Speaker 1 00:00:21 How you doing? I'm Doug Davan, and you are listening to the Plastic Podcasts, tales of the Irish Diaspora. And as we come to the end of our seventh series, hard to believe, but true. We'll also mark the centenery of the Irish State and the approach of Christmas with something a bit different. An episode recorded live and almost direct in the kitchen of plastic towers. So expect more intimacy, less polished from yours truly. But the same level of candid detail you'd expect from our guest who actually, for once I'll let him introduce himself.
Speaker 2 00:00:55 I'm Ronan McManus. Um, I'm the singer in, uh, uh, angled the Bible Code Sundays. We do a kind of a Irish rock crossover. Um, so we kind of do nods to our Irish heritage with also modern influences. Um, I'm also the band of the Brand New Zeros, which is like a blues, um, rock band and my own stuff, which is my single songwriter. Um, I've been in position my whole life come from a musical family. Um, my dad was a singer and there's five boys. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the oldest of which is Declan McManus, that as old was Costello. Um, and the rest of us were musicians. Two we're from my dad's second marriage, a 20 year age gap, and then four boys. So, um, we've been involved, we played rugby down London, Irish when we were kids, and we've been involved in the Irish community our whole lives.
Speaker 2 00:01:48 Um, and, uh, yeah, so I I kind of very much a family historian, so I'm the one that's done all the family research, so I know where all the literature, the bodies are buried and, uh, and still trying to find some of them. So it's an ongoing process. But, um, the, uh, these, the kind of history of Irish immigration into the UK especially, and we've got cousins all around the world, Canada and Australia and America and everything. Um, but I'm sort of fascinated by the, the Rd asra and it's something that has been a big part of what we write about as a band, and it's that kind of Irish, um, uh, tradition of storytelling is alive and well, um, in British music in general. I think there's a lot of the major British artists over the years, uh, Irish heritages to kinda a, that's kind of, that, that storytelling thing kind of manifested itself I think over the years. So it's something that's been, I'm really interested in all those links, you know, back to back to the old country and, and really how it, it's evolved outside of Ireland, but it's, there still links, still links in all that's up to Ireland. I find that sort of thing quite fascinating.
Speaker 3 00:03:09 Um, is that as true now as it used to be? Um, my take on Irish music and, and music that came from Ireland in the Irish over the course of the eighties, seventies and eighties and so forth, was, it was very, um, serious, almost austere. I mean like, uh, if, if it's like, obviously there's the political aspect of things, so it, it certainly wasn't Boys Zone and Bewitched and things like that.
Speaker 2 00:03:32 No, I think, um, I'm kind of more interested in the, the kind of the stories more than the, like the, the boys I Bewitched West Life phenomenon is kind of, that's very much, uh, taking that's lead from new k-pop music. Um, and I think the interesting thing for me is you get artists like Jeffrey Martin from Portland, Oregon, um, and you know, I'm assuming with the name Martin, there's some Irish heritage in there somewhere. But, um, certainly the, the way that Irish music has kind of, has kind of influenced American music and folk music in general. And over here I think there's a lot of that. There's a lot of, there's a lot of, it's that kind of storytelling thing that's really kind of what I, and I, I sort of think there's, um, it's not so much necessarily singing about Irishness. I think it's a more, um, deeper influence in the way that it's, in the way that the way that people act and it's in the way that stories are told and the way that people, you know, will sing about events and tell stories about like Jeffrey Martin does all the time.
Speaker 2 00:04:47 I I only mentioned him because he's someone the pretty lobby people dunno about. Um, but he tells stories of like little situations of people that are, you know, there's just like, it's an isolated little story, but the way that he's telling the story of, I think is a very got its roots in folk, you know? And, um, there's so many of those stories in Irish history and I think that influence country music and folk music in America. And I think a lot that storytelling thing has its roots in Irish music and it's kind of almost like a, it's, people don't consciously know they're doing an Irish thing or maybe it's not necessarily just my, my take on it. It's got it that it has, it has, that has its roots in that. And I think it's, it's perforated. It's not D Irish folk English folk, two Scottish folk folk in general is kind of telling those stories, but you sort of find that, that the Beatles and, you know, the Smiths and uh, Oasis and all these sort of huge, um, rock bands and pop bands, um, from the sort of the second half of the 20th century into today.
Speaker 2 00:05:56 There's, there's certainly, uh, there's, they've all got, there's Irish roots in there. There's, there's Irish Connect. I think there's a kind of a, I don't think it could be underestimated the, the, the, the heritage aspect of that, you know, and then you've got people like, um, who's that young man from Newcast always forget his name. Um, and he's, but there's the Newcastle is a very similar, north is a very similar thing you, and it comes from working people telling stories and he does that. Um, I forgot I edit in. Yeah, we'll
Speaker 3 00:06:31 Drop it on in.
Speaker 2 00:06:34 But yeah, so it's um, you know, I think there's a lot that Sting does it a lot bit as well, you know, roots in Northian, an Irish folk Sting is a Irish heritage too, you know, so I think there's a, it it plays more of a part than people necessary know that it does. That's in my opinion.
Speaker 3 00:06:54 There's, I was talking to, um, um, a fellow called Patrick Patrick Morrison, uh, in Liverpool, who is part colta, um, of about Irish music and, and dancing and so forth. He was, he was saying that in certain areas, I mean, I mean globally rather than cited locally, um, Irish music and then Scott's Kel music in a certain amount of no. And, uh, stuff kind of gets like mashed on in together in order to create this, this, this much broader, this kinda Celtic feel to
Speaker 2 00:07:24 It. Yeah, I definitely, I mean this, I think, I think the two things are separate I'd be talking about is more the, the Irish storytelling influence on, on contemporary music, whereas the folk music evolves differently outside of Ireland as it does. And I know a lot of Irish traditional musicians that were born in London, um, the ones that I know, there's also, obviously there's, there's the, there's massive Irish communities in bi Manchester, uh, Liverpool obviously, um, and all around the uk and you sort of find those musicians play those, they play with a slightly different attitude to the Irish born musicians of the same age. And I feel like it's kind of evolves in a slightly different way. It's almost like, especially I find the London musicians have a real kind of, there's real fire in the belly. And I think there's a, there's an, there's a kind of an element of being in the belly of the beast, being from the place where Buckingham Palace is, you know, and being from that town and playing this Irish music, especially those that grew up in the eighties and the nineties when being Irish wasn't, maybe the seventies too, being Irish wasn't fashionable.
Speaker 2 00:08:30 And there was that political stuff going on, and there was a very much a, um, a slightly different feel. So I didn't also, there's a, there's, there's an element of the parents of those people keeping, keeping the traditional alive in, in their children even despite what their accent is. Their accent not being an Irish accent. There's kinda element of that, keeping it live and fighting to keep it alive, which maybe doesn't exist so much in Ireland because it's because people in Ireland, they're from, from Ireland, they're growing up in Ireland, they're surrounded by, everything around them is Irish. There's no sort of, there's no threat these days was in there in the, in the past, if you're gonna talk about Chian days and all that kind stuff. Cause you feel a lot of that in the G movement, that kind of rebellion, that kind of keeping on of the culture because it was, it was attempted to be out, attempted to be crushed and outlawed and it was outlawed.
Speaker 2 00:09:26 But I feel like in modern day, um, there's a, you sort of find that people move over from the uk from Ireland to the uk finally understand the second, third generation experience. Once they're outside of Ireland and they're within it, they then understand people in Ireland find not through any fault around it must be weird for them to think all these people with funny accents claiming Irishness. And then it's not until they put themselves in that situation to understand that if they have their kids outside of Ireland, they don't want, they're not gonna necessarily buy their kids England football shirts and say, oh, you are English now. The, the culture is a, is a, is a important thing. And the fact that Irish culture was outlawed within Ireland, you know, in the last couple hundred years, you know, it was, um, then that's, it's important, even more important to keep, keep that culture alive and to show that shows the strength of, of Irish culture and, and that it, it survived all of that.
Speaker 2 00:10:31 And there's still Irish speakers in Ireland is still, the way that the music, um, evolves is so fascinating to me. And the way that there's different versions of different reels and jigs and stuff, different parts of Ireland, they sound slightly different people's take on them and that kind of folk tradition of passing it down. And, um, but certainly the examples I know of traditional musicians and, and, you know, play with a slightly different play, a slightly different way. And, um, and I think it's, and the idea that there is one authentic way of doing it is the mistake a lot of people make because it's all changing all the time and it should do. That's the nature of folk music. It's the nature of traditional cultures. It is just the way it is. If it was hard and fast, it'd be classical. You know, you could just notate it down and that's the only way to play, play some classical music, some, some purest size. It's the only one way to play it, and that's the right way. And if you don't play the right way, then you're playing it the wrong way. And folk isn't like that. It shouldn't, and I don't think classical music should be like that either, to be fair. But that's a different argument. You know, folk music isn't like that. Never has been like that.
Speaker 1 00:11:54 You're listening to the plastic podcasts. We all come from somewhere else. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Ronan McManus has a foot in two distinct diaspora traditions that of Merseyside and that of London before talking about his illustrious family and his musical career. I want to know a little bit more of that background.
Speaker 2 00:12:14 Basically my great-granddad, and this is a kind of a source of, um, a strange feeling too, because when you actually go back to my last born relative in Ireland, it's my great-granddad, which seems like a long, long time ago to a lot of people. And to me it feels a bit strange that, that I should feel Irishness so strongly. But when, if you sort of go through the timeline and everything that isn't feels so strange. But my great-granddad left, um, Ireland County Toone, uh, in the late 18 hundreds. So it's post famine times when they opened the Birkett dock, they had been some family members that had come over to, to work on the Liverpool dock. But when they opened the bi dock, that's when my great grand came over. And um, he worked and actually died on the dock. He died in an accident dock.
Speaker 2 00:13:04 An accident on the dock was killed. Um, and so at that, that time was so full of Irish, um, and there was the division of the Catholics and the Protestants and all that kinda thing was going on. The orange marches there, things still, still happen today, but it was a real kind of, the dock area was a, was a lot of, there was three Catholic churches within a stone story of each other. You know, it was such, so many people in such a small area. Um, there it was so much so that I'm pretty much related to every one of ours. Just sent in bien head, like Paul Grady and Jason <inaudible>, who done the family research and kind of relate linked to all of them. Um, cuz it's such a small community, um, well such a big community in a small area. But my, so my great grandad came over to work on the dock.
Speaker 2 00:13:52 Um, he died and then my great-grandmother also died of tb. The, um, and one of the kids died. There was five children, two daughters and three sons. And my granddad was one of those, um, one of the girls died young and the other one was 14 when her mum died. And the three boys were younger. So she went into service in High Lake in the hotel. Three boys were put into the nearest Catholic orphanage, which was randomly in London, strangely enough. And then they all kind of became adults just in times all to all go to the first World War. And my granddad actually was in an Irish regimen, despite being born in Bergen Head, he was in the Royal Irish regimen and he got wounded in e shot in the chest, wounded, survived all three boys came back from the wall, which in itself as a feat.
Speaker 2 00:14:43 And then he moved in with the sister who had, by that point, had her own house. Then they settled back in broken head. So then my dad was born in Bergen Head, basically the top of the road, the bottom of the road where he grew up was the spot in which his granddad had died and said the dock was at the bottom of the road and he lived Kat Street. So the East Float was in the bottom of the road, Kat Street. He, he lived at the top of Kat Street, grew up on that road, and then his house was bombed in a second art war and they moved to North End. Um, but everyone in his in his class school was Irish. Everyone had Irish background. Um, my dad brought a very strong sense of Irishness despite it being now two generations into to this country.
Speaker 2 00:15:25 But Binet at that time just just felt to, my dad felt Irish. Um, I know he's got cousins and things like that who kind of didn't feel the Irishness as much and I spit, I know that a lot of my cousins that don't have have the same feeling strength strength, the feeling that that that, um, that I was brought up with. Um, but my dad certainly felt that. So when he moved down to London to pursue his music career and he was successful in the Jar Ross Band and was on the BBC radio, um, you know, live on the radio every every week and did the royal command performance and had some really good success and sort of fifties. Um, and then, uh, so he's, and then Declan was born and, and Declan then moved back to Liverpool when, when his mom and our dad broke up.
Speaker 2 00:16:19 Then my dad got married again and had us four by the time we were growing up, my dad was kind of coming off the road and stopping digging and he was kind of home a lot more then I then I think living through the eighties, seventies and eighties, I think with the political situation, he kind of gravitate more towards his Irish side than he had done when Declan was young, I think. And I think we then got brought up with a much more of an Irish feel cause my dad was in that place. In his mind it was kind of reconnecting with his Irishness cause he kind of felt like you were forced to take sides in that, you know, his Irishness came out. So then we all played Irish music and played rugby down under Irish. We were kids, um, and the big Irish beat that was there.
Speaker 2 00:16:59 And we all our friends had Irish background and so we go to Catholic school. So we were just surrounded by Irishness our whole lives and, and grew up in, so we had Twi and rugby stadium there where England play. We never went to Sport England. We were, we Sport Ireland. And it was this kind of weird thing. I never questioned it until I was a bit old and I was thinking, God, I really should have been allowed to be a little bit English. But it never crossed my mom was English. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, she's, um, she was Catholic but she was English. And uh, we never had a feeling of Englishness at all growing up. I dunno whether it's a reflection on the way the eighties was, the way the community was surrounded was because of the political situation. Maybe we were, you couldn't be both. I think that was definitely a sense of that America, American Irish Americans can be Irish and American. There's no such phrase as English Irish
Speaker 3 00:17:54 Or English American.
Speaker 2 00:17:55 There's no, well, no, I suppose there isn't. No, but you don't, there's a kind of, there's not a contradiction between Irish being Irish and American. Be Irish American fits American Irish, Irish American. Do you wanna say? But English Irish sounds like a contradiction in terms
Speaker 3 00:18:09 It's a politically loaded term because I'm, uh, one of the guys I've, uh, I've interviewed and talked about Anglo Irish and you go, oh, that was kind of like the term that was used for the landlord suicide imposed upon the, the island, the Ireland.
Speaker 2 00:18:22 Yeah, exactly. And it's not, so it's not a phrase that sits, well, there isn't a phrase for it. That's why we tend to go with cities. You'd be London Irish, Liverpool Irish, Manchester, Irish, Birmingham, Irish, Blasco Irish. We tend to put the city in there cuz that feels a bit more like, I could be proud of being from London without saying, I'm proud of being English. And that's a weird thing because the London is so, I suppose all those cities are so multicultural that almost there isn't a feeling of Englishness in the city at all. I don't, you know, I don't feel like London is a very English city. It's everything else. But, um, even though the, I'll see the buck and Pat is a slap bang in the middle of it and house the Parliament a slap in the middle of it. You know, you sort of feel like there's all the big English institutions, bricks, institutions are there. But in terms of the people day to day that you encounter, there's people from all over the world. And that's one of its strengths.
Speaker 3 00:19:21 That's a very different thing though. Say for example, if you're living in the suburbs, um, which I
Speaker 2 00:19:26 Did in the suburbs. I
Speaker 3 00:19:28 Come from maiden head. Yeah. And so, well you can't hardly call yourself London Irish at that point. Cause it seems like it's stretching the boundaries a bit. Much
Speaker 2 00:19:34 <laugh>. Yeah, yeah, you're right. Well you have bark share out there.
Speaker 3 00:19:36 You Yeah. Marsh or Irish?
Speaker 2 00:19:38 Parkshire Irish. Yeah. Well, a lot that did. So when London Irish moved out to Redding, there was a lot of that going on. There was a big, big re Irish community. Um, there was a big reading Irish center. Mm. Um, you know, we, we played in it.
Speaker 3 00:19:51 People wanna smell
Speaker 2 00:19:52 Too, so there there is Yeah. Play, play their loans actually had my 40th birthday party in the, they speak lot of <laugh>.
Speaker 3 00:19:58 Genuinely. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:19:59 Well we've, my my wife's cousins are very involved in it. Right. So, um, so it's kind of, we ended up doing a lot of gigs there because my wife's found her English, but they're Catholic. So they all, all the women people tended to marry the people that he knew. So they've all married Irish people. So there's, um, and some of them are Irish. There's a Irishness, you know, in there. So, um, yeah, we, we've got persons involved in, in the South Irish Club. So, um, but you sort of found that the sort of the, the more the inner city Irish areas, um, are not so Irish. They used to be the Cripp. We can kill Duns and those sorts of places. Labra Gros at this world, they're not as, as Irish. They used to be. And the Irish kind of moved out. It's a place like Luton, um, and Redding and Watford where I live, um, there's a lot more Irish kind of moving out. And then into the Shires now you sort of find there's a, there's a lot more Irish in and around that sort of home county area. Um, and out to Surrey and, you know, sort of different parts of, of the surrounding areas of London. There's a lot, the, the, the generations have gone on sort of the moving out out and it's, you sort of find that there's a lot more, um, pockets of Irishness in places where you wouldn't necessarily expect it.
Speaker 3 00:21:19 That brings me to ask questions about differences and then similarities. Yeah. Because, um, do you think, do you think there's a different say between Liverpool Irish and London Irish in attitude?
Speaker 2 00:21:32 Um, I think what I found with the, with the, I I find a lot of, um, I have a lot more, even though I strict describe as London Irish generationally speaking, I have more in common with the local Irish. Because if you look at the likes of sort of Wayne Rooney and these sorts of guys who played for England, because they don't really, they don't qualify for, for Ireland. Even if they wanted to, not that they necessarily would, would have that feeling. But cuz the ways of ways of immigration are different, the ways of immigration into Liverpool tend to be around that post famine time cuz it's so close to to, to, um, to Ireland so close to Dublin. Whereas the, the popular waves of immigration into London, a lot of my friends will be the fifties and sixties. So you sort of find those, the people in Liverpool can be three or four generations in.
Speaker 2 00:22:29 There are a lot second generation too, there still are still coming in. But the sort of main pop, the main wave of immigration happened a lot earlier than it, than it did, you know, good seven good 50, 60, 70 years earlier than it did in London. So you find there sort of, there's a difference there. There's a lot more like a closer connection. And in Glasgow it's more like Liverpool and you sort of find that, that the people there are more, they're more alster, more some certain fans have done Eagle background. The Irish, the Irish community is very much connected to, to the northern to to northern part of Ireland, the OTA counties of Ireland over in Glasgow. So you find there's not more people from Donegal, Toone, dairy Belfast, you know, you sort of find there's a lot more people from those sorts of, um, just cause of proximity.
Speaker 2 00:23:23 Um, so you sort of, I find there's in feeling Liverpool, Liverpool, Irish, I think there's, there's a generally a, what we found, we sang it, but we, our band sang about London Irishness and our second city for our band was Glasgow. And a lot of people, even though we're singing, maybe it's cause I'm an Irish Londoner was our sort of big song people in different parts of, of the, you know, of the, of the country of Irish descent. Got it. Got what we were saying. I think there's a definitely a common thread through, but there are slight, slight differences. I mean, the Glas choirs have a lot more of the Northern, Northern Irish politics involved cause of the cause of the way that those two cities, you know, Belfast and Dairy Belfast and Glasgow have kinda, there's a lot of the same political situation across there.
Speaker 2 00:24:14 I mean, Scottish football is as lace with Northern Ireland politics, um, much more so than London Irish culture is. Um, so I think because of the ulcer influence, you get a lot more of the Northern Ireland politics in Alaska than you do down here. And there's such, and Liverpool is very much influenced by Dublin. It's very similar, you can hear it the accent. Inner cities of Dublin and Liverpool have a very, very similar accent. So I think there's a slightly, there's a slightly different feel, but definitely common thread. Um, whereas the, just the different industries as well, you know, the little room being built on docks, London being built on, you know, construction that's affected, you know, in general terms it's kind of the, the main source of work was the construction thing. It's like different types of family, different, different, I dunno, just it feel like there's uh, there's, there's definitely co thread. We founds people got what you were singing about no matter where, where they were from, um, they felt Irishness. They kind of got what got what we were saying. But there's definitely similarities and differences. I'd say
Speaker 1 00:25:26 We'll be back with Ronan McManus in just a moment. But first it's time for the Plastic Pedestal, that part of the podcast where I ask one of my interviewees to pay tribute to a member of the diaspora of personal, cultural, or political significance to them. This week, Josephine Odriscoll, founder and CEO of Gate Hearts pays tribute to a pantheon of heroes to, in particular
Speaker 4 00:25:50 I admire the travel women, um, in Ireland, to be honest with you. Um, because they go above and beyond, to be honest. People like Cindy Joyce, um, Eileen Flynn, Eileen for was a Flynn Yeah. Who was in the Senate. Um, people like that are willing to stand up and put their head above the para and be counted. Um, and yes, they may get comebacks from from it. They may get, um, we get it here ourself. A lot of the, uh, where we, we had hate, hate letters sent here to us. We get that kind of stuff going on. But you still have to, uh, keep on and keep up with it. And I admire, uh, Mex Casey, I don't know if you know Mex Casey from, um, the National Traveler Mental Health, uh, association in Ireland. She does some fantastic work, um, around mental health. And she has gone through a lot of things herself. I think she had 20 something of her family commit suicide die by suicide. So that's, you really have to have strength to keep going after those kind of things. Um, and people that are working to make, uh, life better for their own communities, I I admire those people.
Speaker 1 00:27:22 Josie o Driscoll there. And if you want to hear more of what Josie has to say, why not listen to her entire interview? Simply go to our [email protected]
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, why not subscribe? Simply go to our homepage, scroll to the bottom, insert your details in the space provided, and one confirmatory email, click later. The entire plastic glu to the world shall be yours, my friend. No kidding. Now back to Ronan McManus and his band Bible Code Sundays are a legend among the musical community of the London Irish, with their latest album Walk Like Kings featuring contributions from Elvis Costello and Russell Crow as a man who once headed a combo that called itself Mr. Mina. I wonder how they came up with the band name.
Speaker 2 00:28:22 It's, uh, <laugh>. It's, but we didn't quite realize how many people would think we were some sort of mad right wing Christian group. You know, we're not born in Christians, we're, you know, we're good lapse Catholics. Um, <laugh> cultural Catholic. Yeah, it came from Sunday drinking session. We had two gigs on a Sunday back to back, and we used to just turn them into drinking sessions. And we were very into conspiracy theories around that time. And there was a book called The Bible Code, which was conspiracy theory, kind of that encoded in the original text of the Bible was a future event. So you could, you could, uh, find JFK assassination Dallas in a kind of word search form if you, there was a certain code in the Hebrew to the Bible and this sort stuff it turned out that you can do with any book. And uh, apparently it was kind of debunked, but there was two books on it.
Speaker 2 00:29:17 We used to think this was really interesting after about 15 points of Guinness. So mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we, we used to get into these long conversations about the Bible code and uh, and all sorts of conspiracies. And it was kind of the fodder of our conversation at that time. Um, if you weren't singing Rebel songs at two in the morning, that was kinda what we were talking about. And so one of the la coins, the phrase on Sunday morning, LA it's another Bible code Sunday, um, so, you know, let's, let's, let's, let's gets get into it sort of thing. And then we released an album. My name at that point was Lan the name of our band. So we released an album and we called the album by Bible Code Sundays as a, as a kind of a, a tribute to our Sunday sessions that we were, we did, that was kinda the set the piece of our weekend at that point.
Speaker 2 00:30:02 And then when we went to go to America, we realized that every band was called Lan. And we looked at it and there's so many bands, we need something more unique. One of the boys said, how about we take bye because, cause it's already then we said, then we can say the album's called Saia. And the, you know, it was kind the thinking. And then we didn't really realize at the time how, uh, how many people, how many friend requests we'd get from like Westbrook Baptist Church types in America, these like fundamental, this right wing Christian groups who thought that we were the same as them. And we really not, you know? So we, I dunno how many people over the years have gone to our music thinking we were that and then got disappointed that we weren't, or you know, people have thought we were ultra, ultra religious and realized we were singing about drinking.
Speaker 2 00:30:49 And uh, and then, um, you know, we weren't exactly being holding up Christian values in our lyrics. Um, and all those people who passed us by thinking that we were, that when we weren't. So we never know how many fans we might have lost over the years due to the name, but, or gained. Or gained. Yeah. Well a lot of people, some people think it's, it's a unique name, it's great, but we never sort of connection that we had the word Bible and Sunday in our name that people would make the connection to Christianity. I dunno why we never thought of that, but we, but we didn't. And uh, we thought many a time of changing our name and it's been, uh, abbreviated to bcs or some people cause the codes, the bible codes, um, I mean my other band, the Brand New Zeros is, is a good name.
Speaker 2 00:31:36 Um, that just came from being misheard. Um, we were in Belgium with our friend Johan who used to put on gigs, which still does. Um, and we were there, um, and we were trying to think of the name one morning over a morning Belgian 10% beer. And then I said, how, someone said, how about Johan's Heroes? And then our friend Lindsay, um, said, uh, did you just say brand new heroes? We're like, no, but that's a great, and it was. Uh, so that's, that's a really good, I think, I think that's a really good name. Bible Code Sundays, no one ever gets it first time when we say it. And the worst mishearing I've ever heard is Michael Gove Sundays <laugh>. Ah. Which given, uh, given our political stance isn't, isn't, uh, somebody we'd like to be kind of associated with, but
Speaker 3 00:32:24 You don't wanna see him dancing to you <laugh>, um, just like Liverpool's kind of, I suppose, overwhelmed by the musically, by the, the heritage that is the Beatles. Yeah. And so on. I imagine post-punk London Irishness is gonna be overwhelmed by the fact of the, the pos.
Speaker 2 00:32:45 Absolutely. And when we went to America, especially the influence of the POS is everywhere, but they, a lot of, where I've found a lot of the bands have fallen down in trying to emulate the pogs is they don't take into account the poetry and the, some of the beautiful lyrics that McGowen wrote. You know, and that there was a massive tender side to the, to the pogs that people kind of forget. They just, they think about the, the drinking fighting songs, you know, and the sort of smashing of trays on beer trays on the heads of Spider State he used to do. And the kind of crash van wall element, which there was, there was a big element of punk in them. But there was also a massive element of beautiful lyrics, poetry and tenderness. And I feel a lot of the bands ing the posts don't take into account the full spectrum of what they actually did band and what they, what the musicality they offered.
Speaker 2 00:33:39 And McGowen as a figurehead, um, you know, is known for his obviously his kind of wild lifestyle. But you know what a poet and the musicians in that band were incredible. The way that they translated what was in his head to down to correct those songs that they did, not them wrote the songs as well. Not, not those guys, you know, wrote some of their biggest songs. And, um, the Pose is a lot more than just Shane, you know. And I feel like it's, I feel like a lot of time there hadn't been a band that had really stepped through the door once. One thing we always used to say to this question was that the pugs had opened a door and no one was really stepping through it, um, in London. So we sort of felt like that was a bit weird that, that there weren't, that wasn't another band really doing what they had done, I suppose it was such a unique kind of sound at the time.
Speaker 2 00:34:38 It was hard to emulate, but there was never not really band writing their own songs and coming through with that sound and remixing ya traditional. And, and we weren't punk. We're not punk, you know, but our inference was much more, um, you know, we were, we influenced more, you know, just as much by the Clash and Stones and Oasis and all those sorts of bands coming through as you were. So we sort of took our more of a indie rock kind of. Um, and I suppose my brothers are obviously gonna be an influence in there too. Now are you taking the music across to Ireland and Yeah, we've, we've, um, you always kind of get, actually we've been received a lot better than, than I would've thought. Um, when I first, we first started to take the band on the road, I I thought there would be a lot more, um, of a, um, resistance to, to allowing us to be Irish.
Speaker 2 00:35:34 There's lot of people who find themselves that they sort of got a point in themselves, the gatekeepers of Irishness. You can't be Irish if you're not born in Ireland. But two of our band members were born in Ireland. There two, two born, two Irish born, two London born and London born Irish, and then two English, that was our band. So we were an exact mix of the two things. And we, we always said, we are London Irish. It's our main, you know, our main thing. We're not, we're not just, we're not claim to be 100% Irish. Cause that's not what we're about. And you know, we sang main song was called, maybe It's Cause I'm Irish London. I mean, it's, it's, we were sing about it. We weren't, we were wearing on our sleeves and I think we were being authentically us. And I think McGown was such a, he'd spent time in, in London and in contemporary growing up.
Speaker 2 00:36:24 So he had had the experience of the two things. And he, you know, so it was authentic because he was singing about his experiences from the dirty streets and all the, the very tough time he had as a young man in, in, in London and addiction and all that sort of, all that stuff. And then the Rolling Hills and beautiful countryside of Ireland and the poetry and the, and you know, he was very knowledgeable in his history of, of of, and his knowledge of Irish history and Irish Irish culture, you know, and, and is literary knowledge and that kinda thing. So he's, he, he referred to a lot of that kind of stuff a lot more than we did, I think. But, um, but I think there's always gonna be people that wanna cut you down no matter what you try and do. And, but you know, it's really, I always think it's really, I'm not asking for being, for people to allow me to, to be Irish or to allow me to claim Irishness.
Speaker 2 00:37:24 It's not for anybody else to, to, to decide whether I am or not. It's just a part of who I am. And, and I try and find the balance of that. I don't sort of say, oh yeah, I'm fully Irish and I'm not. But it's a definitely a major part of who I am. And I think all of us, I mean Andy, our recording player played with, he played in the Popes he played with Sha Shane Mcow and the Popes. He was on, he was on on tour on many a gig with Shane McGowan. And I went to see him and we played the flight at Frisby Park and there's our, our old recording player at the time, we kind of took a break from each other for a while. And then he was with the Popes, then we came back and that's when we got the Bible going together.
Speaker 2 00:38:03 But we were in a band before that, the original launcher. And, um, he went off with mcg gown, you know, he was on tour, went around America, did the fly, went on tour, which then ended off, my brother was on the same tour he did New York and Boston and Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and, uh, on this traveling circus of, of, of, uh, mixture of Irish, Irish and UK artists. And, uh, Andy was in McGown's Band, you know, and then he was in a band with Spider Stacey from the Pops after that. An original project called Wise Men that, uh, that, uh, spider was doing. So, you know, spider's been on stage with us in recent years. We did, did a benefit gig for the gr um, after the gr disaster, did a benefit gig for the families there and Spider came was on with us. And you know, there's, there's a lot more, um, a lot more linking up of bands and musicians, um, across the generations that than people would maybe think, you know,
Speaker 1 00:39:19 You're listening to the Plastic Podcasts, tales of the Irish Diaspora. Email us at the plastic podcasts gmail.com. The McManus name is Want Conjure with Among the Diaspora with Father Ross and Brother Declan. Having added to the roster, I feel the urge to find out whether Ronan has another mighty McManus in his family tree. That's right. Grapple fans. Is the wrestler Mick hiding among those branches?
Speaker 2 00:39:44 No relation. No relation. No relation. Most famous McManus is unrelated. But I <laugh> that's, uh, I I've heard it used to be the thing that people always used to say to us, and I hadn't heard it in years until I was on the phone to it, a company was that it was, was Ring much for, um, on, on hold, you know, those things. You, you ring a number and you get through to a call center and uh, and he said, Manus, any religion, any registered movement, I was like, I've not heard that about 20 years. It, but he was the go to McManus. I remember that wrestling on a, on when I was a kid on, on the Saturday afternoon on my tv, used to watch that Big daddy and giant Haystacks who was, who was Irish. He was from May Own mm-hmm. <affirmative>, giant Haystacks and uh, yeah.
Speaker 2 00:40:26 And met McManus. Yeah. So it was, uh, he loomed large in my, that name loomed large in my childhood, but not any Russian that we know of. Anyway. You said that your dad sort of moved like, um, uh, especially when you were younger into his own Irishness. Did that mean that you had a lot aside that, that kind of pattern of Irishness around the house? Oh yeah. I mean we had a framed couple proclamation on the wall and we had, uh, we had, uh, you know, we had Irish Ments everywhere. Um, there was, there was a big, a lot of interest, a lot of, uh, cultural, you know, markers in, in our lives growing up. Really London, Irish being a huge one. My dad was, um, involved with the Richmond and District Irish Society. So we used to, my first ever gig was on, was on stage when I was 12 in the St.
Speaker 2 00:41:15 Mars Catholic Church Hall. It was a Richmond Irish society. My dad used to, used to sing at them. And um, I got paid in 10 pound and, and a football shirt. It was a Northern Island football shirt randomly enough. But, um, which wouldn't be something that a Catholic would wear really. But, um, anyway, that was, I got, I got paid in a, in a, in in football show and a 10 qui. But that was, that was, that was, so those sort of nights were very, those sorts of, um, events were very big in our childhood. You know, we had parties in the house all the time and the order send it into a sing song. And the best parties we ever had in our house was, uh, my Nana's funeral was only little, I sang at the funeral. Um, and then we All Family Down for Buck and we had a big in the house.
Speaker 2 00:42:04 It was brilliant. So all our friends used to come around and um, my house was known for the parties, the sing song. So, and then when we started, our own band basically started, me and my brother started the band to get out, get out of working at Saintsbury. Cause we all had sap jobs and we realized that we could earn more money singing the songs that we'd sung our whole life in our friend's dad's pubs. So we did, that's what we did. That's how we started. But we had a, my dad had been a gigging musician, chopping musician in his later life and traveled a lot up north into the working men's clubs and all that. So he sort of showed us how to do it as a job. Then we had for Brothers of who was basically famous, my whole life show is that you could do it a huge high level.
Speaker 2 00:42:50 So we had, we knew that we could make living from it, but the route into that for us was always, always the Irish community. My dad, my dad never let us, never let us do fireworks cuz it was called it Bena Catholic Night <laugh> because um, guy Forks. I know, I dunno, it was just that my dad kind of got this ultra kind of almost like radicalized view of like, um, not wanting to play that game of saying, you know, guy Walks was a Catholic, he tried to play up the government and uh, then got, got killed for it. And um, it's a very sort of real synopsis there. But that's kind of the, you know, when my dad definitely wasn't, they nevertheless, we never had fireworks to go and celebrate that day. Um, and so it's also kind of been a weird one for me cause I kind of want my kids to enjoy themselves.
Speaker 3 00:43:43 So you had all this declaration and lots of like elements of art and I imagine they're probably sacred hearts and all that sort of thing
Speaker 2 00:43:50 Around Yeah, we had, yeah, it was a bit of that budds around. My dad was happy, my mum and dad were, were hippies in the sixties, seventies. So they had, uh, there was every, there was kind of a real mixture of paraphernalia around the house of like HiPE stuff and um, you know, it mixture of sort of psychedelic records and then Wolf's records, you know, and such a real kind of war and peace was definitely the uh, definitely the uh, the theme growing up. But yeah, there were all sorts of, they're quite art team mum. My dad was nice. We had lots of bits, bits of art and stuff. And there was an old friend of my dad's, he was an artist, had lots of his paintings around them all. Um, so my dad loved his jazz as much as he did his, his Irish music, so mm-hmm. <affirmative>
Speaker 2 00:44:32 You Miles Davis and that kinda thing on the Yeah. Could you think of the Joe Las Orchestra and you don't think of hippiness? No, it was, my dad was a bock trumpet player when he was growing up. Right. Um, and then, uh, the Joe era was kind of the fifties really and into the sixties. And then, uh, my dad sort of went off on this peace and love thing where he was dressed in Afghan cope with light, you know, SOIC light shows, going to minors, clubs, playing of preaching peace and love to working men. Um, I'm not sure how well that went down, but it was must have been fun for him. It was a longed hippie, you know, going to these sort of like, the contrast of that almost makes me chuckle, you know? Um, but yeah, so we were kind of, it was a real mixture of time.
Speaker 2 00:45:22 So, cuz my dad was quite old by the time he lived decent life, by the time I was born, he was 50 when I was born. So he kind lived through, you know, you think you turned 18 just as the war end did and ended up being conscripted and sent out to Egypt for a couple years. So he had that experience and then he had the kind of dance that, you know, dance halls of like hammer of p and and that kind of old style entertainment that they did and, and the original broadcasts on on the BBC and him singing live on that. And then, then this kind of live through the sixties, swing the sixties, and there's a, there's a brilliant little video clip of my mum and dad walking down Kings Road in the early seventies dressed as hippies. And it's on the sex texts documentary.
Speaker 2 00:46:07 I think it's like stock footage for, I don't think, no one, I don't think people quite realize who that is, but that sell could tell his dad. But it's like their stock footage of Kings Road Hippies. And it was on football focus in the buildup to a Chelsea leads game, um, start of last season. And somebody caught it around back to wine tv. Great. And then recorded it and sent it to me to say this was just on, and it's my mom and dad, um, be, you know, walking along in full hippie gear. And the funny thing is people in the background are wearing suits and they're not, they're not like, not like everybody is like dressed that way, but dad, my dad looking like Austin Powers basically and my mom looking like Cher. Um, and it just, it was the early seventies I think. Um, but they went sort of lived through that.
Speaker 2 00:46:56 And then the sort of eighties, you know, very much the sort of the, the late seventies into the eighties would've been my dad's kind of getting into the Irishness and like the political situation that was around the time and not see the sort of thatchy years and all that when my dad kind of really sort of, um, uh, you know, obviously the, the decline of the working class communities around the north of England would've been something that he felt very strongly about. And, uh, so by the time he came off the road in the nineties, he, he'd lived through a lot, lot of different things that had really influenced him. Mm. And we had all of that stuff in our, in our upbringing.
Speaker 3 00:47:35 I was friends with, um, Brian Bean, the brother of Brendan Bean. Right, okay. Brendan's brother Brian. And it's, uh, it's by the, I I have to give Brian the context of being Brendan Bean's brother. Yeah. So forth. And obviously you've got a famous brother. Does that help or hinder you?
Speaker 2 00:47:51 Both. I think one of my finest moments and I, I tell this story and I I really hope it's true. Somebody told, I heard it secondhand when Michael D. Higgins, um, came to a few years back and they did a concert at the Hall, Royal Hall and, um, there was all these Irish iel, may Paul Brady, chief Duns, um, s but we're all on the stage doing this concert for Mark D. Higgins. And, um, my brother was one of them and someone overheard, one of my friends heard two people talking in the front of 'em and they said, who's that fellow there? And he said, that's Elvis Costella goes, who's he? He says, his brother's a man at the Bible Code Sundays <laugh>. And I laugh so much that I was like, you're in my town now. You know what made it quite, what was I loved about that? Is that, is that, um, it's always been all way around obviously, and for suddenly, uh, the situation is gonna, I'm, I'm the more prominent brother in that situation for some, for these two guys.
Speaker 2 00:48:56 Just made me laugh. But yeah, there's um, there's a of big shoes to fill with Deck definitely. Um, and I was born in 76, his first album is 77. So he was always famous in my, you know, in my living memory. He's always been the guy in the tell that that comes around a house sometimes. You know, wasn't, wasn't really never, I never lived under the same roof as him. No. So he was more like a, we were grown up, it was more like a distant uncle, you know, and a kind of not distant uncle but uncle for visit us, you know, every few months. But, um, so the, definitely the, when we first started digging around the Irish, actually, actually my dad was more known because the old older generation when we started were the Hammersmith P goers. And when my dad sang there every, every weekend and there was a dance hall's where a lot of people's parents met in West London, same as the G Moore or the ly and South London would've been like a cultural hub.
Speaker 2 00:49:58 So a lot of the Irish around West London used to go to <inaudible> and knew my dad from that. So he, that was the first name that came up. So that was the first lot, um, first person to emulate was him. And then, cause my brother wasn't doing Irish music at all, it didn't really necessarily infringe on us, only that it was a point of interest. Cause we had four, US four all in the band together at one point. We were, we were the four of us brothers in the band together. That was a, a thing of, of notes rather than any kind of comparisons. We weren't seeing the same sort of stuff as him. Um, so it didn't really, you know, didn't really direct comparisons when we started to write our own stuff. And then different things, you sort of different music, you sort of feel like it's, it's, um, comparisons are then made, but I can't compete with his level of fame.
Speaker 2 00:50:49 I'm not trying to, so I think it was just, just a matter of almost like, I think when I was younger, there was a kind of an ex, I had an potentiation of myself that I would get to that level almost. Like it's inevitable that I will, that's that's what I meant to do. And that was quite tough trying to emulate his level of fame and feeling like that's where I need to get to. Because it's a huge level he's at. I mean, not many people will, when not many people will, will reach that level in history, you know, so it's massively unhelpful expectation to put myself and for maybe other people to have, have of me. I dunno whether that's, whether that's true or not, but it certainly, it, it might just be me thinking other people were thinking that of me. Do you know what I mean? So it's a pressure, I think self pressure, just finding my own, my own place is, was what I resigned myself to do and eventually found my own voice and my own place and do my own thing and just regardless of what he's doing.
Speaker 3 00:51:58 But that's a diaspora story in itself, isn't it? Trying to find your own place and
Speaker 2 00:52:02 Your own voice. Yeah, I suppose it is. Yeah. I suppose it is. I mean, he ended up living in Dublin for a long time and, and now he kind of lives North America between America and Canada. Um, but yeah, I mean exactly trying to find, and then I realized that the story that I knew best, the, the subject matter that I knew best. I mean, I, I loved telling stories and I love, and some of those stories, stories of Irish and some stories are not, you know, I still loved it. And those just writing those storytelling songs and that's kind of, that's my me that's my thing. And that's, that's cool. And I'll do that whether I get paid for it or not.
Speaker 3 00:52:39 Yeah, absolutely. Last question. What does being a member of the rd ASRA mean to you?
Speaker 2 00:52:45 It's, you feel it in your core. You feel, you feel it. It's, that's a really tough question. There's, there's the weight of history is, is with you all the time. I think I find that it's, I find playing Irish music and being and going sit under Irish and being involved in the culture, I feel it's a nod to my ancestors who just couldn't possibly have stayed in Ireland but wouldn't have wanted to leave. But all those people that, that had to leave because of various reasons, um, financial or you know, safety, um, I feel that the, the culture being still alive in other countries and other parts of the world is a real testament to those people and a real tribute to those people. And I think it's, um, and that goes for any culture, not just Irish culture, to be, to keep the culture alive. And it's was without that we are nothing.
Speaker 1 00:53:51 You've been listening to The Plastic Podcasts with me, Doug dva and my guest, Ronan McManus. The plastic pedestal was provided by Joseph v o Driscoll and Music by Jack dva. Find [email protected]
Email us at the plastic podcasts gmail.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The podcasts are supported using public funding by Arts Council England.