The Beatbox on Network 2 was essential viewing for FEW. It was Ireland’s very own slice of MTV where for 2 hours every Sunday you got to see a sprinkling of Irish bands’ videos among the more established international acts. I’ll never forget the first time I heard and saw “Funny Ha-Ha” by The Would-Be’s. They looked and sounded amazing and what a tune. Finally I had a band that was as cool as The Smiths and The Sundays but were from up the road in Cavan. Their story is pretty well known. Record labels scrambled for their signature, Morrissey and Peel were huge fans, Single(s) of the Week in NME and then as fast as they arrived they were gone. Thankfully they reformed a couple of years back and set to work on releasing their debut album – “Beautiful Mess”. It’s a great record with all the components in abundance that made me fall in love with them the first time round. I was delighted to have a chance to put some questions to The Would Be’s. Have a read and listen below. You won’t be disappointed.
Have to ask if you have any regrets from the 1st time round? Would you have done things differently if you could go back?
Regrets,……we have a ” few” but then again, far too many not to mention a few . We made a lot of quick decisions the first time round. Some of those decisions turned out to be the wrong ones and some turned out to be the right ones but we’ve learned to accept our mistakes ……..As someone did say…..”a person who makes no mistakes, usually makes nothing”…and we made one or two blunders, so we must have made something! We’d have done things kinda differently if we could go back…but not the self-belief and the arrogance of youth….you have to have a little bit of that.
What made you decide to reform and has it gone the way you imagined?
We always thought that the band broke up a little too prematurely, songs left unsung,…..chords left unplayed…..drinks left undrunk……So there was always a dream of getting back together and making some kind of a noise…….Thankfully it was a good noise…. The band happened to meet up a few years ago at a book launch, Tony Clayton Lea’s ( 101 Irish Records You Must Hear Before You Die ) in which he included our first single ” I’m Hardly Ever Wrong ”. At said book launch we decided we should get back together, because the world needs more good songs, and it has turned out great so far. No one seems to be too upset at our return…..Although there was that one woman,.. in Scuntrope I think it was ? … but we’ll draw a veil over that, anyway it’s gone even better than we imagined, lots of people saying good things about our pop tunes.
We love the album. Are you happy with it? Any plans for a follow up?
Our album ”Beautiful Mess” turned out to be a wonderful mess, we’re very happy with the result of our labour. It was fun to record and fun to listen to, got good reviews and lots of air play….what more could you want?……apart from a number one in the charts and selling a million! We hope to record another album soon, it’s a slow process with us so I don’t recommend holding you breath.
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
Ennio Morricone theme tunes from ”The Good The Bad And The Ugly” and ”A Fistful of Dollars” because of the very distinctive guitar sounds and the great atmospheric quality of his music.
What is your favourite song that you’ve written and why?
Favourite Would be’s song is ”I’m Hardly Ever Wrong”. Great memories of our brother James, getting the 7” vinyl pressed up bringing it home and putting it on the record machine and then thinking, we can really do this music lark….Then hearing the late, great John Peel playing it on the jolly BBC was a wonderful feeling of achievement for us, we thought, not bad for country boys and girls!
How do you know when a song you’ve working on is complete?
The best way to know if a song is complete tends to be when you find yourself listening to it and you’re not asking the question ” do I like this song ”? If you have to wonder if it’s good enough, then the song is not good enough… The great thing about music is that it speaks for itself but it takes a while to learn that little lesson.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?
”In Dreams” is a song by Roy Orbison that most songwriters would have liked to have written ……….also the theme of the lyrics ” dreams”, and how wonderful they can be is very appealing…. we’re just dreamer’s really…… Although, having written a great song like that it would help a lot to be able to sing as good as Roy Orbinson, so that you’d know you’ve just written a top tune.
What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?
A little known band called The Smiths may have been a slight influence on us…!!!!! What with Morrissey’s way with a funny and insightful lyric and the genius of Johnny Marr with his amazing jangly guitar….. We’re also kinda influenced by theme tunes, John Barry etc.
Name a song that makes you happy and why does it have that effect?
When I were a lad my mother used to play a lot of records on our High-fidelity stereo phonograph audio phonic sound system, one of those records was ” Blue Skies ” by Jim Reeves. It used to make me happy……and it still does, must be all that stuff about blue skies from now on kinda thing !…….it’s easy to make me happy.
What are the best new bands you’ve heard recently?
Two new Irish bands that are sounding sweet recently are……..”The Leviathans” I recommend a listen to ”Leviathan Song” by them and another wonderful musical combo of late is ”Eileen Gogan and The Instructions”. I recommend a listen to ” Nothings for Certain” from their latest platter that matters – ” The Spirit of Oberlin”.
What’s your favourite radio station?
The Paul McLoone Show on Today FM, Monday to Thursday 9pm -12. He plays a fine selection of tunes from the past, present and maybe someday, from the future! A man with good taste and a great haircut.
How do you feel about music streaming sites?
Streaming is good in that more people can easily get to hear our music, but it’s also bad, because we don’t get much money for our music. Money is a great incentive for getting bands motivated and writing songs, which can take time and a bit of effort…….well it should take time and effort if ya want the songs to be any good !!!
What song would you have played at your funeral?
”Always Look On The Bright Side of Life ” from the film ” Life Of Brian” by Monty Python. Cause you have to laugh, don’t ya ! ..
What question would you like to be asked that you never are? (And what would be your answer?)
How do you keep an Audience in suspense ?????……..I’II tell you later !…. Or in our case we’ll release a record later…….
All releases available on bandcamp. There’s the limited edition 12″ vinyl single, “Bittersweet”, featuring four John Peel Session tracks. Also the Beautiful Mess album on cd and older releases for download.Check out the band on Facebook and Twitter as well.
The Would Be’s YouTube Playlist