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After 30 years, this could be Aslan's swansong

IT has been 30 years since five chaps from Finglas and Ballymun decided that they wanted to be rock stars. In 1986, Aslan recorded their debut single, This Is. Two years later, they released their first album, Feel No Shame. And then it all fell apart.

Returning to the fold in 1993 with the career-defining Crazy World, the guys have continued to record albums and sell out shows all over the world. So, what's there to talk about in 2012? Is Christy's drug addiction a thing of the past? Is Nudie Books and Frenchies (their seventh studio album) any good?

The answer is yes, to all of the above. Oh, and there's a brand new documentary, Please Don't Stop, on the way, not to mention their largest ever headlining gig at Tallaght Stadium. Yep, it's full-speed ahead. But it might be the last time we hear a new Aslan record.

"We made the best record we could," says frontman Christy Dignam. "After 30 years, it could potentially be our last record. You don't know. I'd hate to be out there flogging a dead horse.

"We're still making records and people are still coming to see us, and as soon as I see that nobody's coming to the gigs anymore, I'll be the first to f**king stop it, because I don't want to be an embarrassment ... we've no plans to break up, but when you get to this stage, you have to be realistic."

"I'm 52, Christy's 51 -- how long can we keep doing it for?" adds guitarist Billy McGuinness.

"If ever we were going to take on something like Tallaght Stadium, this is the year to do it. People say 'f**k me, there's no way Aslan are gonna put 20,000 people into Tallaght Stadium', but why not give it a go? And if it works, it works. If it doesn't, in two or three years' time, nobody will give a f**k."



Hectic

But it might just work. After all, the lads have continued to carve out a hectic touring schedule over the past two decades, regularly filling out arena-sized venues, as well as clubs, bars and hotels. It's what separates them from other bands. At the end of the day, a gig is a gig.

"This is how I feed my family," nods Christy. "I'm not a f**king solicitor doing this on the side -- none of us are. We don't have huge bank balances. We're a working band and this is how we earn a living."

Talk turns to Christy's personal life. Sexually abused as a child, he was in his 20s when a heroin addiction took hold and nearly destroyed everything, including Aslan.

"I grew up looking at Lou Reed and Keith Richards and I loved all that," he explains. "I wanted to look like Keith Richards. I wanted all those wrinkles and lines and all. Now I have them, I'm sick," he laughs.

"I also thought, like the whole Pink Floyd thing, that you'd write more interesting songs and you'd be deeper. Now, I found to me chagrin that it's a load of bollocks, because when you get strung out, your whole creativity is gone -- out the window.

"If you look at my life, I should be dead, the shit that I've done."

Nudie Books and Frenchies is released on Friday. Aslan are live at Tallaght Stadium on June 30


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