Tuam 1980 - 1981
Paul Cunniffe Vocals & Guitar R.I.P.
Dave Carton Vocals & Guitar
Ja Keating Bass
Paul Ralph Drums
By Padraig Stevens
It was great in London in the mid seventies. The music revolution that became known as punk was just gathering momentum, and I was right in the middle.
I worked at the Albion Agency while they managed The Stranglers and promoted shows at The Nashville, including The Sex Pistols notorious first gig there. When I left, punk diva Hazel O'Connor replaced me.
There seemed to be a new and better band coming along every day. London throbbed, with excitement in the air and on the streets. First came the bands, then the managers, and the record companies and the media. (Oops, I nearly forgot the audience.) Leather-clad hordes of kids ran through the summer streets, sneering and believing in their new-wave stance.
I jumped up and down at the Roxy club, carried amps for 999, played in The Running Saws - a 25 piece punk orchestra –and toured in a pre-convoy anarchic music circus that featured ‘Here and Now’, ‘Blank Space’ and ‘Alternative TV’.
I was there when Patti Smith, The Flaming Groovies and AC/DC first came to town. I had an ideological argument - on a tube train - with Joe Strummer, and paid my dues at the 'Rock against Racism' gigs.
It started out great, but got swamped very quickly. Within two years, the good had gone out of that movement of youthful revolution.
I left London in early 1979. By then, I had ‘been there, done that, and bought the tee shirt from Oxfam’. I moved back to Tuam, thinking I had seen it all.
And then I saw Blaze X.
It started innocently enough. Paul Ralph asked me to give him a drum lesson. I went to his house one Sunday morning; Paul was there with his friend, Paul Cunniffe. We started the lesson, Ralpho learned very quickly. It became obvious that Cunniffe knew all about rhythm and was helping his friend to learn. By the end of an hour I could see that these two would work it out by themselves, and did not need any more lessons from me.
That same weekend I was asked to play a gig in a Tuam pub and needed to borrow Paul's drums. Fair exchange, I gave a lesson, and he lent me the kit.
When I returned the drums, the two boys were all excited about forming a band. They had met two other like-minded teenagers, and had already got together for a music session. They
Blaze X started life Easter 1980 playing at the local youth club in Tuam. Their early attempts to gig were not, however, actively encouraged by the Youth Club, who felt that Blaze X were “attracting the wrong element” Undaunted by such a slight, Blaze began an energetic graffiti campaign on the walls of schools and convents of Tuam which resulted in a meeting of Tuam Town Commissioners to consider what should be done about “these young ruffians”.
Galway band, Blaze X have received considerable attention in recent weeks for their first release, a boppy, lively single called "Some Hope" which is very strongly reminiscent of early Undertones.However, the band have a lot of fresh enthusiasm and from their act as support to U2, in Leisureland before Christmas, clearly have the musical and song writing talent their stage presence and popular support to continue
19/07/1980 New Scout Den, Tuam with Gerry Begley
23/08/1980 New Scout Den, Tuam
Topping the bill will be Big Tom and Johnny Logan. Also appearing will be the Champions, Shaun O’Dowd and Ding – a – Ling, Tony Stevens, Susan McCann, Phil Begley, T.R. Dallas, Glen Curtin, Conquerors, The Fuze, Blaze X, Shay Healy and Larry Gogan.
The Galway hurling team will sing their hit song “Galway’s Awake” on stage.
Photo supplied by Padraig Stevens
06/05/1981 The Gaff, Limerick, these are the opening nights at the venue.
07/05/1981 The Gaff, Limerick
27/05/1981 The Gaff, Limerick
28/05/1981 The Gaff, Limerick At long last a venue for Limerick. John Dundon and Teresa Fitzgerald take a bow. Let’s hope their resourcefulness turns into success.
Megabuck superstars from Tuam, Blaze X, returned here three weeks after playing the opening night – a motley crew, much talked about and with a line straight to the heart of “power pop”, if such a thing exists. Their guitars are real Gibsons, but Blaze X manage to make them burp, fart and feedback, and in all the wrong places!
Great! Why not?!! They want “ a girl for the summer”! They “know”! They sing a song with the same title as Rupert Holmes (“Escape”)! They even sing songs about “Mass Murders” and “World War Three” and tell us that “War Is No Solution”! Of course not!
And the tragedy of it all is that the odds are stacked against their getting anywhere, purely because of where they’re from. There are many bands in Dublin and beyond that Blaze X easily surpass, but the many will make money and get exposure just because they’re based under the bright lights. If Blaze X moved to a metropolis they’d become superstars.
Some hope. No joke. In the meantime they’ll just have to tidy up their set and keep writing songs of the quality of “Some Hope”, “Individual” and “All Right”! And play more gigs!! And do interviews!!! And appear on radio and TV!!!! And and and!!!!!
Move over Moondogs – Blaze X want a piece of the action!
Philip Owens Hot Press
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