LONDON Irish musician Peter Waters, who formed a 90s band The Plastic Paddies, died earlier this month, at the Peace Hospice in Watford, following a long battle with cancer, aged just 57.
His funeral was held on Tuesday 23 June at West Hertfordshire Crematorium.
He had been a popular figure on the Irish music scene in and around London and the south east.
Born in Holloway to Irish parents from Fethard-On-Sea in Wexford, Peter was introduced to Irish music by his father Jim Waters – a well-known box player and singer in the pubs of North London during the fifties and sixties.
The family moved to St Albans in the mid-sixties, where, as a teenager, Peter taught himself to play guitar.
In 1986 Pete met Bruce Brewster Fursman–who was to be his music partner forover 30 years – while busking and playing in the Irish Club in Sydney Australia. They were originally introduced to each other by a member of the Sydney band The Irish Droversafter Bruce played a pub on St Patrick’s Dayin Sydney.
In 1987, Pete and Bruce returned from Australia and formed a duo called TheCoolin’, after the popular Irish air,and released a single on 12″ vinylcalled Songs fromAfar.They were thevery first band to play at the then newly opened Aras na Gael, IonadCultúrthanahÉireann, the Irish CulturalCentre in Queen’s Park in London
Pete played most of the music venues in and around St Albansincluding andwas also a runner-upin the Irish World’s Voice Contest at the Galtymore in Cricklewood
His most well-known band, the Plastic Paddys (sic) toured extensively and was a regular fixture at TheSwan in Stockwell, The Black Lion in Kilburn and The Claddagh Ring in Hendon, The Irish Club in London Colney, The Acorn,The Goat, The Robin Hood, The Garibaldi, The White Lion, TheRats Castle, The Farmers Boy and the Horn ofPlenty among many others.
It also performed as part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Philadelphia.
In 2007 Pete released an album of his own songswhich he performed in February 2008 at the MaltingsArts Theatre in St Albans. In the audience was Christiane Kubrick, the widow of film director Stanley Kubrick, who was soimpressed with Pete’s that she booked Peteand his band to play at her annual Arts festival justoutside St Albans.
Peter Waters travelled the worldand adored all kinds of music but his love of Irish traditional ballads was always paramount, evident in the songs and ballads that he wrote that represented a ‘second-generation’ view of the Irish experience inBritain.His musical ‘heart’ always hankeredback wherever to Fethard-on-Sea, in Co. Wexford.
In recent years Pete teamed up with the veteranmusician ‘Wild Willy’ Barrett to perform gigsin the UK and abroad.
As well as being a prolific singer/songwriter, Pete, whose degree was in Irish and Spanish,worked as an English teacher and as a fully qualified CORGI-registeredBritish Gas engineer and boiler installer.
“Peter was well known throughout London and further abroad for his contribution to popular and Irish music both as an individual and as a member of several bands,” his brother explained.
“After dabbling with live performing with The Screws, Peter decided to make his way around the world making a living by busking.
“He spent several months in the USA and even longer in Australia, but it was whilst busking in Sydney that he met fellow musician Bruce Furzeman” he added.
“They formed a duo – and a lifelong friendship – naming themselves after the popular Irish airTheCoolin – and on their return to the UK they became a fixture on the Irish pub scene in London and the south east.”
Peter later felt the need to expand on the duo’s success and would eventually form The Plastic Padddies – adding Sean Ryan and Peter Ridley into the mix.
“That group proved very popular on the Irish Pub circuit, with their blend of traditional and contemporary music very much in the style of the Pogues/Dubliners,” Leo said.
“Their brand of second generation Irish music developed quite a following, leading to gigs all over the UK and as far afield as the USA.”
Later in his career Peter would form a new band – Ballyhooley – featuring multi-instrumentalist John Devine, Baz Evans, Bruce Furzeman and All-Ireland fiddle champion Julianne Healy, which drew similar acclaim.
He also recorded his own work, releasing his eponymous album in 2007, and spent much time exploring his Irish roots over the years – even achieving a degree in Irish studies from the North London University in Holloway Road in his spare time.
“Peter always retained a great love for Ireland,” his brother recalls.
“Our parents moved back to the little seaside village of Fethard On Sea in Co. Wexford in the early 1980′s and Peter took over the family home when they passed away,” he said.
“He spent many happy days working on the house and walking the local beaches – Ireland was his spiritual home.”
He added: “But ultimately Peter’s life was dominated by his love for music. And whilst he may no longer be here to touch hearts with his live performances, his spirit will always live on in the heart of the many friends and musicians whose lives he touched.