The late eighties, Walter’s bar in Dún Laoghaire, and I think it was Auto da fé who first brought me to the gigs there. Sure wasn’t I (almost) of drinking age, and bored of spending the evenings in my bedroom in Cabinteely. Of middle class origins and still in school, people like me weren’t supposed to go out drinking on a Thursday night, but wasn’t I working in the local Esso station and I had a few pence for a beer.
Auto da fé were a real band, and I could just get on the 7 and head down and see them. Then I discovered the other residencies, The Mary Stokes blues band, Trevor Knight playing on his own or with Leo O’Kelly, after a while I pretty much started going down there to see whoever might be playing.
I’d go and see anything, if only to get out of the aforementioned bedroom and get a naggin in the place across the road, take a walk down to the sea front drinking that before heading inside. One sparsley attended night there with “Tonton macoute“, I was a little loud with my open cristicism of the singer and she came over to me after the gig and gave me a right bollocking. Fair play.
I got to be good mates with the sound man and his rig, – Noel Dickers of Bray, one of the best and most unpretentious soundmen in the county, and I ended up regularly doing the sound for the Mary Stokes band, and Brian was real happy ’bout that, as I could get him plenty of harp in the monitors, and I don’t mean beer.
But out of all of the bands and all that happened there, the best thing (bar getting in a band and playing there myself with my own daughter present, albeit listening through the walls of her mummy’s tummy) was the Swinging Swine residency. I don’t think I made a point of getting to any band’s gigs as much as to the Swine in Walters. Well, maybe An Emotional Fish’s residency in the Baggot Inn when they had harmonica and backing vox. Come to think of it, I can’t think of any city centre bar , except maybe the Baggot that had such good residencies.
At some point later Larry had an 8-track tape of a session he’d done with the swine in Elektra, and I pestered and pestered him to give me the multi and let me sneak into the studio all night and get some mixes off of it. I couldn’t quite get out of it what I wanted to though, and that’s probably the reason why I have very little from that tape.
I meant to get back in another time and mix down the rest of it, but I think what I envisaged it sounding like didn’t coincide much with what Larry had recorded, and I therefore didn’t really know how to get a good mix. Shame. Maybe the swine were a band that were just never really meant to record, maybe you just couldn’t get that swine thing down on tape.
As for Walters, it’s no longer there. There’s a pub called Walters at the same address, but that’s not it. The only bad thing about those nights was having to leg it at 11.30 for the last bus, and you know what, 20 years on, post economic boom and the whole sha la la, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed.
Now, how’s that for a rant? I did mention the Swinging Swine didn’t I?
Surviving Midnight in Elektra mixes: – only two!!!! 😦