Tuesday 15 October 2019

Bagatelle celebrate 35 years


The legendary Bagatelle classic rock/pop group is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.

This is a band who, according to Bono, Larry, Edge and Adam, made an impact on U2. As well as sharing the stage with U2, Bagatelle have also performed alongside Bob Marley, Van Morrison, Thin Lizzy and other accomplished musicians.

Ken Doyle, Bass guitarist, along with the rest of the group, are riding on the crest of a wave and there is no sign of stopping even when major life threatening obstacles crop up. The show goes on no matter what!

35 years on, Ken, a Bray resident, is unstoppable after having his fair share of challenges in this life. Recently he had a blow-out on his motorbike while travelling on the M50 near Dundrum. Ken recalls it was scary and a 'very near miss.'

Losing all control; he fell off and was knocked unconscious. Ken was rushed to St Vincent's hospital with suspected head injuries and had to undergo a brain scan but mercifully was given the all clear.

Shortly after that he was taken back to Vincent's Hospital with a suspected heart attack and breathing difficulties. Co-incidentally the same ambulance man who attended to him after his bike crash was surprised to see Ken again so soon. Ken treats the ordeal with humour.

Thankfully it wasn't a heart attack but was related to his earlier accident. "My heart is good and a good heart these days is hard to find," he laughs loudly. Ken is full of gratitude and praise for staff at Loughlinstown and Vincent's hospital.

Much to his relief he got the all clear and after undergoing a number of tests, was released later that morning. By 8 pm that night he was in Donegal playing a gig, illustrating his love of music and loyalty to the awaiting 4,000 fans.

Owing to a radio campaign with Will Leahy from 2FM, the much-loved song 'Summer in Dublin' was used for the official launch of Ireland's summer 2013. And so the number one chart topping song has re-entered the Irish charts 35 years after it was originally relased, proving it is a timeless classic loved by all generations. The sound of Liam Riley and the other band members are heard once again and the magical nostalgia is made better by the extraordinary summer weather of 2013.

Ken recalls how this song very nearly got lost during Liam Reilly's house move, as it was in a shoe box and was put aside. Thankfully Liam recovered it and quite providentially not only was it found but turned out to be buried treasure for the Bagatelle boys.

Family life is a huge part of Ken's life and he spends as much time as he can with his wife Anne and two sons, not to mention the family pets and beloved bikes.

Bagatelle has travelled far and wide wherever the music has taken them. When they travelled to Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, Ken didn't go unnoticed, thanks to his ultra- bright shirt and trendy shorts. Ken explained: "This is fine in Florida, but in Riyadh, it's a little tricky."

Ken laughs as he recalls the 'dirty looks' coming from the hotel staff, who appeared horrified when the carefree musician popped into reception with his knees exposed ready for the hot weather. But that's Ken, always himself. He admits to being 'wacky' and even "99 per cent crazy," which is a definite antidote to the doom and gloom of the recession. A warm and friendly individual he rarely gets to the end of the promenade in Bray without a chat with some passer-by. The band brings this warmth with them wherever they travel, be it north and south.

One thing's for sure Ken treats life with a sense of humour. More recently he lost his bass guitar. Airport staff appeared more concerned than the musician and asked him if he was worried. Ken's response was: "No. I'd be more worried if I lost my banana protector." This is an item he's never without to keep his bananas bruise free, all carried in his infamous portable kitchen which he takes around the world.

At the moment Bagatelle are busy working on new songs, one which has been inspired by Ken's Harley Davidson journey on Route 66.

After his recent accident I asked Ken if it has put him off bikes or made him scared in any way and how had this experience impacted upon his life.

"Not at all," he laughs, "I've always fallen off the bikes," and he recalls a time when he fell off a motorbike as a young fellow with a milk bottle in one pocket and a radio in the other. "The milk bottle didn't even shatter, I had it on my Weetabix," he added.

Laughing hysterically he holds up the shredded Hawaiian shirt he wore on that fateful M50 day. He reveals scratches on his side back and elbow but appears to have come out of it unscathed with only a touch of vertigo. He maintains that life goes on.

"You just get up and get on with it," he says. And that's just what he does.

Bray People