know Andy and thankfully this book does not dwell on those times. The book does recount trips to the US to track down Ted Hawkins and other forgotten musicians, Andy’s days as Leeds Ents officer, trips as intrepid reporter to the homelands of loony dictators, the list goes on. If you enjoy a fascinating read, do yourself a favour and get this book. Then go and check out some of his shows which is what I am doing now, listening to Andy on ‘Desert Island Discs‘. Here’s a track from a band who I remember being blown away by in Limerick’s Savoy in the 80s and who I probably first heard on Andy’s show.

The Real Sounds of Africa ‘Wende Zako

Tony Clayton-Lea (101 Irish Records..) – Dave Fanning Interview

Posted in Fanning, Music, radio with tags , , on December 13, 2011 by Fanning Sessions


The author of the recently published 101 Irish Records You Must Hear Before You Die Tony Clayton-Lea is doing the promotional rounds and last Saturday appeared on Dave Fanning’s afternoon show. Here’s what he and Dave had to say on the subject..

Tony Clayton Lea (2011)

101 Irish Records You Must Hear Before You Die

Posted in Music with tags on November 21, 2011 by Fanning Sessions

Irish Times journalist Tony Clayton-Lea is set to publish a book that is sure to interest readers of this blog. Titled ‘101 Irish Records (You Must Hear Before You Die)‘ it promises to:

“document and highlight the great, the good, the forgotten, the lost and the hardly-ever-listened-to of Irish music over the past fifty years”

As details emerge we will update this post but for now we await the end of November with anticipation. The book will be published on 29th November by Liberties Press .

Tony is an alumnus of Hot Press magazine and has published 5 novels including ‘Irish Rock: Where It’s Come from – Where It’s at – Where It’s Going’ with Richie Taylor. In the 18th Dec 1986 issue of Hot Press Tony listed some of his highlights of that year:

1986 was an excellent year for Irish bands. Single released were aplenty, but the ones that took my fancy included Brush Shiels’ elegaic ‘Old Pal’, Dorian Mood’s ‘It’s A Funny Thing’, and Something Happens!’ debut EP ‘Two Chances’, which also happened to feature my favourite song released by an Irish group in 1986 ‘Shoulder High’. Something Happens! Will sin a major in 1987. Remember where you read it first).

On the live front, performances from The Golden Horde, A House, Blue In Heaven, and Something Happens! (again!) roused a weary body into something resembling motion. More reflective sets from Mary Coughlan and Flex And The Fastweather roused a weary mind into something even more urgently resembling thinking.

Read a 1981 Tony Clayton-Lea Hot Press interview with Stiff Little Fingers Jake Burns and manager Gordon Ogilvie ‘The Odd Couple‘.

Dave Fanning on the Fanning Sessions

Posted in Music with tags on January 6, 2011 by Fanning Sessions

As soon as I got my hands on a copy of ‘The Thing Is..‘ the first thing I did was make a beeline for Dave’s comments on the Fanning Sessions. I posted the first excerpt here and this is the concluding excerpt.

To my surprise and delight, in no time at all a session on my midnight Radio 2 rock show became the first rung on the ladder for wet-behind-the-ears Irish bands. It was their apprenticeship. They would then send the tapes to record companies to try to get signed, and while successful submissions were still rare, it was even more rare to find a press release that didn’t mention a Fanning Session.

People have praised me for this over the years and said some very kind things about my positive effect on the Irish music industry but I have always felt awkward accepting these plaudits. Just because I’d already been doing this on my own for a few years, doesn’t mean I would have had the tenacity or wherewithal to take it to the level it needed to go to. Ian Wilson deserves the praise for that. I simply felt that really this was just the sort of thing RTE should have been doing years ago in exchange for it’s licence fee.


So almost immediately, demo tapes came in from all over the country. The Fanning Sessions probably took care of a large part of Radio 2’s public service remit. They cost money, resources and manpower, sure, but as Ian had predicted, these negatives were far outweighed by the goodwill they generated towards RTE – and as many bands licensed Fanning Sessions for EPs and albums, they occasionally made a little money too.

Ian wasn’t content for us to knock out just a handful of sessions. He said from the start we should aim to do at least forty per year. We listened to all the demos, and the bands we invited in usually stood out a mile and picked themselves. The process was hardly an exact science, although Ian’s approach was a little more methodical than mine. Our only aim was to pick the best bands and help them do a good session. If they split before Christmas, it wasn’t our fault.

In His Own Words

Posted in Fanning with tags on December 10, 2010 by Fanning Sessions

From “The Thing Is..” by Dave Fanning

I felt pleased and flattered to be in such august company and was even more delighted to realise that, in Ian Wilson I had a colossus in my corner. Wilson was just as committed as me to furthering the cause of new young bands and was hugely aware of the vast advantage of RTE over the pirates: we had proper studios, where groups could record sessions for the show.

Ian’s attitude was that, night after night, I had been pushing new Irish music on the pirates for the previous few years. In many ways it had always been the centrepiece of my shows. I’d been playing Irish music, the officially released stuff from established or semi-established acts, but the big emphasis for me had always been the demo tapes, the new bands that never got a chance to be heard anywhere else. It was time to shift it up a gear.

RTE had always used its state-of-the-art facilities and top-of-the-range sound engineers to record major classical works, with the RTE Concert Orchestra pretty much annexing the lavish and spacious Studio 1 for rehearsals and performances. However, the smaller, rough-and-ready Studio 8 was frequently empty, and Ian donned his public-service hat to demand that we be allowed to use it for sessions by up-and-coming groups.

The RTE bosses were not at all keen on this at first. It was easy to see why. The sessions would cost money to record but not make any. Why should they give up valuable studio time for no financial return? But Ian was on a mission and argued that the hip quotient and profile for the network would be invaluable. A few weeks after Radio 2 launched, the Fanning Sessions were up and running.

Ian Wilson deserves the utmost credit for his prescience and persistence because it soon became clear that Fanning Sessions were as crucial to the show as they were to the bands. The routine was that a group would usually come in on a Monday and record four numbers, adding vocals and doing the mixing the next day. Suddenly bands that nobody had heard of, who had never even had a sniff of a decent studio, could do their stuff and have four professionally recorded and mixed songs aired on national radio.

To be continued..

The Thing Is…

Posted in Fanning with tags on October 16, 2010 by Fanning Sessions

If you’re based in Ireland you’ll know Dave’s autobiography has just been published by HarperCollins. Read reviews in the Irish Independent, Irish Times or an extract in the Mail on Sunday.Dave has been doing the rounds but I enjoyed his appearance on the Tom Dunne show on Newstalk where they spoke of among other things how Dave got the first Something Happens! demo and of great lost bands like The Stars Of Heaven. You can listen back over on the Newstalk website.

Easons are selling signed copies online for €15.99 and Dave has been attending book signings in various Easons locations in Dublin and in Galway. Next up is Cork on Tuesday, October 19 · 1:00pm – 3:00pm. The book is available in the UK via Amazon.

Described as the Irish John Peel, Dave Fanning has been a major player in the Irish and global music scene for over 30 years. In this compelling memoir, RTE Radio 2 DJ Dave Fanning will give the behind-the-scenes story of all the international musicians he has met, including The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, David Bowie, The Who and many, many more. Dave’s story starts in the 60s, when he discovered his love for Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and of course, The Beatles through the family subscription to the NME. This was to be his first glimpse of a world he would soon become an important part of. Graduating from pirate radio and a stint as Editor of Scene magazine, Dave joined RTE radio 2 when it launched in 1973, and quickly became the voice of a generation. Billboard magazine hailed him as the man solely responsible for the growth of Ireland’s music industry. Renowned for supporting young, new Irish talent, Dave Fanning will detail the unique story of his role in the launch of U2 and his ongoing friendship with the band, delving into their humble beginnings and rise to fame.
Including never-before-seen photographs and images from Dave’s huge personal collection, this is an absolute must-have for any music fan and will be a significant contribution to the history of music.

Cork Rock

Posted in Music with tags , on June 7, 2010 by Fanning Sessions

I recently came across a comment by Jim Comet which reminded me that I wanted to recommend ‘Cork Rock‘, Mark McAvoy’s recently published ‘exploration of the history of rock music in Cork’ starting with Rory Gallagher and finishing with the present day. Along the way he details many bands that have featured on this site and many more I’d love to if I could lay my hands on some of their music. If you enjoy perusing the posts here then you’ll certainly enjoy reading Mark’s memories of the Cork music scene and the various haunts many of which are no longer there. But don’t take my word for it, read what Nick Kelly, and Hotpress thought. While on the subject of Cork, the most recent issue of Hotpress was a Cork special including a programme for the upcoming Marquee gigs and a tasty CD in conjunction with 96FM featuring some excellent tracks from Boa Morte, Hooray For Humans, Fingersmith and (sounding better than ever) The Frank and Walters. The book can be picked up in HMV and Waterstones for €15.

Given the Cork theme, I hope Conor over at Dublin Opinion doesn’t mind my embedding a track from his Microdisney post yesterday featuring the first single by that famous Cork band. Is that synchronicity or what? Thanks Conor for pointing out this rather interesting discussion on matters Microdisney and Star Of Heaven..

Microdisney – Hello Rascals (1982)