First Published July 2016
ON MATTERS OF MUNDY
Mundy brings his Grand Stretch Tour back home to Birr this Saturday night. But earlier this month the singer/songwriter was part of something pretty special in another part of Ireland very dear to him, holding court for the biggest ever street performance of the Galway Girl, as part of the city’s European Capital of Culture bid for 2020. Which, incidentally, Galway went on to win! Now every career will be examined for the usual milestones of number 1s and sold-out shows and such, but there must surely be something a little bit extra special about the likes of what happened in Galway, both in terms of what it must have felt like on the day, and in that it probably helped to lead to that victory?
“Galway girl is a lucky phenomenon, I covered it by accident. Actually, as a favour to Tom Dunne when he had his Pet Sounds show on Today FM. I read it off a piece of paper on air and it was my first duet and only the second time I met Sharon (Shannon). After that performance it took a life of its own. I look at it now as jewel in the crown. I look at my set-list on the floor, and when the show is already flying it and I know I still haven’t played that yet, and say ‘July’ and a few others too, well then I know it’s gonna be a great night! When I heard about the Galway street video I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest, or how it would be filmed, ya know. But now I look at it and I go….THIS is the ultimate tribute to a killer song! And one written, thankfully, by one of my favourite songwriters [ Steve Earle]. So I’m very proud to be part of a mighty journey to a song that’s part of history now.”
While Galway has tightened its handshake with Europe, our neighbours across the water – somewhat surprisingly to most people I know – have decided to release themselves from that close of a connection. I wondered what was Mundy’s opinion on what happened, and, as importantly now, what does he think will happen next?
“I think life will go on, Anthony. But I’m appalled at how those jerks that instigated the Brexit ran for cover and bottled out [afterwards]. I’m so glad that it’s not my country, in that my fury would be sky-high at the decision. I’ve some great friends from there who are shocked and anxious by it. As they’re our neighbours I hope that we can sustain business with them. Too many lives have been lost to smash the bonds that we’ve made.”
Back to music, and I saw that one of Mundy’s recent gigs was in a lighthouse (Hookhead in Wexford, to be exact) and it looked amazingly cool! I asked him how exactly did that show come about, and is there anywhere else like that – a little bit unusual, a little bit out of the norm – that he’s played?
“I drove to the lighthouse last summer and saw they had a gig on. Maria Doyle Kennedy and her husband Kieran. So I rang my agent straight away and said, ‘I wanna play here!’ And that was really how that came to pass. I sang Joe Dolans ‘Such A Good Looking Woman’ at the graveside of my friend Donal Scannell’s mum, Dorothy, in Ballinasloe a couple of months ago, while the funeral party sang out loud. That’s up there with the unusual, but it was joyous, too.”
It’s just about a year since his latest album, the self-titled Mundy, was released. While it’s still very young in terms of being ‘out there’, has he started to think about a next collection yet? Or started writing any new songs that will eventually lead in that direction?
“Yes, thankfully my creative juices are flowing again. I won’t say gushing, but at least flowing! If albums were babies, Anthony, I’d say the last one is still on formula!”
Not long after Mundy the album was released, Mundy the man was faced with a bit of a nightmare scenario for an indie artist when his distributor, Indi Entertainment, folded. For regular fans who might not fully grasp the consequences of something like that happening, I asked Mundy to explain just how big of a problem that was, and I wondered if it had been in any way resolved to what might be called his ‘satisfaction’?
“No, no satisfaction has come from that situation. Usually my albums pay for some of the costs especially in the early months of release and that then becomes your float for releasing the second single, making a low budget video and some PR. In my case, all the sales and stock got hoovered into the liquidators account even though it wasn’t the property of the distributor! Anyway, look, no-one cares, ya know. It’s a case of boo-hoo. The industry shot itself in the heart a long time ago regarding piracy on the Internet, so things like this are just some of the follow-on consequences.”
“The presidential campaign is bonkers. It’s too long, for one thing. And It’s poisonous, for another. It’s toxic. It’s sending people into subconscious delirium. I’m not American, but I love playing in America. Some of the greatest songwriters and music ever has come from there, but the media is dodgy. And Trump is loopy. Four years of him would be scary. And what makes it all so very upsetting is because you think: well, who’s left to trust? American politics is like a snickers…. it’s nutty and hard on the system! [laughs] I heard an advert for his hotel in Connemara on the radio recently and I just thought to myself, I’d like to pee on the 18th hole! Honestly.”
For my last question, I decided to take the intensity down a wee bit. I read that Mundy is a big fan of cooking programmes and that he’s actually quite the baker and chef himself! But what I was wondering is does he have any particular favourite tv chef? Is Gordon Ramsey someone he can’t miss, or is he more of a Rachel Allen fan?
And Mundy answered as only Mundy could!
“I’d rather drink a thimble of cider with Rachel Allen than a tumbler of Moët with Ramsey. Maybe he’s a ‘daycent’ skin, but he’s a jerk on the idiot box!”