John here, bass guitar around my
neck as it has been since 1969 when I started with The
Sundowners in my native Donegal.
After leaving the Sundowners, and
being what I thought was "young and sexy," I decided to join the
most popular local band, which was the Blue Glows. So, the Glows
got a sex symbol at last, but there were too many sex symbols
around so I decided it would be better to go "national."
a reader of the infamous mag, Spotlight, I saw an advert that
read, "national band requires bass guitarist." So, I rang and
went for the audition and got the spot with The Farmer's Sons.
Finally, I was a star in digs in Dublin....No Dogs, No Girls,
lights out at 11 p.m. Special note: Gretta, I love you...my
virginity was well safe!!
While with the Farmer's Sons, we
were kept busy...rehearing on our days off from 11 a.m. until 4
p.m., learning music and dance steps. They really were the best
years for me. It really was a professional outfit, we were
advised on all aspects of the business...communication,
entertainment, selling yourself, while entertaining! LOL! Thanks
Liam Ryan, our manager, a "Louis Walsh" in the making 20 years
In late 1976 I joined the
legendary Brian Coll & The Buckaroos. This really was my first
taste of and introduction to "real" country music and what an
introduction...playing with one of the masters of the art. I
spent a year with the band and discovered a whole new audience
as we packed dances and concerts all over Ireland and the Irish
circuit in the U.K. Based in Omagh Co Tyrone, I was there until
Brian semi - retired in 1977.
in 1977, I went home to Donegal and started a local group,
Tuscany. The band went quite well on the local scene. I was
making a living and had time for family. We even started to
build a fan base in the local areas in the pubs and small dance
halls that dotted the countryside.
It wasn't long though, before I
felt I needed a new challenge. After a year of begging Gerry
Madigan of the Cottons for a job, it finally paid off and I was
offered the position with the band. Unfortunately, shortly after
I joined, Gerry left the band to form Mash. But it was still
great playing with Gerry and legends like Charlie Arkins on
fiddle every week. We did TV spots on RTE for shows like S.B.B.,
Keep It Country, Live at 3, we even did the Late Late Show seven
times during my stint with the band.
time though, the band underwent a lot of lineup changes and the
scene was changing as well. Guy in the band were coming and
going and it was getting harder to enjoy playing as the gigs
weren't what they were when I started fifteen years earlier.
Without much work and money I decided to get out and go back
I formed several local bands, but
finally found my niche with my band Choice. We released a
single, Roses in the Snow, and became one of the top local acts
in the County. We were working constantly and life was good
until nature took her revenge with my heart.
To date, I've suffered three heart
attacks, had angiplast surgery, and finally an
implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).
Without these wonders of
modern medicine, I would not be alive. I wouldn't change a thing
as far as my musical career is concerned. However, I would
change me....I would be more honest with myself.
I just wanted to say a million
thanks to a few people who have had such a profound affect on my
To Liam Ryan, the original "Louis
Walsh," -- you are an angel!
To Charlie Arkins -- you're a
genius on the fiddle.
To my parents for having me.
Finally, thanks to the website for
keeping us all alive.
All the best,