Vocals - Acoustic Guitar
Keith's Tales from the road 2016
November 23rd, Thanksgiving.
It's that special holiday time in America again. Being Irish I had
no idea what it was all about when I first came here but it's actually a
very cool day. Everyone is included, everyone gets to enjoy and everyone
gets to stuff their face with delicious grub. The best thing about it is
that it's primarily just a day for families to get together and hang
out. It's on a Thursday so most people have Friday off making it a nice
long weekend no matter the year. The date is not important. It's always
on a Thursday. If only St Patricks day could always be on a Saturday.
There would be so fewer missed work days on the 18th
Anyhow, what all this means is that you have no excuse for not coming to
see us at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. CA this Friday. If you
are in Southern California that is. We have never played on Thanksgiving
weekend before but when the club approached us about it we decided it
was a good idea. Think about it. You spent all day Thursday with family.
It was fun but you are craving a good "get out of the house" story. Then
you find out the Young Dubs are playing and it's a Friday!!! Still two
more days to recover. Not only that but the pants you used to love to
wear that no longer fit since the juice diet are now fitting like a
glove after you forced more then your body weight of Turkey and mashed
potato into your gob. Perfect, it's a win win. Chances are after rocking
out to the Dubs you'll be back down to normal but you'll still have the
memories. Booze stains on the pants, a new Shamrock tattoo that you have
no recollection of getting and an absolutely unbreakable resolution that
you will never drink again, ever!!!
The Coach House is one of our favorite venues in the States so come on
down and enjoy the show. Doors at 6pm for dinner and then show starts at
8pm with our openers Four Sue.
I also wanted to thank all of you who replied to my last email regarding
the election. I certainly wasn't expecting any replies but the ones I
got were amazing. Seems like a lot of people wanted to get some stuff
off their chest and I was very pleased that my message was well
received. It came from the heart and you took it that way which meant a
Only three shows left in 2016, where did it go!!!!
See ya soon Keith
November 11th Hey everyone, I know I already sent out an email about
these shows but under the circumstances I wanted to send just one
I've lived in America for most of my life now and I've seen a lot of
things go down. Before I ever came here I studied politics at University
College Dublin and the the United States political system was the gold
I have seen five elections since I've been here. Each one involved a
winner and a loser and I marveled at how the country celebrated and
commiserated and then kept on ticking. True democracy, the Gold
I know this one has been tough. An extremely ugly campaign followed by a
surprise ending. I have made a huge point of keeping my political
opinions to myself on public platforms as I realized that the Young Dubs
fans who have carried our careers come from all walks of life. I gladly
discuss my views in private but never want to alienate anyone from our
fan base on our social media platforms. It's just not the place.
So as I watch unrest and deep sadness amongst many of you and
celebration among others I am reminded of how amazing this country is
that we can be happy or sad, we can speak out, we can protest peacefully
or we can celebrate. There are very few places in the world where you
can enjoy true freedom of speech. There are many places right now where
you lose your life for even muttering dissent.
The job of our leaders is to "represent the people". If they don't we
vote them out. That's the deal. Many didn't exercise that right this
election and it's a terrible shame. If you are upset with the result but
you didn't vote then I have nothing to say to you. But if you voted and
things didn't work out your way then believe in the democratic system
that very likely gave you the result you wanted the last two times and
trust in it to follow it's course this time. If politicians aren't
performing then kick them out next time. You can vote again in two years
and have a big impact on Washington.
If your person won then push them to do the right thing and represent
ALL Americans especially when it comes to sweeping laws. Always remember
that half of your American brothers and sisters are now relying on you
to be civil and decent and respectful of each other. You're Americans,
the Gold Standard, Just because your guy won doesn't mean half of the
countries opinions are worthless. Be Americans, united and compassionate
despite your political differences.
I know you will and that's
why I chose to raise my son here.
And....if you need a night off from it all then come and see us play
this weekend!!! Tucson AZ or Solana beach CA. We will cheer you up and
take you mind off it all for a few hours, maybe even get ya drunk
Hope to see you all soon. Keith
End of August, 2016. August tour wraps up
The August tour
has just ended and I as I write we are all on different planes going
home to different places for 10 days off. It was a fun tour, which took
us from Alaska to the Midwest and then to the East. Lots of great shows,
big and small but each one reminding me why we do this. There are not
many people in the world who get to do what they love as a career and
this month showed us just how lucky we are. Thank you to all who came
out to see us.
Alaska was amazing, the shows were all great but to have two days of
fishing was a very rare treat I will never forget. Not to mention an
absolute first. While playing our last show in Soldotna I commented on
what a great time we had had on that run. Of course I mentioned the
amazing fishing. Now we are used to people throwing things up to us on
stage (usually not something I can write about) but this time they broke
the mold. Filets, Salmon fillets!!! Unbelievable. They just kept coming.
One fillet after another. Frozen and vacuum wrapped. As we said
goodnight I gathered them all up and distributed to the band and Woofy.
We had a good laugh about that, just when you think you've seen it all.
Then it was off to Nebraska. We landed in Omaha and headed for the
hotel. Lucas (trusty stage manager) picked us up the following morning
and we headed to Iowa for the first show of the week. Lake Okojobi. It
was a great way to start that week. More shows followed including
reunions with old friends and a reconnection with the Plains of the US.
We need to go there more often!!
Finally we headed to the Northeast and wrapped it up with four shows in
Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I must say they were all fun
shows. Played a few venues we haven't played for years and it was heart
warming to see you all there. Maybe we'll keep this up for a while
See ya back out there in a few weeks. We return to
the East Coast for two shows and then head to the Rockies for some of
the last outdoor shows of the summer.
2016. Alaska, Montana and the tale of Joey, the chubby Beagle.
I thought I would share a story that is actually about Montana but
could just as easily pertain to Alaska. During the last tour on a stop
in Cody Wyoming a very sweet young girl and her Dad gave me a gift of
some home made root beer and a bag of jerky. Now I am no aficionado of
jerky but by all accounts this was good stuff. It was in a ziplock bag
and packed to the brim.
As we had just finished playing the best place to put it for safekeeping
was in my guitar case. Now just to clarify this is a soft bag guitar
case for my Taylor, which I usually carry on board planes. It's small
enough to fit nicely in the overhead and it has a handy zippered pouch
for various knick-knacks. It also handily fits a bag full of deer
Anyhow, the tour continued and my mind wandered away from said jerky.
The plan was always to eat it once I got home but the truth is I may
have forgotten it was in there. No doubt I would have discovered it once
I unpacked. Unfortunately I never got that chance!!!
I arrived home exhausted after miles and miles of driving and a crack of
dawn flight and deposited the guitar in my studio as I always do. The
next day I went about the usual tour wrap up stuff and never gave the
guitar case a second thought. Big mistake.
As I drove around town doing various errands evil was at play in my
studio. A certain chubby beagle with an unbelievable nose had sensed
something delicious was nearby. As he sniffed his way into my studio he
undoubtedly saw the guitar case that he had ignored many times, but not
this time. He probably couldn't believe his luck when the irresistible
aromas of deer meat filled his senses. Where oh where was it coming
from. The guitar case? Could it be?
But the guitar case was zipped tight. How was a chubby beagle with no
thumbs to undue a zipped up guitar case. Then it hit him, it's a soft
When I walked in the door I instantly knew something was up. This dog
has a way of looking guilty like no other. It doesn't matter how long
ago the crime occurred, the minute he sees me a look comes over him. The
ears go down, the head bows and I know to start looking for devastation
Sure enough before long I discovered the scene. The guitar was still in
its case but now lying on the ground. A huge hole was ripped into the
pouch. At first I couldn't understand why he would do it, then it hit
me, the jerky.
I found half of the ziplock bag on the ground about 10 feet away. It
all came into focus. The chubby beagle had found the jerky and lost his
mind. He had savaged the guitar case with no thought of the
consequences. He had to have it, that smell, simply
The end of the story is I now have a new bag for the guitar and the dog
couldn't poop for three days. A combination of ziplock bag and guitar
case with a pound of jerky not far behind was to blame I'm sure. He
finally got back to normal and I would love to say he learned his lesson
but I doubt it. The reward was too great. Ultimately it was my fault so
no punishment was administered (unless you count the three days of sever
So to the young lass and her Dad who so kindly gave me the gift of the
homemade jerky I apologize that I never got to taste it but I'm sure if
the beagle could talk he would tell you it was truly delicious.
Hopefully we'll be back that way shortly and I'll get another chance to
sample your work. Until then it's back to the road, Alaska is calling
and then the Midwest. We'll see ya out there.
July 2016. The Lion, the Mouse and the Loo.
And so it's time to go back to work. We are currently on our way
(via all transportation methods know to man) to the beautiful States of
Montana and Wyoming. I cannot lie, it's one of my favorite places. I
love the great outdoors but this takes it to another level. It's
majestic, it's vast, and it's the Big Sky. I know I sound soppy now but
I truly appreciate this part of the US.
Ok, a tangent. Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of living "off
the grid" I watch all the shows that pertain to any sort of subsistence
living (that's a side affect of being in too many hotel rooms bored off
your bollox) and have always imagined trying it some day. Hunting,
fishing, chopping wood, surviving as man used to do, all of this has
been a huge dream of mine for a long time.
Then came a hotel
room in Washington DC. I won't mention the name of the hotel because I
promised I wouldn't but lets just say it was a nice one. Newly renovated
and smelling of that fresh aroma that only new construction can give ya.
We checked in and I headed for my room, looking forward to a
nice pre show nap and some welcome time out of the van.
headed into the loo after dropping my bags and opened my "Around Me" app
(we are not sponsored by them but maybe after this?) to find a suitable
dinner spot. As I browsed the choices I thought I heard a very faint
struggling sound. Although I was buried in the App I was facing the door
so I instinctively looked up. At first I didn't see anything, then I
looked down. To my horror I saw a mouse trying to squeeze his arse under
the door and into the bathroom. It was clearly a tough job for him and
so he was focused enough not to see me. For all I know he had checked in
earlier and the front desk had forgotten to list the room as occupied!!
Anyway, this big, strong, brave, outdoors man almost had a
freakin heart attack. Now this mouse was no bigger then my little finger
but for some reason I lost it. Call it a phobia, call it girly man
syndrome, whatever, I lost it. I roared a profanity at him at which
point the poor buggar looked up. He had just managed to squeeze his arse
under a door that he had no business being able to squeeze under and
seemed quite proud of himself until he heard my scream. With that he
looked up and released what I can only imagine was a mouse shout. Turned
out he was as surprised to see me as I was to see him.
turned rapidly and began frantically trying to force his rear end back
under the door, all the while hearing me shouting as though he was a
massive African lion about to devour me.
He finally cleared the
door and I bolted out after him, not sure what I was going to do if I
actually confronted the 2-inch monster. Needless to say he had legged it
and was nowhere to be seen. I called the front desk and informed them of
this horrendous personal violation I had experienced and they moved me
to another room (not before sending up a maintenance guy with a broom
who failed to find the offender)
I told the band what had
happened and that was a mistake. The abuse began. "Afraid of a f*ckn
mouse hahahahaha" "The man who thinks he can face a Grizzly in the
Alaskan wilderness blahhahaha" Yes, it was well deserved. I obviously
need a little more survival training. But you should see the email the
mouse sent out to his friends!!!!He won't mess with a Paddy on the loo
Anyhow, the moral of the story is that I'm glad to be
back in Montana. See ya soon...
Update to my blog below
April 17th. I just found out that
the Senate failed to pass a stricter background check law. This is
totally nuts. So much has been said since that terrible day and most of
the measures most folks wanted have been defeated. This was the "most
common sense" issue up for a vote and its defeat really saddens me.
NOTHING will change because of politics. Every poll taken by every poll
taking group showed that a majority of citizens agree with background
checks, including a majority of NRA members. This is a bunch of cowardly
politicians, deep in the pockets of lobbyists, voting in a way that will
bring more election money into their campaigns and without any regard
for the opinions of the people who elected them in the first place. May
it be remembered come next election.
OK, first things first. This is not a political
comment. This is also not necessarily the opinion of my fellow band
mates (though I suspect they agree). This is a personal comment based on
common sense which I feel entitled to make as the Father of a young
child in a US school.
What happened last week in Newtown is a tragedy on so many levels. I'm
not going to attack any constitutional rights here. I just don't
understand why everyone can't agree that we should try EVERYTHING
reasonable to avoid it happening again. Obviously there are access to
high powered weapons issues, mental health issues, more security at
school issues. They are ALL important and relevant. You can't just brush
one off and blame the other solely. Maybe if we address all of them in a
unified way, no politics or grand standing, then we at least demonstrate
that the lives of those children and teachers meant something more then
a news story for a week on CNN.
I actually agree in part with the NRA stance on armed personnel at
schools. It was my first thought as I rushed to get my child from school
that morning. I realize it's a sad reflection on a society when there is
a need for such a thing but we have to face facts. The guns are out
there and they are staying out there. That means on occasion they will
fall into the hands of nut jobs so we may just have to defend our kids
until we have a better plan. I just hope we keep looking for a better
What shocked me most about the NRA stance is their reluctance to support
some sort of extra safety levels to try to stop these weapons getting
into the hands of the potential murderers in the first place. It seems
to me that almost everyone supports background checks for anyone trying
to purchase a gun. It also seems that most intelligent people see no
reason for normal citizens to have heavy artillery in their home. I just
don't understand why the NRA can't seize this opportunity to reflect
what I believe is the opinion of the majority of it's members and ban
the ridiculous "over the top" assault weapons and over sized magazines.
No one needs that type of weapon for hunting or protection and it would
send a signal to the nation that the NRA is in touch with reality. That
it can actually recognize and respond to a need for some compromise in
the aftermath of such a tragedy. Is that really too much to ask?
There are so many other issues involved from parenting, to locking
weapons up in the home, to diagnosing and treating mental illness. Why
not tackle them all. Why blame one or the other. Lets run TV specials on
gun safety at home, lets talk about dealing with young kids who show
signs of mental illness and helping the parents who can't handle it
alone. Why not make it as least as hard to own a gun as it is to get a
drivers license. You want your constitutional rights then prove you are
a law abiding, sane citizen.
The Ireland Trip for 2012
Just got back to the US after a
grueling 28 hour travel day. I made the massive mistake of booking my
flight for the day after the last night instead of giving myself a day
off in Ireland before the fly day. Plonker mistake. It came from a good
place as I knew I would be dying to get home after being away so long
but I think one day might not have hurt and I would certainly have felt
better on the flights. Either way though it's great to be home and now I
can look back on a very successful run over the pond and feel good about
the blast I believe all of you who came with us had.
It was a
jam packed 10 days for the group. Lots of sight seeing, three rockin
shows in Belfast, Galway and Dublin and a jam session night in the
dungeon of a castle. Add to that the creamiest pint of Guinness you will
ever have and great company to go with it and that was the 2012 trip.
The weather was not ideal but not too cold either. A few rainy
days creeped in but the sun also made a regular appearance, thats as
good as you can hope for in Ireland. The John Byrne band were a great
addition to the shows and could also be found many nights hanging with
the group in the hotel bars. I really enjoyed having them along.
I am already thinking about the next one. It will probably not happen
until March 2014 but no date has been set yet. As usual I'll be aiming
for bigger and better
October 24th 2012
Copenhagen Denmark. 4am
in my Danish hotel room, wide awake at 4am as jet lag begins it's evil
work on me. Stayed up as late as I could last night (8.30pm!) in order
to try to get a head start on adjusting but it made no difference. Once
I wake up that's it for me. The head starts thinking and planning and
I'm up. Luckily the brilliant hotel breakfast starts at 6am so that is
something to look forward too. It's nothing like an American hotel
brekkie. We're talking seriously good food. Definitely a highlight
Fairly uneventful flight over this time. Except that they lost my
guitars. Hopefully they show today in time for the gig. Living home was
awful as usual. At least I had a decent break between the end of the US
tour and this one but it's never easy. The little man is missing me now
as much as I miss him but he's a trooper and understands Daddy's job
better then he used to. Thank God for Facetime and Skype.
I drove the 4 hours from my home to LAX airport, flew to Chicago and
then on to Copenhagen on Scandinavian airlines. I was really lucky and
ended up with a window seat with no one next to me. The rest of the boys
were not so lucky and I think the 8 hour plus flight was fairly brutal
on them. I watched Rock of Ages which was pretty bad and then nodded off
for a while. Awoke to a strange airplane Scandinavian breakfast but
devoured it nonetheless. Its funny how you always eat whatever they give
you even though you have hardly moved a muscle since the last meal and
certainly done nothing to build an appetite. I'm like a robot when I
fly, eat, watch crap on TV, nap, eat again, arrive feeling like shite.
Two days before I left I was packing my gear into the various new flight
cases I bought when I picked something up the wrong way and pulled my
back out. I'm still pretty screwed up but have been self-medicating a
bit so I'm basically out of it. I hate back pain, sends weird spasm like
pains up my arms and down my legs whenever I move a certain way. I can
lift my legs up but not my arms, so freakin weird. Unfortunately I shave
my face not my legs so it's been a bit of a problem!
Anyway, we made it and the first gig is tonight. We drive about 3 hours
today to the show, including an hour long ferry ride. That's one of the
things I love about playing over here. Nothing's too far away but
getting there can be a real adventure. I'll get some cool pics and post
them for ya to see. Jaysus I hope the guitars make it
The guitars made it. I take back my nasty comments
about SAS and United, or at least all the stuff I said yesterday. We had
a great first show in Herning DK last night. In the van now with our
trusted driver and Danish confident, Jorgen. He's been driving us for
years over here. We could probably very easily drive ourselves at this
point but it just wouldn't be the same without him. It also means we
have a designated driver at all times which is a huge plus in the land
of many tasty beers.
We are heading south today to Sonderborg.
It's the first of three gigs with Fairport Convention. This is a band we
have known of for years. In fact when we toured with Jethro Tull their
name came up a lot. Should be a fun few days. I'll keep ya posted.
My back is still hurting although as usual the adrenaline of
the show made me think I was fine last night. Not so much this morning
but it's definitely getting better. I'm delving into many cure ideas and
my large bag of collected remedies from over the years. This is where
"pill identifier" website comes in very handy.
Our first few
shows over here are all on the part of Denmark known as Jutland. It's
the big chunk that sticks out above Germany. Very rural and reminds me
a lot of the West of Ireland. Weather fairly dodgy but no rain so far.
Freezing wind though that cuts ya like a knife. Just bought a scarf at
HM store. Warm and stylish (but mostly cheap).
Here's the rain!!! Started off this morning with a very
lovely day and I allowed myself to imagine a rain free tour. Wrong!!!
Lashing now and still bitter cold. Heading for the West coast of
Jutland, A town called Esberg.
Some of our mates from this part
of the world are coming in for the weekend so that always adds to the
festivities. Known to most of you as the General and the Admiral, our
English brother team arrives from London to hang out for a few days.
Today I am dealing with another wonderful road issue. Dodgy
tooth!!! Looking for a dentist in a foreign land is so much fun. It's
just a loose cap but nonetheless a pain in the arse. I know it must be a
shock to hear of an Irishman with dental issues. We are normally known
for our wonderfully healthy teeth, not!!! Anyhow, it might be super glue
time if I can't find a dentist in time. If there is no update tomorrow
you'll know I swallowed some toxic poison by accident and am now in
critical condition with part of a tooth stuck to my tongue and finger.
Ahh, the sun just came out again. Lovely. The roads in DK are really
good so every drive is actually enjoyable, without the spine jolting
potholes and constant roadwork in the States. Doesn't hurt that it's a
small country so the drives are also short. OK, sorry I had nothing
earth shattering to report today so far, maybe I'll add on as the day
A quick PS. Gig was great, ended up with some weird
Danish tooth glue from the Pharmacy after a lot of language barrier back
and forthing, mostly my fault, I talk funny. Tooth stayed in, crowd
loved the show and now some well earned sleep. Goodnight
Wow, amazing weather today. Woke up to sunshine
blasting through the room. This was my first night of jet lag free
sleep. I feel like I'm normalizing over here. The bad part was that I
only barely made the breakfast which was luckily extended until 11 am.
Now before ya start saying "Aw poor Boo Boo had to get up by
11am" try to remember that these shows run late and after I enjoyed a
few apres show pints of Guinness at Paddys pub next door to the hotel,
it was actually 2am. Anyhow, I made the breakfast and then had to hustle
to get out of the room in time and down to the van. We usually leave at
11 each morning. As I blasted out the hotel room door my bag caught on a
freakin lamp that was too close to the door (in my opinion) and smashed
it to the ground. Glass lampshade shattered to pieces on the floor as I
tried in vain to catch the shagging thing. But I was already late. All I
could do was fess up at the front desk and apologize, making sure I
mentioned what a stupid place to put a lamp it was anyway. The nice lady
agreed and told me not to worry. I'm sure she then muttered some Danish
choice words for "Feic off Irish plonker" but I was none the wiser and
ploughed out the door to the van.
You've heard me mention the breakfast over here with a certain
amount of reverence. It really is very special. No one misses the
breakfast. God knows we have arrived back to hotels so late that the
breakfast is actually starting and despite being in no condition to sit
and eat at that point, the fear of missing it is overpowering and so we
So what's in this breakfast, well that's where it's so
special. The line between breakfast and lunch is blurred in European
hotels. We have all the usual cool breakfast stuff like multiple healthy
cereal choices, eggs and coffee. But it's no usual breakfast. First of
all the coffee is great. I don't know what they do but it's always great
no matter where you are. The bread is unbelievable. Then they add lunch
meats, multiple cheeses including Brie, some strange meats are there too
but who cares what it is, it tastes great. Then you can get a
soft-boiled egg, yahoo, I love em. Crack off the top, add a little
pepper and dig in. Add fresh fruit, loads of juices and more coffee and
there ya have it. Not a "Danish" in sight. Next time you get a crappy
"continental" breakfast in a US hotel ask them what "continent" they are
referring to. It's not this one.
In a few weeks I'll tell you
about the Irish hotel breakfast, The Holy Grail of breakfasts.
Another great show with the Fairport Convention lads
last night. That's it for those shows now. I particularly liked it
because it was a one set show like most of our US shows. Now we are back
to two sets and it's just more challenging on many levels. A one set gig
has a flow to it. You build it up, drop down for a slow song, build back
up, one more slow one and then the big ending. With two setters you kind
of have to do the whole process twice. We usually have it mastered half
way through our Danish tours but it does take a little finessing for
We are in a beautiful town we have played before for
tonight's show. It's called Fredericia and like many of the towns we
play here it's on the coast. I love boats and harbors so I'll be heading
out the door after this for a brisk walk. Weather pulling a strange one
again. Beautiful blue skys but freakin freezing. Thank God I bought the
scarf when I did.
The English boys have headed home and back to reality but they will re
emerge with a gang for next weekend. After tonight we have two days off
and will be heading to a farmhouse with no Internet or TV to speak of.
Seclusion and cows!!!
Missing the family a lot right now. It's
been a week with three more to go. Seems like an eternity. Have to keep
Met a Scottish fella and his wife last night in Grenaa.
They have been together for over 37 years. She's Danish but she sounds
as Scottish as he does. Their daughter, although born is Denmark, sounds
fully Scottish too. Really nice people so we had a few pints,as ya do.
It would have been rude not to.
Had a grand show last night in Fredericia. Small
intimate pub with a great crowd. Always a nice surprise when Sunday
shows rock! Most of us walked back to the hotel after the show even
though it was below zero (nuts) and ended up sitting in the hotel bar
having a few "end of week" beers. Two days off to follow. Yeehaaaa
Headed straight to the grocery store this morning and bought
food for our little mini vacation this week. We have two days off so
Thomas our Danish agent has arranged for us to stay at what's called a
"Summerhouse" over here. Basically a holiday home. But it's a big one so
there is a room for everyone and a big sitting room with two fireplaces
and a TV etc. The Internet is even working here. It rained most of the
day so we just hunkered down and lit the fires in the two main family
Bren got working on the dinner while the rest of us
drank wine and beer and laughed our arses off at a youtube video of Dara
O'Briain, a stand up comedian from Ireland. Funny bugga and well worth
Good old Bren set a very nice table and we all
tucked in. More wine, beer and craic in general followed until everyone
passed out. Ya need these days for sure to regenerate. One more day off
tomorrow and then we're back at it.
Had a great day off today. The weather was brilliant.
We spent a whole week at this house one summer tour and never saw the
sun. I hope I can get some photos up soon. You wouldn't believe it's
October in Denmark. We were right on the beach and everyone took long
walks in various directions. That's the way to spend a day off.
Cooked ourselves a big old spaghetti dinner and had an early night.
We're so well behaved these days!
I forgot to mention that my
relative Brendan (yes another Brendan) is working with us on this tour.
He lives in the UK and I only met up with him a few years ago. He's a
distant cousin, twice removed or however that weird stuff works but the
minute you meet him you'd know he's one of us. He's a musician himself
and just decided to take a leave of absence from his day gig at a London
record label and come on the road for a month. Great to have him along.
Shite weather arrives. Ugly morning with
drizzly rain but that's OK. Luckily I added a wooly hat and gloves to my
possesions yesterday so the icy wind is not cutting right through me
like it was. Holiday time is over and it's back to work.
one last early morning beach walk and then loaded back into our van and
back on the road. We stopped a little outside Svendborg (where our gig
is tonight) to get one of Bobs guitars fixed. The repair shop was a
garage off the side of a house. They build their own guitars there too.
Very cool small business. They fixed the guitar in 15 mins and didn't
even charge us anything. Thanks boys.
The town of Svendborg is
one of the nicest we've seen. Pity the weather is so dodgy. It's south
of Odense on the middle island. It's a harbor town so you know I'm going
to like it. We played in the Kulture House (we are so Kultural!) and had
a near full house. Gig went really well so we are off to a good start
for this week. Wouldn't mind coming back here on a sunny day. I got the
feeling there is a lot more to see here.
I'm starting to
realize that I could have a great fishing trip here in Denmark. Mmmmmmm.
Next up on the Danish mega tour is a town called
Ringsted. It's on the same Island as Copenhagen, just a bit west of it.
It was a nice drive here, especially because we had to go over the
biggest bridge you would ever want to go on during a high wind alert.
This thing is massive as it joins the middle Island of Fyn to the Island
of Sjaelland. It goes very high in the air at times and you are
literally blown all over the gaff. Scary stuff and not for the "backseat
drivers" in the group. I heard many a moan as we swerved around up there
and came closer to the edge then I would like. Some of the moans I heard
were actually coming from deep inside me. I ride in the passenger seat
so if we had gone off the edge I would have been the first to know.
Anyway, after that excitement we exited the freeway (or whatever they
call it here, definitely not "free". I think its about $65 to cross that
bridge) and began to look for our hotel. Jorgen had a brief bout of
amnesia and we were well and truly lost for an hour. Turns out the hotel
provided by the venue was about 12 miles from the venue. We hate
When we finally found it we were greeted by another sight you never want
to see on tour, a construction zone in the hotel. Seems like a new roof
was going on and three of our rooms were right underneath it. Not sure
whether it was the only vacancy in town or what the reason was but it
was a less then ideal situation. We checked in and I went to my room.
After about a minute it sounded like a worker was in my bathroom banging
in nails. He was actually right above the bathroom and he stayed working
on that bit of roof for four hours. I just put on my earphones and
watched a movie. Not much else to do.
The gig was cool, another very typical room for here. All sitting down
and paying very close attention to the show. They have a very strange
clap here in Denmark. It's not a fast burst like most places but more a
very concise and timed clap, clap, clap, clap. You have to hear it to
believe it. It's a bit worrisome at first as it sounds like an impatient
dinner guest but after a while you realize it's their way of showing
their appreciation. Very unique. The good news is we have had nice
crowds at every show, even the weekday ones. They really enjoy live
music here and they support it whenever a show comes to town.
Quiet night after the show. I think I was sleeping by midnight. It was a
good thing too as my worker pal arrived back fresh as a daisy at 7am
next morning and started whacking the same area. And a good morning to
you too, ya bollox
Long drive today. The longest of the trip. All the
way to the top of Jutland. We are playing in a tiny town just outside
Aalborg. It's called Hjallerup and it's another beauty to pronounce.
After a four and half hour drive we pulled into town and everyone
scattered to find out what sort of place this was. We all came back with
the same report, no bars. A potential disaster as the English boys were
rejoining us and we had planed a few beers after the show. The weirdest
part was that the gig was in the hotel we were staying at. It was
actually taking place about 14 feet from my room. Chas' room was even
closer. We all agreed that we would probably never play a show this
close to our rooms again. But then I remembered a small town in Michigan
where my room was actually in the theater. That was an even wackier
night, as I hadn't realized that the place turned into a nightclub after
the show. But that's another story.
The show was packed and I really enjoyed it. Having the English gang and
a few fans from Aalborg helped a lot too as they were rocking out and
getting the rest of the crowd into it good and early. After the show all
we could do was have a bit of laugh in our green room. Nothing else was
open. Johnny the promoter was kind enough to bring us a load of
sandwiches backstage and that was that. Good to see the boys again.
Ireland getting very close now. Four more shows in Denmark and we head
for my hometown of Dublin. We will only be there for a minute as we head
straight for Belfast after we land. But we'll be back. I'm really
looking forward to it.
Today we drove back down through Jutland and over to the Fyn island
again for a gig in Aarup. It's a small little town just west of Odense,
which is the main town on this island. Must say I had no particular
expectations for this one as it was a small suburb but man was I
surprised. It turned into quite the day.
First things first, I
had to tackle a serious issue. Laundry. In order to save on baggage fees
we all agreed to only bring a small carry on bag for clothes, for a
month! Yes ladies, you heard me, a month. I know this seems impossible
but for hardy lads like us, no problem. It just means that you have to
be prepared to do laundry each week. You pack for just over a week and
then survive as best ya can. That usually means washing my gig shirt in
the hotel room sink every night and hanging it up to dry by morning. By
doing that and packing enough socks and underwear for about 10 days you
can travel very light.
Another trick I learned on this trip was
space saver bags. You've probably seen the late night infomercials on
the bags you pack clothes into and then vacuum out the air. Well there
are also travel size versions where you roll out the air. I found that
with five of them I could really pack my bag and easily fit all the gear
I needed. I think most of the boys took my advice and did the same. Sort
of looks like clothes jerky when the airs gone.
Anyhow, it was
seriously time for laundry so I asked the hotel reception if they had a
guest washing machine. As with most hotels here, he said he did not but
that I was welcome to use the main machine they use for the towels and
sheets. I took him up on the offer and got all my stuff together. Then
comes the next challenge, understanding the writing on the machine so
you don't boil your clothes at 100 degrees (like I did in Germany many
years ago, turning my adult clothes into children's size clothing).
Turned out these were pretty simple and two hours later all my clothes
were clean and packed away in the their respective bags. That felt good.
The next cool development was the audience. A packed house and
one of the best responses we have had all tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the
show and afterwards celebrated with a few beers and a game of pool. A
good day indeed.
Short drive today back to Jutland and down to the town of T¿ender. We
have played at a huge festival here before but this was the complete
opposite of that. The man who runs the fest also has a small bar in town
called Hagge's where a lot of the bands that play the fest come during
the off season. It's pretty tiny so we played an acoustic show to a very
enthusiastic crowd. Being a Sunday and the fifth show in a row the
atmosphere was relaxed and mellow. The Guinness was actually quite good
so we made sure we had a nice flow throughout the show. This may have
led to a few moments of "looseness" but nobody seemed to mind.
Local volunteers staff the bar, which is another really cool thing about
venues in Denmark. Most of them are staffed by volunteers who just like
having a decent club in town and so they all chip in to keep it running
without the demands of a high payroll. Very nice.
show we sat at the bar and had a good laugh. I think we kept the
volunteers a little longer then they would have liked but our begging
Guinness eyes won them over and the pints kept flowing. A day off
tomorrow thank God and a chance to rest, after a 200 mile drive that is.
We are down to the last two shows now and heading back towards
Copenhagen. ItÕs been a very busy two weeks with ten shows under our
DAY 13, 14 and 15
Putting all these together because we have been at the same spot.
After a long drive we arrived in R¿vig at our B and B for the next three
days. What a place. Absolutely beautiful and probably my favorite so
far. The B and B itself was amazing. It's really a small farm with
loads of rooms and kitchenettes to accommodate a large group.
It was already dark when we pulled in so it wasn't until the next
morning that I realized what a cool place we were in. When I woke we
were treated to a huge breakfast by the lady of the house and then I
went wandering. In the back were goats, deer, chickens and cats. Now I
am not a cat lover by any means but the little fella I met out there
almost converted me. The whole band ended up hanging out with this
little lad and I think he now has a picture on all our iphones. I know,
we sound like a bunch of saps but what can I tell ya. The road can be a
After that I headed down to the ocean 1km away and was immediately in
love with the place. R¿dvig, it turns out, is a working fishing village
with boats coming and going to unload their catch and locals meeting
them to buy tonight's dinner. I sat there for hours just watching their
world in action. It was bitter cold but sunny. These guys go out 365
days a year unless there's an Easterly wind and it gets too dangerous.
Hardy buggers for sure. Had a brief chat with a few of them but they
were looking at me like I was a spoilt city boy. I would have loved to
have gone out with them and proved myself but it was very cold and I had
the wrong shoes!
Anyhow, the gig was actually up the road in
Store Heddinger. Yet again I was amazed by the crowd on a Tues night.
Packed house and a great reaction. The venue is a cinema most of the
time with a few concerts and plays throughout the year. All staffed by
volunteers again and as usual the hospitality was brilliant.
The following day was off so a few of us went for a drive with Jorgen to
see an old Cold War nuclear site just a mile from the village. Freaky
place. It was built by NATO as a first line of defense for Europe and it
has been preserved now as a museum. Amazing and frightening at the same
time. It makes you very happy to know that none of these missiles were
ever launched. Weird to have such a potentially violent structure so
near to the beautiful little fishing village.
We also visited
an old church that was built right on the cliffs. Killer view from there
and loads of pics were taken so you'll see for yourself once I get them
loaded on the site. To top it off we had a few Christmas beers in the
local bar full of fishermen relaxing after a day at sea. Excellent time.
I'll miss this place and hope we get to come back soon. I can just see
Jake and I heading out for a day of fishing, with the right shoes of
Last show today. We are heading
back to a venue we love called Portalen in the town of Greve near
Copenhagen. This will be the farewell show and then it's back to the
airport and a short flight to Dublin.
A great show, sold out
and rockin. Usually is here but still it was nice. Nothing else really
happened. We went straight to the venue and hung there until showtime.
Then we cruised back into Copenhagen and talked about going out for a
drink. Only a brave few actually did it, and I wasn't one of them! I had
reached my Waterloo as my Mum says and I just hit the sack, live to
fight another day. Something tells me I will need all my energy for the
next 10 days in Ireland.
That's it for my diary. I'll post a
note about the Ireland trip when it's all over but not day by day.
Sitting in the lobby of the hotel now waiting to go to the airport and
on to the next adventure.
Hope you liked reading all my useless
Bye for now,
This years Ireland tour (2011)
Feb 28th 2011 (Written on a plane on the way to Chicago)
I recently found out that our Dublin gig will be at the Purty Kitchen in
Dun Laoghaire. It is a total fluke that it will be there as our promoter
in Ireland, Nick Docherty, had no idea when he booked it that I grew up
a mile from the venue. It was a totally different place then it is now
back then but a live music venue nonetheless. Not only did I live nearby
but I actually worked there while in College as a "lounge boy". Sounds
awful I know but all it meant was that I was a waiter in the upstairs
lounge where the bands played. I would take orders from the customers
and then go to the bar and buy them from my float. After I delivered the
booze I would be paid and hopefully make a small tip. Unlike the States
tipping was a very foreign concept in Ireland. The basic belief was if
you were being paid to bring drinks to the table by the bar then why in
Gods name would you get more money from the punter. Now that I live in
the States I sometimes agree with that Irish way. Between adding on
sales tax at the check out and being expected to pay various different
percentages as tips it's hard to know how much anything costs these
days. (even worse when in the grip of the pint!). Mind you I also
believe that waiters and bar tenders should get paid more so don't get
mad at me waiters and bartenders!!!!!
Anyway, I was a lounge boy at the Purty Kitchen back in the early
eighties in Dublin and now it appears I will be returning there to play
a show. It's a much bigger venue now but it was one of the first places
I saw ballad bands perform. At the time I was only into rock and
playing my electric guitar and I didn't really have any time for the
"old songs". I remember a band called Blackquire playing a gig one
night and I surprised myself by loving the show. It was all Irish
ballads and rebel rousers and it was brilliant. It undoubtedly planted a
seed in me that bloomed years later in the US.
Anyhow, the Purty Kitchen also re entered my life a little earlier. Once
while in a pub in Chicago called FADO I was having a pint in the
upstairs part and admiring the huge mahogany bar. I had heard that FADO
(which has bars all over the States) would buy actual Irish bar
furniture and fly it over to put in their pubs. I asked where this
particular one had come from and was amazed at the answer, Upstairs at
The Purty Kitchen. I have no idea if that was the truth or not but as I
leaned against the beautiful bar with my pint of Guinness I imagined
that this was the same bar I had worked at, served drinks from, removed
glasses from when a huge fight broke out so they wouldn't kill each
other with them, sat at and enjoyed a pint and a packet of Tayto crisps
after the night was over with Marty the owner (who always called me UCD
due to the fact that I was in college).
They are great memories for me and now I'm going back, over 25 years
later, to sing some of the songs I heard there all those years ago and
to enjoy a pint and a packet of Crips (as Marty called them due to a
UPDATE. June 11th, 2011. The gig was great and loads of old mates were
there. No speech impediment though!
Lets all take a deep breath
Jan 19th, 2011
So 2011 was starting off quite nicely for us this year. Bookings are
flying in, tours are filling up and new song ideas are sprouting out of
me again. My son is turning eight in a few days and I also have a
birthday although no reason to dwell on a specific number. Needless to
say its a bit more then eight and considerably less then fifty. Anyway,
I was feeling pretty good about the world when, as usual, sh*t hit the
It always seems to happen right around the New Year. The
worst of course was the Sunami when a tragedy occurred of such magnitude
that it almost seemed unbelievable. Then we had Haiti and a similar
catastrophic event too huge to fathom. The event this year (at least up
until now) was a lot smaller in size but just as tragic for those
involved. As you all know last week a crazed gunman shot and killed six
people and critically wounded Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Now as the dust has settled it seems that he acted alone and was not
influenced (at least not directly) by any of the nastiness that has
swallowed up the Political agenda these past few months if not years.
However it certainly sparked the debate and finally got people really
looking at how they treat each other based on their Political
It's a terrible new trend in this country and one that
I witnessed first hand during Gorges W Bush's second election victory.
Now let me remind you all that I am an Irish Citizen and so I can't even
vote in this country. This is just a commentary on what I have seen and
heard over the past few years and why I find it troubling. I made a
critical mistake over that time period and I have regretted it ever
since. Passions were running high during that election and I
unfortunately got caught up in the moment and made a stupid statement
from the stage about how much I didn't want President Bush to get re
elected. Right after I said it about 1500 people stood up and left the
outdoor show in CA leaving about another 1500 cheering me on. I split
our fan base right down the middle. After the show an angry audience
member actually came at me at the merch booth and had to be restrained.
Wow, I was shocked. Could one simple statement create that much
animosity? Yes it could.
Now don't get me wrong. I am not sorry
that I exercised free speech. What I am sorry about is that I was
insensitive to the fans of our band that were supporters of the
President and it was the absolute wrong place to voice my opinion.
Things had become so polarized that it seemed like I was staging a full
frontal attack on people I had no quarrel with and who had shown great
support for our band. It was simply inappropriate due to the times we
were living. And thats the saddest point of all. I have a degree in
Political Science from University College Dublin and I LOVE political
debate. However thats what it is to me, debate. It was always fun to
have a good old argument with someone who's political beliefs are not
yours but when its over, no matter how heated it gets, you're still
friends, acquaintances, co workers, family members and you get back to
being that. What happened to civility and "live and let live". Why can't
we agree to disagree. I get email from fans around the US who often
disagree with my politics and we have enjoyed years of back and forth
debate without ever losing our friendship. Of all those people who
walked out of that show I bet most share many beliefs with me, but not
liking their President and verbalizing it was a reason to disown me and
the band and to never come back (we have never been invited back to play
that event despite three years of packing them in before this slip up).
I can honestly say I love this country and have nothing but
gratitude for what I have been able to accomplish over here. And so it
pains me to see you at each others throats over politics. Lets get back
to making good arguments for what we believe should be happening and
winning that way. Have a better idea and solution to a problem instead
of just slamming the others guys views. Personal attacks and refusing to
hear another side to the story is not the way to move forward and may
actually move society dangerously backwards.
Thats all I wanted
to say. May Republicans, Democrats or whomever continue to argue for the
good of the country and to fight (verbally !) for what they believe in
but at the end of the day come and jump around at a Young Dubs gig
together and have a pint. Its a lot healthier. The Paddy will now shut
Happy to be here
Nov 28th 2010
I've been planning on writing so called "blogs" for years but am only
getting around to it now. Not sure what made me suddenly want to do it
but I think maybe the beginning of the festive season made me want to
interact with my fellow man and do a little "sharing" as the over the
top, feely touchy people say!
Anyway, the point is I have a lot to say just about everything and as
those who know me will tell you, yapping is what I do. So I am now going
to yap via the internet whether ya like it or not.
In this "blog" I am going to tell you about the weird stuff that
happened while we were making Saints and Sinners. Over the last couple
of years I have had a few mishaps during the making of albums but this
was the big one. This one actually almost put a stop to me altogether.
We had just started the process of writing the album when my first
problem arrived. My Mum was on holiday in LA (where I used to live) and
we had just finished a great family dinner out on the back
patio. Everyone was leaving and I was in the process of turning
everything off outside when my Mum started to head inside. There were
three steps that led up into the house and she was just getting to the
top one when I saw her start to fall backwards. It all happened so fast
as I realized that if she fell backwards down the stairs it would be
very, very bad. I ran over to catch her and failed miserably. Instead I
fell down on the ground underneath her and at least managed to give her
a nice soft landing, Not so for me. I twisted my knee and ended up with
a broken kneecap, torn ACL and multiple ripped ligaments. Disaster. My
poor Mum was so upset that she had hurt me. I ended up on crutches for
the next two months and had to hop into rehearsals for the rest of the
writing sessions. Pretty funny when I think back on it but not so at the
time I can tell you.
The weird thing was that I was given so many vicodins to help with the
pain that I can't really remember writing half of the lyrics. During an
interview following the release of the album I was asked where I was
when I wrote the words to IN THE END. Although I completely recall why I
wrote it and what I was trying to say I can't actually remember doing
it. Thank you Vykees.
So that was the first thing I dealt with during the process of making
the album. The second thing was far more important and a lot scarier. I
have never spoken of this publicly as I didn't want it to be seen as
some sort of "publicity stunt" when the album came out but now I think
it might be important to talk about it in the hope that others will gain
some sort of encouragement from my story.
For about a year before the album began I had noticed a new mole on my
arm. I have many so I wasn't at all concerned but it was in a place on
my arm that meant I saw it in every picture of me singing. Now we get a
lot of pictures of us playing from folks around the world and one in
particular from a Norwegian fan made me take a second look. I was
holding the microphone and you could clearly see this mole. And it
looked like it was getting bigger. Now I was freaking out a bit so I
decided it was time to have a Doc take a look.
Off I went to see my GP. Like most men, I hate going to the doctor but I
was fairly sure it would be nothing and he would send me packing
forthwith so I wasn't too worried. He looked at it, measured it and told
me it was probably nothing to worry about. He did however suggest that I
go to a dermatologist 'just in case'. I tried to make an appointment
with them but another six months went by before I actually got to see
That's when my world changed quite a bit. The minute he saw it he knew
it was a melanoma. However he would have to cut it off and send it for
tests before he would know just how serious it was. Turns out it was
pretty serious. I got the call on Christmas eve. It was a late stage
melanoma and I would have to have surgery. They would have to take a
chunk off my arm and remove eight lymph nodes as well to make sure it
hadn't spread. I was definitely shocked and freaked out that Christmas
day. I hugged my little boy more then usual which drove him nuts I'm
sure. On top of that the vicodins were starting to make me a little
loopy and over emotional about every little thing. AND I was trying to
make an Album!
I know the band was freaked out to. We had just started recording the
album and everyone was obviously wishing me well but also wondering what
the future held for all of us. If there was even going to be a future.
That's how bad it was. I felt awful for putting everyone through that.
Throughout it all we kept recording and even did a few gigs. No one knew
what was going on outside the inner circle and most presumed that the
torn ACL was the only issue I was dealing with. I liked it like that. I
really didnÕt want what I was going through to be the focus of
Anyway, a month later I had the operation and it turned out that we had
caught it in the nick of time. It had not spread and all was left with
was a big scar on my arm. It was actually supposed to be a far worse
looking cut but the surgeon was brilliant and now it looks ok. I
sometimes wonder how many of you have noticed it and thought it was an
old drinking injury. Come on, admit it! Now I must endure a quite
embarrassing full body screening every six months but it could have been
so much worse. My doctor is my hero and the visits have become routine.
It remains the biggest scare I have ever had and a huge eye opener.
So why tell this story now? A while ago I met a lovely couple in Denver.
They had written to me telling me of her skin cancer battle. I was
surprised as they had no way of knowing it had happened to me too. When
I got the email I immediately wrote back and told her of my experience.
I then met them both at the next Denver gig and we took pictures and
compared scars. It was a great night
A few months later she passed away. I was devastated when I heard the
news. I was heart broken for her husband and family. She was a lovely
woman and I'm so glad I met her. I have seen her husband once since it
happened. He told me it had helped her to talk to someone else going
through the same thing but that in her case they had just caught it too
late. My thoughts are always with him and his family and I send them my
love and best wishes.
Please don't wait if you have any questions about marks on your skin. It
can be such an easy thing to deal with when caught in time. Pick up the
phone and make that appointment with your dermatologist. If anyone is
going through this and needs some advice or info or anything at all just
write to me and I will gladly tell you what I know. I have been clear
now for over three years and consider myself one of the lucky ones for
sure. Saints and Sinners will always be a reminder.
I hope the next album has a lot less injuries..and that I can remember
where I was when I wrote the lyrics.
UPDATE June 6th 2011. I have been delighted with the emails I got from
this post. Turns out there are lots of us out there. A few people told
me they would get check ups on things that have been bugging them for
ages. Good, good, good. A few of you are going through treatment right
now. Thanks for the updates and know that we are all in your corner.
Prayers and love, much love.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keith now plays Sierra Guitars!
Here's the news today from Sierra Guitars...
Sierra Guitars is happy to announce guitarist and
singer-songwriter Keith Roberts, Lead Singer and Guitarist as the newest
endorser of Sierra Guitars! Keith Roberts plays the Sierra Sunrise
SA28CETBL in Transparent Blue.
After officially signing an
agreement with Sierra Guitars earlier this month Keith Roberts stated,
"I first played a Sierra guitar at the 2010 NAMM Show and even with the
craziness of that event I was pleasantly surprised by the feel and sound
of the guitar. Once I had the chance to plug it in at a show, I was sold
on the sound of the pickup and the overall comfort of the guitar. Now I
have a fancy blue one and there's no stopping me!"
see more of this story and their products at the website:
[previous road stories]
The Scandinavian tour
I am writing this note on a ferry bringing us from Bergen in Norway
to the Vikodal Festival. It is a 2 hour ride through amazing scenery of
mountains and forests. This is an unbelievable part of the world and I
only wish the freakin weather could be better.
Yes, as is the
usual thing with the Young Dubs, it has rained everywhere.
EVERYWHERE!!!. We arrived in Denmark on June 27th and the tour and rain
began in perfect harmony. Our good pals at British airways lost all 10
bags we had and we had to wait until about 1 hour before the show to get
8 of them back. the other two are still missing almost 3 weeks later.
Last we heard they were in Milan , Italy. I hope they are having a good
time and getting some good pictures. Hopefully we will reunite before
tours end so we can share stories!
Other then that it has been
a great tour. The gigs have all been big and well received. The
festivals are all really well attended despite the shite weather. In
fact they almost seem to enjoy the mudbaths that appear all over the
place. Luckily we are usually looked after with a dressing room and
hotels etc but even the short walk from the band room to the stage can
get you covered in mud.
When we arrived at the airport our
fearless translator, confidant and driver Jorgen was standing by to
whisk us off on our month long voyage. Our first show was the Kloften
Festival and it was a great success. The rain stopped briefly to allow
us to get a great crowd and we rocked them as hard as we could. The
papers the next day listed us as a highlight with a cool pic of Chassie
The following day we went to Faaborg for a small club date. We
met the promoter at a show on the last tour and he decided to bring us
to this quaint little town in Southern Denmark. It was a good house and
again the show went well. However jet lag had gripped us tightly and I
think every one was wrecked. After the show we headed back to our hotel
in Odense and crashed hard.
The next day we left for a summer
house in Fredericia. This was organized by our Danish agent Thomas (or
Buks as everyone calls him). He found a beautiful beach front location
for us with about 10 rooms. Perfect for the boys to spread out and get
out of each others hair for a while. The weather sucked but every now
and again there was a little sunshine. We spent most of the time walking
and enjoying home cooked meals provided by our tour manager Adam. It was
a great break.
Back to work then with 5 gigs in a row. The first was the only dodgy
show of the tour. We had been asked to play a private show for the
volunteers working at the Nibe Festival. I suppose we thought it would
be a club of some sort but it turned out to be another mudfest of tents
in the middle of the vast festival grounds. Dont get me wrong, everyone
treated us a wonderfully as always but the conditions and size of the
venue were messy. Nonetheless we rocked as hard as we could for 2 shows
and made it a rehearsal for the upcoming shows.
Nibe show was the following day and it was crackin. I really enjoyed the
show as there were loads of kids rockin out mixed in with an all ages
audience. It was another step forward in our plan to break Denmark. Of
course it was raining and muddy so the only thing to do after the show
was enjoy the beers provided back stage
TANGENT The beer is
great over here. Even if you are normally a a wine or hard liquor man
you have to hand it to Scandinavia, they have tasty beer. A good deal
stronger then the US so be advised you may be speaking in tongues a
little sooner the you might usually be so proceed with caution.
After Nibe we went to what would be one of the biggest shows of the
trip. Skagen. We were to play directly before Runrig, one of the most
successful Celtic rock bands in Denmark (even though they are Scottish)
3000 people packed into the venue while the opener, Beggars Row got the
crowd going. We went on and worked hard at lifting the show up to the
highest point. By all reports we succeeded and our Danish record label
seemed very pleased. I was personally delighted when that one was over
as it had been a milestone in the tour. We never met Runrig which was a
pity but for some reason they were very much keeping to themselves. They
escaped a night on the tear with the Young Dubs, maybe it was for the
best, for them!
To finish off the week we headed for one of
the most remote shows of the trip. Tuno Island. The island is about as
big as a golf course with hardly any actual residents (less then 150)
However when the festival comes to town thousands head out to watch the
bands (in a big tent thank God as the rain continued) This may have been
our best performance of the tour and I really enjoyed it. We were all
in a great mood after the show as we had survived 4 in a row spread all
over the country. Some drinks were had!!!
Signing off now. I
will continue after Berlin!!!
The next day the inevitable headache arrived to remind me that there is
a reason not to drink nasty Danish shots with your pint! This was to be
the most challenging day for me personally as I was on a mission to meet
my pals in Berlin for a bachelor party. I ended up on just about every
type of transport known to man on this day. It started with a trip on a
small boat to get off the island. Then our driver Jorgen drove us to
Odense. The boys were all staying at a hotel there for the 4 days off. I
however jumped a train to Copenhagen and then on to the airport. When I
got there I found that my flight was delayed for 4 hours!! Pain in the
arse. I made the most of it by sitting at the bar and meeting folks
coming and going from all the world. Quite an interesting bar actually.
Finally at 11.30 pm the plane took off. I arrived at the hotel
in Berlin at 1.30 am. Not to worry, its Berlin and so the festivities
continued into the morning.
After my little excursion to Germany I rejoined the band in
Copenhagen and we headed to Norway the following day. Unbelievable.
Bergen is a beautiful city and right away we knew this would be a good
place for us.
Both club dates were well attended and we had
great shows. The highlight however was the final show at Vicodal Roots
festival. The crowd proved that they are Celtic Rock fans to the core.
We went on at 1 am and the place was packed. Thousands of Norwegians
sang along and rocked out for our hour long set. What a great place. The
Jam session after the gig with two Norwegian bands back stage was also a
Then it was back to Denmark for the last week
of shows. It began with a TV appearance on TV2 ( a live set with Bob ,
Chas and I). Then we headed to Randers for a club night. Despite the
fact that we had never been there we had a great crowd and we had a
rockin show. Then it was back on a boat to Samso island for yet another
big festival. This might have been the best show we did all tour but it
was 3 pm and the sun had finally shown its face, right into ours!. I
forgot to put sun block on and I was roasted. Still the gig was massive
with a huge audience. The food afterwards was phenomenal, compliments
to the organizers of Samso, they throw a hell of a party.
last show turned out to be the mother of all shows. Quite possibly my
favorite Young Dub show of all time (see video to be posted very soon).
It helped that we were in one of the coolest parts of the world I have
ever been, The Faroe Islands. For only 5 years now they have been
hosting the G Festival. It is undoubtedly the most amazing show we have
played. We went on at 2am, yes folks 2AM!!! We were the last band on the
main stage and it was brilliant. Thousands of people were on hand and
they acted like we were their favorite band of all time. What a
response. That made us play a rollicking 90 minute set while the sun
rose over the water ( remember there is only about 2 hours of darkness
in this part of the world during the summer).
It was the
perfect way to finish off the Scandinavian Tour. We have now officially
added Denmark and Norway to our list of fav places to play, with the
Faroe islands getting a most favored nation score on every bodies books.
I am writing this on the plane as we head back to North
America to start our US summer tour. I have forgotten so many cool
details which hopefully I will write about next time. A big thanks to
Thomas Hansen and Jorgen for another well organized and fun filled trip.
It has been a wonderful tour and we are looking forward to returning
next spring. Until then Scandinavia..........
A TALE OF FOUR CITIES, 70 AMERICANS, 5 BAND
MEMBERS, 2 CREW MEMBERS
A LETTER WRITTEN ON THE PLANE TO IRELAND, NOV 2006
Just left on our sort of European tour, Ireland and Denmark at
least!! It was the toughest goodbye I have had with my family. Not
because of the length of the tour or even the distance. Mostly because
the little man is now starting to fully understand that Daddy is going
away and wont be there to tuck him in tonight.
He knows what I
do for a living, God knows he has seen a lot more rock and roll shows
then most kids his age, and I think he digs it. But the sad part is also
sinking in now, rock and roll means going away sometimes and that part
is hard for him. I wish it could be done some other way but it cant. A
band has to tour sometimes.
Anyway, I may be over emphasizing
his sadness, its probably more my sadness. Maybe Daddy now fully
realizes that he has to go away and leave them from time to time and he
doesnt want to miss a moment of the little mans growing up.
I have taken steps to lessen the blow. We now have two computers that
have isights. For you non Mac users that is what we call cameras. I can
now see and talk to Jake live from any country I am in, very cool. Will
try it out for the first time in Ennis tomorrow. Fingers crossed that
they have good internet at the hotel!!!
The airport was nuts as usual today. We have so much crap to fly with
that we had to enlist the help of some of the folks that are following
us on tour. It was quite the sight to see Wally and Francine (long time
Dub fans) checking in cymbals and a bag of merch. Those rockers!!!
Once we got that nightmare out of the way it was up to the
international bar for a pint and a burger. Diets are usually the first
casualty of a tour. First the bad food moves in and then comes the lazy
days where you really intended to run for a while or even a fast walk
but ya just couldnt quite get your butt out of bed. Doing gigs late at
night and then enjoying some 'refreshments' afterwards is not conducive
with a healthy lifestyle. It just isnt!!!
Now that I am on the plane I have met a great bunch of travelers who
are all coming with us on the first half of this voyage. 10 dates in
Ireland. Right now we have people on flights from Los Angeles, Chicago
and New York all coming to join us in Ireland for an adventure. That is
a very cool thing. Everyone on this plane seems excited to kick it off.
I hope they all nap a bit because when we get to Ireland it is already
morning and the day has begun. I will be going straight to the hotel and
back to bed but they will see the Blarney Castle........oh yeh, they
will be tired tonight
Thats all from day one............talk soon....
I wrote the above on the first day of our trip with the idea that I
would write a few paragraphs everyday. It is now over two weeks later
and I am finally getting back to this, what a putz!!
What can I say, things in Europe are fast and furious and you don't
always have time to think nevermind write. Anyhow, here are my
recollections of the trip so far.
Day two we landed in Dublin for a brief stop over and then headed for
Shannon. But not before we had the first creamy pint of Guinness on
Irish soil, the first of many I am sorry to say... As we arrived in
Shannon the weather was remarkably mild as it was to be for the whole
Irish trip. Sun was shining and it was almost warm!!! Further prove that
there is something wrong with the world temperatures right now. I
remember Nov being rainy and freezing when I was growing up. One of the
main reasons I was late for school.
We met up with Steve our trusty driver for the adventure and headed
off to the first hotel. Like all the rest of them it was a beauty. Nice
rooms, friendly staff (although none from Ireland, immigration is
booming in the emerald isle). We had decided to stay at the hotel bar
for the first night so everyone could get to know each other. At once it
was apparent that we had a hell of a group. It was like a party where
everyone already knew everyone. I could tell that we were going to have
a great time from that night on.
The first show was the following night in Westport. Another fine
hotel and a show at Matt Molloys. It is a small little place so we
decided to play acoustic, sitting down. The place was packed with our
group and curious Irish. I also had a few friends drive down from Dublin
and the guest of honor, my Mum!!
We went on a little late (no, not the Dubs, on late, never!!) as I
had left my guitar in the hotel room, nice, what a plonker. I raced back
and grabbed it and we hit the stage by 10.30pm. It was a wonderful
night to start off the trip as everyone sang along and danced for the
duration of the show. Afterwards it was back to the hotel bar for
another all nighter. My God there were a lot of all nighters.
The next day was a day off in Westport. I spent the afternoon with my
Mum while the rest of the band and crew milled around town eating and
drinking and even taking in a movie. It was a good chance for me to
catch up on family matters and afterwards I met up with the gang in
town. There is something magical about a night out in Ireland. I can
never quite put my finger on it but I'm sure all those that were there
would agree. You sort of float through the night from pub to pub. You
always meet a few characters as you go. I was happy to bump into some
Irish folks who had seen the show and loved it, first timers. I told
them to spread the word in Galway where they were from and that we would
be back again soon.
Getting up in the morning is never easy in Ireland. At least the band
could make it a little later then the rest as we were not touring the
countryside. The group however were up and at it by 8am usually as they
took in the beautiful scenery through bloodshot, hungover eyes (some
worse then others). My heart went out to them as I awoke at the crack of
noon and headed down for our van.
Off to Derry today, across the border into what is still technically
the UK. Dave was astounded to hear that his Euro was no good here.
Having just mastered the coins and notes of Southern Ireland we now had
to master her Majesties currency, the pound. We stopped right at the
border and exchanged our cashola and then raced on to the hotel. I
really liked that hotel, another top class gaff. You can see all the
hotels on our home page. It was another night off for us and a big
dinner was planned for everyone in the restaurant. There were 4 group
dinners included in the trip and I managed to make two of them, one more
then last year. Well done me!!
After dinner a few of us headed off to see the club we were playing
at the following night. I had found Sandinos on the web and it turned
out to be a great choice. From the place itself to the staff it was
probably my favorite venue of the whole tour. We had a few pints there
that night and then returned to rock the place the night after. This
time it was full on rock show and it felt good to let loose again. As
usual the Americans sang along as the curious Derry folk joined in. Back
to the hotel and more liver abuse......
I saw a few very funny shirts over the trip. One said the Liver is
evil and must be punished and one was worn by our driver Steve. It said.
alcohol is my religion, will you join me in a prayer, nice!!
We left Derry the following morning and headed for the most
spectacular location of the journey, Newcastle. Still in Northern
Ireland it lies at the base of the Mountains of Mourne. The hotel was
stunning, my favorite of the bunch.
Unfortunately during soundcheck the previous night I had
inadvertently stabbed myself in the eye with a guitar string. What a
gobshite. We had chosen not to bring a guitar tech on this tour to save
a bit of moola and now I was seriously regretting the decision. After I
did it I really felt very little pain but the next morning all hell
broke loose. For the entire drive it weeped and hurt like a bugger. I
could not open it in the light at all. As soon as we arrived in
Newcastle I went to an eye doctor. He confirmed that I had ripped the
protective cover off the eyeball and that it was now becoming infected.
Bollox I thought, a one eyed front man. Had it been done before. Would I
now need to invest in a parrot and a wooden leg?
All kidding aside I was freakin out. He gave me some anti biotics and
told me to see another doctor in Dublin if it got any worse. I was well
pissed off. Here I was in a beautiful setting that I could not even look
at without an aching feeling in my eye. I went back to the hotel room
totally bummed out and proceeded to pour the medicine into the injured
curry pie (slang for eye in case anyone is paying attention).
By showtime it had not improved. Word had spread that I had damaged
myself (mostly because I was telling everyone) and my one eye looked
like I had been on heroin all week. I decided to wear my sun glasses to
help with the lights. Im sure many thought I was just trying to look
cool but I assure you that was not the plan that night.
Thanks to the help of some serious pain killers and adrenaline the
show was actually a success and I returned to the room to celebrate by
pouring more gunk into my eyeball, and a pint or two at the hotel bar
for medicinal purposes only of course.
Miracle, the next morning I was actually feeling better. The aching
had gone and I could actually open the eye in daylight. I immediately
returned the parrot and the eye patch, took off the pirate outfit and we
headed for home, Dublin City!!!
This was was a big night, Whelans was the venue, well known rock spot
and loads of family and friends on the guest list. I was so relieved
that the eye was better but nights of talking , singing, boozing and
the rest had taken its toll on the old vocal chords. I didnt care. We
just got up there and did the best show of the tour. My Mum was there
again as was Brens. Brothers and sisters and friends galore were in
attendance and we had a blast. The Americans in the group did us proud
as usual and packed the place singing and roaring along to every song. I
was delighted to say the least. Always a great feeling when you arrive
back to the place you were born and show that the last 15 years have not
been a complete waste of time. Jubilant is the word. There was only one
thing to do, back to the Burlington hotel bar for an all nighter!!!
Wow, the last day. Woke up quite a lot later then usual. It was big
relief that all had gone so well on the trip but a little sad that it
was almost over. Everyone seemed to get along famously and besides the
dodgy eye incidence, all was well. I had promised a pub crawl in Dublin
for the last night and was somewhat apprehensive as I was not feeling
the May West (slang for best, are ya with me?). But the show must go on
so I bravely dragged my lazy arse out of the bed and prepared for one
last knees up.
We started at the bar my Father had frequented for over 30 years
before he passed away last year. By the time we got there we had
regrettably lost a few along the way to other bars but most made it in
and joined me in a toast to my Dad. It was a moment. Enough said.
After that we crawled all the way back to the hotel, stopping at
ODonoghues, OBriens and a few more on the way before settling in at the
hotel bar again for a farewell pint.
It was a sad farewell. Many new lifelong friendships were made and
everyone seemed to have had the time of their life. I am glad and proud
that we were able to accommodate.
That following morning the group flew back to the US while we headed
for Denmark and the start of another adventure......more on that later.
P.S. The computer worked amazingly well and I was able to see the
family live almost everyday. Well worth the investment for you
P.S. The next Ireland trip is roughly scheduled for March
THE AMAZING HOTELS WE STAYED IN ON THE IRISH TRIP
The Woodstock Hotel. Ennis http://www.www.thewoodstockhotel.com
Hotel Westport. Westport. http:// www.hotelwestport.ie
Great Southern City Hotel. Derry http://www.greatsouthernhotels.com
Slieve Donard Hotel. Newcastle http://www.hastingshotels.com
Burlington Hotel. Dublin http://www.jurysdoyle.com
THE DANISH CONNECTION
For information on booking the Young
Dubliners in Europe contact Thomas H Hansen. BUKS Int. Gunloegsgade 15,
2300 Copenhagen S. Denmark. +45æ 3296 1092. email@example.com