On Wednesday the 8th of September the Saw Doctors performed to an invited and delighted crowd in the Sugar Club. The intimate venue was perfect for the band to test the waters before the release of their new album, The Further Adventures of the Saw Doctors, on the 10th of September.
Although taking the risky decision to play the tracks from the new album straight through from start to finish, the risk paid off. The band produced an impeccable sound which was rehearsed to perfection and with all the confidence and gusto of a band with years of live experience.
The 'Doctors began with the songs ‘Taking the Train’ and ‘Friday Town’, both of which were catchy and upbeat, but were followed by ‘Someone Loves You’, which, despite having some sentimental value for the band, seemed considerably weaker. Then followed ‘Hazard’ and ‘Indian Summer’, the strongest track of the
night. The band punctured the songs with anecdotes and stories of Cois Farraige, the importance of just being yourself, and being fond of an evening drink and a bit too fond of the barmaid, before finishing up with ‘Songs and Stars’ and ‘Goodbye Again’.
Throughout the show the crowd were kept on their toes, but the real treat
came at the encore when the band sauntered back on stage for an a cappella version of ‘Red Cortina’ to thunderous applause, and then finishing with ‘Clare Island’.
Glasswerk had the chance to catch up with the guys to have a chat about their new album, their sound, awards, their heroes and what the future holds for the Doctors!
The Saw Doctors have been on the go for over 20 years now, seen numerous albums and changes from within the band, what keeps you going after all these years?
I reckon what keeps us going is we love it and haven't found anything
we'd prefer to be doing; the gigs are a real pleasure, the recording
has been very satisfying and the half of the year travelling and the
other half at home gives us the best of both worlds.
You've got the new album coming out in September, tell me about the experience of making this album, is there a different style or tone? What inspired the songs?
We returned to Phil Tennant who produced our first three albums; we've
always enjoyed working with Phil. We recorded half of it in Rockfield
in Wales and half in Grouse Lodge in Co. Westmeath, both a joy to work
in. It's taken time, we re-recorded at least three of the songs, not
having been properly satisfied with the first efforts – we've been
meticulous with details and we've made an attempt to dress the songs
in fashionable clothing.
Inspiration? – cycling, reading, social drinking, anti-social
drinking, the longing to be loved, the unbearable prospect of eternal
distance, loud young men in shell-suits, eventual good weather, skinny-
dipping, shellfish, twilight, P45s, subterranean shebeens; that kind
Has the changes in band members affected the way you approach songwriting over the years? How is it different now than in the beginning?
Éimhín has been playing the drums for a few years with us now and he's
got interested and good at putting songs together; when you have a
drummer who can come up with guitar riffs it's a good thing. We've
always had people in the band who are interested in putting songs
together, the band started up around songs, they're the life-blood of
Two years ago you were presented with the Meteor Lifetime Achievement Award. What does the future hold for the Saw Doctors?
The future comes in batches of about six months; for now we're looking
forward to releasing the album, a few gigs around Ireland, releasing
the album in the UK and going on our annual jaunt around England,
Scotland and Wales from the end of November up towards Christmas.
You've got a pretty large fanbase all around the world, what distinguishes Irish fans from the rest?
Irish fans tend to arrive later, talk more to each other and have a
priority of where they're going after for a 'right drink'. They are also the most discerning of audiences, and if a song works for them,
it will work anywhere in the world.
Who are your own musical heroes?
I'm a big fan of Bruce Springsteen; his writing, arranging, singing,
his showmanship. Of course I love a large variety of artists as
What's the best thing about playing live? Do you have a song of your own that you love to perform or are you sick of playing all the old ones by now?
When you're playing you're trying to ride the wave to the highest
level possible; when the crowd and the band reach moments when there's
something magic in the room it's extremely enjoyable, but you're
always working and wondering how to sustain it or make it better.
'Same Oul' Town' is my favourite song; I know we're best known for your faster, up-beat material, so I like the likes of 'Same Oul' Town' as it displays another side of our writing. I don't really get sick of playing any song as long as they're not the same ones every night and as long as they're shuffled around.
What do you think the future holds for Irish music?
I have no idea; the world in general is becoming more homogenized so I imagine music will as well, but it's the variety that makes it interesting so hopefully Irish music will evolve with a the distinctive essence it possesses.
Is there anything that you as a band or solo-wise would like to explore or achieve now?
I'd like to play in Japan, maybe do some mad tour of Russia or the
like, some more touring in Europe would be most desirable. I'd be
hoping we'll start working in the direction of writing a few more
songs for a next album; see what happens….
[The Saw Doctors album is out now, for more information log onto their Myspace or official site]