Damien McCarron of The Indulgers answers 7 in Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
The Indulgers play a brand of music reminiscent of the original Celtic rock band, The Horslips. Fresh off a Westword Music Awards win, the Boulder-based band will perform a wide range of Celtic music from their 10-plus year career tonight in Vail. Damien McCarron, lead singer, spoke to the Vail Daily about meaningful lyrics, drinking tea at his mom’s house during a concert break and the importance of a good pint of Guinness.
1. Vail Daily: You and Mike Nile write the songs for The Indulgers. Do you have any favorite lyrics and if so why?
Damien McCarron: “High Noon” off our last album called “Out In The West.” The whole album was actually a concept sort of thing. We had found letters written by Mike’s great-grandfather who was a mule skinner, miner, cowboy, rustler. He did it all out in the Old West. We read through those letters and thought about what it might be like to live in those times. I wrote some lyrics and decided to call it High Noon and, in essence, it was a story about an Irish guy immigrating to America in the 1800s and finding work as a gunslinger. All he had to do was show up for work for five minutes at noon every day and if everything went OK, he still had a job tomorrow. To me, it kind of sums up my own experience, in that 150 years later, I’m playing gigs and if you have a good gig, then tomorrow you have another one. There’s 150 years difference in time, but it still suits who we are.
2. VD: Your MySpace page says that you recently toured Ireland. What was that like?
DM: Brilliant, just brilliant. We actually took 40 odd people with us, mostly from Colorado, but people from all over America came with us on the tour. The first date we had was in County Clare in the west of Ireland and three days before we left, we got word that Johnny Fean from the Horslips was going to join us. Johnny Fean to some degree invented Celtic rock, so that was pretty huge. We had three days of boot camp so he wouldn’t make a complete mockery of us. The whole trip was pretty amazing in general. The only complaint I got was that the only thing we forgot to put in the itinerary was sleep. We got to see some of the best cities in Ireland and I got to play in my mother’s backyard more or less. My mother lives outside Dublin and the Tuesday before we left, we organized a gig at a venue that’s maybe 50 yards from my mother’s backyard, right in the heart of town. The whole village showed up to see us and I actually walked across the street for a cup of tea in my mother’s kitchen during set break. Very surreal and great fun.
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3. VD: Aside from that, what has been your favorite live musical experience?
DM: I grew up watching Live Aid and massive concerts from these huge amphitheaters from around the world. We don’t get to play a lot of those but one time we went out to San Francisco and played in Washington Square Park right in the heart of the city. It had been raining in San Francisco for about three weeks nonstop right up until the day we got there. So everyone in San Francisco had been housebound and there was like 17,000 people hanging out in every part of the park we could see. We drove right in, drove up to the stage, did a 45 minute set, came off and got in the van and drove home. We were there less than a bathroom break but when we got up on the stage and saw all those people out there, it was truly a sight to see. I forget what time of day it was, but it was before the main acts and we really lit a spark for these people and got them going. It felt great playing in front of all those people. And with the Bay and the Bridge, it was just picturesque.
4. VD: What can we expect from your newest album “Whiskey Tonight”?
DM: One of the things we found in Ireland, playing with Johnny Fean and watching how he creates guitar licks, we were amazed by that. So we came back and started writing guitar-based rock and roll that we could figure how to make Celtic later. So on this album we’re experimenting with guitar sounds, using all types of guitars and equipment to manipulate guitar sounds.
5. VD: What are you doing for St. Patrick’s Day this year?
DM: We’ll be in Denver playing twice that day. In the afternoon and the evening right outside Coors Field in the tented village they call FADO Irish Festival. We’ll also be making a quick appearance on KBPI to do the Ozzie Osbourne song “Crazy Train.”
6. VD: Do you have a favorite drink?
DM: Yes. Tullamore Dew straight. You know when I first came to America, you couldn’t buy that. It was illegal here and you had to go all the way to San Francisco to get a bottle. I knew a man in Denver that would go to San Francisco every so often and he would get two bottles and come back and rent the penthouse suite at the Adam’s Mark downtown and invite us all up for a sing along. It was great fun.
7. VD: Do you drink Guinness?
DM: Oh yeah. Basically the first seven years of my life my father was an electrician in the brewery and he was in the choir and everything. So that stuff’s really been a part of our family in one way or another forever. Back in the time when I first got to America, every Guinness was a bad pour. Every single one and it was just like you were drinking the wrong drink but I went ahead and did it anyway. Now, I’ve got to say that in Colorado, the consistency is fantastic. The people that handle Guinness here do an excellent job of keeping the lines clean and training the staff right. … Used to be nothing but bad pints and now it’s nothing but good pints.
What: The Indulgers play Street Beat
Where: Checkpoint Charlie in Vail
When: 6 p.m. today
More information: Visit http://www.streetbeatconcerts.com
Todd Altschuler is an advertising consultant at the Vail Daily. E-mail comments about this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.