Sean McDonnell is the singer with Cork based ska/punk band Pontious Pilate and The Naildrivers (“Yes we know we’ve spelled Pontious wrong!”).
Earlier this year, the group released their debut EP, titled A Song About..., and they will be one of the acts appearing at Cork Summer Show this weekend.
Sean is originally from Dundalk but has been living in Cork since 1991.
Best recent book you’ve read: Catherine Kirwan’s debut novel, Darkest Truth. She is a dear friend of mine, but I genuinely loved the book
Best recent film you’ve seen: I can’t remember a great recent move but BlacKkKlansman was good, as was Games Night.
Best recent show or gig: I’m a huge Wedding Present fan and went to see them for the umpteenth time recently in the newly expanded Cyprus Avenue. Standing in front of them I knew that if I was 17 at that point in time and seeing them for the first time that I’d still love them as much as I do now.
Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): Old – I’ve been listening to Half Man Half Biscuit recently —savage scouse wit. New — Fontaines D.C. —Dublin post-punksters.
First ever piece of music or gig that really moved you: Elvis Presley rocking and rolling. Early rock n’roll and country music was the order of the day in our house growing up (Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell). Though I must admit there was some awful records there too, so I knew what to avoid.
The first gig(s) that moved me were local bands gigging in Dundalk before I had the money or the opportunity to see “bigger bands”. Sneaky Pete and The Ostrich, Klienike, The Works, Atomic and my first musical endeavour The Notorious Flying Rodgley Brothers — don’t ask!
— Pontious Pilate & The Naildrivers (@thenaildrivers) June 12, 2019
The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!): There are some genuine great gigs I’ve seen over the years, Sinatra in the Point Depot, Nirvana there too, Radiohead in the RDS and Mercury Rev in the Olympia... but The Pogues in the Nuremore Hotel, Monaghan, in 1987 is one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen in my life.
Tell us about your TV viewing: Don’t watch a lot of terrestrial TV other than for news or sporting events. A couple of recent great series viewing was Fleabag on BBC and The Looming Tower. I’ve started watching the TV series of Fargo and its absolutely brilliant.
Radio listening and/or podcasts: I listen to talk radio mostly as I find it hard to take a lot of the light entertainment shows. John Creedon’s show on RTÉ Radio 1 is excellent, and Off The Ball on Newstalk is hard to beat. West Cork on Audible was phenomenal too.
Your best celebrity encounter: I did meet Susan McCann when on a family holiday in Jersey when I was about 13 but I don’t think she recognised me!
You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event — where, when, and why?
For a music event it would have to be the Sex Pistols, The Clash and Buzzcocks playing Screen on The Green, London in 1976. See the explosion of punk rock in all its glory! I would have loved to have seen The Cramps in all their glory too.
You are curating your dream festival — which three artists are on the bill (living or dead)?
The 1950’s version of Elvis; The 1979 version of The Specials; and any era of The Smiths.
Do you have any interesting ancestors or family?
My wife, Dyane, and my two boys Archie and Louie are living legends!
Unsung heroes: Bob Mould/Husker Du — they were quite diverse musically and are practically unheard of, but without them probably no Pixies, no Nirvana….
You are king for a day — what’s your first decree?
Peace, Love and Unity. My loyal and loving subjects could choose which order to put them in!