Dave: Hi Guys! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about the present as well as the past. Let me just tell you that it is an honor to be doing this interview with people I was into as a rabid high school rock 'n roller! Let's get started.
Dave: Tell me a little bit about the first 3 projects-Official Bootleg, Plug it in, and Turn it up. Stylistically, were they a progression towards the first Jive album?? Were they independently released or am I off base on what the first Jive record was??
Pat & John: The first 3 albums were independently released. The first album for Jive Roecords was titled "Mama's Boys". It was sort of the 'best of' the previous 3 albums rolled into one.
Dave: What was life like growing up in Ireland??
Pat & John: Fantastic! We were surrounded by music the whole time as musicians or singers are everywhere. As kids, not many people owned TV sets or really bothered with watching them. We had various sessions in different houses playing with the young and old - constantly. The rural life is great for a child. We grew up on a farm and worked with our Father all day. We learned to drive tractors from about 6 and made bales of hay! In the evening, of course we'd play music. Not a care in the world, and everyone's friendly.
Dave: I understand that music really flowed through the family's veins. What was the first instrument that each of you learned?? To give fans a true appreciation for your talents, how many different instruments do you play and what are they??
Pat & John: Pat's first instrument was the fiddle. He started at age 4 and was taught by his Dad. Pat started on guitar at age 5. John's first instrument was Low Whistle and he also started at age 4. Pat plays: Fiddle, Guitar, Bouzouki, and Banjo. John Plays: Whistle, Bodhran (Irish Drum), Uilleann Bagpipes, Bass and Vocals.
Dave: What was the feeling at the time the band first signed with Jive Records??
Pat & John: At the time we weren't really bothered as we were so young. We had just played to 40,000 at the Reading Festival and had a huge following in Ireland anyway - without a deal.
Dave: Kind of a fairly well known fact was that Jan Van Halen played clarinet on Big Bad Bill(is sweet William now) with sons Alex and Edward Van Halen on Diver Down. Were there any guest performances in any of your recordings by your family members??
Pat & John: Dad played Saxophone on the 'Bootleg' album. It was an instrumental of 'Summertime'.
Dave: I have always considered John as a good singer. Why did the label feel it was so necessary at the time to bring in a new singer after I feel you had established your identity already??
Pat & John: Jive Records wanted it as they felt we should be 'more commercial'. Foreigner were happening at the time, and Jive got in a session singer who usually did TV jingles!
Dave: Did you feel as far as U.S. releases with Jive were concerned, that they did a decent job promoting them?? I found it easy to find the first 2 U.S. releases, but felt personally that the promotion for 'Growing up the Hard Way' didn't get too much of a push.
Pat & John: An OK job was done by Jive initially. However, the 'Growing up the Hard Way' album didn't get much of a push - and also, alot of our fans objected to a new singer. He was brought in after the album was written. They made it known they preferred John singing and said so often. The decision was typical of a label that signs you because they like music - but change everything 'just because they can'.
Dave: How was it playing in America for the first time?? What kinds of bands did you tour with??
Pat & John: We ADORED playing the States. It was so much fun and such an experience. We were so well recieved everywhere we went. We toured with Bon Jovi, Ratt, Rush, Y&T, Twisted Sister, and Blackfoot.
Dave: I was saddened by the news of Tommy's death. News doesn't really filter into the U.S. on things like this, so I really had no idea until lately. It must have been a real struggle for you guys to watch Tommy go through what he went through, yet still remain consistent as songwriters and musicians. What would you say is the one thing Tommy would always want to be remembered for??
Pat & John: The music kept us going while Tommy was ill. We have a little studio in town in the basement of our management offices. He'd go into the hospital in the morning to have his chemo and we'd never know how long he'd be in for. Chemo can make you really, really ill, and the tests they do on the patient are quite punishing, severe, and tiring. But, sometimes, later in the afternoon - there'd be a knock at the door, and Tommy had walked back as he'd be keen to know how the song was going! Tom was a brilliant drummer. (and did a bit on keys & fiddle) We have some early footage of him on tour with us in Switzerland and he could hardly see over the kit - he was only 14! Even then he was better than most drummers we know today. Tom would definitely like to be remembered for his drumming on the albums he did.
Dave: After a listen to 'Relativity', I feel there was a progression years in advance to the Celtus music. I hear elements on this album I hadn't heard before especially in the song structure. Do you feel this is the case?? I know the styles are quite different, but the structure and new elements seemed to be there.
Pat & John: Yes, it has to be a progression. That's just the way it turns out. On the 'Moonchild' album, a track titled 'Love turns to dust' was written with Tommy - and was originally a Mama's Boys track. Tom had a demo on cassette to play in the hospital when he was really sick - so it was special to us. When Celtus came about, we included that track on 'Moonchild' - and it's very moving, and still reduces people to tears that knew Tom. His last song...
Dave: What were the factors that made you go with the newer sound?? I think it would go over real well in the U.S. if promoted well. Would you like to come back over and tour??
Pat & John: We were devastated after Tommy died and basically no one could function or even 'think' about music for over 6 months. We didn't even go near our studio that we love. Tommy would have been real angry if we'd given up music completely, but none of us had the will. One day John was feeling particularly down, went into the studio and composed 'Brother's Lament' on the Low Whistle. John got Pat over to chat as to whether we'd sell all our instruments - and played Pat the track which he loved! At that time, a lot of Irish music was popular (Riverdance was big news) so we decided to do just 3 Irish-y demos just to see if we could try to earn a living. We hadn't touched our Irish instruments in years - and it turned out to be therapeutic and a refreshing challenge.