Opportunities in the music industry especially in Ireland are few and far between so one must take full advantage of any chance to progress one’s career… right?
Take liberties, do whatever it takes and grab any opportunity that presents itself no matter how questionable it may seem at the time, think of the greater good, look at the bigger picture, kill or be killed… well that last one might be a bit extreme, nevertheless these were the mottos we lived by in the early days.
After all – God helps those who help themselves… and God loves a trier right? Or as Homer Simpson once put it, “Can’t win – don’t try!”
Fresh-faced, full of confidence and willing to do (almost) anything to get a gig! L-R: Me, Boey, Brendan and Trevor.
Between 1999 and 2001 myself, Boey and Brendan were lucky enough to be accepted into the same music college in Dublin. The acclaimed Ballyfermot Music College was a no-frills institute located in the heart of one of Dublin’s most working class and toughest neighbourhoods where such successful Irish artists as Mundy, Damian Dempsey, Mickey Harte among others first honed their talents.
It was sometime in second year when we had risen to ‘senior’ level and a lot more autonomy was given to us when it came to using the college facilities including the rehearsal spaces and the jewel in the crown – the college’s very own recording studio.
[On a side note I’ve a very funny anecdote about a time we recorded some demos in that studio with the help of a trainee engineer from the college. I don’t think we ever properly finished the session as the engineer got very p***ed off with us for constantly farting in the small control room where he had to work.]
Right, back to my story. One day myself and Boey found ourselves alone in the record studio with no sign of studio boss and lecturer Larry O’Toole who was very irritable and always seemed to be on the warpath for whoever used the studio last and didn’t leave it “as they found it”.
Ballyfermot College of Further Education – no frills, no bullshit… no calls to the UK please!
So all alone and with no one in sight Boey tells me to keep an eye out for anyone approaching the studio while he made a few phone calls. Before email became king a phone call was the number 1 way to get in touch with venues and book gigs.
Boey had taken charge of booking our gigs at this time so to cut down on the cost of telephone calls, damn those expensive mobile numbers, Boey decided to take advantage of the ‘free’ studio telephone.
These calls were made in a bid to further our music career so in our own slightly skewed view we felt this would be fine by college officials… which now makes me wonder why I was still keeping a close eye out for the ever-pissed-off Larry.
So once Boey made a few calls to some local venues in Dublin I had stepped away from my lookout post when I noticed he’d picked up the phone again and began dialing a rather long number that sounded like he was playing a keyboard solo on the telephone. ‘Beep, bip, bap, bip, beep bap…’
“Where the f**k are you calling I asked?”, knowing damn well there was way too many numbers in there to be a Dublin number never mind an Irish number!
What happened next was so perfectly timed it couldn’t be planned. I stood by watching just as Boey spoke to the person on the other end of the line in a clear and confident voice said, “Hi, can I speak to Chris Evans please.”
BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans and former host of the popular music and chat show ‘Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush’ and the very costly Eircom Call Cards.
Renowned British DJ and TV personality Chris Evans was hosting a UK TV show ‘Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush’ at the time and Boey had managed to track down his office number and was convinced he could get us on the show!
But just as Boey made his request a furious Larry stormed into the room before stopping in his tracks – he was momentarily speechless, probably paralysed due to a mixture of rage and shock that we were calling the UK from HIS landline.
We were caught red handed and I was sure this was gonna cost us… and I don’t mean financially! As expected Larry just exploded with rage, held up his hands in dismay and shouted, “Get the f**k outta here!”
We quickly grabbed our things including Boey list of numbers, which by now had been mostly ticked off and scampered cheekily out the door.
Like I said earlier, ‘God loves a trier’
Thanks for reading,
BTW Larry still lecturers in the college and I met him recently at a good friend’s wedding in Dublin. I decided not to remind him of that incident… maybe it was just me but he still looked angry.