A question of taste: Jeremy Hickey

Jeremy Hickey, aka musician Rarely Seen Above Ground (RSAG) was born and raised in Kilkenny. “My first love was for hurling, soccer, football and basketball. 

A question of taste: Jeremy Hickey

That soon change when I developed a passion for music.

I thought myself the drums with the help of a busted up walkman and a slightly warped cassette tape of the Rocky soundtrack, by Survivor.”

He plays Cork Opera House with King Kong Company as part of the

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival on

Sunday, October 29.

Best recent book you’ve read: Meet Me In The Bathroom, by Lizzy Goodman. A great read for anyone interesting in a view of New York music scene from 2001 - 2011.

Best recent film: Southpaw starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker and Rachael McAdams. The film follows a boxer who sets out to get his life back on track after losing his wife in an accident and his young daughter to protective services. I’m a sucker for these, phoenix from the ashes, type dramas.

Best recent show or gig you’ve seen: I recently seen ‘The Songs & Tall Tales of Jerry Fish Part 1 Misery Hill. I really enjoyed this stranger-than fiction life story of the man who was “born Born-hard to a mermaiden mother, swaddled in a baggywrinkle by the Liffey and raised on the banks of the Thames”. It was a good laugh and loved how he tied in the music.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’. It’s all there, love, loss and passion. Money is no object – what musical equipment would you buy? A Moog accompanied by a set of timpani. I’d like to limited myself to recording an album with just a Moog, timpani and a drum kit. I know you can get samples, but I’m looking for the real hands on recording experience, no loops, all live takes.

First ever piece of music or film that really moved you: The Wizard Of Oz. It was the first video cassette I had ever seen. I think I was 7 or 8 years old. The movie starts off in black and white and then shifts into colour. For me, this was a magical experience. My brother and I also got hours of entertainment copying the lollipop song welcoming Dorothy to Oz.

The best gig you’ve ever seen: R.E.M. Slane 1995. I was a big fan at the time and was just get back to normal after a bad car crash and to me it was a celebration of life.

Radio listening and/or podcasts: I really like Paul McLoone’s show.

You’re curating your dream festival – which three artists are on the bill? Can, Sonic Youth and Beethoven. Can you image the rider for Beethoven? Gold pieces, 100 year old wine in shot glasses, type thing.

Your best celebrity encounter: Frank Black (The Pixies). I played support to The Pixies in 2009 for two nights in the Olympia. Lovely man and a great singer/writer.

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history – where, when, and why? Vienna, May 7, 1824. Beethoven first performs his 9th Symphony. It was unique for its time, as it was the first symphony to include chorus and vocal soloist in the final movement. Can you image hearing that choral finally after two hours of the chorus just standing there waiting.

Do you have any interesting ancestors or family? My surname is Hickey. The Irish translation is O hIcidhe, which means healer. My grandad, Michael Hickey, had this quality I believe. I was too young to remember him but I do remember him being this larger than life figure who kept bees, made furniture and brewed poitín.

Unsung hero: Tina Weymouth was the bass player for Talking Heads. A big influence on me and any other bass player, who like simple, stone cold, solid bass riffs. Her bass lines are a lot more famous than she is. Talking Heads would not have had such an impact without her.

You are king for a day – what’s your first decree?

Everyone turn off your computers, take long walks and chill for a few days each week. We need it, it’s a different time now, everything is moving too fast, but yet not going anywhere.

More in this section


Join us for our International Women’s Day virtual lunchtime celebration on Monday, March 8 from 1pm

Home Delivery


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.