April 22, 2012

Devaney's Goat: A Drinking Band with a Celtic Problem

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(Devaney's Goat playing Brutopia, St. Pat's 2011)
In the fall of 2009, I had an idea. In the words of Dr. Seuss, it was "a wonderful, awful idea."

At the time, I was living in Montreal, having just earned my B.A. from McGill University. Instead of moving back to the Boston area to pursue what one might describe as a "real job," I decided to stay up north and write/play music for a living. So, at around the same time I kicked off my freelance writing career (which paid the bills), I also kicked off my music career (which was a lot of fun).

The Band

(Devaney's Goat playing Le Vieux Dublin, January 2010)
From L to R:
Mikey - Upright Bass/Vocals
Emlyn - Percussion 
Alison - Trumpet/Accordion/Vocals
Nikita - Guitar/Vocals
Me - Guitar/Irish Bouzouki/Vocals
Noelle - Fiddle

The Beginning

(Me & Nikita)
During my four-year romp through McGill undergrad, I was lucky enough to meet a slew of talented musicians. I met many of these musicians at Le Vieux Dublin Pub (The Old Dublin Pub) - a pub which would ultimately become my place of employment/second home. From 2006 through 2010, I bussed tables and washed pint glasses at the pub every Friday and Saturday night (my shifts lasting from 10pm till 4am, 5am, 6am...sometimes later. Sometimes much, much later).

Every Monday night at the Old Dub was open mic night, which was hosted by local Celtic music legend Liam Callaghan. Without Monday open mic nights - a place where a bunch of us could get together to belt out tunes - Devaney's Goat would never have become a reality.

The Name

I didn't originally intend to have my own name incorporated into the band's name. In addition to believing that naming a band after yourself is a little self-centered (cough-BonJoviyou'reanasshole-cough), it dawned on me that once the band was assembled, I would be the least-talented of the bunch. Seriously, I'm not being modest here: facts are facts. Nikita was a classically trained guitarist; Mikey, Alison and Emlyn were all music majors at McGill; and Noelle could shred the fiddle like Johnny from "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

I, on the other hand, had only taken a few years of piano lessons when I was in elementary school and a year of guitar lessons when I was in middle school. What I did have going for me, however, was an Irish last name: Devaney (O'Duibheannaigh). When I discovered that there was an Irish fiddle tune with my name in it - Devaney's Goat (also spelled Devanny's Goat, Devanney's Goat and Devanney’s Goat) - that connection to Irish traditional music was too perfect to pass up. Also, it gave us a band mascot: the Goat.

The End?

After two years of playing local pubs (and one wedding), falling off stages, drinking enough Guinness to drown a herd of elephants, and - in general - having one hell of a time, the Goat disbanded in May 2011. However, on April 28th, 2012, Devaney's Goat played a reunion show at the pub where it all began: the Old Dub. Stay tuned for a recap in "Devaney's Goat: A Drinking Band with a Celtic Problem (Part 2)." Until then, here's a clip from one of our first-ever performances:

P.S. Hey there! If you liked this post, I have a hunch you'll love NEON DRUID: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy. It's a collection of 17 short stories all rooted in Celtic mythology.

P.P.S. You can also check out my new blog, Irish Myths, where I unveil the secrets of Celtic mythology, Irish mythology, and Irish folklore.

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