Larry Kirwan (lead vocals, guitar)
Geoffrey Blythe (saxophones)
Fred Parcells (trombone, pennywhistle)
Thomas Hamlin (drums, percussion)
Joseph Mulvanerty (uilleann pipes, flute, bodhrán)
Joseph Burcaw (bass)
9 questions for Larry Kirwan of Black 47.
I finally got the replies from Larry Kirwan for the interview through Anita Daly. Just heads up,they will be on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on St Patrick’s Day night on NBC TV 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Between gigs and going around, he finally got the time to answer these question. Check out what he says about the new album and also the future of everyone’s artistic career.
1. You explored many musical styles in the recording of new album Last Call. Why did you choose the title Last Call?
Well, we’re disbanding on Nov. 15th after 25 years. It seemed appropriate, as did the cover – a view of dawn breaking over Brooklyn – something we’ve seen many times. Also, life goes on…
2. There are many socially conscious themes in your songs. One of them is Let the People In which is clearly about immigration. What inspired you to pin that track down?
Because the foundation stone of this country is immigration. Having a liberal immigration policy is so right for the country on so many levels. It seemed like there should be a song that reflected this sentiment – seemed like a job for Black 47.
3. I know that you put your heart to every song you recorded for this album. Can you name your favorites and why?
I like every song that Black 47 has ever recorded – there’s never been filler. Some I could have nailed a bit better but I care for them all. I like Salsa O’Keefe because I’ve always wanted to do a Latin flavored song. Night The Showbands Died is a favorite although it hurts in a way to hear it and perform it – I was a fan of Fran O’Toole’s who got killed in the massacre, he was always kind to me, so it brings back a particular place and time. I like the funky groove of Let The People In…. I’ve always been fascinated by Brendan Behan. I’m surprised that Shane didn’t get to it first but such are the breaks.
4. This is the last album of huge band together. Was this a very emotional experience for you and everyone involved in the recording process?
I don’t really think so, although I can only speak for myself. When you’re recording or performing you’re putting everything into it, no matter if it’s your first or fifteenth. But I do think there was a desire from the band to do a great final album and to have Black 47 be at its very best. That seems to be the case – but time will tell.
5. Why did you finally plan to disband after many years being together?
I didn’t want an endless end. Black 47 means a lot to a lot of people – it was very important that we finish up in a suitable manner – not to have it just drag on. The band was sounding at its best when we made the decision six months ago and last night’s show at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park was one of the best I remember – so I think we’re doing the right thing – go out at your best and doing new material that matches up to your crowd favorites.
6. What’s the plan for the album(in terms of promoting) this year?
I don’t know. We just play as many gigs to as many people as we can. That’s always the B47 way of doing things. Everything else tends to take care of itself if you do it that way.
7. Will fans get to see you or any of the band in various incarnations?
Everyone will continue playing. We’re working musicians. We have to make a living! I’m not sure what the other guys will do, but I’ll continue doing Rock & Read solo shows. This is about finishing Black 47 on a high. What happens later will happen…
8. Where can fans get The Last Call album?
The best place is to buy it from the Black 47 site www.black47.com It will also be available on iTunes, Amazon, and the
various other platforms. But best to buy a CD at a gig – that way you’re supporting live music – do that to all your favorite bands.
9. Your message to old and new fans?
We did it our way, said the things we felt should be said, and always with inventive and original music. Thanks for all the love and support down the years. It’s been one hell of a ride!