Journalists

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Sound of the century: Geoff Travis discovered The Strokes while they were playing in a bar in front of four people in New Jersey

From launching The Strokes to Lisa O’Neill - tales from legendary music talent spotter Geoff Travis 

A dive bar in New Brunswick, New Jersey is not the first place one thinks about whenever the idea of the future of rock 'n' roll comes up, but it was there, in 2000, that Geoff Travis first set eyes on a band that would help define the sound of the new century. The group was The Strokes and, as Travis remembers it, there were just four people there - and all of them were at the bar ignoring...

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The Boss: Bruce Springsteen and Steven have been working together since 1975

'I'm always asking myself if I did the right thing' - Steven Van Zandt on Springsteen and leaving and returning to the E Street Band 

Some big-name musicians approach the business of doing media interviews with the all the enthusiasm of someone expecting to have their toe nails torn off. Steven Van Zandt is different. Whether you know him as an essential part of the E Street Band, or the consigliere in The Sopranos or as Little Steven when making his own music, he couldn't be happier to shoot the breeze with a journalist.

Dolores O'Riordan, Noel Hogan, Fergal Lawlor and Mike Hogan

'The Cranberries without Dolores just isn't The Cranberries' - Limerick band on why they won't replace their friend and lead singer 

Of the countless shows The Cranberries played in their 30-year history one, in particular, stands out for Noel Hogan. It wasn't a stadium show, or a big arena performance or a festival. It was far more modest than that. "It was a gig in TJ's in Newport," he says, of a 1993 show in south Wales that was part of an early UK tour. "There were, like, five people there. It was an awful gig. We...

John Grant Photo © Shawn Brackbill

'Trump is so vulgar and vile and foul' - John Grant on Trump, his tough teenage years, the new album and his love of ABBA 

The notion of the 'grower' is one of the clichés of music criticism, but few recent albums fit the bill as neatly as John Grant's latest, Love is Magic. I wasn't the only one who felt decidedly lukewarm about it on its release last autumn, but the songs have crept up on me by stealth, and when Grant says it's the favourite of his albums, you feel that he isn't just saying neat little soundbites for the...

Illusion artists: Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan of Milli Vanilli. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Faking it - the biggest swindles in the history of rock 'n' roll 

It was described as 2018’s great rock ’n’ roll swindle. Threatin, a metal band from Los Angeles, had booked a UK and Ireland tour on the strength of its sizeable online fanbase. But only three paying punters turned up at the 500-capacity Underworld venue in London and, despite claiming that 180 tickets had been purchased in advance for their Bristol show, the audience was made up exclusively of the support band’s guestlist. A date for Belfast was quickly cancelled.

Illusion artists: Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan of Milli Vanilli. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Music's long and inglorious history of faking it 

It was described as 2018's great rock 'n' roll swindle. Threatin, a metal band from Los Angeles, had booked a UK and Ireland tour on the strength of its sizeable online fanbase. But only three paying punters turned up at the 500-capacity Underworld venue in London and, despite claiming that 180 tickets had been purchased in advance for their Bristol show, the audience was made up exclusively of the support band's guestlist. A date for Belfast was quickly cancelled.

Comedian Eric Idle launches his 'sortabiography'

'It had to be funny - I've no interest in settling scores' - comedian Eric Idle launches his 'sortabiography' 

It is a comparison that has been made time and time again. Monty Python, it's said, is to comedy, what The Beatles are to music. If the Fab Four forever changed the pop and rock landscape, it is surely fair to suggest that television comedy would look very different if a bunch of whip-smart and super-funny young men hadn't appeared on the BBC in 1969 with a show that still generates belly...

Football to the rescue: McMahon is a fitness coach and motivational speaker at Mountjoy Prison. Picture by Frank Mc Grath

Legalising drug use: a tough pill to swallow 

It is a chilly midweek evening in October and Philly McMahon arrives early at Ballymun Kickhams, the GAA club he has served with distinction for the best part of 20 years. The Dublin Gaelic footballer - a six-time All-Ireland winner who will be among the galaxy of stars hunting for an unprecedented five-in-a-row in 2019 - may have one part of his mind on tonight's training session, one of the last of a long season, but another part is thinking about a subject that's long occupied him: drug abuse.

Story of humanity: The cast of Come From Away on Broadway. The show will have its European premiere in Dublin's Abbey Theatre

'We didn't want to tell a 9/11 story' - couple behind Come From Away talk Irish links and the influence of Once 

On that fateful morning of September 11, 2001, young married couple David Hein and Irene Sankoff were living in New York, dreaming of making it as, respectively, a musician and actress. They were sleeping when the first plane hit the World Trade Centre, but were woken by a call from Sankoff's father back home in Toronto telling them that there had been a terrorist attack and to turn on...