Trouble Pilgrims at Whelanlive for George Byrne – Photo Brian Palm
George Byrne was someone who believed in telling things the way he saw them both with the music he listened to and the films he saw. He did so with style an humour. His passing was a shock to us all. We lost a friend and a supporter. George was a fan and came to as many of our gigs as he could whether we played as The Radiators from Space or Trouble Pilgrims.
Often coming up and saying that we better play Love Detective or Blitzin’ At The Ritz. So it was fitting and humbling to be asked to play his tribute show. The night reflected his love of music in its diversity and energy. We rocked for George and hoped that he was smiling down on us – and all the acts who will equally acutely feel his loss.
The recently shown documentary The Irish Rock Story: A Tale of Two Cities seems on viewing like a missed opportunity to live up to it’s title. It again concentrated on those success stories that were reflected by chart success and sales. The focus was, naturally, on the usual suspects Van Morrison, Thin Lizzy, The Boomtown Rats, The Undertones and U2. Nothing wrong with that, they were all excellent bands, but these are the stories that always get the focus (except perhaps the Undertones who deserve some attention). Obviously these are the acts who are the most recognisable to a larger audience, which is why they are there.
But to have no mention of Horslips to name but one of the missing ingredients is to miss out on a chapter. The story of the Maritime Hotel and Them was not paralleled by mention of the similar scene in Dublin with The Creatures (who had chart success in the USA), The Action featuring Ian Whitcomb or Peter Adler with The Next In Line makes for an unbalanced perspective. That Paul Cleary and Pete Holidai and myself, who both did substantial interviews about our respective bands The Blades and The Radiators from Space (who may indeed be mere footnotes) should only appear briefly to give comment on two of the featured bands but seems like a waste of interesting insights to the Irish Rock scene. An hour is too short a time to include everything, that is totally understandable, but maybe less of what is well known and little more of what is less known would have given a wider context to the story.