Arts Q&A: Paul Casey on Chris Rea, Tony Bennett and George Lucas

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week: Derry songwriter, guitarist and singer Paul Casey

Derry songwriter, guitarist and singer Paul Casey

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

I got into music through my da's collection (Dire Straits, Clapton, JJ Cale) although I got hooked on the sound of the slide guitar by Chris Rea and Ry Cooder. I was working in bands from when I was 16 years old. I was also managing a local record shop which eventually closed. It was then I had to make music earn me a living and luckily I'm still doing it today.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

I saw Tony Bennett in Vicar Street many years ago – it was incredible. At one point he put down the microphone, they switched off the PA and he sang Fly Me To the Moon. You could have heard a pin drop. It was special. The Blue Nile in Glasgow was special too. My mate and drummer Liam Bradley was playing with them that night. And the first gig I ever went to was Chris Rea in in the King's Hall, Belfast. It was the Road To Hell Tour, which had a massive production. It blew my mind and helped me decide I wanted to do this for a living.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

Spinal Tap.

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

The Beyondness Of Things by John Barry.

5. And the book?

The Lord Of The Rings.

6. Top three films?

Jaws, The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders Of The Lost Ark. I was born in 1974 and grew up on old VHS tapes of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

7. Worst film you've seen?

Jaws: The Revenge. Why?

8. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

Formula One and in my humble opinion Fernando Alonso is the best driver on the track.

9. Ideal holiday destination?

Nice, France.

10. Pet hate?


11. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Indian.

Dessert? Chocolate cake.

Drink? Wine.

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

My wife. We met in college.

13. Is there a God?

Donald Trump thinks he's one.

:: Paul Casey performs in Homegrown 2017 on Friday January 13 at Derry's Millennium Forum. The Homegrown gig showcases the best in local musical talent and also includes Paul Casey & Band, Ports, Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas and The Henry Girls. Tickets at

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