This much I know: Dickie Rock, singer

Singer Dickie Rock sits down with Hilary Fennell to chat about his work ethic and his family, including his brother Joseph, ahead of his new show, My Brother Joe.
This much I know: Dickie Rock, singer

I love music and singing, and doing a job you love is like not working at all.

I am also a people person, and love the craic and making people happy so I get all that out of it too.

Growing up, I did dream about being a singer, but I thought a young lad from Cabra would never get the break. In school I was average. I liked going to mass because I could sing and I joined the choir.

By the time I was eight I was known in Cabra as ‘Richard Rock, boy soprano’. There was an element of prestige attached to it. When I was 13 I joined a group called the ‘Casino Player’ who used to go around hospitals and nursing homes to perform for the sick and elderly.

My first job was a jeweller’s assistant in a shop in Dublin’s Talbot Street.

After that I became an apprentice welder.

I was approached by a fellow worker, who used to hear me singing while I was working and he asked if I wanted to join his band, as lead vocalist. That was the beginning of my professional career.

My father came from a family of steel-working tradesmen and most of them worked down in the Liffey dockyard, he himself was a blacksmith. My great-grandfather came to Dublin from Germany when he was 19, he was a clockmaker. My uncle Victor was a great singer, and so was my mother.

My father was wonderful and the biggest influence in my life. He was incredibly generous with his time and he used to take me to football matches and we used to walk around town and the Phoenix Park and we would spend hours collecting chestnuts.

We were working class and I remember before central heating was a fixture in most Irish houses, my da used to go upstairs and lie on each of his five kids’ beds for 10 minutes a piece, so they would be nice and warm for us when we went to bed.

My main fault is that I can be sensitive and I tend to hurt easily, I think in spite of everything, I am still quite a naive person.

If I could be reborn as someone else for a day it would have to be my idol, my father, and if I could go again, then my second idol, Mr Frank Sinatra, both legends in my mind.

If I could change one thing in Irish society, it would be cronyism. I think it is still a huge reason why things are often not done right, or why there is so much waste with public funds, as the right person is not getting the right job.

My main skill is that I am quite self aware, I listen well and ask questions. I like to make people happy and above all, I am honest and reliable.

You would think I would be a night owl with the late nights, but actually, I like getting up early, and sometimes going for a run. I often write early in the morning.

There have been many challenges so far.

When I was younger, my brother Joseph’s death — he got a bang of a car, while he was just sitting on his bike, he died — my parents dying, business challenges too.

When the kids were growing up, trying to keep them happy and on the straight and narrow, while also trying to get the balance right and make them independent and accountable for themselves was quite a challenge too.

I believe in life after death. The thing that keeps you going is that someday you will meet again. I really hope that is true.

All the fame and fortune derived from the music business would mean nothing to me, if at the end of it, my kids didn’t think I was a good father. My overriding ambition is to be a good father and husband.

So far life has taught me never to take anything for granted and that kindness comes back to you.

Dickie Rock 2017 show dates include January 6 at the Women’s Little Christmas, Vienna Woods, Glanmire, Cork.

Dickie joins a lineup of original entertainment and tributes to the best of the best, at this year’s Christmas party season at the Red Cow Moran Hotel, Dublin. New shows include My Brother Joe on December 28 and The Ultimate Garth Brooks Experience on December 29.

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