SHORT SUMMARY: The Colonials started out in the early 1990's. They were originally known as The Wild Colonial Boys and played a residency every Saturday night in the highest pub in Ireland: Johnny Foxes, in the Wicklow Mountains, where there was always a large queue out
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The Colonials started out in the early 1990's. They were originally known as The Wild Colonial Boys and played a residency every Saturday night in the highest pub in Ireland: Johnny Foxes, in the Wicklow Mountains, where there was always a large queue outside the venue from early Saturday evening waiting for them to perform. Some of the notable attendees include actor Ben Kingsley (Gandhi), well known Dublin gang-leader Martin Cahill "The General", members of U2 and The Corrs. When The General would come to see them, the place would be full of armed police keeping an eye on him, all very friendly stuff. They have great memories of the place, but, as Anthony Warde says, ‘driving home down the mountain in the middle of winter after a serious night partying was always a bit hairy’.
They have had a few changes in the musicians over the years, but the current line-up is the original one except for Pa Dowling our bass player. Pa took over from Tom Smith a few years ago. The other members are Paddy O'Gorman(vocals, guitar) , Ger Doyle (fiddle, vocals, guitar), Anthony on banjo, and Howard Wilson on drums.
Their sound engineer Dave Brewster has been with them for many years, having previously toured with Thin Lizzy and U2.
What kind of music do you play?
We play a mixture of traditional Irish music combined with rock, reggae, jazz and even a bit of Latin thrown in for good measure.
I suppose we are best known for being a very exciting live band. The philosophy of The Colonials has always been...anything goes.We improvise a lot on stage....no two nights are ever the same. We were never into churning out a well-rehearsed program night after night. We like to take chances and we feel the audience likes that too....it usually works out o.k....a bit like walking on a tight-rope for three hours a night.
Do you have a favorite song?
Well that's impossible to answer, there are so many. Ger and myself come from a traditional music background, so we love playing instrumental Irish reels and jigs, Paddy is a great man for Irish songs while Howard and Pa provide the rock influence. Our drummer Howard from Yorkshire was originally a member of The Foundations, they had a big hit with Build me up Buttercup, so our influences come from all angles!
How long have The Colonials been playing in Spain?
We've been playing in Spain ever since the opening of The Irish Rover. We're very proud of the fact that we played the Rover on the opening night, and the pub has been a roaring success ever since. It's our home from home. The staff are wonderful, always great fun and very welcoming. Entertainment Manager Brendan Murphy from Dublin does a great job looking after the band. We have lots of great friends in Madrid, such us John Morris from Ger's hometown Bray, Co.Wicklow is a partner in another authentic Irish pub in Madrid, Finbars, and we always drop in there for a pint and a few songs on St.Patrick's Day.
What are the Spanish audiences like?
The Spanish like to party!!The audience reaction is just mind-blowing.We get our energy from seeing the people in front of us enjoying themselves, and because we've been coming back for so long now, we recognize a lot of the faces in the crowd. As Ger says: "Madrid,we love you". But it's so true, and we love hanging out after the gig and having a chat with old friends and new.
Do you have any anecdotes that happened to you in Spain… and can be told?
Ah now, Chary we're getting into dodgy territory here! Well...let’s see...oh yeah, once the bass player got a bit tipsy......say nothing and keep saying it.
What are your plans for St. Patrick's Day?
Well we've got into a routine now. Up early, about noon, down to the Rover for a cure...a ‘sweaty Betty’, orange juice and fizzy lemon in a pint glass. Then a couple of Irish Coffees with Irish Breakfast. We love the sausages: they're called Proper Sausages and made in Madrid. We might go for a bit of a ramble downtown, then it's down to Finbar's Pub for a music session and pints of the black stuff and hanging out with the local Irish. And then, siesta, back to the hotel for a couple of hours sleep before the gig. We hit the Rover about 10.30 to get a chance to say hello to a few people, then onstage at 11.30 for a three hour workout. And then after the gig? More partying and good times. Sometimes we drop into Moby Dick next door.
Tell us about your projects...
2009 was a great year for the band....we performed at a charity event in Co. Wicklow with Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains. Guests included U2 manager Paul McGuinness and film director John Boorman. Following our gig in Madrid last November, we flew to London and played at another charity gig with Bob Geldof and Robbie Williams. We also did some film work...we made a guest appearance in a new big-budget romantic comedy...Leap Year starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. The movie has been a big box-office success in the U.S., and is due for release in Spain in the coming weeks.