A Truth for yez…
About 13 years ago, it must have been on MSN messenger, or maybe in person, someone else can fill in the details, I was asked to play music at Rainey Old Boys Rugby club. ‘You play guitar don’t ye? My Daddy needs a band for 2 weeks time, for two hours. Can you do it?’ – Katy Campbell (nee MacFalone)
I walked to the house across the street from my childhood home and asked my neighbour Gerard McNeill if he’d like to help. We’d played some Oasis songs in his garage with him on drums a year or two before, using Iain Harrison as the distortion pedal switch (no pedal, just 15w ‘Fender’ amp). He agreed, so we both went to another neighbour, Conor McCaffrey, and enlisted him initially as lead singer, but puberty put pay to that. It was unanimously agreed that Joe McKeague was certainly to be in the band and shambolic rehearsals commenced.
We had 2 hours of awful versions of covers in the 2 weeks. Included were Eagles, Oasis, Dubliners, Clancy’s, and many more I’ve thankfully forgotten about, but at least one Kris Kristofferson song insisted on by Christine Loughrey. A few flickers of hope.
We had tiny guitar amps and in general the entire affair was a disaster, but drunks love a yeehaw.
We hired the PA from the ever-gentle, ever-patient, always obliging Danny Otterson, and every time after that, too. I remember my mother racing her (then mine, then burnt out by wankers I grew up with and swapped cd’s with, I was a wee fenian back then ye see; never harmed anyone, just stole a few flegs) 1.2 Vauxhall Nova Merit at over 100mph up the Glenshane Pass to get a mic stand before Danny locked up at 5.30pm on a Saturday.
The band became well thought of, we played everywhere and anywhere and on a promise or a fortune it was great steam. The stool juggler, the crazy Longford gypsies… truth be told, there wasn’t a better Irish Folk band on the road then.
We even ended up opening for Shane MacGowan. Twice. Second time he made us go back on for an encore…
Passing him at the side curtain of the stage in The Grill in Letterkenny I asked… ‘Well Shane, what’d ya think? Were we any good??’
Shane replied, ‘ You little kants, I’m not going on till you do another one, get back on that facking stage hhhcccccchhhhhccchhh’
True bill. I’ll die happy on that one alone.
I left the band and I took three days off work and didn’t know where I was going. Cliched as it is, I didn’t expect it to hit me as bad.
All my fault, obviously, but I didn’t know how I was going to get it back.
In this time I have taken part in and been a part of some fabulous journeys, events and gigs, but the fire wasn’t white hot, not like back then.
Initially asked to play a tribute night to Henry McCullough, I asked a few folks, who’s acquaintance, in life terms I’d only just met, if they’d be up for it. I knew they were big fans and immediately they agreed.
So for the last 8-10 weeks, Glenn Hutchinson, Nico Divito, Mark Beatty, Barry Fahy and myself have been squirrelling away in a purpose built rehearsal space in the dales of south Derry. In that time we’ve amassed an hour or so of cover songs and there’s even a couple of filthy new originals in the mix. I haven’t been so excited or proud to be a part of something musically since The Rapparees. The musicians are shit-hot and sticky as treacle.
You can expect to hear a whole lot more from THE GREASED PALM in the coming months and hopefully many years.
Our first stage spot will be in The Cellar Bar, Draperstown on Saturday 11th May. We are opening for those stalwarts of Rock n Roll The Screaming Gypsies.
We hope you enjoy an hour of solid dancing and grooving from us, and 2 hours of the best rock n roll hits from them.
The Greased Palm – Putting the Roll back into Rock!