Singer/songwriter Mick Flannery talks childhood, young adulthood and playing music festivals around the country.
I grew up in Blarney, Cork. I was mad for building tree houses. I’d walk down to the village and I’d try and rob pallets and then drag them back up to the woods near my house, and build away.
By the end of it we had built one (there was a few people helping me). The construction wasn’t all rosy. We had a couple of mistakes along the way. I’ve a few scars on my hands from faults, from bridges falling down on me. We slept in the tree house one night.
Trying to cook sausages, black on the outside, red on the inside.Poisoning ourselves.
I remember watching the ‘Square Leagues’ in soccer in the old-style, walled-off square in the middle of the village. They put up two goals. The pitch took up half the square.Different businesses would putforward teams.
The ball would slap the side of a truck now and again. I remember all the shouting and roaring and red-card drama. The place would be packed for it.
For something that was a bit of fun, some people took it pretty seriously.
When I was about 14 or 15 I wanted to get a summer job for a few bob and I got very lucky because I got to work with a local stonemason. His name was Patsy Crowley.
He was a good teacher. He threw me in at the deep end. I got to learn the job. Later on, when I was about 18 or 19, when I was first writing songs, I would still work with him. He let me take time off and do gigs. It was funny.
One of the Cork radio stations, 96FM, might play a song by me once a week or something, but it was a ‘down tools’ scenario if we heard the song come on. Patsy would honour the song by telling everyone to throw down their tools. There was two Ukrainian lads working with us.
They didn’t really know what song was mine and what song wasn’t, so if Bruce Springsteen came on they would throw down the tools.
I’d say: “Fair play. A good compliment to me” — and they’d say, “Good man, Mick. More money for staying in bed.”
I’ve done a few Electric Picnics, which would be at the end of the summer. They’re good craic.
I like playing festivals because there is less pressure on. People are not necessarily there to see you, like. They’re just kind of passing by.
The gig’s as good as it gets. The set is shorter.
Everyone’s in good form because they’re going to be able to go off and see other music afterwards. It’s a more feckless arrangement for a gig, which is kind of good.
After the gig, I tend to head out.I’d be up for getting into trouble. I’d head off to see a few bands and to have a few too many beers.