Christy Parker meets a young Youghal rock band on the rise.
IT might be premature to talk of world tours and musical legacies, but a group young and talented Youghal musicians are already ‘Jaded’ on the road to rock with successful forays across local boundaries. Jaded is an up-and-arrived rock band comprised of four Pobalscoil na Trionóide students who are joyfully exploring the perils and plaudits of live performance. They are vocals/guitar Tadg Quirke (16) from Cork Hill, bass guitarist Kevin Kearns (15), from Copperalley, lead guitarist Aaron O’Shaughnessy (15) Clashmore and drummer Conor Sloane (14) from Ballymacoda.
Formed eight months ago, more recently the fab four have been finding their musical feet with increasing confidence, quickly establishing a growing appreciation across venues in Cork and west Waterford.
As well as successfully negotiating a potentially daunting gig before their transition year peers at a school dance, Jaded has performed in Dungarvan’s Clonea Hotel, Finn’s bar in Ballymacoda (twice) and opened the show at an ELJ dance academy show in Cork’s Everyman theatre. They have also done themselves proud at the Teddy Bear’s Picnic family day in the Green Park, are booked for a fundraising event for Arthritis Ireland, set to appear at the Queen of The Seas Festival, an invitation to play at the Cobh Regatta Festival remains a potential and invites to a couple of other Youghal venues are expected. Small wonder if they become even more Jaded, a name bestowed on them by Kevin, doubtlessly after a lengthy swatting session for his upcoming Junior Cert. exams!
The band began as a three-piece, comprising guitar/vocals, bass and drums. Last October Aaron sat in on a jamming session and his skills proved seductive, not least his solos and creative riffs. “We simply had to have him in the band,” confirms Tadg.
Confident, covers and co-writing
Sitting in the Foróige youth café on a rain-sodden ‘summer’ Friday, the four boys exude confidence and commitment, spiced with sparkling good humour and a wonderful sense of fun. Yet they speak with awareness and sincerity, bringing coherency and a mature perspective to any question. Tadg listens intently and probably speaks most; Aaron has a more mischievous presence, sometimes seeming pre-occupied before making some far-fetched observation just for the laugh; Conor talks with calm self-assurance and eager determination, whilst Kevin, leaning across the counter on one elbow, is a boy un-phased, relaxed and in command.
The band’s current repertoire comprises 80% cover versions, reflecting combined influences across generations that span Metallica, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, The Police, Blink 182, AC/D/C and Jimi Hendrix. They also recognise the closer-to-home ensembles of the Kieran Kramer Band and Planet Claire, while Conor is impressed by the yet-to-make-the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, Bog the Donkey, whose members include his uncle Terry. On the other hand, you definitely won’t find “Justin Bieber or Bleach Box,” the very names inciting curling of the lips.
Originality being a hallmark of excellence, they also compile their own material, with Tadg and Kevin filling the ‘Lennon and McCartney’ role. (So no pressure there lads!). The approach, still early, remains exploratory’ “The tunes just come into our heads and we basically make the words rhyme,” smiles Tadg seeming slightly unsure of a process still evolving. “We’re going to release an EP of our own songs later in the year,” informs Kevin, in whose garage the band rehearses several times a week. Preparatory work will commence in earnest once Tadg and Kevin have completed their Junior Cert exams. The tracks will be laid “in Conor’s own recording studio,” elaborates Aaron whose favourite tune from the age of nine, is Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters.’
Buzz and barracking
As they gravitate towards seasoned performers, the young lads agree that “the buzz” of being onstage is the best part of the bizz. Yet, already they have had a taste of the more unpalatable flavour of live performing, with a first sour experience in Dungarvan. “There were about 40 people, all our age, but one guy kept shouting ‘turn on the iPod,” grimaces Kevin. “It was annoying and I think they weren’t in the mood for it anyway,” remarks Aaron. Happily this formative experience wasn’t wasted. “We learned from it and decided to be more prepared for future gigs so we came out more positive from it,” Tadg explains, adding that later, their second gig in Finn’s to a packed house was “brilliant; our best so far.”
Support in general has been un-waivering, whether from their families, friends or the selfless folk at Foróige. “Bobby Lee too,” says someone. “He’s a brilliant guitarist,” adds a second. “He should be famous,” contributes a third.
The group are never reluctant to provide opinions. “Youghal, “for a town its size is pretty advanced” when it comes to providing opportunities for young musicians,” Tadg feels, but Pobalscoil could, apparently try harder. “They teach music very well but it would be nice to be able to perform more gigs there,” he proceeds. “They’re always trying to raise money for charities. But if they held a concert, at say €3 a head and with 800 students, they’d make one or two grand,” concludes the young musician, who supports himself pays a monthly subscription to support a camel in a sanctuary in Egypt. If ever there was a new Bono in the making……!!
On the rare occasions when they are not focused on making music, the band have diverse interests, Tadg follows rugby, Aaron claims he goes jogging (but he could be joking of course?!), Connor believes “recording music” is an adequately distinct activity to playing it and Kevin has an interest in poetry while also unexpectedly purporting to be the Munster U-17 hopscotch champion for the past two years! .
So finally, at the tender combined ages of 60, what do Youghal’s fab four hope to be doing when individually 25: “Hopefully still playing music,” insists Tadg. “Alive,” typically replies Aaron before adding, “Being still in this band.” Connor envisages having “the biggest recording studio in the world” and Kevin would “love to be playing music for a living or if not, be doing something else involving music.” As they file out into the downpour, one can’t help but believe these happy, talented teenagers have many sunny days ahead.
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