Our next spotlight artists are Irish rock legends The Saw Doctors. They are one of Ireland's all-time top recording artists, having achieved eighteen top-thirty singles, including three number ones. In addition to their recording prowess, they are renowned for putting on an event better live show. They are touring the U.S. in March to support their latest release, "The Further Adventures of the Saw Doctors". Founder and lead guitarist Leo Moran answers our questions below.
A special thanks Leo for taking the time before the big tour, and to band manager Ollie Jennings for helping set up the interview. Ollie is also providing comp pairs of tickets to three lucky MurphGuide readers to their area show. See details further in this post.
Davy Carton - Vocals, Guitar
Leo Moran - Guitar, Some Vocals
Kevin Duffy - Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
Anthony Thistlethwaite - Bass, Vocals
Éimhín Cradock - Drums, Vocals
Explain the origin of the band's name.
A man worked in the sawmills in Tuam; he hadn't much drive towards working so, as a motivational technique the boss called him into the office one Monday morning and presented him with a white coat and said 'From now on, you're a Saw Doctor'. We appropriated the title of false importance shortly afterwards.
How long have you been performing as the Saw Doctors? Do you have anything planned for a 25th anniversary?
Our first gig was probably in 1987, though possibly 1986; no plans yet for that anniversary - is it paper?
Past lives (i.e., previous bands, your early years, etc.):
I went to college in Galway, played in teenage bands called The Mix and The Definite Articles. Played with Too Much For The Whiteman for a few years and then The Saw Doctors fell together when I was working with the Community Arts Group, Macnas, in Galway.
Bruce Springsteen, The Ramones, The Stranglers, The Clancy Brothers, Abba, John Fogerty - one could go on for a good bit longer...
Blatant self-promotion: What would you like to plug?
Our new album, I reckon possibly our best, definitely our most consistent collection - 'The Further Adventures Of The Saw Doctors'.
Where can we buy your music?
From i-tunes or from our website.
Any advice to someone just starting out?
Enjoy it, play in public as often as possible and record one song to level of five and not five songs to a level of 1.
Can you recommend any other act(s) we should feature on MurphGuide.com?
Padraig Stevens, Seamus Ruttledge, The Coonics, The Ralphs, Keith Mullins, Noelie McDonnell - all extremely good and all from Tuam.
On previous tours, you have performed at Roseland, Irving Plaza, B.B. King's, Highline Ballroom, all of the Guinness Fleadhs, Belmont Racetrack, East Durham, The Surf Club. What are some of your favorite venue(s) to play?
NYC is blessed with so many really classy venues and we've been privileged to have played in so many of them, but for me, for a true sense of a rock and roll occasion, Irving Plaza has the edge on the others.
What is a non-obvious difference between American audiences and Irish audiences?
Americans come to the gig on time and an American audience has a soft spot for straight four four rock.
You played at the Governor's Inaugural Ball for Maryland governor Martin O'Malley last month. How did that come about? I know he is a musician. Did he jam with you? If so, on what tunes. Any fun stories from that gig?
Martin O'Malley was our solo support act when we played our first gig in Baltimore; we've known him since. He became Mayor Of Baltimore and now has been elected to serve his second term as Governor Of Maryland. He's often joined us onstage, usually for Green And Red Of Mayo. The night of the Inauguration Celebrations was a blast but quite down to earth and relaxed at the same time.
Will Galway 'bate' Mayo?
They play here in Tuam in The League this Sunday coming; Galway are in a slump now and Mayo will most likely have the edge on them.
How many different guitars do you bring with you on tour? Do you have a favorite?
I usually just play two different guitars. They're both fabulous: The Gretsch White Falcon I play in most songs. It's warm, fat and strong, a wonderful instrument. The Fender Telecaster I use for the twangy, sharp tremolo sound, kinda sixties style.
In 2010, you recorded an acapella version of Red Cortina. How did that come about?
We were doing showcase gigs of the new album in Galway, the eleven songs in a row; a bit of a challenge of a show but it worked. We wanted to stay away from what we normally do so we did acoustic versions of some songs to fill out the show. I saw Joe Jackson play in Galway years back, it was when he was going through his 'Jumpin' Jive' phase; he played 'Is She Really Going Out With Him' but did it a cappella; it was brilliant.
Tell us about your latest album, "The Further Adventures of The Saw Doctors"
We recorded it in Rockfield in Wales and in Grouse Lodge in Ireland - it's produced by Phillip Tennant, who produced our first three albums with us. We worked really hard at putting the songs down and scrapped a good few versions of songs along the way. We made sure we polished it off as best we could in the end and the result is a collection I'm particularly proud of. It's an album I can listen to and enjoy already, so soon after the work, which is quite unusual!
The Saw Doctors are touring the U.S. in March, 2011, kicking off with a show at Mohegan Sun Casino on March 3, and ending 3 weeks later at The Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas. Area shows include March 10 at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ, and two NYC shows: March 11 & 12 at Irving Plaza. MurphGuide is giving away a pair of tickets to each of these three shows, courtesy of Live Nation and The Saw Doctors. Enter to win at: MurphGuide.com/promo/sawdoctors.htm
U.S. tour dates:
Thursday, March 3
Mohegan Sun Casino
Friday, March 4
House of Blues
Saturday, March 5
Jim Thorpe, PA
Sunday, March 6
Tuesday, March 8
Thursday, March 10
The Stone Pony
Asbury Park, NJ
Friday, March 11
New York, NY
Saturday, March 12
New York, NY
Monday, March 14
Tuesday, March 15
Port City Music Hall
Thursday, March 17
Theatre of the Living Arts
Friday, March 18
House of Blues
Saturday, March 19
Monday, March 21
Tuesday, March 22
Salt Lake City, UT
Thursday, March 24
House of Blues
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, March 25
San Francisco, CA
Saturday, March 26
Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip
Las Vegas, NV
Below is a taste of The Saw Doctors live, performing "Exhilarating Sadness" from their Live in Galway concert DVD:
And finally, below, you can listen to The Saw Doctors song Hazard' a.k.a 'The Country is F**cked': (Downloaded free for limited time only by clicking this link or the photo below)