If you like this please Tweet it, Facebook it or leave a comment

Niall McGurk was a teenage punk rock fan in Dublin the eighties. He used to promote all the DIY punk shows in the city.

Fugazi were one of the biggest bands he promted there and their shows in the city are still legendary. Niall also published a great vegetarian cookbook featuring recipes from all the bands he promoted in that period…

Fugazi – Dublin September 1988

I started playing in bands in 1984.

It was Christmas 1983 and 3 punk rock kids from Dublin’s northside got some instruments for Christmas; instruments and a Clash book. Our New Year’s resolution was to learn how to play the instruments and cover ‘Garageland’ by the Clash.

Six months later we were ready to play our first gig. That gig was an education for us. We went to a venue we had seen Dublin bands play in and asked could our band, Vicarious Living, play there sometime. It was eye opening how easy it was and our biggest issue was getting people to see us. Thankfully some family friends agreed to come and 50 people paid in that night. From then on that was my gig promoting philosophy. Don’t wonder, just ask. And then do!

British band The Membranes were an early target. Why don’t you play Ireland, we asked. No one’s asked us yet, they answered. We asked, they answered and travelled over. That led to many others travelling over as a result of John from the band telling people in bands to get the ferry over to our country.

My friend Alan always seemed to know everything about American bands. He got to hear that Fugazi were touring Europe. He also told me they featured people from Minor Threat and Rites Of Spring, from the Dischord record label. I immediately wanted to see them but didn’t want to travel to England for the privilege. I rang Southern, the British distributor for Dischord Records, and asked about Fugazi. They gave me a phone number for Jabs, who I rang inquiring about getting Fugazi to play. Jabs lived in England and helped get the band gigs there. He said heíd ask Fugazi about coming over. Many phone calls later (all made in evening times due to the prohibitive costs of phoning long distance), Fugazi agreed that it would be a good idea to travel to Ireland and play a gig.

I booked McGonagles as some recent Sunday afternoons had been spent there, seeing various British bands that the Warzone people from Belfast had brought over to play. Warzone got George Curran and some friends of his to book McGonagles when bands were travelling over. They booked the venue and helped out on the day. Bands that travelled over to play these gigs included Carcass, Joyce McKinney Experience, Bolt Thrower, The Instigators and the wonderfully named (and aptly for many) Dreadful.

Some friends and I went about getting bands to play with Fugazi and putting posters up in record shops. We plotted the whole things out and tried to get a varied line-up of bands for the evening. We even did up a press release promising “a night of musical mayhem”. When it came to the issue of money Jabs asked how much the venue was to hire and the cost of P.A. and posters. He then said the band wanted a door price of £3 so we did the figures and said if there were 180 people at the gig the band would get £200. On the night there were a few less but we put some money together and gave the band £200. They were happy and little did I know it but this was the start of something regular as we then started using the word Hope Promotions to put on the top of the posters.


Guy Piciotto from Fugazi recipe from my book,
‘Please Feed Me’ available from Soft Skull Press https://www.softskull.com
Chocolate Cake
2 º cups unbleached flour
1 Ω cups sugar
Ω cup of cocoa
1 Ω tsp of baking soda
æ tsp salt
1 Ω cups warm water
Ω cup vegetable oil
1 Ω tsp vanilla extract
1 Ω tsp white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 F/200C.
2. “Butter” 2 8-inch cake pans with margarine and dust with flour.
3. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
4. Pour in the water, oil, vanilla and vinegar and stir until well combined.
5. Pour into the 2 cake pans evenly then bake for 30-40 minutes till a knife
inserted in the centre comes out clean.
6. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool
Icing Ingredients:
1 Cup of Margarine
3 cups of confectioner’s (icing) sugar
2-3 tbsp of orange juice
Beat margarine till fluffy – add the sugar incrementally and blend. Add the
orange juice and whatever sugar remains and continue to blend till spreadable.
Ice cake only when it’s completely cooled.

Previous articleJJ Burnel celebrates the great Captain Beefheart
Next articleNew Blood 9: Y Niwl
Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. saw the membranes with paranoid visions, belvedere hotel, Dublin, just up from o’connell st, think it was 86′. john robb always a cool f**ker, a rock star whether he liked it or not. and also a fit bird on door taking the money. saw the menbranes in dingwalls , london about 87 with dog faced hermanns ( a great lost band ). great gig.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here