Where Are They Now


The largest digital showband archive in the world!
Based In Sligo, Ireland / email: showbands@gmsproductions.com

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Then and Now!

If you know the whereabouts of any of the bands or musicians from the "good old days," please let us know. We'll publish any information that might interest fans of the music scene in Ireland and let them know where their favorite bands and singers are today! Click on photos for enlargements! Entries are in no particular order!

Early Band Photo Tony Maher and the Conquerors Publicity Pic-2003

The Galway based Conquerors were touring and making hit records when the showband era was still in its heyday in the early 70's! Keyboard player, Tony Maher, also became known as one of the country's top session heads, working mainly out of Greenfields Studios, outside Headford. Over thirty years later, Tony and the boys are still belting out songs across the country and have become one of the longest running acts on the Irish scene. Tony still regularly fills in at Greenfields on keyboards and production and runs his own studio with band mate Frankie Colohan. This is one band that knows the true meaning of staying power!

With Punch (1980) Anthony Grace of Kenny Ryder's Bands Anthony-2003
We recently heard from Anthony Grace, who played with former Tweed drummer, Seanie Ryan, in several bands including the Kenny Ryder Superband and Kenny Ryder, Sharon and Punch. Today, Anthony works as an Internet Systems Specialist for Sutter County in Northern California. He lives in Marysville, California. Our thanks to Anthony for the photos and the update!

James on SBB-1981 James Blennerhassett With Mary Black in Killarney '03

James Blennerhassett started as a young bass player in Sligo with local groups like Sandy Duskey and Easy Listenin' and The Kim Newport Band. A few years later, he fronted the Hennigan Blooze Band, enjoying national acclaim with their single, Don't Slow Down. James has gone on to greatness, playing with such superstars as The Rolling Stones and the Chieftains. Last year he released his second solo CD. He has toured with one of Ireland's top entertainer's, Mary Black, for over a decade and is also one of Ireland's most sought after session bass players. Back in 2009, James joined the Conquerors and moved near Ballyfarnon.  

Teddie's Band-1981 Teddie Palmer of the Rumble Band Teddie Today

A few months ago, we received an email from Teddie Palmer. Teddie wanted to say hello and told us his name is actually spelled Teddie (not Teddy), a mistake by his record company that stuck! Although retired from performing, Teddie remains involved in show business, on the business side. He splits his time between homes in England and Spain. Follow this link to see more on Teddie's career.
Pat in the early 70's Pat Ely Pat today

Pat Ely has been a fixture on the Irish country scene since the 1960's. First as part of the Smokey Mountain Ramblers, then in the early seventies, he formed The Rocky Tops. Although by the late 70's Pat had retired from the road, he continues to perform regionally, and on special occasions, resurrecting the Rocky Tops with good friend Francie Lenehan. For the past 20 years, Pat has been in the record business as a distributor with close ties to the Homespun label, on which he has released several albums. The photo at right was taken in January, 2005 at the Sligo Tsunami Relief concert.   
Indians-early 80's The Indians Indians today

A recent search of the Internet reveals that The Indians are still going strong after nearly 30 years! Although many of their gigs are in England these days, they are still playing the major venues in Ireland as well. To learn more about the Indians, visit their website at:  http://www.the-indians.com
Sean with Chips (1976) Shaun Magee of Chips Shaun today

We recently got a nice email from Shaun Magee who played with several top bands in the 1970's and early 80's. He started out with a band called Tapestry which became Sunshine. In 1974, Chips offered him a spot and he stayed with the band until 1978. After that he put in time with Gibney and Donovan, Sheeba, and Joe Cuddy before emigrating to Canada in 1987, where he still lives today. Thanks for the pics and update, Shaun!
With Chips in 1978 Irene McElroy of Chips Irene today

Irene's husband, Derek Archibald, was nice enough to send us an update on Irene. After leaving Chips, she took some time off and did not sing for a number of years. She met up with a Scottish musician and they played for four years in Tenerife, after which she returned to Ireland and teamed up with her current playing partner and they have been together for five years as "It Takes Two." Our thanks to Derek for the update!  
Dermot in 1979 Dermot O'Brien Dermot today

We recently received an email from The Merry Ploughboy himself, Dermot O'Brien. After conquering the football pitch as a hero of the Co. Louth All Ireland Gaelic champions in 1957, Dermot took up his accordion and went on to show biz stardom during the heyday of the showbands. Dermot now resides in Florida, but now spends his summers in Ireland. He recounted a story from the old days when he was a solo guest with the Fitzgerald Ceili Band on RTE radio and ended up playing piano. Find out more at http://www.irishusa.com/dermotobrien/   Dermot sadly passed away.
Gerry & Cottons in '74 Gerry Madigan (Cotton Mill Boys/Mash) Gerry today

In a recent email, Gerry Madigan of the Cotton Mill Boys tells us he is doing very well these days living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. After leaving the Cottons in the Fall of 1978, Gerry formed his own highly successful bluegrass band called Mash. In the mid 1980's, Gerry left the music industry and ended up as Managing Director of Gym Services, Ireland, a financial services company. In the mid 1990's, Gerry emigrated to Canada and wrote his book, Five Plateaus of Progress, which was not only a best seller, but forms the basis for his management company. He and his wife, Marina, have six children and love Canada, although he visits Ireland regularly.  www.madiganmanagement.com.
With Susan McCann '80 Michael Commins Michael today

Over the years, a handful of individuals have played important roles in bringing news of the Irish entertainment scene to the masses. One such individual is Michael Commins. Michael recently emailed us and brought us up to date on his professional life. Michael was the Editor of Entertainment News in the late 70's, taking over the job from Paschal Mooney. He also wrote for The Connaught Telegraph, and numerous other "western" publications. Today, Michael writes The "Western Diary" for the Western People newspaper and is a regular presenter on MidWest Radio based in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo. Our thanks go out to Michael, for all the work he has done (and still does) for the bands featured on this website for over 25 years!     
With Miami in 1975 Steven Travers Steven today

Although many of the musicians from the "showband era" have come and gone, some just keep on going. Steven Travers is one of the latter. By the time Steven joined the Miami in 1975, he was all of 24, but a veteran of the Showband scene. Injured in the terrible Miami tragedy that took the lives of 3 band mates, Steven bounced back with the New Miami. In 1980, he formed The Crack, a four piece rock/pop outfit. In 1996, Steven met up with Johnny Fean of Horslips in London and they have been playing together ever since. For more info, check out their website at http://www.feanandtravers.com/ . Steven spends much of his time in Florida these days.   
Cahir around 1975. Cahir O'Doherty Cahir today

Cahir O'Doherty burst onto the Irish entertainment in the late 1960's scene with his rock group, The Gentry (not to be confused with a later group using the same name). When Teddie Palmer moved South with the Rumble Band, Cahir left Ballymena and joined the same management company, fronting the new band Dazzle. As the showband scene faded, Cahir went into musical theatre and played the King in Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Dublin. Eventually Cahir emigrated to the States and settled in St. Cloud, Florida where he runs his company, Inishowen, Inc. He still tours regularly singing Irish ballads and songs, and has made several Celtic Music CD's. His website is at: www.cahirodoherty.com.
Colm in the 70's Colm "C.T." Wilkinson Colm today

Colm Wilkinson has enjoyed enormous international fame, but it didn't happen overnight. In the early seventies, he toured the showband circuit with the Band The Action, but caught his first break when he stared in the Dublin production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Cahir O'Doherty. An avid songwriter, he also entered the Irish National Song Contest on several occasions, winning in 1978 with his song, "Born to Sing." Although he continued to tour the dance circuit, like several other artists, showband success was slow. He went to London and in the early 80s finally realized international fame with the lead role in Les Miserable. Today Colm lives in Canada with his family, still tours in musical theater and has recently released a new CD. www.colmwilkinson.com   
Kim in 1979 Kim Newport Kim today

Kim Newport and her band toured the Irish ballrooms from 1978 to 1983. Based in Sligo, they started small but eventually traveled all around the country, but faced a dwindling number of viable venues as the discos and bar extensions took over. After leaving Ireland in 1983, Kim and husband Gerry had two children and today live in South Carolina. Kim has been involved in musical theater in South Carolina starring in Peter Pan, the Wizard of Oz, and Cheaper By The Dozen in recent years. Gerry has a recording studio as well as a video production business and although they both play occasionally, they haven't performed together in a band since leaving Sligo. www.kimnewport.com
Rob on stage in 1972 Rob Strong Rob today

In the early 1970's the dominance of the showbands in Irish ballrooms was fading and a new brand of pop/rock band took center stage. Among the most famous of these was Rob Strong and the Plattermen. Heavily influenced by Blood, Sweat and Tears, the band brought a new form of rock and soul to the Irish dance circuit. There LP, Old Devil Wine, remains a classic among Irish "pop" LP's. Ron left the Plattermen and fronted both the Rockets and today, his own Rob Strong band. Rob still belts it out with his band and recently released a new CD, White velvet. He is appearing at this years Bandon Music Festival as well. http://www.owlrecords.com/Biorob.htm   
Seanie in 1981 Seanie Ryan Seanie today

Seanie first played in small pub groups around his native Thurles in the early 1970's. In the late seventies, he hooked up with Kenny Ryder, ex Tweed vocalist, who formed a couple of bands including Kenny Ryder's Superband, and Punch. In 1981, Seanie left Punch and relocated to Sligo to play with The Kim Newport Band, who also featured future star bass player James Blennerhassett (see above). After less than six months, Seanie received the call of a lifetime from Tweed, who had established themselves as one of the premier pop bands in Ireland. Seanie joined Tweed and stayed until he emigrated to the States in the mid 1980's. Today he lives in Oklahoma and plays with several bands including recently, Kettle of Fish 
Alan in 1975 Alan Carr Alan today

Alan Carr first came on the scene in the early 70's when he joined The Victors (featuring Art Supple). In 1972, legendary showband, The Dixies broke up and stars Joe Mac and Brendan O'Brien entered the next stage of their careers, aptly called Stage 2. Alan joined the band and was featured on guitar and trumpet. When Brendan O'Brien was electrocuted onstage (he survived, but was knocked out of commission for several years), Alan stepped out front and took over the "serious" vocals (Joe Mac was always the comedy singer in the band). As the showband era started to slump, Alan emigrated to Canada in 1976 and has been there ever since. These days, he sings the "casino circuit" under the name Alan James. In a twist of fate, Alan was replaced former bandmate by Art Supple in Stage 2! www.alan-james.com.  
Art in 1973 Art Supple Art today

Art Supple recently celebrated 40 years of entertaining across Ireland and England. Starting in the heyday of the showband era with his band, The Victors, Art was always a lead vocalist with a smooth and silky delivery. He tended to be the "big ballad" singer, especially when he joined with Joe Mac in Stage 2 in 1977. When Stage 2 went their separate ways in the 1979, Art went out on his own and has been knocking them dead ever since! Today, Art Supple and his band provide top class entertainment for weddings, corporate events, dances, and like The Conquerors (top of this page), are one of the longest running acts in Irish entertainment. www.artsupple.com.       
Tommy in 1970's Tommy Drennan Tommy today

Born in Janesboro, near Limerick in 1942, Tommy was singing early. In 1953, at the age of 11, he joined the Redpemptorist Choir as a soprano. In 1963 he was asked to join The Freshmen, replacing Derek Deane who returned to school for a time. After a year, Tommy left the band and returned to Limerick where he was invited to join the recently formed Monarchs by founder Jim Connolly. For the next eight years the band was a major draw in the ballrooms. In 1972, Tommy formed his own band, Top League and had several hits. In 1976, he left the showband scene for cabaret where he still works today.
http://www.tommydrennan.com/

Brendan in 1960's Brendan O'Loughlin Brendan today

From a musical family, Brendan grew up in Limerick, and like his brothers, his teenage years were spent touring with Irish show bands, including Gerry and the Ohio (Galway), The Express Show Band (Dublin), Tommy Drennan (Limerick), The Ambassador Seven (Limerick) , the Dermot O'Brien Band, Charles Foley (a duo) and the Parkway Orchestra at the Parkway Hotel. Since leaving Ireland in 1983, Brendan has continued performing with names like Johnny Cash, Chubby Checker, Roger Whittaker, and Lee Greenwood. Today, he lives in the Arizona and still plays regularly, touring all over the United States.
http://www.brendanoloughlin.com/

Art, Irene Shaun in 70's Sunshine (Art, Irene and Shaun) The Trio today

Elsewhere on the website, we have featured Chips, one of the top pop bands of the 70's. The band had a very close relationship with the group Sunshine as the two groups exchanged members more than once. We recently received the photo at right from Shaun Magee (see above-former bass player with both bands) who got together with former drummer Art Moorhead and vocalist Irene McElroy in Canada recently. Still looking good after all these years. Shaun mentioned in his email that it had been 30 years since Tapestry (forerunner to Sunshine) first went to Canada.

Simon as Big Chief Simon Scott Simon today

When the Plattermen gave up country music ion favor of their Blood Sweat and Tears blues driven program, Rob Strong took front and center stage as the band's rocker. But the bands "other" lead singer, Simon Scott, provided the softer, pop side of the band's repertoire. His good looks and smooth voice, made him a favorite with the ladies. When Rob left the Plattermen, the time was right for Simon to step into the spotlight, although not many recognized him. As Big Chief of the Apaches, Simon continued to wow audiences and dazzle the ladies. These days, Simon is back in plain clothes, but still entertaining people across the world.    

Vinny with Times in '78 Vinny Baker Vinny today

Vinny wrote to say he spent many years on the showband circuit, starting with The Firehouse Showband, (later Jim Tobin and The Firehouse), Dermot Hegarty and the Plainsmen, later with Brian Harkin and the Plainsmen, George Kaye and the Real Country (this was the band after The Smokey Mountain Ramblers) and then to The Times. He still makes music for a living...playing with a 4 piece rock band, teaching guitar to 30+ students and running a VeeBee Sound recording studio with his wife, Jo.
http://www.vinnybakermusic.com

"Shorty" (left) in 1978 Brian "Shorty" O'Kane Shorty today

Brian wrote recently to bring us up to date on his life. His band Dirtywork, was drafted as Tony Kenny's band in 1978. In 1980, after a brief spell with The Lovers, he  joined Daddy Cool & The Lollipops. In 1982, Brian and two other members left to form The TopCats, (later The Strangers). In 1983, he returned to Belfast and formed Shorty & The Heartbeats. In 1986 this band spawned The Chevys, who are still one of the top bands in the North. In 1991 he folded the Heartbeats and joined The Chevys as sound engineer, where he stayed for 12 years. In 2004, he reformed The Heartbeats, now called The Naked Flames. To find more about Brian, please click here.

John yesterday John McGrenra John today

John has been a supporter of the website for some time. He started back in the 70's and was the bass guitarist and vocalist with bands such as The Farmer's Sons, Brian Coll and the Buckaroos, the Cotton Mill Boys, and the Donegal-based Blue Glows. He formed his own band, Choice, some time ago and still plays regularly around Donegal. John has recently undergone some pretty major surgery and continues to recover. He would love to hear from any old friends or fans and can be contacted by clicking here

Basil at 16 Basil Henriques Basil Today

Basil Henriques moved to Ireland in 1970 as a founder member of The Virginians country band. Over the next thirty years, he provided his distinctive steel guitar sounds to every recording and live performance imaginable and became one of Ireland's top all time session musicians. He played with Foster and Allen, and was bandleader with Philomena Begley, Roly Daniels and T.R. Dallas. He was also a staff musician at RTE and played with a wide variety of International stars. He recently retired from session work and returned to the UK where he has reformed his first band, The Waikiki Islanders. Check out Basil's website at www.waikiki-islanders.com. 

Ollie in 1970 Ollie Cunningham Ollie Today

Ollie Cunningham was the drummer with the Hoot'nannys from 1968 through 1972 when they were Bill Ryan and the Hoot'nannys. Ollie emigrated to Canada over thirty years ago and has been working for 29 of those years with the same company, Kingsmills. For anyone interested in trying to reach Ollie, you can visit the website at www.kingsmills.com, or send an email to his mate, Ted Avery and he will pass it on to Ollie. We understand Ollie isn't "hooked up" to the Internet...yet. Ted's email address is: tedeboy22@hotmail.com  

Danny in the late 60's Danny Ellis Danny Today

Born in Dublin, Danny learned how to play the trombone as part of the Artane Boys Band. When he was a teenager Danny says, "one day, at fifteen, while visiting my maternal uncle in Whitehall I saw the Beatles on TV...... Lord have mercy!!! I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I couldn't believe what I was hearing and seeing. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that that's all I ever wanted to do." Danny would go on to write songs and play in bands like The Airchords, Jim Farley Showband, Nevada, Stage 2, and the Miami before emigrating to the United States where he lives today and is still very involved in music. Check out Danny's website at: www.dannyellis.net  

Hugo in 1973 Hugo Duncan Hugo Today

Hugo started his singing career in 1971 and was soon fronting his own bands, The Ranchers and the Tallmen. Nearly 20 years later, he started his second career working in radio when he joined Radio Foyle doing holiday relief. After that he started presenting his own show on a weekly basis which, in turn, led to a Sunday afternoon (3pm-5pm) show on BBC Radio Foyle. Since October 1998 he has been presenting Country Afternoon - a daily programme on BBC Radio Ulster. He has also been involved in several different Television programmes for BBC One Northern Ireland. Learn more about Hugo today at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/radiofoyle/presenters_weekly.shtml#hug

Brendan in 1978 Brendan Shine Brendan Today

Starting his career in his native Athlone, Brendan joined “Kieran Kelly’s Ceili Band” along with school pal Johnny Dawson, who, to this day is still with Brendan playing drums in the “Brendan Shine Super Band”. He made his name first as an excellent accordionist alongside such stars as Dermot O'Brien, Fintan Stanley and Ritchie Fitzgerald. However, he soon took center stage, picked up the microphone and had a huge string of hits in Ireland. He is still on the road today, going as strong as ever! Learn more about Brendan today at:
http://www.independentconcertproductions.com/music/brendan2.htm 

Gerry in the 70's Gerry Anderson Gerry Today

From his Radio Foyle Bio: Although Gerry started off as an apprentice toolmaker he soon picked up a guitar and started learning his craft. As well as a stint with the Chessmen, Gerry played with bands in England, Canada and America until he dropped out of the music scene and went to University. Since his showband days, he has lectured at college and became editor of small local magazine. Today he does a daily show on Radio Foyle/Ulster. See more about Gerry today and listen to his shows here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/radiofoyle/presenters_daily.shtml#ger

Fergie in the late 70's Fergie McElligot Fergie Today

Born and raised in Dundalk, at 17 Fergie took up the guitar and followed in his brother, Gilly's footsteps. He moved to Dublin to join the showbands and played in 6 all together including the Farmer's Son, Nevada, Kaye Twins and Sandie Jones Band. When the era was coming to a close, he traveled to Denmark where he fell in love with the country and the people. He lives and plays there today. You can learn more about him at his website:
http://www.fergie.dk  

Noel in the mid 80's (right) Noel McMurray Noel Today (right)

Born and raised in Clontarf, Co. Dublin, Noel's first band was Myster Men, a rock group that included Frank Washington (now known as Frank Kearns with Cactus World News) on guitar. The band changed their name to Blue Russia and put out a single, Russian Around. He emigrated to the United States and ended up in California where he joined the band, One Step Further which featured Little Richard's guitarist, Raphael. He recently joined Fujiminx and also works in the insurance industry. You can learn more about him at the Fujiminx website: http://www.fujiminx.com  

 


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