Thursday 8 December 2016

Playing to the beat of their own bodhran

Published 09/08/2015 | 02:30

ROCKING OUT: Hermitage Green recording their session for independent.ie at Windmill Lane
ROCKING OUT: Hermitage Green recording their session for independent.ie at Windmill Lane

As apocryphal rock 'n' roll tales go, there's The Who's Keith Moon driving a Lincoln Continental into the swimming pool at Flint Holiday Inn in Michigan.

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Or Led Zeppelin and a mud shark in an American hotel room, or Stevie Nicks and her a loyal-to-a-fault roadie allegedly employed to blow white powder up her backside before Fleetwood Mac shows back in the excess of the 70s.

Or Motley Crüe's Nikki Sixx, some spaghetti and some unfortunate groupies backstage. (On the subject of all things apocryphal, Guns n' Roses allegedly named their album The Spaghetti Incident after this very, somewhat sordid, pasta-based incident.)

After a brief discussion of legendary rock 'n' roll excess of the last century, talk turns to Hermitage Green's new single Quicksand, which will be out soon.

Signed to Sony Music, the boys in Hermitage Green - who formed one bright summer's day five years ago - are turning out to be one of the Irish bands of 2015 to watch. "We're also touring for the summer and working on a studio album," says Barry Murphy.

Does it annoy the band when people compare them to certain bands (says he, muttering Mumford & Sons under his breath)?

"I think the natural thing is people will always try and categorise you," says Darragh Griffin. "I do it myself when I listen to music, I go: 'Oh, that's very like...' And then you make comparisons.

"It doesn't annoy us, but then people have expectations. They expect you to be like somebody, because somebody else has put you in a box comparing you to that band. We like to think we're unique."

I ask what are their favourite albums of all time instead - and for the record, there's nothing by Mumford & Sons.

Darragh Graham - banjo, djembe, backing vocals - is quickly back. "Graceland by Paul Simon."

Barry Murphy - vocals, bass - is just as fast. "The Stone Roses's first album," is his call.

Dermot Sheedy, who plays the bodhran, replies: "The Storm by Moving Hearts."

Darragh Griffin - vocals, guitars, songwriter - tips "Solid Air by John Martyn."

And Dan Murphy (vocals, guitars, dobro, harmonica) opts for "Toxicity by System of a Down."

By rights, Hermitage Green - hotly tipped or not - shouldn't be here. Or at least, one of them shouldn't. The band had a running race in Australia at the Darling Harbour at 5am after a few scoops last year.

"We had a couple of pints - as lads do on their first night in Australia," laughs Darragh.

And the aforesaid slipped and smashed his face into the ground and fractured his eye socket and got 32 stitches in his face.

"A big shout out to the Sydney Hospital emergency room!" hoots Dan. "They looked after me!"

Did you think that was the end of the band?

"No. Have you ever seen a guitarist with an eye patch? It would have looked really cool. It'd be the publicity stunt of the century!"

To watch the full interview with Hermitage Green, as well as two exclusive performances, see independent.ie

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