Monday 22 January 2018

The Leisure List: Winning over the demons

Mick Pyro
Mick Pyro
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Sooner or later, if you hang around Dublin long enough as a rock journalist, you'll get to discuss Chinese philosophers from the 4th Century with Mick Pyro.

Asked what inspired the lyrics to his band Republic Of Loose's new single The Punishment, he gives me that look that only Mick Pyro can give and says – like it is the most obvious thing in the world – "The works of Chuang Tzu.

"Especially the line, 'I feel so unnecessary to the world/You know I see that as a blessing girl'," the bearded guru of bonkers Irish punk-funk adds.

Is life a form of punishment and suffering?

"Not for me," he smiles. "Life in general is great."

"But there are horrible mechanisms that kick into gear when you reach your 30s," says Mick Pyro aka Mick Tierney, who was born in Dublin on January 20, 1975.

The lowest point in his life was, he says, "five years ago when The Ritual was on the radio. I was in the midst of an unpleasant wrestling match with scary demons."

The lead singer of Republic Of Loose and one of the stand-outs of RTE's recent series The Hit, is very much an individual. There cannot be that many front singers in bands these days who did their thesis for their Masters on Christopher Marlowe – the bad boy poet who challenged social norms in the 16th Century and influenced William Shakespeare – and Machiavelli, the Renaissance cute hoor and philosopher.

But then there can't be that many singers like Mick. He sings like Bono would if he was in George Clinton's band Funkadelic – and on industrial-strength LSD.

He also has an attitude that is hard to describe, but is definitely refreshing. Onstage he looks like he is floating in space (possibly with Bono and George Clinton) in his head.

I ask him what goes through his mind when he stands on stage and performs.

"Either, 'the crowd seem to be enjoying this gig' or 'the crowd don't seem to be enjoying this gig'. I'm all about the audience."

The band, which formed in 2001, consists of Andre Antunes on drums, Benjamin Loose on bass, Dave Pyro on guitar, Daragh O'Kelly on keys, Darach O'Laoire on guitar and Esosa on backing vocals and Mick himself leading the sometimes crazy line.

He says the biggest misconception people have about him is that " I'm an arrogant, insecure, talentless, creepy, scruffy, weirdo who's got notions about himself. Only two of those descriptions are true. Can your readers guess which ones?" He cackles with laughter.

Describe the music of Republic of Loose to an alien.

"Rhythm and blues." As a sideline to Republic Of Loose, Mick is in an actual rhythm and blues band called The Dublin Blues Cartel, with Pat Farrell,Colm Quearney and Noel Bridgeman. They're playing Whelans on Wexford Street in Dublin every Sunday in November.

The last alien-esque r'n'b album from Republic Of Loose was Bounce At The Devil, recorded in Baltimore in America and released in 2010. He says there will be a new album from the band, their fifth, in 2014.

Asked will there be a new direction or sound, new influences etc, Mick replies: "More of a seventies vibe. The grooves will be more pungent and the lyrics more influenced by Chuang Tzu – the greatest of all philosophers," he says, returning to his main man. The melodies will soar like some kind of aeroplane made out of pure spiritual energy designed by some crazy but indulgent Future-Gods..."

We wouldn't expect anything less.

Republic of Loose's new single 'The Punishment' is out now and available to purchase on iTunes and the usual online platforms.

Sunday Independent

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