Fans Interview the Petrols – #2

4) – Which of the three 2008 gigs did you like the best, and why?

Raymond: All three shows definitely had a different dynamic for me. The EP was undoubtedly my favourite as that was the show we had actually reformed for in the first place and that stage felt like the most natural for a band of our past reputation and stature to be standing on. If that gig had gone badly or indeed if the atmosphere hadn’t been as vibrant, expectant and loving, or if we had experienced some terrible, unforeseen technical hitches or received a poor or muted response at that particular moment, then ultimately it wouldn’t have mattered how well the other two previous smaller shows had passed off and we wouldn’t be writing these questions now. Luckily there was magic in the air, we played a blinder and came off feeling like kings. It actually took me about six weeks afterwards to come down off the high from all the shows but most energy was expended on this particular one.This was the one which mattered the most.

However saying that, the other two shows were wonderful too. London was a great way to kick off proceedings, on home turf in front of family, friends and the invited from this very site. On the night the atmosphere was very warm and heartfelt, I felt like we were just surfing a tide of goodwill and good vibes.I wasn’t nervous in the slightest for once (rare for me) and as such was just able to enjoy everything about the whole event – the happy faces, how good we still were and watching Steve’s crowdsurfing!

I was a bit apprehensive about Dundalk beforehand for reasons which seem silly now, but that turned out to be very enjoyable also. The youtube footage of that night (chemicrazy) was interesting for me to see. I’m not actually on camera for virtually all of the song however I appear at the end coming off stage and I am just beaming – that in itself tells the whole story. Storming version too!

I feel like we belong on the larger stages all the same although obviously we’re comfortable playing anywhere. Over the years we have learned and honed our stagecraft – we know how to project, plus we have the most dynamic and watchable front person in the business.The music possesses a beatific power and a positive energy which can uplift,move and entertain any audience or any number of people big or small.

I still have big ambitions for us. I had a dream a while back that we were playing a triumphant show at Madison Square Gardens. Some may laugh at this perhaps but never underestimate the power of dreams, if you have a pure desire they may well just come true…..

Steve: That’s tough. On the one hand, the Electric Picnic was so incredible, because there’s something undeniable about 5,000 people screaming. That was the moment for me when I realized my recollections of the past weren’t rose-tinted, that we were a powerful band that could move a crowd and in fact still could. The fact that teenagers were chasing us afterwards for autographs was icing on the cake. Hey, if the kids still get it, we’ve still got it. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, London, because it was explosive. It was fourteen years of pent-up rock angst. People fainted. It was like church, a spiritual experience. Magic.

But that’s not to discount Dundalk at all, either! I had relatives there who had flown all the way from Florida, and we rocked so hard that chunks of plaster came off the ceiling. I only wish I had been able to join in the shenanigans after the gig. My wife ended up drinking with the staff until 4AM, by that point in her jammies (our bus was parked outside the venue). Me? I was deathly ill with the flu and sweating my brains out in my tiny little bunk. The show must go on!

Fans Interview the Petrols – #1

Some of you may remember that the fans put together a list of questions to submit to the band last year after the first set of reformation gigs. Well, it has only been a year, and we’re finally getting around to it. The idea is to answer one of these every few days. Think of it as a sort of TPE Advent calendar, if you will.

As the list grows, I’ll put them all on a special page, but for now they’ll just be on the blog. So! Without further ado, let’s get this started:

5) – It’s general agreed that those gigs were incredibly tight considering the band hadn’t performed together for 14 years, do you think you’re better musicians now than in the TPE days of yore ?

Ciaran: While its not really for us to say ….I absolutely agree. Steve’s voice sounds stronger and the band don’t push quite as hard as we used to – i.e. we are still v. tight but there’s a kind of looseness happening which lets the songs breathe and groove a bit more. Probably due to a) getting a bit older; b)not playing all the time and therefore making a routine of it; c)listening to a wider variety of music over the years when we’ve been having a break. Every show since we reformed have been winners.

Steve: Aw shucks. It’s not just me – I think we’re grooving better as a band now than we ever did back in the day. Without wishing to sound too cliched, there is a certain power to maturity, knowing that less is more, that showing restraint can be far more powerful than losing control. Speaking of losing control,  there were a lot more stimulants involved back then, legal or otherwise. And finally, after having spent a decade and a half _not_ playing together, I think we’ve all come to realize the unique combination we are. The sum is much greater than the parts, and I think we’re all much better able to understand that now, and cherish it accordingly. By letting go and surrendering to the whole.