Alcohol, Creativity, and the Irish
Gavin Friday was born in Dublin on October 8, 1959 and founded the band Virgin Prunes in 1977. In 1986 Gavin briefly abandoned music to paint, which culminated in the 1988 exhibition entitled ‘I didn’t come up the Liffey in a bubble’ at Dublin’s Hendriks Gallery. From 1987 to 2005 Friday composed and performed with pianist Maurice Roycroft (The Man Seezer). ‘Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves’ (1989), their compelling moody debut produced by Hal Willner, explored the world of Brel (whose song ‘Next’ is covered on the album), Piaf, Brecht and Weill. The follow up was 1992’s ‘Adam ‘N’ Eve.’
In Summer 1999, Gavin travelled to Kosovo on behalf of the charity Concern, to film a documentary highlighting to plight of Kosovan refugees. ‘Artists for Kosovo’, a slide-show of work by renowned Irish artists set to Friday/Seezer music opened in Dublin’s Temple Bar. Later that year the video documentary ‘Three Wishes For Kosovo’ was completed and Gavin’s children’s charity project for Kosovo, ‘Muc the flying piggy bank’ was launched. The project encouraged kids in schools around Ireland to set up their own collections for the charity.
Gavin Friday's film work includes the songs written with Bono for the popular 1993 film ‘In the Name of the Father’. They recorded the title track as well as the Sinead O’Connor sung hit ‘You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart’. In 1996 Friday and Seezer contributed the song ‘Angel’ to the ‘Romeo + Juliet’ soundtrack and wrote their first piece of score for the Australian film ‘Angel Baby’. His subsequent film scores have included ‘The Boxer’ (1998), ‘Disco Pigs’ (2001) and ‘In America’ (2002). In late 2005, Friday and Seezer teamed up with legendary producer Quincy Jones to score the Jim Sheridan directed 50 Cent biopic ‘Get Rich or Die Trying.’ Gavin also performed the surreal and personal one man show ‘I Didn’t Come up the Liffey in a Bubble’ at the Dublin Fringe Festival.
Gavin Friday is currently working on his fourth solo album with writing partner Herb Macken
Question: What is alcohol's role in creativity?
Gavin Friday: Alcohol. I mean, I like a fine wine. Who can beat that? I'm not drinking this week because it messes with my throat. But I can drink for Ireland if I wanted to. I don't think it helps writing; I think it's a hinderance. It helps numb you. If you've been working your ass -- like I tell you, I will be having a few drinks next Sunday after that show is over. So it helps bring you down and chill you out and have a laugh. You've got to use alcohol and not let it use you. I come from a country that's been doomed by alcohol. The Irish could drink; they could drink Europe. And they'd have a good go at America, too. I mean, you guys -- your alcohol is like not good, it's weak.
So I don't even think any stimulants really help writing. You talk to most guys and they say, "Hey. I wrote this." And they're out of their head or they had a few beers or a bottle of whiskey. You wake up the next morning, it's usually pretty crap. But you know Dylan Thomas wrote some great poetry. Brendan Behan. You never know but ultimately I'd say you have to get up early in the morning and you're usually sober when you write your good stuff; it's hard work. So alcohol, keep it for chilling out, fun, and having a good time. Not for work.
Question: Had Ireland's alcohol problem lessened with the Celtic Tiger economy?
Gavin Friday: Nt. We've got wars. Imagine having more money, you could buy more beer. Have you been to Dublin in its heyday like in the boom heyday at like 4:00 in the morning on a Sunday or Saturday? It's like beyond New Orleans. It's like St. Patrick's Day every day. It's not good. I don't even like pubs anymore. I like going for a meal and having a bottle of wine. Be more gentle. You can't go to a pub when you get old; well you can, I suppose, but you know what I mean?
Recorded on: October 1, 2009
Musician Gavin Friday dissects the legendary relationship between the Irish, alcohol, and creativity.
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