Larissa Tormey

NEWS

Press Release via AS Written, July 2021

OLD-FASHIONED LOVE FOR A MODERN GIRL

Even in the 21st century, an old-fashioned love is still what some girls dream of. And singer/songwriter LARISSA TORMEY just so happens to be one of them. In fact, Larissa is such an old-fashioned romantic herself, that she followed her heart all the way from her native Russia to her new home in the Irish midlands when she married a good old-fashioned Irish farmer, her husband Christy. So maybe it’s no surprise then that her new single will be the somewhat tongue-in-cheek single, OLD FASHIONED.  

Set for general release across all digital platforms on July 30th, Old Fashioned is another original from Larissa’s own songbook, and features on her latest country collection, Breath of Fresh Air. That album hit stores last November, but this particular song holds a special place in Larissa’s affections, and she’s always had an equally special plan for it…   

     

“I think everyone should just be themselves, I think that’s so important for everybody. And if that means that you might be a little bit old-fashioned in your ways, that’s grand, that’s no problem. It’s much better to be authentic than to ever feel like you need to pretend to be someone you’re not. Even though it’s a fun song, and a happy one, it does have that message in it, too. I think being old-fashioned is a great thing, and lots of girls still prefer gentlemen to bad boys! [Laughs]. After all, not everyone needs to be modern. At least not in every way.”  

       

Larissa continued, “This is one of my favourite songs on my last album because it’s so funny. And I know it’s a little bit…maybe sarcastic you could say, but it’s in a very gentle and affectionate way. It’s just a playful song, and it’s the kind of thing you can say to a gentleman because you know they understand that. Because I loved ‘Old Fashioned’ from the moment I wrote it, I was really tempted to put it out as a single before now. But I decided that it would be even better to wait until summer came so that we could make a video here at home on Loughnagore Farm! So that’s what I did! So we recorded that last week and I’m delighted to say that one of the stars of the ‘Old Fashioned’ video will be a gentleman called Tom Lynam, who is not only one of our lovely neighbours, but a very good family friend as well. And of course we couldn’t film a video on our farm in the summer without making sure that our cattle got in on the action too! [Laughs].”  

       

Despite the ongoing troubles faced by the music industry as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, Old Fashioned will actually be Larissa’s fourth release of what has already proved to be a busy 2021. Her musical year began with the duet, Agree To Disagree, with British country legend Dave Sheriff back in February. That was followed by One Man Band in March, a track with links to none other than Sir Tom Jones himself as it was penned by Jon Philibert who also wrote the Welsh legends 1984 hit, I’ve Been Rained On Too. Then, as summer began to appear on the horizon in April, Larissa treated fans to another original of her own, Slightly Mad, which will feature on a full original album she has in the works for before the year’s end. 


With two Hot Press Award nominations also coming her way last March, in the Female Artist of the Year (alongside Imelda May, Denise Chaila, Emma Langford, and more) and the Best Songwriter (alongside Lisa Hannigan, Dermot Kennedy, and Niall Horan to name a few) categories, it’s already been a year to remember, no matter what else happens between now and December 31st. 


But Larissa isn’t one for resting on her laurels. She’s always planning her next move. You could say, she’s kind of old-fashioned like that. 

OLD FASHIONED, the brand NEW single from LARISSA TORMEY, will be available on all platforms from Friday, July 30th, and is now available to request from radio stations nationwide. 

ENDS

Aishling Rafferty

NEWS

Press Release via AS Written, July 2021

CARTER CONNECTION TO AISHLING’S THANK-YOU TO FANS

AISHLING RAFFERTY continues her emergence as one of Irish country music’s brightest young performers with the release of her latest hit single, her fourth of 2021. And there’s a strong NATHAN CARTER connection to the song which Aishling has dedicated to her fans as her way of thanking them for their continued support.  

       

THANKS TO YOU comes from the pen of Nathan’s manager, the renowned songwriter JOHN FARRY. Originally written for Patrick Feeney, the song was both the title-track and the album opener on the Sligoman’s 2003 long-player. And for Aishling, it was the perfect way of letting her fans know just how much their love and support has meant to her. And John even had his own special good-luck message for Aishling, writing on Facebook, “Thanks to you for recording my song, ‘Thanks To You.’ Best of luck.” 

       

When she first announced the news of her new single on her social media, Aishling revealed, “This song is especially dedicated to you all as a way of saying a big thank you for your continued love, support, and the kind words from you all throughout my journey so far. I am extremely grateful.” And what a journey it’s already been for the Knockshegowna lass.    

         

All three of Aishling’s previous singles in 2021 have topped the iTunes Country Chart in Ireland, with Darling, Say You’ll Love Me When I’m Old taking the #1 spot in January, Truck Driving Woman following suit in March, and her latest vocal masterclass, the sentimental and heart-warming Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ol Days), doing likewise upon its release back in May. And as much as such milestones matter to Aishling, and bring a smile to her face, what matters far more to the student of voice at the Irish World Academy, is the fact that her music can bring smiles to others…   

     

“What I actually miss most about being able to sing”, confessed Aishling, “is being able to see how the people right in front of you respond to the songs. From as long as I can remember, the feeling I get from seeing people smile just because they’re listening to me sing is just one of so much happiness. And that’s why I knew John’s song would be the perfect choice as my next single. Even though we can’t really get back up on a stage and sing to fans again just yet, all of the messages I keep getting from people telling me how much they enjoy listening to my songs at home or on the radio, it’s honestly been so humbling. And so overwhelming at times too, but in the loveliest of ways. So I really wanted to find a way to say thank-you to everyone. When I came across Patrick singing this song, I knew I’d found exactly what I needed. It was perfect!”   

     

Had Covid not been with us for the past sixteen months or so, there’s little doubt that Aishling would have graced concert and festival stages all across Ireland in that time. However, the good news for fans is that a chance to hear Aishling perform ‘live’ is finally coming their way. She’ll be joining Mike Denver, Colin Kenny, Sabrina Fallon, and Clodagh Lawlor for a Country Drive-In concert at the Star Trax Music Venue in Cork on Sunday, September 5th. And she can’t wait to take to the stage.    

     

“It still feels like it’s so far away, even though I know it’s actually not!”, she laughs. “I just can’t wait to get down there and see everyone. From Hugh and his Hot Country team, to all the other performers on the day, and of course, the fans as well. I think it’s going to feel more special than being on stage has ever felt before, just because now we all know how easily that feeling can be taken away. It’s not something that any of us would ever have taken for granted, don’t get me wrong. But now that we’ve been through such a long time when we just couldn’t sing anywhere at all, every chance to do what we love most is just something that we’ll appreciate all the more now.”Writing to her fans on the day of the single’s release, Aishling said, “I am so humbled by all the beautiful comments and messages I have received since my musical journey began. You are all helping my dreams come true, without you all, none of this would be possible. So thank you all from the bottom of my heart. This is only the beginning.”     

   

As well as penning Thanks To You, the song Aishling has chosen to be her brand new single, Fermanagh man Farry picked up Best Original Album honours for his Songwriter collection at the 2017 Hot Country TV Awards. He also secured his own special place in Ireland’s Eurovision history, when he penned our 1997 entry Mysterious Woman, which Marc Roberts took to within one place of ultimate glory, coming second to the UK entry, Love Shine A Light by Katrina and the Waves. 

THANKS TO YOU, the brand NEW single from AISHLING RAFFERTY, is OUT NOW on all platforms, and available to request from radio stations nationwide and around the world. You can follow Aishing on Facebook and Instagram at ‘Aishling Rafferty Music.’ 

ENDS

Donie O

NEWS

Press Release via AS Written, July 2021

NEW SINGLE HITS 100,000

DONIE O has 100,000 reasons to celebrate as his new single, EARLY MORNIN’ RAIN, has already passed the 100,000 impacts at radio milestone following its official release on June 18th.

          Returning to the airwaves with his version of the suitably reflective classic from the great GORDON LIGHTFOOT, the Peter Maher produced single once again bears all the hallmarks of a Donie O song, taking a track known and loved by a certain generation of music lover, and bringing it to a whole new audience by putting his own unique twist on it. 

          Now available on all digital platforms and to request at radio, the response so far has delighted the Tipp music man. “We had a feeling that this one might catch people by the heart a little bit. There’s just something about the song itself for a start, so beautifully and brilliantly written by Gordon Lightfoot. Despite its sadness in some ways, and how reflective it is, there’s also a wonderful comforting feeling to it. A warmth almost. And I think that’s something we’ve been able to really highlight in the production.”

Early Mornin’ Rain, which first appeared on Lightfoot’s 1966 debut album, Lightfoot!, and again on his 1977 collection, Gord’s Gold (as a re-recorded version), will be the second single from Donie O’s forthcoming second album. As the follow-up to last year’s huge radio hit, A Picture Of You, Donie O hopes this record will offer fans a further glimpse into the variety and range his new long-player will have to offer…


          “When I was deciding on what single to release next, I was doing it with the new album very much in mind. So I knew I wanted to pick a song that would reflect the fact that this album will be a miscellany of music. ‘A Picture Of You’, as that almost textbook, prime example of a feel-good, genre and generation crossing hit, was just the first glimpse into what’s to come. ‘Early Mornin’ Rain’, on the other hand, is a more considered, more thoughtful, and more solitary kind of song. And there’ll be some moments like this on the album, too. But we’ve also put a twist on this song that will bring it to people in a way they’ve never quite heard it before, I think.”


          With the single having already clocked up more than 100, 000 impacts at radio, and heading for three-figures in spins, Donie O is looking forward to the chance to get back in front of a ‘live’ audience to perform the song for fans.           

“No more than anyone else in my position, all I can do is sit and wait really. Even though that feels like it’s all that we’ve been doing for a fairly long time now! [Laughs]. But look, we’re nearer now to being where we want to be again, we have to be at this stage, and that’s a good thing. So from my own point of view, the reaction to the new single means that I can look forward to things returning to normal with added excitement as well, because this is something new that we haven’t had a chance to share with fans yet in any ‘live’ setting.” 

        While Lightfoot wrote the song and released it in 1966, he wasn’t actually the first artist to cut and bring it to public attention. That claim-to-fame rests with Canadian husband and wife pairing Ian and Sylvia who did so a year earlier. Early Mornin’ Rain was also recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary, and by The Grateful Dead. 


~ EARLY MORNIN’ RAIN, the brand NEW single from DONIE O, is OUT NOW, available on all platforms and to request at radio stations nationwide. Donie O’ s second studio album is scheduled for release towards the end of 2021. 

ENDS 

Lee Matthews

NEWS

Press Release via AS Written, May 2021

LEE RETURNS WITH NOUGHTIES COUNTRY THROWBACK

Singer/songwriter LEE MATTHEWS has finally made his long-awaited return to the airwaves. The Irish country star has just released his own unique take on a real noughties country throwback, I THINK SHE LIKES ME. 

          The song will be best known to country fans as a track on the One Voice album from American country child star Billy Gilman all the way back in 2000, his debut long-player that reached #2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. In the hands of Lee and his long-time producer Jonathan Owens, however, I Think She Likes Me has been given the kind of make-over that leaves it as an unmistakably Lee Matthews hit. 

          For Matthews, who has a string of chart-topping albums and singles to his name, I Think She Likes Me is his first post-lockdown release, and it’s one he’s been excited about sharing with his fans…

          “I’ve spent the best part of the last eighteen months or so writing new material, and working on some of those songs in the studio as well. Not being able to be on the road for a while really gave me the opportunity to turn my focus on what has probably always been my greatest passion, and that’s writing songs. And even more importantly than that, this last year and more have given me the opportunity to spend more time with my son, Noah. And there’s nothing better for any man’s heart and soul than getting to spend more time with his children, so I’m incredibly grateful for that. But I’m a performer too, and that’s my next big passion after songwriting. And it had just been way too long since I’d shared anything with my fans, that was something I wanted to put right. This song, I Think She Likes Me, is one that might not be so well known to some people, but it’s been one of my favourite American country songs from the 1990s, and I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to take it into the studio someday.”

          Matthews continued, “It’s one of those catchy, upbeat songs that has a way of bringing back all kinds of memories of childhood and first love, and things that have a way of putting a smile on peoples’ faces. And that’s exactly what I wanted to do when it came to putting some new music out there again. I’m very, very lucky to have more than 50,000 listeners each month on Spotify, and that’s growing all the time, thank God. Some of my songs actually have more listeners in the United States even than they do in Ireland or the U.K. But regardless of where people are listening, when it came to giving them something new to listen to, well like I said, something to put smiles on faces, that was the first priority. Jonathan and myself had the craic working on this in the studio, and the feedback so far from fans and radio seems to be that everyone else is enjoying it as much as we did.”

          I Think She Likes Me – written by George Teren and Bob Regan – was backed by the Northern Ireland Arts Council. And while Matthews drew from the well of songs he loves most from other artists and writers on this occasion, fans can look forward to hearing some new and original music from his own songbook very soon…

          “After spending so much time writing and in the studio, I honestly can’t wait to share some of that material with fans. So that’s what’s going to be happening next. The plan is – as it stands at the moment anyway – that my next two singles will probably both be originals. Not sure when we’ll be dropping the first of those just yet, because the reaction to ‘I Think She Likes Me’ has been amazing, so it has a lot of life left to live yet. But there’ll definitely be more new music coming this year, that’s for sure. The wait was long enough, but that wait is over now. Fans can be sure of that, too!”

I THINK SHE LIKES ME, the brand NEW single from LEE MATTHEWS, is OUT NOW, available on all platforms, and to request from radio. 

ENDS

Stephen Travers

First Published June 2021

A GENT AND A GIANT

July 31st will mark the 46th anniversary of one of the darkest nights – in every meaning of that term – in Irish history. The Miami Showband Massacre. Even as a child, when hearing those words mentioned for the first time, without knowing any of the details, without having any context in which to place them, they chilled me to the bone. A showband? But they’re musicians, right? How could musicians become the victims of a massacre? And how could it happen here? In Ireland? It didn’t make any sense to me. 


It doesn’t make any sense now either, of course. Even less so now that I do know so many details, now that I realise the horrible, heartbreaking context. Nor did it make any sense on that summer’s night, not long after 2am almost five decades ago. What doesn’t make sense is HOW such an atrocity could be allowed to happen. How some people could actually sit down and plan for something like that to happen. How some people were prepared to live out the remainder of their own lives forever accompanied by the knowledge of what they had been part of. None of that makes sense. Nor will it ever. And it shouldn’t, because for it to do so, you’d need to have an understanding of evil that could only leave the darkest of imprints upon your soul.

 
However, we can understand WHAT happened on that night because – by the grace of God, surely – there were survivors. While Fran O’ Toole, Brian McCoy, and Tony Geraghty perished in a torrent of unprovoked violence, Des Lea and Tipperary man STEPHEN TRAVERS managed to escape the same fate. Getting to and revealing the truth about what unfolded on the Buskhill Road that night, as he and four of his famed and adored bandmates simply endeavoured to make the journey home from a show at the Castle Ballroom in Banbridge, is something that Stephen has dedicated his life to. 


That work, and the events of the night of July 31st 1975 itself, are stories unto themselves, and they more than warrant any time and attention you can give them. A few years back, when Stephen was getting close to embarking on a nationwide promotional tour in relation to some projects in this regard, I had the pleasure of spending some time in conversation with him ahead of the announcement of those dates. However, as can happen from time to time, unforeseen circumstances lead to that tour being rearranged, and as a result, our chat was never published. 


But now, in honour of Stephen and the work he has done to make sure the truth about that night is known to all, and indeed, as a tribute to his fellow survivor Des Lea, and to his bandmates who never made it home – Fran O’ Toole, Brian McCoy, and Tony Geraghty – we are finally sharing that chat with our OTRT readers. So it is, ladies and gentlemen, our privilege to present this conversation with Stephen, not just an inspirational musician, but an inspirational human-being, and a gentleman of the highest order. 

When we spoke, I began by asking Stephen about how his own interest in music first began to arise and develop? 


“Well, I was born in 1951, so my formative years musically would have been the sixties. And they really only began in 1963 with the Beatles, with that whole musical and fashion explosion that happened. So that hit me right between the eyes when I was twelve years of age. There were an awful lot of young guys picking up guitars, and of course the showbands were there, so all of the stars aligned and came together and I decided to give it a go.” 

I wondered if there happened to be any one particular moment that hit Stephen right between the eyes and made him think, ‘Right, I know what I want to do with my life from here on…’? 


“There was actually. I was in school, and every year that school would put on an operetta. It was the Christian Brothers school in Carrick-on-Suir. They’d put on a show for all the parents. One of the lads in my class, a lad called Jim, his mother was actually a choreographer, and she came up to put us through our paces. I can’t remember what the name of the operetta was. Anyway, her son, Jim, had been learning drums, so she got him to bring along the snare drum. When he started to play it I was fascinated by the fact that a young kid of my own age could do this. And I thought, you know what, I’d like to do it as well because everybody was dancing to his tune as he was playing. I think it was ‘The March of the Toy Soldiers’, or ‘The March of the Tin Soldiers’, something like that. It involved the lads in the play marching around and doing their thing, and I was fascinated by it.” 

Stephen mentioned the fact that so many people were picking up guitars back in the sixties. It happened to be the bass guitar that he reached for himself. I wondered if there was a particular reason for his choice? 


“Yeah, my schoolmates had formed a little group, they had about two years start on me. I had a guitar at home that I never bothered with, but I went to hear them rehearsing and I was fascinated that they were playing The Shadows and the Beatles, and all that kind of stuff. And they said to me, ya know we need a bass player? I didn’t really know what a bass player was, but I found out pretty quickly! [Laughs]. At that time, a bass guitar would have had four strings, so I thought well this will be easy enough! But that’s not the case! Anyway, I started to play bass, and happily it was MY instrument, ya know. It’s the one that, to this day, I love to learn more and more about all the time, even though now I play a five and a seven-string bass. I just love it. And then, of course, Paul McCartney I consider to be the greatest bass player that ever walked the face of the Earth. He was such a cool character. So it was no problem playing bass in a band! If it was good enough for him, then it was good enough for me.”

Stephen joined the Miami Showband when he was about twenty-four, and they were already massive at that stage. Was becoming a member like landing a dream-job, or as a musician, was it just another job, albeit, a pretty cool one all the same? 


“I had served my time in country bands, and what they called big bands, jazz bands. From day one I was very interested in blues and jazz. Of course, the only game in town if you wanted to earn a living was – back in the late sixties – country, when it began to become very big, as it is today. That’s when I went and joined a country band called The Cowboys. One of the lads that had been in the earlier group, Gay Brazel, later went on to become the band leader with Tweed, he was in The Cowboys. And Billy Byrne, my friend. So I learned my chops, learned my trade in bands like The Cowboys and in school, in young beat groups and that. But when you need to earn a living, or buy a new car, or put a deposit on a house, you join a showband. So I set my sights on the one that was going to pay me the most money! I got a call from The Miami Showband in September 1974, to ask me if I’d like to go up and meet them to talk about joining. As it turned out, I didn’t join them. I waited until the end of May 1975, and I took the job then. I quickly realised that these guys were phenomenal musicians. Tony Geraghty on guitar, it was arguable whether he was more influential than Gary Moore when he was playing in his rock days. He had gone and joined a showband because he was getting married, and the usual thing, he wanted to buy a car and a house. Fran O’ Toole, I think everybody knew, was one of the most sensational vocalists as well as being an incredible keyboard player, a great jazz player. So when I joined, it was a bit of a reality check that I was among guys who were every bit as good – if not better! – than myself. This wasn’t just about joining a band to earn a few quid. It was an honour to play with these guys.”

I didn’t want to get into what happened to Stephen and his bandmates in the Miami in July of 1975 without first showing the courtesy and respect of asking if that was something he would be comfortable talking about. I knew it was something he’d been asked to talk about on countless occasions before, and regardless of how much detail any of those conversations might go into, even going back in time to that fateful night to any degree must bring with it memories that none of us will ever be able to comprehend. Displaying the generosity of spirit for which he has always been known, however, Stephen agreed. 


What happened on that July night almost fifty years ago now, changed the course of Irish music history. I don’t think there’s anyone who doubts that. I asked Stephen how he thought Irish music would have developed had that tragic night not come to pass…


“Just referring to what you said there at the beginning of your question, that night didn’t just change Irish music history. In fact, it had very little effect, a temporary effect, on Irish music history. But it changed Irish history [itself]. And the reason being was that it was an attempt by a neighbouring, so-called friendly government, to influence Irish politics. They felt that security was lax on the southern side of the border, so they set up a plan – a brilliant plan, even though it was evil – to make it look as if all innocent Irish people should be suspects. And had they succeeded in doing that, the whole world would have shrugged its shoulders and said let the British deal with the Irish whatever way they want to now, because every one of them is a potential terrorist. So had we been successfully framed as terrorists when they attempted – unbeknownst to us – to put a bomb in our van, nobody would have known about the road-block, and we subsequently would have blown up fifteen minutes down the road, and been accused of being terrorists. So thankfully, Des Lee – or Des McAlea, as his real name is – and I survived to tell what happened, [because] that had the potential to turn Ireland into another Gaza. Our young people, instead of having a friendly nod from Immigration in Australia or wherever, as they do now, had we been successfully framed as terrorists, then like the Palestines today our young Irish people would be called aside at every airport, or searched vigorously or whatever. So that was a massive, massive thing to happen. So it’s wrong to think that it was just something that happened to a band, or a small story. And this was pointed out to me when we were doing the screenplay of the movie by a world renowned director. He said, ‘This is not just a story of a local band, and a local terrorist attack. This is an international crime.'” 

“Apart from that”, Stephen continued, “from the musical aspect of things, it caused a temporary lock-down, a close-down, as George Jones, the musician and broadcaster in the north said [at the time], ‘You look at a ballroom and expect to see tumbleweed.’ As to the development of Irish music, the showbands had had their day. When I joined the Miami, it was called The Miami, it wasn’t actually called The Miami Showband. They had shortened it, they didn’t want to lose the value of the name. But it was more a pop group than anything else. Along with a number of other bands, the Miami was writing its own material. I think the Miami is probably the link between the old and the new. We’re frozen in history for this. Fran would have gone on to be a singer/songwriter in America, because it was planned to take him out to America. I think he would have perhaps written for lots of other people. Because he wasn’t a kid anymore, he was twenty-eight, and that in the pop business – even then – was getting on a bit. So I think he and Des would have concentrated on their writing. Tony Geraghty and I would have formed a jazz/rock group, I think.” 

Stephen had mentioned the screenplay of the movie about his life, upon which pre-production had begun at the time we were speaking. I asked him how that project was progressing, and, on a project like that, how involved does Stephen himself get to be? Or at what point does he have to hand over artistic control of what happens? 


“Well, I was very careful with that. We’ve been doing this now for five years. And that in itself, apparently, isn’t too long when it comes to the making of a movie, I believe. Great films like ‘Lincoln’, and other Oscar winners recently, have taken up to ten, eleven years to make. But we had the screenplay done almost three years ago now. When we met with some directors from Hollywood to talk about it, we became aware that it was much more than just a local event, so we went back to the drawing-board. About last September, we finished that screenplay, and now they’re all very, very happy with it. They’re now in that phase that’s pre pre-production really, because the finance is together now and a lot of other things. So we expect to be full hammer-and-tongs at it within the next two or three months. And hopefully it will be filmed. The actual filming of any movie only takes about six weeks, that’s the short part. It’s all the work that goes on before and after it. With regard to artistic license, that was something I was very careful of. I have a great responsibility to the truth, and for the portrayal of the lads. This is one of the reasons that we asked the producers to do everything in their power to keep this an independent movie. What they call an independent movie, rather than handing it over to a studio. Because once you do that, then you don’t have any control over it. Whereas in an independent movie, and because I was part of the screenwriting team, I have an official credit, which means I can remain on-set and can keep an eye on things and make sure they don’t lose the run of themselves and make it into something that we’ll find either objectionable or embarrassing.” 

I wondered if Stephen still taught bass guitar, as he did for a while?


“I did, I was a bad teacher! I expected people to know what I knew. Whereas a good teacher doesn’t have to be a great player, but is somebody who’s methodical. Having said that, I had some great students. One in particular stands out, which I just recall now as we mention it. John Walsh, the original bass player with Stockton’s Wing. John would have been a star pupil for me. And also I had some very interesting encounters with Aubrey Oaki from the Hugh Masekela band, called Kalahari, that I met in the UK. He would teach me a lot about Africian music. His guitar player, in fact, is the same guy that you see on the Graceland tour with Paul Simon. I would teach him jigs and reels on the bass, would you believe! This was at a time when he was recording with Peter Gabriel, who left Genesis and did the thing with Kate Bush. So Aubrey would leave the studio and we’d meet up and trade licks and all that. So, apart from teaching, there’s still an awful lot to learn about bass guitar for me. As I say, the great master will be there every time I turn on a Beatles number, when I hear the immaculate playing of Paul McCartney. He’s just a man who knows the right note to put in the right place. I have great heroes as well, people like James Jamerson that did all the Motown music, and Joe Osborn that did all of the early American California stuff by the Carpenters. Just beautiful people, beautiful bass players. I’ll teach, but I learn as well. I learn far more than I teach now.” 

Given the journey that Stephen has travelled in his life and music career, I couldn’t possibly have brought our chat to a close without asking him if there was any advice he’d pass on to someone who might be starting out in the music business today. Were there any words of wisdom that had always stood him in good stead? 


“Yeah, play with guys that are better than you. It’s difficult if you join a band and you’re all starting off at the same time. Because you’re only going to progress at the same speed as the slowest person in the band. This is one of the great tragedies that the showbands aren’t around anymore because it was the best apprenticeship that you could possibly get. I remember, for instance, when I joined the Mick Delahunty Junior Orchestra. His father was Mick Delahunty Senior, and he was a very famous band leader. But when Mick Junior started the band, he had the cream of his father’s band when he retired and all of these guys were much, much older than me. I learned more from these fellas than you could if you went to university. These guys were street-wise. They knew every twist and turn that it took to be a professional musician. They were fabulous players, world class. Young fellas should beg, borrow, or steal an opportunity to get into a band with seasoned musicians, or guys who know more than them. And learn from them. The other thing would be to play a pure style. Something like country or blues or reggae, something like that that teaches you what a bass guitar actually does. As opposed to learning gratuitous sort of riffs from rock or pop numbers. To learn the basics is very important. And I suppose finally, learn how to read music, that will definitely stand to ya in good stead.” 

~ The documentary, Remastered: The Miami Showband Massacre, is available on Netflix. 

ENDS