Back at the end of November, Nik and I had the opportunity to interview The Quireboys when they were playing the Spring & Airbrake in Belfast. All had been arranged and everything agreed via Keith Weir the keyboard player with The Quireboys who hails from Tandragee. Unfortunately this was going to be one of those cases when the best laid plans meant nothing!

 We arrived on time at the venue, but the boat bringing The Quireboys to Belfast had been delayed. We were however fortunate enough to get to see the sound check with Pat McManus who was making a guest appearance that night. After the sound check, before we could start the interview the support for the night, the excellent Million Dollar Reload took to the stage, so we waited again.

No-time for interviewing between sets it was decided, so we’d wait until after the show. After the end of an amazing concert we hung around and sure enough around 1.30am or so we finally got to interview Spike, Keith Weir and Guy Griffin from the Quireboys. Unfortunately the interview took place at the open back stage door in the wind and rain whilst the smokers did their thing.

When I played back the recording the next morning the noise of the wind swirling through the door was drowning out a lot of the conversation. What followed was a series of delays that I’ll not bore you with, but eventually we got a recording that was clear enough to make out but not of good enough quality to broadcast. It’s a shame really because it was good craic recording the interview and it would have been quite entertaining.

What follows is a rough transcript of the interview. A lot of the banter wouldn’t come across if written down, but here finally is the interview with Spike, Keith and Guy. It’s been a “Long Time Comin” – but maybe “A Bit of What You Fancy” nevertheless! ;)

RRNI - The Quireboys have played Belfast many times. How does it feel to be back in the city again?

Spike – It’s absolutely amazing. We’ve spent so many times here. This is Keith Weir by the way – he’s from Tandragee! Last night we played in Carlisle and he was from Carlisle. Every time we play he's from somewhere else...(Laughs).. From Monte Carlo, it’s Keith Weir. But this is the real deal tonight and it’s great to see all his family here.

RRNI -  You're a few dates into the UK tour that ends up in Wrexham on 10th December and includes the Hard Rock Hell festival. I take it you still enjoy touring?

Spike –  We never stop touring. We tour a lot. We’re starting a new album, we’ve got a new manager, a new agent, we’ve signed a new record deal so it’s all change in the past few months.

Keith – We haven’t done as many shows this year as normal, but we’ve a lot coming up

RRNI -  You're making good progress with the next album and you’ve a few tracks recorded already. Any word yet on a possible release date?

Spike – We’ll finish the album by the end of January or February.

Guy – The release date will be May or June at the latest.

RRNI - And will we see you back out on the road supporting the album launch?

Keith – Absolutely.

RRNI – And back to Belfast again?

Spike – Every time. You know what, Belfast always reminds me of Newcastle. Love it.


RRNI -  What can you tell us about the tracks so far? You played one tonight.

Keith – We played two tonight.

Spike – Too Much of a Good Thing and Mother Mary.


RRNI - The last album Halfpenny Dancer was a break from the norm. Will the new album be the more traditional Quireboys material?

Spike – We will carry on the tradition of being the only rock n roll band left. You name me one other band that’s doing what we do...except the Stones. The difference is that this is what we love. This is what we do. You know it’s real, you know it’s from our heart. There are some great new songs.

Keith – A bit of country stuff, a bit of rock stuff.

Spike – A mixture of everything.


RRNI – No title yet for the album?

Spike – We’ll think of that before the end of this tour. We always have good titles. I always think of the titles because I’m great at things like that!!


RRNI -  Who was the Homewrecker then in “Homewreckers & Heartbreakers”?

Spike - I dunno. I’ve never been a homewrecker or a heart breaker! You’d have to ask Guy Griffin about that.


RRNI -  Guy and Keith, you’re involved with Joe Elliott from Def Leppard in the Down n Outz. How'd that come about and what are the future plans for that band?

Spike – Keith’s also a member of Def Leppard (Laughs)

RRNI – Yes, we saw him with Def Leppard in the Odyssey.

Spike – That’s why it was full tonight!

Keith – For one week only!  That all came about because of an old manager of ours who was involved with Ian Hunter;  and when they got Mott the Hoople back together in 2009 to do those five shows it was suggested that Joe Elliott do something because he’s championed those guys for so long. And Mick who was looking after us suggested that some of the guys get involved the band when Joe was doing something one of the nights.

Spike – What really happened was that there was only one rock n roll piano player in the world, and that’s Keith Weir and he’s from Tandragee and that’s why he was asked to play with Def Leppard.

Guy – I like that!!

Keith – Spike, you’re my new PR guy!


RRNI - Spike, you've done a few solo projects over the years too. Someone told me you were working on a new album of Frankie Miller material.

Spike – It’s gonna be the most amazing thing you ever heard. Nearly as good as The Quireboys. Actually all The Quireboys are playing on it as well.

Keith – Yeah, I’ve done a couple of tracks on it too.

Spike – I’ve only got one piano player, and that’s Keith Weir from Tandragee! Actually, I have one other piano player on it and that’s Ian Hunter. And Simon Kirk and Andy Fraser on drums and base. And Ronnie Woods is doing something and I’ve done a duet with Bonnie Tyler. So that’s pretty cool. Then I’m gonna go on tour with the Down n Outz (laughs).


RRNI – Spike, if you had to front another band, apart from The Quireboys, who would you want to front.

Spike – Can I tell you something, I’ve been in The Quireboys since I was 18 years old, and I’m 33 now (laughs). You know we play a mixture of everything I love. I could never do covers. We only do what we love, a mixture of The Faces to The Stones to Mott The Hoople. You know what we’re the only rock n roll band left! I come from a good era of music. I remember going to the Newcastle City Hall when I was a kid and I seen every band. Thank God I can still sing, that Keith can still play keyboard, that Guy Griffin can play three cords – I’m gonna teach him four tomorrow!


RRNI – Keith, how'd a guy from Tandragee end up in The Quireboys?

Keith – I saw The Quireboys here when they played back in 1989/90. I had always played the piano since I was a kid. When I saw these guys it got me back, after hearing that first album, to playing piano and thinking, you know what...I could play piano in a rock band.

Spike – We flew Keith in from Belfast..First Class...for his first show. And he’s been travelling second class ever since!

Guy – Spike, it’s not all about you! Let Keith speak. (laughs)

Keith – I moved to London in ’92. Paul Guerin joined the band that I had joined after The Red Dogs has split up. The Red Dogs had toured with these lads. Spike was doing his solo album. These guys were all in the States. I used to see Guy in LA when we were gigging in the States. When the time came to get The Quireboys back together I was given a call.

Spike – Did Griff live in LA? He never mentioned that! (laughs). We all lived there for a long time. That’s what you had to do.

Keith – When I joined the band, everyone in the band was in LA except for me.


RRNI -  You'd a great local band, Million Dollar Reload supporting tonight and tomorrow Dublin.

Keith – Fabulous, yeah.

Spike – That band were great. Actually, our manager manages them too.

RRNI – They’re playing Hard Rock Hell too.

Spike – Yeah. Great singer, great bunch of lads. In fact I’m going to have a drink with them now!

Keith – There’s a very good scene going on again now.

RRNI – Very good. A lot of great local bands here.


RRNI – Last question guys. If I was to pick up your iPods or whatever what artists would I be likely to hear, other than The Quireboys?

Spike – I still use a cassette recorder (laughs)

Keith – There’s far too much Johnny Cash on mine! Usually Johnny Cash or Van Morrison comes up.

Spike – You know the greatest thing in my life. I can die a happy man. I played with the Rolling Stones in St James Park.

Keith – Not many that can say that.

Spike – Next year is going to be a great year for us. We’ve a new record deal, new manager, new agent, everything is looking up. People haven’t heard the last of The Quireboys. We’re gonna kick some arse next year.

RRNI – Thanks for talking to Rock Radio NI. All the best.

Thanks to The Quireboys for taking the time to talk to me at the end of a long day. Thanks also to Mark Wylie and to Claudene Yeo (Dino Photograpy) for the assistance as well. Maybe next time we’ll get a recording that can be broadcast properly!


NI Rocks


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Last Updated (Tuesday, 29 January 2013 08:26)