At The Mike Stand with Niall Connolly
You know, there’s not a lot one can say about Niall Connolly that hasn’t been said before. Sure, haven’t they all had a word to share about the affable songsmith? Ireland’s Hot Press magazine, New York’s Village Voice, American Indie from, em, America, sure we hear that even those lads from The Irish Examiner are getting in on the act nowadays. Oh right. Having already recorded three studio albums (and one live one) County Cork-born Niall is currently working on his fourth, finding the time despite having played over 200 shows in ten different countries in the past twelve months. A man who has performed with Damien Dempsey, Glen Hansard, Evan Dando, Lambchop and John Spillane, at such famed festivals as The Prague Fringe Festival, The Glasgow West End Festival and Glastonbury, he currently hosts the Wednesday Night Song Club at Brooklyn’s famous Ceol venue (191 Smith Street), while also playing at the Red Lion on New York City’s Bleecker Street on Mondays and Tuesdays. When not touring, gigging, writing or recording, Mr. Connolly has been known to sit down and answer the occasional nosey question from the likes of us. Niall, welcome to At The Mike Stand.
By Mike Fitzpatrick
What would you like your own tribute act to be called?
Conning Lee and the Originialls?
When’s the last time you laughed out loud?
I am always laughing out loud, it’s a problem. I have a serious pun addiction, I find them everywhere, my singer songwriter psychiatrist friend, JT Songs, has diagnosed me with ‘Witzensucht’, apparently it’s a frontal lobe thing. It can make me difficult to cope with on tour.
What act would you like to have seen perform live?
I’ve been very fortunate, I’ve seen most of the acts who have inspired me. I suppose though, seeing the Beatles would have been nice.
What team(s) do you support?
Celtic, Cork city and Manchester United.
What period in history would you most like to have visited?
New York City during the folk revival.
What song would you most like to have written?
‘Beeswing’, by Richard Thompson.
Who or what, would make you leave a room?
Any conversation that opens with, “I’m not a racist but…”
What decade rules (and why)?
This one, it’s all we have. I’m trying out this kind of attitude as an experimental new year’s resolution.
What cover version do you most enjoy performing?
Right now, the old American folk song, ‘All My Trials’.
What movie role would you like to have played?
The clumsy penguin from March of the Penguins.
Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?
The clumsy penguin from March of the Penguins.
What’s the first album you remember buying?
R.E.M’s ‘Out of Time’ on cassette from Golden Discs.
Who’s your favorite Beatle?
What’s your favorite Christmas song?
‘Fairytale of New York’, no contest.
Who’s the most rock and roll person who ever lived?
What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?
I used to be a music librarian, I think I have a reasonably eclectic taste..
Who would you most like to meet/have met?
John Steinbeck, Frank O’Connor, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and my great, great, great, great , great grandchildren.
What book can you read again and again?
With the exception of John Steinbeck, I rarely read a book twice.
What’s the greatest album ever recorded?
Impossible question, but today I will say Blood on the Tracks, Bob Dylan, M.Ward’s ‘Transfiguration of Vincent’, most early Leonard Cohen albums. I also love the latter Johnny Cash American recordings albums.
What artists would you most like to have played with in the band of your dreams (supergroup)?
E.W. Harris, Justin Storer, Steven Capozzola and Ryan Langlois.
What do few people know about you?
That there is no ‘s’ at the end of Niall.
What sitcom character can you most identify with?
Not that guy from ‘Frasier’ with the ‘s’ in Niall.
What movie can you watch over and over again?
Any, I seem to have an incredible ability to completely forget a film immediately after I’ve seen it.
Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?
Brooklyn, Brittany, Crosshaven, Budapest, Vietnam, Laos. One thing that I love about my job is that I do get to travel a lot.
What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?
What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?
Landmines, followed by those insanely loud, energy guzzling, hoover yokes for sucking up leaves. I hate them.
Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?
My brother Dylan.
Who’s your favorite namesake?
Niall of the Nine Hostages. He kidnapped St.Patrick from Wales and brought him to Ireland, ridding us of snakes and eventually making it possible for musicians to make a load of money once a year on one relatively random day in the middle of March. Fair play Niall.