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All About Tweed (1971 - 1990?)

Our thanks to Gerry Gannon for additional info on the band

Ask anyone who was around in the '70's and early 80's who the top pop bands were in Ireland and usually Tweed will be mentioned as being in the top five. Formed by Brendan and Kenny Ryder and based in Kilkenny, the band were the ultimate performers, reproducing the hits of the day with amazing quality and detail.

During a period when "pop" bands in Ireland were increasingly dropping their brass sections in favour of synthesizers and additional multi-instrumentalists, Tweed maintained a driving brass section, giving them an unmatched presence on stage. Of special interest to fans were the powerful vocals of guitarist/percussionist, Brendan Ryder.

The band was formed in 1971 from several members of the Nomads and the original lineup included Brendan Ryder (vocals), Kenny Ryder (guitar), Michael O'Grady (keyboards), Arthur Connick (trumpet), Bertie Sherman (sax), Jeff Bourke (RIP-drums), and Tony Ford (bass). The band was advertised as playing a wide variety of musical styles including a heavy sprinkling of country and western (which would soon disappear). Originally Brendan was advertised as the "frontman" and the band as "The New Summer Sound." They were managed by Larry Lohan. Keyboard player Michael O'Grady was billed as the band's "second vocalist."

Tweed were part of the "new sound" that swept across the Irish Ballroom scene in the early seventies. As the divisions between pop and country grew, and the showbands were forced to make a choice between the two (but still trying to straddle the line as "all things to all people") bands like Chips, The Memories, Tweed, and the revamped Plattermen became pure pop groups, bordering at times as rock bands. At the time, the word "progressive" was used to described this new direction.

This all happened, of course, as the pop sounds on the International scene of the Beatles, Monkees and the rest of the late 60's gave way to bands like the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Atomic Rooster. Many would call this period the "beginning of the end" of the showband era, and in some ways it was, but more about that elsewhere on the site.      

In 1972, the band added Johnny Scully on trumpet, expanding to an eight piece band, a lineup which would stay in place for the next few years. In June of 1972, they released their first single, Six Days, an original number which got some air play, but did not hit the charts. For the next few years, it would be the band's live set that gained them much attention and notoriety. Like the Plattermen, the band featured driving rhythms and featured Brendan Ryder on congas, something previously unknown on the showband scene.

1973 saw the band release a second single, Caroline, which like their previous release, got some airplay but did not crack the Irish charts.  

In October, 1974, Tweed placed an advert in Spotlight looking for a keyboard player and sax player, they added Barry Woods and Gay Brazel to the lineup. We are unsure whether Gay actually played sax, but we know he took over the lead guitar job when Kenny left the band. Kenny left the band around 1976 and formed his own Kenny Ryder Superband. Seanie Ryan tells us that today Kenny still lives in Thurles and plays across the country with his band, Knight Ryders.

The rest of the seventies saw the band release more singles, none of which made much of an impact, but all served to strengthen their brand as one of Ireland's top pop/rock bands on the ballroom circuit. In 1979, the band entered a song in the Irish National Song Contest, No Restrictions, which placed fifth and was beaten out by Cathal Dunne's Happy Man. It would be the band's one and only foray into the Eurovision world.

In June, 1981 the band underwent another change when original drummer Jeff Bourke left and was replaced by Seanie Ryan from Thurles. Seanie had been with Tweed founding member Kenny Ryder's Superband prior to joining the Kim Newport Band in 1980. A year later, they released Why Don't You Spend the Night which cracked the Irish Charts, hitting number 16, giving the band it's first chart success after over a decade on the road. It was also the first release on the Drive Label which during its short time on the music scene also featured The Nevada and the Conquerors.  

By 1983, both Brendan and Kenny were no longer with the band and Gay Brazel and Johnny Scully were the only links to the Tweed of old, although all the original members of the band were gone by this stage. Dave Flynn had taken over lead vocals and the lineup now included Gay Brazel (guitar), Pat Kelly (bass), Brian O'Driscoll (drums), Donal Duggan (keyboards), and Johnny Scully (trumpet). 

Information on the band's history through the end of the 1980's is difficult to get, but we continue to try and will let you know as soon as we do. 

More to come....            

Click on thumbnails for full images

Tweed - 1971 Tweed - 1971 Tweed (RF) Tweed - 1972 Tweed - 1972
Tweed - 1972 Tweed - 1972 Tweed - 1972 Tweed - 1973 Tweed - 1973
Tweed - 1973 Tweed - 1973 Tweed - 1973 Tweed - 1974 Tweed - 1974 (LR)

Tweed - mid 70's (DD) Tweed - 1975 Tweed (RF) Tweed (RF) Tweed (PH)

Tweed (RF) Tweed (RF) Tweed - late 1982 Tweed - mid 1982 Tweed - 1990's (BK)
 
Tweed (RF) Kenny Ryder
Superband - 1980
Kenny Ryder Superband - 1978 Tweed - early 1981 Coming Soon
   
A - Tweed B - Tweed Article - 1971 Coming Soon Coming Soon

Lineup Changes (more to come)
 

Year Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards Sax/Gtr Trumpet Trombone
1971 Brendan
Ryder
Kenny
Ryder
Tony
Ford
Jeff
Bourke
Michael
O'Grady
Bertie
Sherman
Arthur
Connick
 
1972 Brendan
Ryder
Kenny
Ryder
Tony
Ford
Jeff
Bourke
Michael
O'Grady
Bertie
Sherman
Johnny
Scully
Arthur
Connick
June
1974
Brendan
Ryder
Kenny
Ryder
Tony
Ford
Jeff
Bourke
Barry
Woods
Gay
Brazel
Johnny
Scully
Arthur
Connick
Sept
1976
Brendan
Ryder
Kenny
Ryder
Pat
Kelly
Jeff
Bourke
Gerry
Gannon
Gay
Brazel
Johnny
Scully
 
1977 Brendan
Ryder
Gay
Brazel
Pat
Kelly
Jeff
Bourke
Gerry
Gannon
Dave
Hallisey
Johnny
Scully
 
1980 Brendan
Ryder
Gay
Brazel
Pat
Kelly
Jeff
Bourke
Robert
Bible
Dave
Hallisey
Johnny
Scully
 
1981 Brendan
Ryder
Gay
Brazel
Pat
Kelly
Seanie
Ryan
Robert
Bible
Dave
Hallisey
Johnny
Scully
 
1983 Dave
Flynn
Gay
Brazel
Pat
Kelly
Seanie
Ryan
Robert
Bible
Dave
Hallisey
Johnny
Scully
 
1984 Dave
Flynn
Gay
Brazel
Pat
Kelly
Brian
O'Driscoll
Donal
Duggan
Dave
Hallisey
Johnny
Scully
 
1985 Dave
Flynn
Gay
Brazel
Pat
Kelly
Brian
O'Driscoll
Donal
Duggan
  Johnny
Scully
 

Discography

Six Days / Inspiration
Play Records - PLAY 24 - June, 1972
Caroline / All Night Long
Polydor Records - 2078 030 - June, 1973
Give Me Luv / Rock n' Roll Woman
Polydor Records - 2078 043 - May, 1974
Six Days / Lay It Down
Ruby Records - RUB.206 - 1977
Wild Nights / Who Killed Eskimo Joe
Ruby Records - RUB.208 - May, 1978
Man On The Road / No Restrictions
CBS Records - CBS 7794 - 1979
Painted Lady / Dance With The Devil
CBS Records - CBS 8614 - 1980
Why Don't You Spend The Night / Oh Darlin' - #16 Irish Charts
Drive Records - DRS.001 - April, 1982
My Lagan Love / Horse's Collar - #12 Irish Charts
Drive Records - DRS.011 - August 1983
Lonely Girl / Breakin Me Up - #16 Irish Charts
Ritz Records - RITZ 068 - June, 1984

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?   (More to come)

Kenny Ryder: Kenny formed his own Superband after leaving Tweed and continued to play. Today he still lives and plays around Thurles and the rest of the country with his band, Knight Ryders. However, a check of the Internet in May, 2010, showed Kenny had a band called Gogga in late 2009.  If you have more info please email us  .
Brendan Ryder: Brendan Ryder is playing with Dave Hallisey in the wedding band, The Paddies and lives in Thurles.  If you have more info please email us 
Tony Ford:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 
Jeff Bourke - RIP: Jeff sadly passed away in November, 2006.
Michael O'Grady: Sean Hughes writes to tell us that Michael is a lecturer in industrial design at the Institute of Technology in Carlow.  If you have more info please email us 
Bertie Sherman: Bertie sadly passed away in July, 1978. (Info from Seanie Ryan) 
Johnny Scully: An email from Patricia Moriarty in May, 2011 tells us that Johnny is living in Kilkenny and playing with a local two piece band, but she didn't know the name. We think they are called Leather and Lace. If you have more info please email us 
Arthur Connick:  Unknown - if you have info please email us 
Gay Brazel: Gay kept Tweed going well into the 90's with the band using two names, we think, both Tweed and the Whole Shebang. Today he has a two piece band called The Dreamers which continues to play pubs, weddings and corporate functions. For a time in the mid 00's, he was a regular member of Isla Grant's touring band when she came to Ireland, but we understand he is no longer with Isla as of mid 2009.   
Pat Kelly: Today, Pat plays in Robert Mizzell's Country King's band and also manages Robert (from his son, Pat) 
Gerry Gannon: James McIntosh wrote to tell us Gerry now lives in Australia. A check of Gerry's website shows he started working in radio while still in Ireland, operating CBC Radio in Tipperary, which we have to assume was a pirate station as there were no licenses for local radio that early. He left Ireland in 1983 and went to Australia where he settle in Perth and worked with ABC Radio for many years. Today, Gerry is a professional corporate facilitator/ MC and media skills trainer.       
Dave Hallisey: Dave left Tweed in 1985 and went to the United States. While there, he played on the Irish music scene in Texas. He returned to Ireland in 2002 and is now playing with Brendan Ryder in the wedding band, The Paddies.

Seanie Ryan: After leaving Tweed in 1984, Seanie emigrated to the United States where he met up with former band mates Kim (Newport) and Gerry Gallagher in California. He married an American girl, Pamela, has two children, and after many years in Oklahoma, he now lives in Houston, Texas where he plays a regular residency gig.   

Dave Flynn: We received an email in January 2014 from Paul Power telling us, "Dave "Skinner" Flynn continues to play solo and two piece gigs on the Waterford circuit and recently got the popular band Simon back together for 4 piece gigs around the south east. They play on the last Friday of every month in the newly opened Reginald bar in Waterford. Our thanks to Paul for the update.
Robert Bible - RIP: After leaving Tweed around 1983, Robert returned to the pub scene in and around Waterford. In the early 2000's, Robert joined with former Tweed band mates Brendan Ryder and Dave Hallisey in the wedding band, The Paddies. We understand he left the band after a few years and returned to the pub scene around Waterford. However, we received a very sad email from his cousin, Katie Measham, telling us that on April 25, 2011, Easter Sunday night, Robert was tragically killed in a car crash returning from a gig. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his family and friends.
Brian O'Driscoll: An email from Andy O'Driscoll in July, 2011 tells us that Brian was playing with Andy Cooney's Band in New York up until a few years ago. We emailed Andy Cooney who told us Brian left the band and returned to Ireland and now lives in Kilkenny. If you know more, please let us know 
Donal Duggan: Donal is still playing on the scene and is currently the keyboard player with Mike Denver.  

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In Loving Memory of Grant Gallagher: Sept. 21, 1990 - Nov. 18, 2006