By David Hennessy
“There is serious pressure when you’ve been recommended by Sting. I’ve never felt pressure like that,” Joe Moran of The Good The Bad and The Ginger tells The Irish World.
The London based Irish folk band with a country flavour have enjoyed a whirlwind few months that has included playing in Dubai for St Patrick’s Day, playing at Wembley Stadium for the England v Republic of Ireland international friendly and supporting Jools Holland at Kew Gardens. However, the biggest gig they have played recently, and the one Joe refers to in this statement, is playing the Californian wedding of Napster co-founder and the first President of Facebook, Sean Parker.
Sean’s lavish nuptials to Alexandra Lenas was a star studded event which led to the band being taken for superstars themselves “It was so bizarre,” gasps Cherry. “We landed and everybody thought we were famous so everyone was rushing around. I think the most insane thing was that we played Wembley and then flew to California. I think that in itself was like pretty spectacular.”
“It was all very surreal,” agrees Fitzy. “It was like living like a rock star for 48 hours.”
Although there was some slight readjusting to be done afterwards, says Joe: “It was hard coming back to work. The day after the gig, we got picked up in hummers and taken to Sting’s gig in San Francisco liked VIPs. Three days later, we’re back at a train station in Watford Junction waiting for a train. I’m thinking: ‘Is someone going to pick my bags up?’
“The acid test was when they asked us for a rider and I didn’t actually know what a rider was. We thought we would have a few games with this rider and we put locally produced cheese, wine, special bottles of vodka, olives from the nearby forest, all this cr*p and I sh*t you not: Every single thing we asked for in the rider was there, couldn’t believe it. I wish I had put a few more things in it now, a few girls maybe.”
Established last year and born out of the band Folkin Hell, The Good The Bad and The Ginger is made up of Paul Fitzgerald, formerly of The Reels, and original BibleCode Sundays member Joe Moran who both provide lead vocals and guitar, Cherry de Lacy on vocals and fiddle, James Lynott on banjo, John Barrett on drums and Tuppy Clarke on bass. The band went in at a very high level playing for boxer Matthew Macklin’s birthday party and supporting Paddy Casey at Hennessys in Kingsbury. While Bob Geldof joined them on spoons at another previous gig and they had previously played for Sting, they admit the last few months will be difficult to top.
“We had to do serious rehearsing,” says Cherry. “It was like training for a marathon. We were flat out for five weeks and we went from getting on really well to absolutely hating each other because we spent so much time together and the pressure was unbelievable because almost every night Sean was adding more songs to the set list. When you’re dealing with people like that, you don’t really want to say no so I’d say the set list went from about twenty songs to about fifty.”
“I still don’t like ya,” Joe chips in.
So high were the stakes that the band had to bring in some outside help as Cherry illustrates: “We got Tony Lundon (of Liberty X) on board as our tour manager. Joe and I had worked with him before on a few projects. We were under a lot of demands with the creative side of things so Tony took over a lot of the organising. I think what he thought was going to be a lovely trip to California turned into immense pressure. He said all these other tours he’s ever done, he’s never done anything like that.”
John adds: “I think Tony was close to having a nervous breakdown at one stage.”
But it was all worth it as Joe says: “We got onstage and it was really nerve racking and we played the first song and thought: ‘God, are they getting up to dance?’ And the first people up to dance were Trudie and Sting. They got on the floor straight away and bang, the floor was packed from beginning to end.”
Cherry adds: “It was a ‘hairs on your neck kind’ of moment when they came straight on the dance floor on their own and I would say it was about five seconds before the whole dance floor was packed. They obviously thought: ‘Oh, he likes them. They must be good’.”
Joe says: “I fell in love with Hermione from Harry Potter (Emma Watson). She was dancing in front of me. She married a ginger in the film so I thought I was in there.”
Encountering a film star may be singer Joe’s highlight but Cherry laughs as she tells us that another member of the band was just pleased to be there: “Fitzy’s biggest highlight will be that he made it through customs in California because he got declined entry to Dubai! He got a puppy and the puppy chewed a bit of his passport. At Heathrow they let him on and he was having a great time on the plane with the lads. He went to go through customs and they declined him entry because of the damage.
“It was hilarious because it was like Father Ted: ‘What? The puppy chewed a bit of the passport’. He rang me, I was in Abu Dhabi already, and said ‘Chell, they’ve declined me entry’ and I said ‘shut up Fitzy’ and put the phone down. I was like: ‘He’s always doing that, he’s such a wind up’. We thought he was winding us up for about four hours.
“It was so traumatic. He missed out on such an amazing gig and of course, he was just gutted. The flight over to California, he was so nervous the whole time. He had got a new passport. He was so nervous about the fact that they had declined it, he kept thinking it would be on the system and he wouldn’t get in. The highlight for Fitzy was getting though passport control.”
Still a very young band, the next thing for The Good The Bad and The Ginger is to record a CD as it is something they haven’t got around to doing yet. “That was the thing that caught us out with Sean Parker’s wedding,” says Cherry. “The first thing they asked us for was a CD and of course we didn’t have one. It sounds ridiculous. How can you be put forward for a wedding of this size if you don’t even have a CD? That’s next on our list at the moment. We’ve been talking to a couple of producers.”
The band are already receiving enquiries for next St Patrick’s Day. Although Sean Parker’s wedding and other recent gigs are hard to top, Joe has an idea: “If Dicey Reillys opens back up we can top it by playing there. That’s my boyhood dream: To headline Diceys.”
For more information on The Good The Bad and The Ginger, go to: http://www.thegoodthebadandtheginger.com/.