The Bloody Irish Boys Interview

The Bloody Irish Boys Interview
Explain to us the genesis of the Bloody Irish Boys. How exactly have you insinuated yourself into local music in the past, and how is being the headmaster of this new act an extension of this involvement? I have been around in the local music scene for countless years. I was never into music much until my great grandpa gave me his acoustic guitar before he died. I soon after bought an electric guitar which was much easier to play than an old warped acoustic that the frets stand up on. After getting an electric I tried starting several of my own punk rock bands that never did much of anything due to the other band members. I also have been involved with many existing local bands offering to fill in any open spots for just about any band that is competent enough to play with. After years of involvement I started watching the punk rock scene go to hell by having all these crappy bands getting the punk title or watching many of the bands I used to listen to sell out. At this point in time I became disgusted at the scene, was entering a serious relationship and was running my own business so I quit music. Some time later my relationship went to hell and I got bored with my business so I was considering playing music again. Remembering how hard it was to deal with incompetent band members I decided to go buy an acoustic guitar that could sound good with just me playing. At this point in time I started evaluating my life and where it’s going and decided to understand my life and future better I should understand my past. So I started by playing traditional Irish and American Bluegrass music. My dad basically helped with the bands name before he passed away. I am from a few different backgrounds, one being Irish and another being English which was more dominant on my dads side. Ireland and England being two countries at war for several years and bloody basically being a curse word in England, my dad would jokingly ask me if I was playing that bloody Irish music again when I first started to do so. Another reason for part of the band name is that boys is a common word in Bluegrass band names like my great grandpa’s favorite band Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys. It wasnt much after I started playing again that my dad passed away and I find myself once again evaluating my life. After much thought I decide this is what I am going to do with my life as a tribute to my roots. So The Bloody Irish Boys are born and may we live forever through our music.

What were the primary causes of your involvement into Irish music? Were there specific figures in your life or musicians you fell in love with that really allowed you to develop in this way?

It is just one of many genres among Scottish, bluegrass and English. It is the most dominant genre in the songs. One reason Irish music is so dominant in the songs is to better understand some of my Celtic roots and another reason is when several of the bands I used to listen to sold out and the punk scene went to hell I found myself with nowhere else to turn musically except something I could relate to. Two of my most obvious influences are Shane MacGowan from The Pogues and Mike Ness from Social Distortion. There are many things to learn from these two for example: Shane MacGowan, the Irish born songwriter shows you that it’s possible to play punk rock without really being that hard or fast. Mike Ness shows you that it’s possible to play punk rock and bluegrass music. After all he’s been doing it for over 25 years and still hasn’t let down his long time fans like many other bands that I won’t mention.

Most of the songs on “Drunk Rock” are raucous, loud (and one can only assume) drinking songs. Are there any tracks on there that have more of a message than “drink until you black out?” Is moderation an important part of your social/drinking life, and why is that? Have there been individuals in your life that have fallen into the bottle or just really showed how far one can be from their dreams if alcohol plays too large of a role?

Most of the songs on Drunk Rock are meant to be drunken pub in your face sing-alongs but many of the songs have deeper meaning than you would think, especially the songs that you wouldn’t think do. For example our hit single Drunk Tonight has a catchy chorus that’s about getting drunk that everyone can sing along to but in all the verses starting at the very first one there is a deeper meaning. The first verse starting at “take me back to that open road where it leads I’ll never know” relates to my point of decision in life. It is very similar to The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost where he uses the paths in the woods to describe which path you can take in life and how you will never know where which one will lead until you get there. For me the song is about me battling alcoholism and how I wonder what will happen since I love getting drunk and not that often will I turn down a drink but maybe should. Other songs on the album have obvious meaning and/or are real life experiences like ”Standing With Me” and “The Great Irish Famine” Moderation in alcohol consumption is important to an extent. I like to be sober before making any business decisions for the band and sometimes for other various tasks. It’s important that your band can play together sober and sound good before you become proficient in playing together drunk. After all any group of kids can get drunk, play together and think they sound good because they are intoxicated but later wonder why nobody else likes their music. I have been on drinking binges where I had beer for breakfast everyday for months at a time and can handle stronger alcohol like 151 and Everclear but have also seen several friends and family fall into drugs and alcohol way too much to where that is what they live for. For example growing up I saw alcohol kill family members like my uncle Bob(everyone has one) and make my dad lay around in bed for weeks at a time. My long time friend and ex-bass player who helped write one of our songs has since not done much of anything musically and has other health problems from abusing drugs and alcohol. I guess a good rule for drinking is that it’s fine as long as it’s not the only thing you are doing and you can stay active. For me I like to get completely wasted but when im playing a concert I usually dont start drinking until it’s about time to go on rather than getting completely wasted and not being able to fix any obvious problems that you might run into as soon as you start.

What has been the response both online and real life to the Bloody Irish Boys? Have you all won any awards or gotten any special consideration beyond the offer that punk label SOS Records (current home of The Exploited and The Adicts) gave you? The latest news is that “Drunk Rock” will actually come out on your own record label; can you explain why that is taking place?

Our Online response has been phenomenal. After uploading a couple songs to places like garageband.com in January we reached the #1 spot in their contest and have remained in the top ten to this date. Other websites like myspace.com where people can connect with each other has been really awesome, we have over 2400 fans that added us on the site. In person the response varies greatly depending on where I’m at at the moment. For example when in Columbus [Ohio] you mention the band name to someone at the bar and there is a good chance they have already heard some songs and they will rant on about how they love it but in some cities like Lancaster where there is so much negative energy people are like what is Irish music and a few times we got the you ripped off Flogging Molly treatment from people that have never heard any other Irish rock band until they heard Flogging Molly. We have received a few different awards and have had 6 different record labels offer to sign us but as you said I am releasing it on my own record label. Drunk Rock will be Sick Sad Records second release, the first being a metal band called 7th Day which has since spawned into a band called Shade of Hate that I recently took the title of bassist in. There are numerous reasons for me releasing it on my label. I think most of all it will just be in our best interest to stay independent at this point in time. Other reasons include when you sign to many record labels you become part of the RIAA crap and radio stations (even online radio stations) have to pay royalties every time they play your song which some of them won’t play at all and I believe this really limits how much we would be able to promote the band ourselves. The average record contract pays the artist a royalty of 9%-15% of a total CD’s sales price. Don’t get me wrong we’re not money hungry or anything – our plans are to take 100% of our CD’s profit and put it right back into the band so we can continue to release more albums, merchandise and have money for traveling more places to play concerts.

One of the problems that surrounded The Bloody Irish Boys for the first few months of their inception as a band was the lack of talented members to play the songs you had written. Has this problem been solved in any way? Is there an actual band of Bloody Irish Boys at the current moment?

The band is not currently what I eventually will achieve but like anything in life you have to look at it like a journey, to where you can look back at how it started and how it ends up. I played most of the instruments and such on the album by choice since I write everything very much like Trent Reznor of NIN. An old band member played a few things to add a little different style on some songs as well. Besides the current band members at the time there are back-up vocals from band members of Shade of Hate and Cruci-Fetus. I do have several band members now though. I just recently added ex-drummer of The Wild Celts famous for their work in Ireland and Las Vegas, and the singer of The Gallows is now playing electric guitar for me. What I eventually hope to achieve is about 10 people on stage drunk as hell but playing perfectly together. Doing that in its own will be difficult but finding the right people will be more difficult because many musicians today don’t play for the love of music and have the idea that it would be more profitable to be in a band with 3 members.

Have you worked on or recorded any tracks for the follow-up to “Drunk Rock”? The album has been a long time coming, and one would be foolish not to believe that you haven’t been working on anything else in the meantime? Will these songs be introduced at live sets or do you plan on releasing them to greater acclaim at music-heavy websites like Purevolume and Garageband?

We haven’t recorded anything else to date but I have started writing several new songs for the next album. It really has been a challenge to find the time to work on the new songs while maintaining everything else online by myself. I guess it will probably just depend on how drunk we are and the crowd response to decide if we will play any of the new songs before they are released online so buy us drinks and make some noise!

How was it possible for the Bloody Irish Boys to be such an international phenomenon without playing one single show? How many fans would you estimate you have, and how many albums do you think you will be able to sell?

Another reason I started writing this kind of music is because I like to get drunk and enjoy good drinking music that puts you in the right state of mind. There is only so many Pogues, Dropkick Murphy’s or Flogging Molly songs you can listen to in a night of drinking. The whole Celtic rock genre is a great style of music that dosen’t have enough songs or artists so when new stuff comes out it really is a great experience. Because of the lack of artist’s in this genre I find myself listening to softer artists that our fans would probably not enjoy quite as much like Great Big Sea, Gaelic Storm and Mick Maloney. So summed up you take a genre that has yet to be broken into mix it up a bit with something your proficient in like punk rock for me and you got your own style. Next mix that with great songs and a major label quality recording and its just hits waiting to happen. I have done very much in terms of online promotion and the music speaks for itself, all I have to do is get someone to try it out and more than likely after hearing one song they are a fan. So there are numerous reasons why we are becoming an international phenomenon but the best way to explain it is that it’s just good music. At the moment we have over 2400 fans on myspace.com alone but we are on too many websites to keep track of and constantly getting airplay with several radio stations so I would say a safe guess would be 5000+ fans since January when I first uploaded any songs. I really feel that the number of cd’s we will be able to sell is unlimited. It is really just a matter of how well we are able to market them on our own and what steps we are able to take in finding new fans in new places.

Finally, tell us how an interested party can get The Bloody Irish Boys to play their hometown? Do they have to bribe you with beer, ladies (men?) or what?

People can get us to play their hometown by buying our cd’s, one to show that there are people in that town who enjoy our music and two so we have the gas money to get to that town. On the other hand if you want us to come back and play again then you can start bribing us by buying us beer before we leave. BTW we enjoy dark beer like Guinness and Killian’s.

If someone wants to hear your music, how do they go about doing that? Are there any radio stations with your music currently in rotation? What are the plans you have for the next single?

One of the best ways to hear our music streaming is buy going to www.myspace.com/thebloodyirishboys but we also have mp3s on our official website among countless others. You can search for The Bloody Irish Boys in your favorite search engine and probably find us on over 1000 websites. There are too many radio stations to keep track of that have us in their rotation. If your favorite station is not playing us request it until they do. Our next single will be released a few days before Drunk Rock and is our last free song from this album. In due time we will be promoting it and you will find it added to many websites and radio playlists.

Finally, give our reading audience something to chew on and mull over.

For any of you that are at a point in your life where your wondering what you are doing with it and trying to understand it. Consider learning from your past and heritage before understanding your future. For those who havent heard us yet go to www.thebloodyirishboys.com and download 1 song. You won’t regret it.

For you fans out there if ya get a printed copy of this zine bring it to a concert 5-10 years from now and show me.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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