33 years after ‘Shellshock Rock‘ was controversially withdrawn from the festival programme at the last minute, John T Davis returned to the Cork Film Festival this year for a showing of his seminal Irish punk document. The movie was eventually shown but only thanks to then UCC Entertainments Officer Elvera Butler.
I had met Terri Hooley some time earlier when we were both were guests on the Dave Fanning Rock Show on RTE, talking about rock music in the north and south of the country respectively, and he got in touch with me to see if I could do anything to help.
The following is an interview John gave on 96FM Irish music show ‘The Green Room’ hosted by Michael Carr.
From Dublin The Vipers were Paul Boyle (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) George Sweeney (lead guitar), Brian Dolan (bass, backing vocals) and Dave Moloney (drums). They recorded a Peel Session on 27th Feb 1979 and this repeat broadcast of the session is from 17th April 1979. The tracks recorded were ‘You’re On Your Own Kid’, ‘Playin’ The Game’, ‘Too Rough’ and ‘You’re So Strange’. We have two tracks from the session with John Peel’s intros and outros. Also getting a mention in these clips are Terri Hooley and The Undertones. Thanks to the Peel Wikia for this recording. While we are on the subject check out Dublin punk bands on facebook courtesy the Come Here To Me blog.
Nun Attax were a punk band from Cork featuring Finbarr Donnelly (vocals), Ricky Dineen (guitar), Mick Finnegan (guitar/vocals), Philip O’Connell (bass), Keith ‘Smelly’ O’Connell (drums). Mick Finnegan left in 1979 and was replaced by Giordai O’Laoghaire. In July 1980 Giordai O’Laoghaire left to join The Constant Reminders who became Microdisney. In 1981, Donnelly, Dineen and Smelly formed Five Go Down To The Sea and moved to London. Nun Attax recorded a Fanning Session on 9/2/1981 featuring ‘The Woodcutter Song’ / ‘Looking For Words For My Book’ / ‘Alynut’ / ‘Phantom Gobi’ / ‘Eidelweiss’. Dublin Opinion recently featured an excellent interview with Ricky Dineen about the history and evolution of the three bands he was at the heart of; Nun Attax, Five Go Down To The Sea? and Beethoven. Also worth checking out is ‘Get That Monster Off The Stage‘ a radio documentary on Finbarr Donnelly.
“At one stage The Baby Snakes, whom Joe Ambrose managed in the late 80s and early 90s, got into an unholy alliance with Dublin’s premier, and best, punk rock band Paranoid Visions. And here’s the proof. The photograph came from the cover of PV’s superb anti-U2 record, I Will Wallow.”
Originally formed in 1981 Paranoid Visions are a punk band from Dublin. They were part of the second wave of punk which was heavily influenced by the diy ethic of crass, the original anarcho-punk band. They achieved infamy in the 1980s with their FOAD record label and the U2 parody ‘I Will Wallow’. Following a breakup in 1992 they reformed in 1996 to play support on some dates of the Sex Pistols tour. Recent years have seen a “revitalised attitude” and increased activity with a number of releases from the band which can be purchased here.
“Paranoid Visions are perhaps one of the best punk bands in the world right now and their playing with the form makes them worth investigating by anyone outside the punk genre.” John Robb
This Fanning Session was recorded in 1991 and features Emily (backing vocals), Deko (vocals), Denis Dischord (bass), Hungry Joe Libido (guitar), P.A. System (guitar), Albert Cowen (drums). Engineer on the session was Paddy McBreen and Ian Wilson produced.
Formed around the larger than life character that was Domhnall MacDermott, the original line up was Domhnall (vocals), Willie Doherty (vocals), Gerry McCauley (guitar), Seamus Cassidy (guitar), Tony Vail (bass) and John Coyle (drums). There followed a number of line up changes that included Domhnall’s brother Feargal, Colm McKeever, Tommy Olphert and Ciaran McLaughlin but the ethos of the band never changed. Drink, play and have fun doing it. The band did manage to get support slots with The Radiators From Space who were then emerging out of the Dublin scene and with, of all bands, Horslips, at the Culdaff Arms. By all accounts this was a legendary performance.
The band’s “back catalogue” comprises one studio tape of the infamous “Kevin Mahon” (think the Skids TV Stars), a tribute to the Derry City player. Rumour has it that the recording was so bad that the local radio station asked people to pledge money to charity before they would take it off air. A small fortune was donated. The final line up was Domhnall MacDermott, Gerry McCauley, Mickey Griffiths (often drunk, rarely sober) and Niall McKeever. They continued to perform sporadically in the late eighties and early nineties until the untimely death of Domhnall MacDermott in September 1994 at the age of thirty five.
According to Garban Downey, Mickey O’Donnell was also briefly a member before they threw him out when they discovered he knew all three chords.
“The one day, during the summer of 1976 I remember someone telling me that there was a guy who had the first Velvet Underground LP and was more or less the same age as us. When we heard about someone else who had a record collection of stuff that we had no chance of ever hearing or ordering in Derry, it didn’t take us long to invite ourselves round to his house. As well as having the first two Velvets’ records he had records by The Stooges, The New York Dolls, The Doors and the Nuggets compilation!!! It was love at first sight!
Bravely, Domhnall (or as we knew him then, Wombat) allowed us to borrow his records over the next few weeks. Borrowing one or two at a time seemed a reasonable compromise, we wanted them all at once but we could see he was rightly a bit wary of us and in retrospect he definitely was taking a chance with these precious pieces of vinyl. Once taken home though, we plundered, pillaged, soaked up and outright nicked as much as we could. In fact the reason we chose the name The Undertones was because we thought it sounded like one of the garage bands off ‘Nuggets’. The rest, as they say, is history. The Ramones first LP was released later that year, there were reports of a growing Punk scene in England and everything sort of clicked into place as we started to write our own songs ‘borrowing’ heavily from The Ramones, The New York Dolls and The Stooges. Domhnall had got most of his records in the first place sent up to him from Dublin by a certain Phil Chevron, who went on to form the Radiators from Space (and was later a member of the Pogues) and who subsequently gave us our first shows in Dublin in 1977.
Domhnall himself went on to form ‘Dick Tracy and the Green Disaster’ and I remember bumping into him one day, telling him how much I really liked one of his songs called ‘Action Comics’ and how great a title it was. I always remember him saying to me that he had better get it copyrighted quick as I had stolen so much from him as it was, that he wasn’t going to take any more chances, which was about right!!! They say life is all about fate, well, it was a pleasure to have got to know Domhnall and it was certainly a life changing experience for me borrowing his records and basically getting his support at a time when sticking your neck out in Derry inevitably meant verbal and physical abuse. A true fan and lovely guy. With any luck he is up in heaven singing along with Johnny Thunders and Dee Dee and Joey Ramone. And, I never did steal that title!”
Kevin Mahon / Interview with Domhnall MacDermott (1986)
From Dublin Jam Jar Jail were Chane O’Reilly (guitar,vocals), Frances Roe (bass,vocals) and Tim McGrath (drums). This session was recorded for the Dave Fanning show on 2FM some time in the early 90s and comes courtesy the folks over at the rekcollector blog. Jam Jar Jail were apparently notorious for the incendiary nature of their live gigs and went through their more than their fair share of drummers. Chane and Frances were part of an active hardcore scene in Dublin at that time including some involvement with the HOPE collective. Chane later moved to the US but while on a visit home managed to become embroiled with friends Wormhole and their record label woes. Chane is currently active with Surgeon Marta in Los Angeles, California.
The Sultans of Ping F.C. formed in Cork in early 1988 featuring Niall O’Flaherty (vocals), Pat O’Connell (guitar), Paul Fennelly (bass) and Ger Lyons (drums). In April 1990 the band recorded their first demo ‘Confessions of a Sellafield Sex Guru‘ featuring three songs ‘Stupid Kid’, ‘Riot at the Sheepdog Trials’ and ‘Eamon Andrews’. They played their first Dublin show that year supporting The Golden Horde. In October 1990 the Eurorock festival was held in Cork and the Sultans were chosen as the local entry. In December the band recorded a session for the Dave Fanning show. Many thanks to the Shimmy Shammy Sultans website for the tracks.
In the absence of an official RTE Fanning Session archive consider this blog a humble starting point. Any musical submissions would be gratefully accepted as are any corrections or recollections... click on the pic to send an email or even better comment on the post in question. We are interested in anything recorded from irish radio or TV in the 1980s.