Arts Q&A: Tony Wright on Beastie Boys, Neil Gaiman and Liverpool FC

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Belfast-based singer, songwriter and author Tony Wright AKA VerseChorusVerse

Tony Wright presents an evening of songs, stories and readings from his forthcoming book at Strand Arts Centre tomorrow

1. When did you think about a career in music and what were your first steps into it?

My band PepperBook was courted by [record label] BMG when I was 15. I was told I was gonna be the next big thing – I’m still a modest 5’6”.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?

Beastie Boys at The King's Hall and Tool in Dublin, on the Lateralus tour. In 2016 I saw The Zombies at a small house show in New Jersey – that will be hard to forget.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

Annie Clarke [St Vincent] on vocals/guitar, Dave Lombardo [ex-Slayer] on drums, doing White Stripes numbers as The S**te Wipes – they’d be amazing. With Mos Def as compere.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island?

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony by Berlin Philharmonic & Ferenc Fricsay.

5. And the book?

My diary. Or Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon. He spent four-and-a-half years going around the world on a motorbike, so at least I could travel in my imagination.

6. Top three films?

The Trial, Brewster's Millions (Richard Pryor) and When The Wind Blows.

7. Worst film you've seen?

The Boat That Rocked. First film I’ve been tempted to walk out of. It's AWFUL.

8. Favourite authors?

Neil Gaiman. He tweeted me once, I was on a London night bus and actually squealed. Big fan of Margaret Atwood and Douglas Adams too.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

For my sins, football and Liverpool. Hearing 40,000 or so people singing You’ll Never Walk Alone is a beautiful and spiritual experience.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

The south of Italy. I’m part Italian and the mountain villages outside Rome and Naples near Monte Cassino have a piece of me, and I them.

11. Pet hate?

Cynicism. I’m cynical of it.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Dessert? Cheesecake

Drink? Don’t mind if I do... won’t you join me?

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

My big brother, Dario, is the funniest guy I’ve ever met and a true gentleman. Plus, he has more dirt on me than anyone else so I gotta keep him sweet.

14. Is there a God ?

Yes. It’s the definition that’s up for debate. But please, no killing etc.

Tony Wright: Chapter & Verse (ChorusVerse), Friday March 16, Strand Arts Centre, Belfast. Tickets £6 via

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access


Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: