The Vipers

Dublin/London 1977 - 1980

Ray Ellis “Dave answered an ad looking for a drummer put in the paper by Paul Boyle. (If by some fluke, you have a copy of this advert please get in touch).

They met up and bass guitarist Paul Cusach was with Paul Boyle They had a jam and mentioned they were looking for a lead guitar player n Dave mentioned me. Dave and I were neighbour's and had messed around with music, no more than jamming and getting to know our instruments. I dropped down to Dave’s and jammed and it worked out . The 2 Paul's were mates living Northside Dave had a place to jam is so they made their way over .Paul had been writing songs .So we got into them. He was the main writer from then on. He was very driven from the off. Happily we were all ready to work hard and give it 100% Our first gig was the ill fated UCD show”.

The Vipers were one of the first "New Wave" bands to come out of Dublin, along with the likes of Radiators From Space & Revolver. The Vipers were unusual amongst Dublin bands having two South siders (Dave & Ray from Goatstown) & two North siders (both Paul's from Raheny). A Vipers set would included original tracks written by Paul Boyle & classic rock n roll cover versions.

Dave Moloney was also the drummer with the Boomtown Rats back in early 1977, replacing Simon Crowe for a short period (approx 3 months). Dave can be herd playing with the Rats on the first 10 tracks of the “Neon Hearts” demo tape. On the back cover of the tape there is a message from Bob Geldof saying "Good luck with the Vipers Dave". If you have a copy of this tape please get in touch. Dave would play one gig at the Pembroke Inn with a short lived R 'n' B Band Slick Coupe & the Convertibles, in between leaving the Rats & joining The Vipers.

The Vipers also made at least one appearance on Irish TV RTE’s "Our Times" in 1977. They also played with some of the biggest names from that time, touring the UK with Thin Lizzy (Black Rose), The Boomtown Rats (Seasonal Turkey), and supporting The Boomtown Rats, The Jam, The Clash, Dr Feelgood, Graham Parker, The Radio Stars, The Adverts, Wilko Johnson & The Solid Senders, The Troggs on their Irish tours.

When supporting The Jam at The Top Hat they were introduced on stage by Paul Weller's father. They also toured in their own right in the UK, playing many of London’s famous rock venues including; The Rock Garden, The Marquee, The Moonlight Club, Fulham Greyhound & Music Machine.

The Vipers were one of the very best Irish bands that never “made it”. They did record a 4 track session with Radio 1 DJ John Peel on the 27/02/1979, something U2 never managed to do. The 4 tracks were; “You’re On Your Own Kid”, Playin’ The Game”, “Too Rough”, You’re So Strange”. Paul Boyle has a digitised copy of the session, hopefully it will be available to the general public soon. All four songs were written by Paul Boyle.

Two singles were also so released;

“Sounds” single of the week, in December 1978 “I’ve Got You”/”No Such Thing” written by Paul Boyle & Produced by Steve Brown. LUNS718 Mulligan Records, Gaby Smyth of “The Reasons” played keyboards on the “A” side. The Mulligan single was available as a limited edition double pack with the Boomtown Rats single “Rat Trap”.

“Take Me” on Energy Records NRG1, this was part of a 4 track EP, “Room To Move”. The other tracks are Big Self “Snakes & Ladders”, The Outcasts “Cyborg”, Shock Treatment “Belfast Telegraph”. The other 3 bands on this record are all from Northern Ireland.

1st Line up; mid 1977 to early 1978

Paul Boyle Vocals & Guitar
Ray Ellis Guitar & Vocals, Ray’s other bands include; The Noize Boys, Trojan, Raglan Rodeo, Loss Leaders
Paul Cusack Bass, Paul’s other bands include; Tumbling Dice
Dave Moloney Drums, Dave’s other bands include; No Buckets, The Boomtown Rats, Slick Coupe & The Convertibles, The Reasons, The Teen Commandments. Rhythm Kings, Flash Harry's, Johnny Logan Band

The Vipers first gig was the infamous Belfield Punk Festival at University College Dublin, were Patrick Coultry, one of the audience was stabbed & later died. Patrick was stabbed while the Vipers were on stage, they were playing their 3rd song, a cover of John Lee Hookers “Too Young To Die” (a very strange coincident?)  After this concert and the coverage it got it the Irish press, it became even harder for “Punk” bands to get gigs. Many venues would cancel gigs when they found out the style of music the band played.

Gig Guide

25/06/1977 Belfield, University College, Dublin with The Radiators From Space, The Undertones, Revolver, The Gamblers.

Dave Moloney Just to clear a few things up. 1. Stiff Little Fingers did NOT play at the punk fest in UCD in the late 70s! 2. The Vipers were NOT causing trouble 'as usual' as it was our 1st gig! 3. The 1st song we played that night was Let Me Be Your Car. Which I thought was hilarious because it was a Rod Stewart/Elton John duet. The very people the 'punks' were giving out about. 4. The lad who lost his life (RIP) was stabbed during our 3rd song on the night which unfortunately was a cover of John Lee Hookers 'Too Young To Die!' 5.The Vipers were cleared of all charges even though every eye witness report said one of us jumped off stage! The person jumping off stage was Pete Holidai who then became chief suspect and all he was doing was trying to calm the crowd down! 'COOL IT!' 'COOL IT! I remember! 6.Any band members still at the gig were held in the toilets till 5 in the morning!!! The Undertones were completely segregated simply because they were from Northern Ireland! On a lighter note Steve Rapid/Avril (Radiators From Space) gave me unofficial 'man of the match' award as best drummer on the night! TA

06/08/1977 Moran's Hotel, Dublin, with The Radiators From Space (See reviews of this gig from "Heat" & Hot Press gig on the Newspapers page).

13/08/1977 Moran's Hotel, Dublin

28/08/1977 Moran's Hotel, Dublin In Dublin review by Alan Halsey There are gigs and gigs. There are gigs where you go and you sit and you listen and you clap your hands and go home knowing in your heart of hearts that really you haven't been anywhere at all. And there are gigs were veils are torn and a little miracles occur.........

Punk night at Moran's. Seventy pence, the Vipers are on and something, swear't God, is actually happening. This isn't just music, y'see, it's insurrection; the little demons are inciting us to have a good time. Paul Boyle, singer, is yelling in desecration - "Come on Moran's. Come on Dublin. ON YOUR FEEEEET!" I'm on my feet already and I can't help yelling "YEAH!" The guy beside me smiles; he wants to yell out too but at this point he's a bit too scared. But his mama should have seen him twenty minutes later when the heavens opened and all hell let loose. For now, the girl at the far end is dancing like a Sufi, out of this world, transported, gone away; she's howling like that crazy little terrier that stalks the middle reaches of the Grand Canal - "Yaow Yaow Yaoooooow" - a cross between that little doggie and a giant female chimpanzee. She yelps and howls and dances. Me and a couple of others howl back - "Hoo Hoo Hoo". The shy boy next to me anoints the head of his beloved friend with a mouthful of rancid beer.

His friend responds in passionate embrace and together they dance the dance of nothing left to lose. love finds a way and one by one now everyone is rising to their feet. The band plays on and tells us not to let the bouncers and authority in general make such good little boys and girls of us. The bouncers stretch their chests and fiddle with their bow ties, terror in their eyes, for never since the Beatles on the telly - vision has it been like this. It's, out, of, control. Their problem is, they've got so anxious that they can no longer tell the difference between danger and a little touch of magic. But I can and I'm laughing and the girl of my fancy is laughing back. You're great big scary wall of inhibition has been purged and the band are playing absolutely great; once again they've succeeded in healing the sick and raising the dead. Even the Virgin Mary (what's she doing here) to my right has started moving her hips a little bit. Ah, Mother of God, if this keeps up wherever will it end? A guy who's cut his foot by dancing naked from the ankles down is tended by a friend. He doesn't feel a thing. He don't know if he's hurt or not, decides he's not and smiles. The band plays hard to get for encores but they play just the same. And then it's over. Clonk. The end. Most people dance to records for a while. Some look dejected coz it's over and it's face yourself in the mirror time again . Some look triumphant, arm in arm. And rightly so. We won the war y'see. Tonight in Moran's we won the war. I take myself aside. Any complaints, I ask. Just one, I reply. The girl of my fancy was a Cinderella in reverse. When midnight come her punkly rags did not change, her punkly heart was nowhere to be seen and her punkly spirit had died the death when the band walked off stage. But still, for me and for a host of others, this night was no less than a raving success.

Hats off to the Vipers who played so well and gave so much. Hats off to the bouncers for not freaking completely. Hats off to everyone who leapt three feet in the air. And hats off to disc jockey Smiley, punk - patroniser as he sometimes tends to be, for encouraging and helping make the whole thing happen in the first place.

The Radiators are gone to England but the Vipers are still here. Watch out for them.

03/09/1977 Westwood

13/09/1977 Moran's Hotel, Dublin with Revolver

16/09/1977 Moran's Hotel, Dublin with Fabulous Fabrics, Revolver, Radiators From Space. “Heat” review by Jude Carr This was a new house record said promoter Keith McDermott later. It was the type of gig that deserved such a large audience. It was the punks first nite out since Belfield (not counting the Heat lig). I have not seen so many punks in one place for ages. Different fans and different bands, Jags, Idiots, Kamakazee Kids etc. They came to see four Bands – Fabulous Fabrics, Vipers, Revolver and bill toppers Radiators. Vipers...........They had it made. The crowd loved them, and ironically this was a

(Advert taken from Evening Press)

slight disadvantage... Paul Doyle didn’t have to work as hard to win over the audience. Pete and I both felt that tho’ they played well, we have seen much better from them. They played a set consisting of only four non originals, including an encore. Their originals are mainly about sex but Pauls sexist raps between songs did upset Rick O’Shea. The songs set is not very memorable now (had too much to drink) but still another fine gig on their way to fame ‘n’ fortune. It was gonna be a hard set to follow but after a short break in the company of Smiley on came Revolver.


17/09/1977 Moran's Hotel, Dublin with Revolver, Radiators From Space.

24/09/1977 National Stadium, Dublin with Dr Feelgood. This is The Vipers first support slot to a major British act. In true “punk” style the Vipers produced their own poster for this gig with Dr Feelgood listed as the support. The artwork for this poster was drawn by Dave Moloney.

Evening Press review A stadium support slot before impatient legions of Dr. Feelgood fans might smack of a blatant death wish on the part of a struggling new band. Not so for one of our best – The Vipers. Glancing back, to the South Circular Rd. Venue last autumn we find them three months on the road yet refusing to be intimidated.

That night they achieved a feat rare from home bands in startling the Stadium audience to attention and then holding them in the grip of their bare wires r n b sound.

Their attitude was not tonight the Stadium – tomorrow the world. Problems of time robbed them of a well earned and demanded encore.

But the night is recalled with pride and candour by the band as they talk of what it (Poster image supplied by Pete Halidai of the Radiators.)                                              promised and what it meant in reality.

It did swell their following in Dublin and sent many more home wondering just who this band were. For those who have not caught up since they fill in the background – and what’s to come.

Says singer Paul Boyle; “We recognised the task we faced that night without expecting that it automatically mean the breakthrough”.

That night the sound and visuals brought home everything good conjured up by their name. The band and the music have changed – and both for the better.

Paul; “We were an r&b band playing Feelgood’s material, Stones and other covers. Now we are a new wave band”. But before you flee the cliché listen.

“New Wave to us is a young band playing their own music”. Theirs has sprung from r&b roots but makes no apologies to anyone claiming they’ve been ripped off.

Their 90 minute set today is built around the strong core of 15 original songs written by Paul. And four of these have just been laid down as a demo at Keystone.

Tracks are: “You Had Your Chance”, “No Such Thing”, “Pay Now, Love Later” and “Playin The Game”. Next week Paul and manager Ross Fitzsimons take the next path in the course of the Vipers.

30/09/1977 Moran's Hotel, Dublin

28/10/1977 Castle Inn, Galway

08/11/1977 Project Arts Centre, Dublin with The Gamblers. This concert was the opening night of the first “New Wave” festival to be held at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. The festival would last two nights, the second night was headlined by Revolver. The second festival a year later, would last two weeks and would be headlined on the first night by Patti Smith and the last night by U2.


(Taken from the Hot Press gig guide)


12/11/1977 Tivoli Theatre, Dublin with The Radio Stars. Ray Ellis "On the Vipers we had a lot of hairy gigs One in The Tivoli in Dublin. We supported the Radio Stars it was a last minute thing the main act I think was The Jam did not show. There was a riot going on when we arrived seats being ripped up general mayhem. We got into it and the place went wild. While I was playing a guy in the crowd pointed at my shoe and my lace was open ( we were in a high stage, shoulder high) i gave him a nod and put my foot over to have him tie my lace He grabbed my foot n started to pull me off the stage The bouncer at the side curtain saw me disappearing but could not see why and thought going down on my back n flying off the stage was part of the act till they saw my face so they grabbed my head There was a tug of between them and the crowd Happily they won and I was kept on stage and finished the set. Also I never saw so much gobbing going on At one stage Dave had a big one running down his face I think it was red (he gobber must have been sick) I had one land on the fret board and did not see until my fingers slid up to it pretty gross."

Dave Moloney "We supported The Radio Stars in The Tivoli Theatre. It was meant to be headlined by The Stranglers but they pulled out!"


15/11/1977 TCD, lunchtime

11/01/1978 JCR, Trinity College, Dublin with Radiators From Space

Trinity College hosted concerts for many of the UK acts, like The Clash & Stranglers while

touring Ireland, this was because the National Stadium had band “Punk/New Wave” concerts. Because the Trinity venue was smaller most of the bands played two nights at the college. Even Irish superstars The Boomtown Rats were band from playing the Stadium.


12/01/1978 JCR, Trinity College, Dublin with Radiators From Space. This is the second of two nights the Radiators & Vipers play at the Junior Common Room, Trinity College. When they were starting out the Vipers would often support the Radiators at their Moran’s Hotel gigs.

14/01/1978 Downtown Kampus, Cork with Radiators From Space

04/02/1978 Downtown Kampus, Cork with The Adverts

10/02/1978 McGonagle’s, Dublin, with The Hype (U2). Dave Moloney remembers this gig well as it was his 21st birthday, "I was upstairs trying to chat up this chick and people kept coming up to me and telling to check out the support band as they were really good. After a while I went down to see them, they were playing TRB's 2, 4, 6, 8 Motorway, I thought yeah, great & went back upstairs". After the show we were upstairs in the dressing room when Terry (manager of McGonagle's) came into the room, is there a Barry or Gary in the room, Larry stood up and said do you mean Larry, yes Larry, your dads here, he says if you’re as late as this again, you can forget about playing in that stupid band again.

26/02/1978 Teach Furbo, Galway with Christy Moore, Midnight Well, Fake. UCG Rag week.

2nd Line up March '78 to July '78

Paul Boyle Vocals & Guitar

Ray Ellis Guitar & Vocals

Ivor Rowan Bass

Dave Moloney Drums

Paul Cusack is replaced by Ivor Rowan on Bass.

Gig Guide

00/03/1978 Celebrity Club, Dublin Problems, Problems; so The Everly Brothers sang. At the Celebrity Club it was The Vipers' turn to cry. Poor publicity and the resultantly small audience, broken strings, faulty guitar leads, missed cues, dreadful sound, new line up. With odds against them like that, it wasn't surprising that everything could, and did, go wrong. My timing for a review, impeccable.

Onstage, amidst that maze of set backs, The Vipers simply didn't cut it. But do not let that deter you from further Vipers shows. When they did, however occasionally, hit the balance, it became patently obvious that there's no lack of talent in the band.

In fact I enjoyed Paul Boyle's singing more after his guitar retired in the first round and Boyle was forced to sing.

But with the inevitable acclimatization problems new bassist Ivor was encountering during this, his first gig with the group, it just wasn't The Vipers' night.

More road experience should turn them into a live band worthy of high esteem. They already have the stuff to make good recordings.

Keep an eye peeled for Vipers, they'll eventually be hypnotising. Karl Tsigdinos Hot Press review

29/03/1978 The Magnet Bar, Dublin

(Poster supplied by Dave Moloney)


01/04/1978 Teach Furbo, Galway with Graham Parker & the Rumour. Ray Ellis "Dave and myself were in the Bailey having a beer when Graham and Brinsley Swartz arrived in. We had only just heard we were supporting them. They were hero's of mine so I knew them straight away. I had no paper on me so I hit the loo and got some toilet paper and borrowed a pen from a bar man and went over to get their autographs and let them know about the support slot. They were really nice and signed the paper. The gig went well as we were the right band to support them. We did the business got a great response and then enjoyed their set and the party after. That's about it the rest is a blank".


05/04/1978 Munster Arms, Carrick on Suir

10/04/1978 Abbey Inn, Tralee.  Paul Gildea Kerryman review Punk rock made it’s debut in Tralee on Wednesday night when New Wave band The Vipers swept into town for two one night stints at Danny Leane’s Abbey Inn.

But the Dublin based band got a “punk” reception from the Tralee audience, who showed an almost calculated indifference to the band’s hard loud basic rock sound. The four man band did a one & half hour set stint on Wednesday night, but it was only at the very end that the crowd started to warm to the band at all – when they came on for an uncalled for encore.

In fact the gig turned out to be almost an exact reversal of the live punk sessions with this time the Tralee audience getting the band angry by their indifference instead of the band getting the audience angry as is usually the case.

None of the crowd seemed visibly moved by the timidly venomous music from the Vipers which was mainly simple punk rock loud & heavy for the hour and a half with a few rock n roll classics such as Little Susie and Little Queenie thrown in.

In fact the only person who showed any signs of being moved by the music was an 80 year old who bopped his way as he passed through and it wasn’t until that final ten minute encore that the younger rock freaks started to applauded and even dance.


11/04/1978 Abbey Inn, Tralee.


14/04/1978 Youth Club, Drimoleague

15/04/1978 Arcadia Ballroom, Cork with Fit Kilkenny & The Remoulds The Remoulds.

Hot Press review by Caroline Kelly

We travelled down from Dublin to support The Vipers on the last date of their much vaunted Irish tour. Fit and the boys came on stage to a packed hall. They played rather loosely, but the audience obviously liked their remoulds of "Jumping Jack Flash", Jean Genie", "Cell Block No. 9", and "My Sister Can't Twist", any originals were lost among these. They got two encores, eventually finishing with "Goin' Back Home".

After a short delay, the stage was set, backdrop with The Vipers scrawled across it, and the lights down. The Vipers hit the stage, playing the fastest and most exciting set I have seen from them, it makes up for all their recent duff Dublin gigs. A light show added to the atmosphere, strobe lighting made them look like jerky puppets.

The new bass guitarist Ivor Rowen, is a marked improvement on Paul Cuscak, musically and although he moves around less, he looks more convincing.

I was about ten feet from the stage and the sound was great, especially Boyle's guitar, the rest of the hall, however was half empty.

Paul Boyle's singing carried more conviction and expression than I have seen on previous occasions. He and Rowen, both stood, legs apart, at the front of the stage staring maniacally out across the hall.

The fast numbers are inclined to sound the same, due to their similar guitar/drum introductions.

Their slow numbers especially "The First Cut Is The Deepest" were good. But the gem of the set has to be "Dying" a "newie", set to a reggae type beat, involving a chopping guitar interplay between Ellis and Boyle. It

(Picture supplied by Dave Moloney. L – R Dave Moloney, Paul Boyle, Ray Ellis, Ivor Rowen)

really has to be herd! They also played a remarkably Feelgood like version of "I Can Tell", and they finished with "Pay Now, Love Later".


Disappointingly there was no encore, most people did not appreciate their hard hitting set of Viper brand R N B. I think this is partly due to Boyle's onstage " you bunch on morons down there" attitude, which did not cut. His sarcastic "Thankyou’s" after any song with sparse applause, was lost on most. The attitude may be fine with beer throwers in the Baggot, but it's out of place in Cork.


Whatever the reason, it was a great pity that The Vipers, after playing such an action packed set, should leave so little imprint on Cork.



18/04/1978 Regional Technical College, Dundalk with N.R.G.



21/04/1978 Magnet Bar, Dublin

27/04/1978 McGonagle's, Dublin with U2. The first night of a four week Thursday residency at McGonagle's for the Vipers & U2. This is first time U2 play a residency at a major city centre venue in Dublin.

28/04/1978 Listowel, venue unknown


29/04/1978 Abbey Inn, Tralee

(Advert from Evening Press)

04/05/1978 McGonagle's, Dublin with U2

(Advert from Evening Press)

05/05/1978 Magnet Bar, Dublin with N.R.G. This was NRG's first Dublin gig.

06/05/1978 Buttery, Trinity College, Dublin

11/05/1978 McGonagle's, Dublin with U2

12/05/1978 Magnet Bar, Dublin

16/05/1978 Trinity College, Dublin Open air lunchtime concert

18/05/1978 McGonagle's, Dublin with U2

19/05/1978 Magnet Bar, Dublin. It’s not know which date, but at one of the Vipers “Magnet” gigs the support band were the Boy Scoutz (Dublin’s only all girl band). According to Dave, the crowd went mad and were throwing glasses everywhere, there was so much broken glass on the stage after the Scoutz set, when we (The Vipers) went on stage, we were walking on glass not the stage and of course The Vipers got the blame for wrecking the place..

23/05/1978 TCD, Open Air Lunchtime show


25/05/1978 McGonagle's, Dublin


26/05/1978 Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Dave Moloney A bloke stopped me in the Bailey in the mid 80’s as I was heading to the toilet. He said 'you're Dave Moloney from The Vipers!' I said 'yeah!'. He said his mate and himself used to sneak out at night to see our gigs as they were still at school. He said he had only recently met his mate again after a few years. They had made a recording of that gig on an old cassette recorder. They decided to relive the old days and bought a few tinnies to listen to the tape once more. Then he said: 'D'ya know what? YOU WERE SHITE!' Oh well I always tell it like it is! X



(Poster supplied by Dave Moloney. The U2 gig on the 25th was the first time Paul McGuinness saw U2 live)


29/05/1978 Banbridge, venue unknown


02/06/1978 Magnet Bar, Dublin with NRG, this was the Vipers last gig at the Magnet

11/06/1978 Olympia Theatre, Dublin with The Boomtown Rats. According to the Irish press the Rats played two concerts, one in the afternoon & one on the night. Dave Moloney only remembers playing one show with the Rats on this date. This is the first gig the Vipers play with the Rats, later in the year they will be on tour together in the UK.

13/06/1978 Ulster Hall, Belfast with The Boomtown Rats. The Vipers went down well at the Rats gig in the Ulster Hall, in spite of a truncated set...... But isn't time that Paul Boyle dispensed with his puerile and out dated audience agitation. People can only take so much being called "peasants" and anyway the music is good enough to speak for it's self..... Hot Press "Frontline"

(Advert from “Heat” fanzine)

Dave Moloney "We (The Vipers) were sat out front watching the Rats do their sound check, when Bob and the band suddenly stopped playing. Phil Lynott was stood behind us, he said to Bob when you going to move that pile of crap, we need to get our two lorries into the car park, we sold out two nights here". "Phil & Bob had that sort of great friend ship".


01/07/1978 McGonagle's, Dublin The Vipers preview 8 new songs at this gig.


(advert from “In Dublin” gig guide)


02/07/1978 Blackrock Park, Dublin Open Air Festival The Vipers are listed on the bill for this concert, but it is not known if they played.

Dave Sweeney can shed no light on this as he had not yet joined the Vipers.


3rd Line up July 1978 to Sept 1979

Paul Boyle Vocals & Guitar

Dave (George) Sweeney Lead Guitar & Vocals

Brian (Dolan) Foley Bass

Dave Moloney Drums

Dave Sweeney joins the band after leaving the Rocky DeValera & The Gravediggers, replacing Ray Ellis on lead guitar & Brian Foley replaces Ivor Rowan on bass. This is best known and most successful line up of the Vipers.

(Picture supplied by Dave Moloney. L – R Brian, Dave, Paul, George)                        Dave Sweeney How I became George "When I joined the Vipers (after leaving the Gravediggers) there was already a Dave (Moloney) in the band so they thought I should change my name again- by then I had already used three stage names, Max Quad in The Max Quad Band, and Lord Lucan and Dave (guitar) Hero in The Gravediggers. At the time there was a TV series called 'The Sweeney' and the main character was called George so that was what I was christened by The Vipers: the fact that they were all Beatle freaks could also have played a part, . Dave wasin the Max Quad Band with Joe Savino & Adam Clayton.

Gig Guide

Jeff, this reviews is dated wrongly as the gig in question was not until 30th September or 12th September 1978. The Savoy Ballina gig on 26th August 1978 reviewed below was the first gig with the new line up.

16/07/1978 McGonagle's, Dublin Hot Press Review Senan Turnbull Ireland’s leading beat group? Maybe. The Vipers may not be very good but on this showing neither are they very bad... in fact they’re not bad at all.

But up to the present, whatever they had or have was always destroyed for me by Paul Boyle’s belligerent little pig stance on stage – stupid, unpleasant and unnecessary, it represented just how far second hand punks could go wrong apeing the hard man stereotypes established by the scene “leaders”. Anyway, he’s ditched it now – thanks, undoubtedly be to Isiah – to emerge as a genuinely affable seeming front man, whose presence isn’t without the humour to match his definite guts.

The trouble is that he still can’t quite carry it off vocally – maybe a simple process of adjusting the keys in which the band play certain songs would mean he’d hit all the notes he aims for. T the moment he certainly doesn’t.

Nor was that the only area in which the simple matter of keeping pitch was a problem. Guitarist George Sweeney was in constant trouble with tuning – a fact for which there may be excuse but for which excuses won’t do. It sounds lousy.

Despite all of which I enjoyed the gig plenty. Though the stitches still show in their songs, some of the changes coming across as clumsy in either the conception or the execution (or both), and though the influence behind a particular passage is often obvious (check Elvis Costello, Phil Lynott, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Beatles and you name the new wave set at different points), they’ve got the basics down. A solid rhythm section powered by Dave Moloney’s fine – and often superlative – drumming and a developing sense of melody, when meshed can generate moments of real rock ‘n’ roll delight (I’m thinking particularly of “You Know What I want” and “Pay Now Love Later”). I get the definite impression that they’ll be hitting these more and more frequently over the coming months.

So it was a gig which gave very good reasons for optimism from every point of view. The audience response, which was highly enthusiastic, is a vindication of both the direction the band have taken and the work (Picture supplied by Dave Moloney) they’ve put into pursuing it. Now they need the perseverance to keep at it, through the phase where progress is slower and rewards less immediate. There’s no doubt that, given that collective commitment, they could emerge in the final analysis as a major force.

Then maybe we really won’t know what hit us.

26/08/1978 Savoy Cinema, Ballina with Eastwind, Starvation. Hot Press Review Niall Stokes The message coming loud (if a little muzzy) from this matinee in the depths of rock starved Connacht is that the Vipers are alive and well and ready for action.

The familiar routine of playing the provinces before hitting the big city is a tried and tested formula which gives bands an idea of the reception they can expect from the supposedly more discerning city slickers. For this, the first gig with their new line up, the reaction of the audience to the Vipers was especially important, as they set about coaxing the four hundred punters with their brand of musical blitzing.

Gone was the couldn’t give a damn arrogance of vocalist Paul Boyle, replaced with a genuine enthusiasm for the work at hand. All through the twenty number set he didn’t once castigate his audience as “a shower of wankers” for not dancing. He didn’t have to, even if the urge was there because from the opening newie “Wrong Person Place Time” right through the well established set most of the house was on its feet and moving - not pogoing - to the sounds.

(Poster below Dave Moloney, advert from the Evening Press)

With the old nucleus of Boyle, and Dave Moloney on drums the sound of the band is – if anything – even better than before. George Sweeney on lead guitar has the ability to undertake solos (yeah, in a new wave band) which should make him more acceptable to older, doubting heads and “Dolan” on bass plays like a man possessed. The repertoire is much as before the recess with only a few recently penned additions. The final run in of “You Had Your Chance”, “Playin’ The Game”, “No Such Thing” and “Pay Now Love Later” are as exciting as ever as is the slower “It’s Too Late To Stop Now”.

When they overcome some problems with equipment and get a few city gigs behind them the lads must again turn their sights on foreign shores if they are to reap the rewards which they are undoubtedly capable of achieving.

Supporting were local five piece Eastwind and Starvation. Though playing in such surroundings and using power equipment for the first time the standard, three guitars and a drummer line up augmented by twelve year old flautist, they didn’t lack confidence. Ably encouraged by the native audience they muffled their way through an adventurous set of rock standards in a manner which showed more enthusiasm than ability. With a hard giging they could have a future, though they’re still a lot of hurdles to surmount.

11/09/1978 Project Arts Centre, Dublin

26/08/1978 Savoy Cinema , Ballina

30/09/1978 McGonagle's, Dublin

13/10/1978 Arts Block Trinity College, Dublin lunchtime


13/10/1978 Trinity College Freshers Ball


18/10/1978 Bolton Street College lunchtime

20/10/1978 Top Hat, Dun Laoghaire with The Jam, The Vipers are introduced by Paul Weller's dad.

(Poster supplied by Dave Moloney)

Colm Carty "The Top Hat was a great night. The Jam blew me away and the Vipers held their own".

Emmett O’Reilly "Talked with the Vipers several times over the years, always a very approachable bunch. The one downer at the Top Hat gig was the level of violence. The back third of the hall was just full of assholes giving each other the most appalling beatings, never saw anything like it. I do remember Weller getting annoyed at gobs landing on his natural finish Rickey, wiping them off with his sleeve at the end of each song, while staring daggers into the audience".

Dave Moloney "Rick and Bruce were very approachable guys and said to us (The Vipers) don't mind him (Paul Weller) when he was skulking down the corridor at both gigs being the tortured artist! Weller’s Da took very good care of The Vipers in England! Top Man! And Thanks"!

(The Vipers on RTE)


21/10/1978 RTE TV, Dublin Dave (George) Sweeney It went out a few times a week. Dave Heffernan hosted the show we were on. We did "You're So Strange" and a lesser known combo The Jam did 'David Watts" and "Tube Station." We had played the Top Hat in Dun Laoghaire with them the previous night and joined them again that night in Leisureland. Great shows both. Our only TV footage is now lost forever unless P. Boyle has indeed got it stashed in his attic in London. Met Paul Weller and his (now departed) dad John in the Westbury Hotel Dublin by chance about 5 years ago; they remembered the shows well and were almost as sentimental as I was...

(Posters supplied by Dave Moloney)


21/10/1978 Leisureland, Galway with The Jam


22/10/1978 Cellar Bar Galway lunchtime

01/11/1978 Theatre L, University College, Dublin - lunchtime

12/11/1978 McGonagle's, Dublin with NRG

(Poster supplied by Dave Moloney)


19/11/1978 Trinity Buttery, substituting for U2, think the Edge had the flu. Adam was at the show. This was the first time we played “I’ve Got You”  on stage


Recording ‘I’ve Got You’ /”No Such Thing’ Lombard Studios Dublin with Steve Brown producing. 20-22/11/1978


23/11/1978 McGonagles, Dublin


25/11/1978 Downtown Kampus with Wilko Johnson & The Solid Senders



(Advert from “Hot Press)


The Vipers leave Ireland for the UK to support their fellow Dubliners The Boomtown Rats on their Christmas tour.


Seasonal Turkey UK Tour supporting The Boomtown Rats

02/12/1978 Sports Centre, Bracknell with The Boomtown Rats

03/12/1978 Civic Centre, Guildford with The Boomtown Rats

04/12/1978 Exeter University, with The Boomtown Rats

05/12/1978 Sophia Gardens, Cardiff with The Boomtown Rats

(Advert from “Time Out”)


07/12/1978 Hammersmith Odeon, London with The Boomtown Rats Paul Du Noyer NME Also working are The Vipers from Dublin. This venomous ensemble acquit themselves deftly, snake some action and they've matured in the past half year from spikey, uncertain identipunk into a four - square R 'n' B machine.


Their applause is more than polite, but by now the promotional balloons over the auditorium and they say "The Boomtown Rats"; and it's what the kids are hollering too.

15/12/1978 Rainbow Theatre, London with The Boomtown Rats. This is the last gig the Vipers will play with the Rats.

17/12/1978 Hammersmith Odeon, London with Thin Lizzy Dave (George) Sweeney "Yes we did support Lizzy in the Rainbow after the Boomtown Rats tour finished as The Undertones pulled out of that gig at short notice as they had started to become very successful. I remember that in the wonderful Rainbow theatre you had to go under the stage from the dressing rooms to get onstage, and you could easily get lost just like in the movie Spinal Tap. The Rainbow was decorated in mock Arabic style and had the constellations of the Zodiac in the ceiling spelt out in small lights".

After the support slot with Thin Lizzy the Vipers return home to Ireland for Christmas.


(Picture supplied by Dave Sweeney, the photo was taken at the party by Patrick Brocklebank. L – R Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Dave Sweeney (The Vipers), Larry Mullen (U2)

19/12/1978 McGonagle's, Dublin Hot Press Christmas Party Dave (George) Sweeney "It was Paul Boyle (Vipers vocalist) and not the other Paul (Cook) who took the stage with Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Larry Mullen and I - one drummer was enough! - and the date was Tuesday 19th December 1978.


What happened was that myself and Boyle were talking to Cook and Jones (Sex Pistols) who we had met in London on our tour with the Boomtown Rats. We were impatient for the live music to begin downstairs - the "official" band for the Hot Press party being Fit Kilkenny and the Remoulds - so in true punk style we decided to take things into our own hands. We went below and without asking permission plugged in, Larry joining us just as we started. With Steve Jones on guitar and vocals, Boyle on guitar and myself on bass we crashed into "Pretty Vacant". We followed with "Route 66" but at that stage we had gathered an audience from upstairs, one of whom decided to pull the plug on the supergroup mid - song. Back to the cheap wine we went......


Phil Lynott was also at the party that night with Gary Moore who had just re-joined Lizzy and I remember an original Skid Row line up reunion with Gary, Phil, Brush Shiels and Noel Bridgeman much later in the night. It was Lynott who invited the two Pistols over, he was working with them in the Greedy Bastards line up and had just taped a spot on the Kenny Everett Christmas show. There was a photographer present called Patrick Brocklebank and he took the attached photo (Jones (Sex Pistols), Sweeney (The Vipers), Larry Mullen (U2) and many more including one of me with Phil Lynott someone I would get to know  well over the next couple of years".

17/01/1979 McGonagle's, Dublin


19/02/1979 Belfield, University College Dublin with The Troggs Dave (George) Sweeney "We did an amazing show supporting The Troggs at UCD Belfield on the Saturday night (10th Feb 1979)That was to be our last Irish show.  That same afternoon we played another  very good show at McGonagles.  This was not our final show as referred to by Patrick Brocklebank in a caption to a photo of his in the new exhibition of his early U2 pictures now on in Dublin. We went on to record a John Peel session that month (something U2 never did) and then our own tour of London, Marquee, Music Machine, Rock Garden and Moonlight Club, recorded demos for Richard Branson and then did a 30 date tour with Lizzy. After that tour Dave Moloney quit the band to go back to Ireland and although we did more shows in London both big and small with a great drummer called Bernie Smirnoff, we never really recovered our momentum and split in London in December 1980.

(Advert from “In Dublin” magazine)




London Gigs


Monday 19/02/1979 Marquee, London. The Northern Irish band The Undertones were due to headline this gig.


Dave Sweeney “The Marquee date - a great show - was 19th February 1979. We were supposed to headline deputising for the Undertones but at the last minute the promoter got nervous as we were not that well known and brought in The Lurkers to top the bill. It was a tremendous gig for us and the place was packed”.


09/12/1978 Apollo, Glasgow with The Boomtown Rats

10/12/1978 Lancaster University with The Boomtown Rats



12/12/1978 Hemel Hempstead with The Boomtown Rats



13/12/1978 Appollo, Manchester with The Boomtown Rats



14/12/1978 Rainbow Theatre, London with The Boomtown Rats. This is an extra gig after the concert on the 15th sells out.

Dave Moloney “The only support we did in The Marquee was meant to be with The Undertones, but THEY pulled out!!! If we'd had our own PA we could have headlined. Ended up supporting The Lurkers”!

21/02/1979 Music Machine, London with Physicals. Steve Jones & Paul Cook came to this concert to support their friends "The Vipers", and ended up giving them a lift home.

22/02/1979 Rock Garden, London Dave Moloney "We were living in a B&B in London when we got the call to support Thin Lizzy on their UK tour. Queen had been due to support them, after the two bands played together on their tour of the states. When they got back Queen had become too big to be a support band. That's when we got the call from Phil asking if we wanted the gig, we had played a couple of dates with Thin Lizzy in London before Christmas, after the Rats tour, Bob Geldof had recommended us to Thin Lizzy".

26/02/1979 Moonlight Club, Railway Hotel, London with Split Screens

28/02/1979 Pegasus, Stoke Newington with Wild Life, this gig was cancelled. (Advert taken from NME)

05/03/1979 Fulham Greyhound, London with Lee Fardon & The Legionaires

**05/04/1979 Rock Garden, London Was this gig cancelled due to the Thin Lizzy tour**


Black Rose UK Tour supporting Thin Lizzy

29/03/1979 Brighton Centre, Brighton with Thin Lizzy

30/03/1979 New Theatre, Oxford with Thin Lizzy

01/04/1979 Odeon Theatre, Birmingham with Thin Lizzy

02/04/1979 Odeon Theatre, Birmingham with Thin Lizzy

03/04/1979 Trentham Gardens, Stoke with Thin Lizzy. Dave Moloney "I had a bass drum pedalthat kept breaking, I had to fix it after every show. Pete, Brian Downey's drum roadie

would loan me Brian's Tama bass peddle Brian found out that I had been using one of his bass peddles, he confronted me asking why I was nicking his peddle when we had a big record deal. I explained to him that we had a one record deal with Mulligan and were not making any money. Brian said Paul was talking like we had a big record deal on the cards. Next day I had a present from Brian, when I opened the box it was a brand new Tama bass drum peddle".

04/04/1979 Stamford Hall, Stamford with Thin Lizzy

05/04/1979 De Montfort Hall, Leicester with Thin Lizzy Dave Moloney was telling me about a Gary Moore having Peter Green's guitar and showing it off to you when you were touring with Lizzy. Dave (George) Sweeney: yes I have a photo of me playing it. Gary used to give me the guitar to play at the sound checks and he would walk around the theatre listening to how it sounded, which was quite flattering for me. Gary used to always arrive early to get his sound right at top volume something which did not always go down well with the roadies. Gary however was rightly fanatical about always getting a good sound which he did every night, his dedication to getting it right had a very good effect on the rest of Lizzy who excelled with him on board though they were all real pros.

06/04/1979 Guildhall, Portsmouth with Thin Lizzy

07/04/1979 Winter Gardens, Bournemouth with Thin Lizzy

09/04/1979 Colston Hall, Bristol with Thin Lizzy

(T Shirt supplied by Dave Moloney)


10/04/1979 Bingley Hall, Stafford with Thin Lizzy. The Vipers have to leave the stage early as Paul is hit on the bridge of his nose by a full bottle beer thrown from the audience. (read the letter in the gallery at the top of this page).George "Well there's an even better story about who we discovered in our dressing room with a special friend after we were forced to leave the stage in a hurry that night but I am not going to tell that one, for now anyway.

Bingley Hall had 12,000 in there that night - 2,000 over its limit and is the biggest crowd I have ever played to, pity that it was so short, the guitar sound over the PA was mega. We did one song 'Wrong Person, Wrong Place, Wrong Time' appropriate! At least I got a guitar solo in before the (full) beer can hit PB.

Bingley was a big cowshed full of heavy metal kids"

11/04/1979 City Hall, Newcastle with Thin Lizzy

12/04/1979 City Hall, Newcastle with Thin Lizzy

14/04/1979 Apollo, Glasgow with Thin Lizzy

15/04/1979 Apollo, Glasgow with Thin Lizzy Dave Moloney "On The Black Rose tour around Britain The Vipers supported Lizzy. One night Phil Lynott asked for one of our badges, which was the reverse of this colour scheme on this T shirt. A few nights later we turned up for a gig to see about 40 of these t shirts on the Lizzy merchandise stand. He said he knew we were skint and we could keep the profits"!

16/04/1979 Odeon Theatre, Edinburgh with Thin Lizzy

17/04/1979 Lockley Grand Hall, Guildhall Preston with Thin Lizzy

18/04/1979 Oval Hall, Sheffield with Thin Lizzy

19/04/1979 St George's Hall, Bradford with Thin Lizzy

20/04/1979 Spa Pavilion, Bridlington with Thin Lizzy "Look at the entry/apology for Bridlington Spa 20 April 1979. I vividly remember being trapped in the dressing rooms under the stage while an angry Yorkshire mob went nuts upstairs as Lizzy did not play an encore. This was because - as stated in the apology - some goon had tossed a pint over the mixing desk. Lizzy made their getaway early and when we finally made it upstairs from our hide away there was broken glass everywhere.

It was the nearest thing to a riot I have experienced at a show - truly frightening.

As I remember the crowd loved the Vipers - it was my last gig with my Fender Stratocaster - and we got an encore, thereby once gain disqualifying ourselves, by command of Phil, from a sound check for the the next show

Dave do you remember?" George

25/04/1979 Gaumont, Ipswich with Thin Lizzy. I asked George if his Strat was broken; George "No, I wanted to have a fuller Gibson sound probably much influenced by the Lizzy pair.

Gary Moore set the meeting up for me I traded the Strat in for a Les Paul Junior at a place called EFR ('Extremely F*n Rare') guitars in Walthamstow. I then used it at the Ipswich Gaumont on 24 April".

26/04/1979 Gaumont, Southampton with Thin Lizzy

27/04/1979 Hammersmith Odeon, London with Thin Lizzy

28/04/1979 Hammersmith Odeon, London with Thin Lizzy

01/05/1979 Apollo, Manchester with Thin Lizzy Dave Moloney "Also the 2 nights we did in Manchester, Philo insisted we stay in his Ma's hoteknown to us all as  “Me Ma’s Place!”And she was so gracious! As ever! Ta. X"

02/05/1979 Apollo, Manchester with Thin Lizzy

03/05/1979 Empire, Liverpool with Thin Lizzy This was Dave Moloney's last gig with The Vipers. He would return home to Ireland, and join up with his best mate Phil Byrne (Revolver), the pair would play in various bands together, including The Teen Commandments & The Rhythm Kings.


(The final Vipers line up, Brian, Paul, Bernie & Dave (in the red jacket). This photo was taken by Ray Burmiston front man for the Passion Puppets in Mornington Crescent, London, NW1 9th April 1980).


Sept 1979 to Christmas 1980

Paul Boyle Vocals

(Dave) George Sweeney Lead Guitar

Brian "Dolan" Foley Bass

Bernie Smirnoff Drums


02/10/1979 Bridge House, Camden Town.

A comeback gig at the famous venue in East London. The show went well. Bernie fit right in.


19/10/1979 Electric Ballroom (with the Ruts) back to the big time courtesy of promoter John Curd. A good set with Ruts singer the late great Malcolm Owen keen that we were well looked after.

Gig Guide

12/12/1979 Moonlight Club, Westhampstead with Echo Brava

07/01/1980 Hope & Anchor, Islington

Dave Sweeney A very good show, it looked like we were on our way back. I remember Hot Press being and for some reason asking them not to review the show.

14/03/1980 Electric Ballroom, London with Toyah & Section 25

(Advert taken from NME)

09/04/1980 Music Machine, Camden

19/05/1980 Music Machine, Camden

13/06/1980 Heber Arms, Dulwich, London.

27/06/1980 Heber Arms, Dulwich, London

20/07/1980 Cherry Tree, Dulwich, London. This was the Vipers final gig. Dave S. “We had some new material including a good one from Paul called ‘When You Hold Me’ - the gig itself was a let down.  A small pub in an anonymous part of South London.

George & Brian returned home to Ireland, Brian joined the Blades & George joined Red Square while Paul & Bernie stayed in London.

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