Arts Q&A: Tony Allen on Joe Dolan, Tommy Tiernan and Spike Milligan

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Lurgan-based singer Tony Allen

Co Armagh based musician Tony Allen is back on the road with his musical partner Mick Foster
Co Armagh based musician Tony Allen is back on the road with his musical partner Mick Foster

1. When did you think about a career in music and what were your first steps into it? At school all I wanted to be was in a band. I first played with Mick Foster in the band The Mary Landers, before I replaced Brendan Shine in the Kieran Kelly Band. I then went on to be part of Doc Carroll's Nightrunners Showband, where I was reunited with Mick. After The Nightrunners broke up the 1970s, we formally launched Foster and Allen.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to? Watching Joe Dolan in the 60s on stage. I remember going dancing to him and thinking he was amazing. Watching Tom Jones in the 80s was another highlight, he’s a great performer. And Nathan Carter is one of the great young performers of today.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? I’m not a big one on parties, but if I had a dinner party I would have Graham Norton, Tommy Tiernan, Pat Shortt and John Kelly for some interesting chats.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island? One of my all-time favourite songs is Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles.

5. And the book? The Looney: An Irish Fantasy by Spike Milligan. I really enjoyed that book and it would be perfect company.

6. Top three films? Anything with John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. I’d watch any Western.

7. Worst film you’ve seen? I don’t like horror, so any horror film is my worst nightmare.

8. Favourite authors? I'm not a big reader, but I do like Spike Milligan.

9. Sports you most enjoy? GAA and hurling. I also like watching snooker and I’d like to see Mark Allen continue to do well.

10. Ideal holiday destination? Las Vegas was just amazing, it has everything. Nashville comes a close second.

11. Pet hate? Nothing is worth getting annoyed about.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner: Steak and baked potato.

Dessert: Rice pudding.

Drink: Coke Zero.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? Mick (Foster) and I get on tremendously well, but we only meet up every few months so I will say my wife Trionagh, whom I met when she sang backing vocals on our album Sincerely, is my best friend.

14. Is there a God? There has to be. God doesn’t do any wrong, it’s the people that do all the wrong.

:: Tony Allen will be joining his singing partner Mick Foster in Foster & Allen – Timeless Memories Tour this autumn, from October 8. Venues include Ballymena, Omagh, Coleraine, Holywood, Cookstown, Armagh, Larne, Derry, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and Enniskillen. For tickets visit Davidhullpromotions.com