Arts

The Answer's Cormac Neeson: I got an East Down under-12s medal when I came on as a sub for Bryansford

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Belfast rocker Cormac Neeson

Cormac Neeson, frontman of rock band The Answer, whose solo album White Feather is out in May

Cormac Neeson – he and Lagavulin have a long-standing love-hate relationship

1

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

I’ve been thinking about it ever since I was in my first band, Liquid Sun. We used to practice every Saturday afternoon religiously in our drummer's garage – even though the drum kit was hypothetical, as we couldn’t afford one at that stage. I think we played two gigs and folded due to creative differences. That was still enough of a taste to get fully hooked on writing songs and being in a band.

2

Best gigs you’ve been to?

Therapy? At the Empire Music Hall on my 19th birthday. I was in my first year of college at Queen's so still very new to the constant parties and sessions that first-year life throws up. There were guys taking running jumps off the bar into the crowd. Everybody singing every word. Brilliant.

Seamie O’ Dowd upstairs in the Sunflower, Belfast. It was just jaw-dropping musicianship in a very intimate venue.

Mule at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. We were recording a record there at the time so got the afternoon off. We were standing at the side of the stage watching the gig and this short kind of overweight guy pushed his way into our viewing spot. I looked down and it was Ron Jeremy. You just don’t know who you’re going to bump into in this business.

3

Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

Ken Haddock and his band. He actually played our wedding and it was the best wedding band I’ve ever seen, so can’t ask for more than that.

4

The record you’d take to a desert island?

Hmmmmm…probably Fire And Water by Free as its got a lot of different grooves on there which would hopefully cater for my desert island mood swings.

5

And the book?

Has to be The Lord Of The Rings. Good long book and still my favourite after all these years.?

6

Top three films and why?

Midnight Run, The Big Lebowski and Braveheart. I actually ran a songwriting workshop recently where I asked the students to rewrite the music for the final battle scene. It just reminded me of how much I love that movie. “FREEEEEDOMMMMMM”…that’s what it's all about right there.

7

Worst film you’ve seen?

Marley And Me. I didn’t realise it was about the dog, so spent the first hour waiting for something to happen.

8

Favourite authors?

Jack Kerouac – I’ve read Dharma Bums so many times I feel like I wrote it. And JRR Tolkien. I like to mix my beat poetry with my epic fantasy from time to time.

9

Sports you most enjoy and top teams?

Football – Gaelic, soccer and the American one. I’m a proud Co Down and Bryansford man. I’m also old enough to remember Down winning two All Irelands in the 90s. I got an East Down under-12s medal when I came on as a sub for Bryansford. I’m a long-suffering Liverpool fan – until coronavirus we were having the season of our lives. And the only American football game I was ever at was at the Chicago Cubs, so I have remained faithful ever since.

10

Ideal holiday destination?

Donegal when the sun's shining. For the other 362 days of the year I’d settle for an island off the coast of Thailand.?

11

Pet hate?

Technology. Pretty much all of it.

12

What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Lamb Roshani.

Dessert? Irish coffee.

Drink? Lagavulin Single Malt Scotch.?

13

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

See previous answer. We have a long-standing love-hate relationship.

14

Is there a God?

Really hope so.

Cormac Neeson’s solo album White Feather will be officially released on vinyl 12” on May 15, together with a special deluxe CD edition. Signed pre-orders from https://cormac-neeson-uk.myshopify.com. He is due to play Bangor Castle on April 23 as part of Music in the Chamber but this is subject to change due to coronavirus so check online closer to the date. For latest info see Facebook.com/cormacneesonsolo

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