ith a sell-out show tonight at The Whale, it’s clear that Something Happens have hit something of a sweet spot.
A staggering 34 years on from their self-released Two Chances EP, and following world tours, a major label contract and two songs – Parachute and Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello (Petrol) – that will live on long after we’re all toast, Tom Dunne, Ray Harman, Alan Byrne and Eamonn Ryan are now in the middle of a lifelong after party.
They may not have become half as big as they coulda shoulda been, but Something Happens today have a back catalogue that people love, cherish and often dance like a loon to.
Which is pretty much what rock agus roll is all about.
To mark the shaggable moptops’ Greystones debut, we cornered head honcho Tom to find out just where all this jingle-jangle wonder began…
History will record that I was safely tucked up in bed when music came to collect me.
I was in my sister’s bed – nothing to see here; she was in the Gaelteacht – but she had a ‘gear dagger’ radio. So I went into her room to read NME and tune in mad stations from all over Europe.
About 2am, a very unusual song started to play. It had a very exciting, insistent guitar part, the drums added to it like the gods of war, and then a voice came in like nothing I had ever heard. He was telling me that he was an antichrist or something. By the time it hit the 2nd verse I was out of the bed staring in slack-jawed wonder at the radio. It was The Sex Pistols. Life would never be the same again.
The next day outside mass I quizzed all my friends. They all avowed undying love for The Eagles Hotel California. I was speechless. I looked at them: all attempting to grow facial hair, all wearing wrangler parallels and sharing, badly, a half-smoked butt. It occurred to me they had very little in common with a group of men dating supermodels, driving cadillacs in Cali and singing songs about ‘life in the fast lane.’
I resolved to form a band, asap. If not sooner.
The Tracks Of My Years…
The Sex Pistols Anarchy In The UK No music ball would ever have rolled in my life if I had not heard The Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK. Everything that happened musically happened as a result of that. It also made me instantly untrusting of anyone with long hair.
R.E.M. Sitting Still I had just joined Something Happens and was visiting a friend in NYC, and he introduced me to R.E.M.’s music. I was blown away. When I got home I hooked up with the lads only to find that they too had discovered them. We soon had this song in our set in The Underground.
The Beach Boys God Only Knows I think it’s the best song ever written, the most pure, spiritual, wonderful thing. It has a lot of personal resonance for me now too. I sang it at a very good friend’s funeral. We used to play it with our old piano player Fitzy. He too sadly was diagnosed with a terminal illness and wrote out the music for it so we could perform it again with another piano player.
Microdisney Town to Town I prefer their album The Clock Comes Down the Stairs, but this track, with its video on the back of a truck was their first single for Virgin. I honestly did think ‘if they can get a deal, so can we!’ and went at thereafter with renewed vim.
The Blades Downmarket Played with them in The Magnet Bar in Ringsend when they were The Beatles of Ringsend. I can’t describe how stuffed the place was. Afterwards, we stole into the dressing room but we were too nervous to talk to them. It was them or U2 back in ’79 and the smart money said them!
Radiohead Nice Dream I had this on CD in the car when I was first dating my now wife. We’d be driving and I’d be listening. Eventually she said “Are you ever aware you are doing that?” “What?” I asked. “Playing the same track over and over!” Apparently, I had done it about 11 times.
Delays Long Time Coming What a beautiful band. Some bands just make a beautiful noise, a unique sound that is all their own, gentle, easily bruised and yet soaring and powerful. We love you, Greg.
Modest Mouse Float On One of the ‘I remember where I was when I heard it tracks.’ At my desk, which is no great surprise, but I was kind of expecting that Floaters track – the ‘Hi, I’m Larry‘ one. Instead, we got this gem.
Ryan Adams Come Pick Me Up Same as above, only this time I was at home. It’s the ease with which he plays and sings and writes; it’s effortless. He is currently on the naughty step for various crimes. He was never a pleasant interviewee, but god, could he write a tune.
Elvis Costello Brilliant Mistake Probably my favourite writer of the 20th century. What he can do with words never fails to utterly amaze me. Been with him from day 1 and his musical journey continues to fascinate me.
Rilo Kiley Portions For Foxes Jenny Lewis is Elvis’s female equivalent. Again, I marvel at the lyrical dexterity. She is also such a cool dude. Child actress until her teens, don’t you know.
You can find out more about Something Happens here, and The Whale’s upcoming gigs here.
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