Interview by Barry Egan
As apocryphal rock and roll tales goes, it’s not quite The Who’s Keith Moon driving a Lincoln Continental into the swimming pool at Flint Holiday Inn in Michigan.
Or Led Zeppelin and a mud shark and a young woman in a 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 Seventies.
Or even Motley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, some spaghetti and some unfortunate groupies backstage. (On the subject of apocryphal Guns n Roses allegedly named their album The Spaghetti Incident after this very, and somewhat sordid, pasta-based, incident.)
Be that as it may, the hotly tipped — even brilliant — Hermitage Green’s story of a certain band member leaving soggy sheets behind him is nothing but howlingly funny whatever about entertaining.
(Indeed the whole staff of Windmill Studios in Ringsend is virtually rolling with laughter along with the band themselves who have come here to record the Windmill Lane Sessions on independent.ie.)
The poor culprit’s brother — who, like the culprit himself, shall remain nameless for the sake of both parties’ dignity — tells me that in the bedroom he shared, once upon a time “he had plastic sheets because he wet the bed!”
“I can hit as hard as you can!” laughs the poor fella himself. I resist the temptation to label them Limerick’s Soggy Bottom Boys.
Moving swiftly along from soggy bed linen in teenage boys’ bedrooms, Hermitage Green — formed one bright summer’s day five years ago — are turning out to be one of the Irish bands of 2015 to watch. Signed to Sony Music, their new single Quicksand will be out soon.
[Being compared to bands like Mumford & Sons] doesn’t annoy us, but then people have expectations
“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 as fast. “The Stone Roses’ first album,” is his call.
Dermot Sheedy (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 least one of them shouldn’t. The band had a running race in Australia over 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!”
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