Lat week at the Hot Press music conference Louis Walsh was on a music panel, Paradise Paddy, an Irish music promoter, frustrated by the vice like grip Walsh has the home music scene decided to go and ask him some questions…
It was a typical Friday evening at 6pm as I turned off the laptop after a long day of sending e-mails to venues agents and promoters looking for gigs. I’m an independent music and comedy promoter so that’s my 24/7.
PAradise PAddy “Giving You Honest Original Material”Â. That’s what the card says as well as the heart soul and mind. It’s been my mantra for almost 20 years now.
So over dinner I get a brainwave and say to my wife what odds you think Jedward are to win Euro song tonight. “No”Â she says “I didn’t work hard all week to be subjected to that. I just want a relaxing night in”Â. I agree. I’m just curious about the odds cause this is a sure fire guarantee. After dinner I checked out Paddy Powers website but could not find the link. I put this down to my lack of ability to navigate a betting website.
I am convinced that Jedward will win it. Not because they have the best song. But if your parent is going to spend Ã¢âÂ¬40 on a ticket to see these lads live, you could bet they’ll spend another Ã¢âÂ¬10 to let their kids ring in their vote. As it materialised it was 50% vote from juries in 5 locations around the country. All the representatives of the juries were kids TV presenters. 4 of the 5 juries agreed Jedward had the best song. 50% of the vote was from the public and Jedward also toped that.
I know a lot of songwriters and some of them hold the Eurovision in very high esteem. I was subjected to it myself as a child but I have to say I really enjoyed the experience of hearing different voices singing in different languages and the voting was great craic.
When Ireland won it they had lovely songs like Shay Healy’s “What’s Another Year”Â, Johnny Logan’s “Hold Me Now”Â, “In Your Eyes”Â written by Jimmy Walsh and performed by Niamh Kavanagh and “Rock N’ Roll Kids”Â written by Brendan Graham, performed by Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan.
These songs were beautifully crafted and wonderfully sung. Lovely songs that people could dance to and fall in love to and just listen to. These songs were not just for Eurovision they were for life.
I am older now and a lot more cynical when it comes to how we pick a song to represent Ireland in the Eurovision.
If anyone knows anything about RTE, Louis Walsh and Eurovision it’s a guarantee that Louis wins every time. Great Irish songwriters know this so they see no point in setting themselves up for a fall.
It’s just a fact that in Ireland Louis Walsh is the biggest cog in the machine. RTE heal to his every command as do most of the media. It’s all about money greed and fascism. The rags get paid by Louis as to the national broadcaster as do any major figure or politician that will propagate or give him a platform to propagate his agenda. Which is to kill creative thinking and ultimately the heart and soul of Irish people.
That’s some conspiracy theory PAradise PAddy, I hear you say. I actually believe it to be true. Did you ever see the episode of The Simpsons where Bart and his buddies are signed up by a “Music Mogul”Â and the purpose is to psychologically get inside the minds of impressionable kids so that they will buy your merchandise and do anything you want.
Well Jedward aren’t a cartoon. They are 2 young men from west Dublin who communicate in a very strange way with American accents and who are dressing in the colours of the good old USA on their current “Victory”Â tour. This is the reason their mentor Caroline Downey MCD close friend of Louis Walsh paraded them to the world on Barack Osama’s visit to Ireland last year. MCD got the gig and instead of showcasing our young modern multicultural talented society to the world they got Uncle Sam’s grand kids “Paddy Whackery”Â style.
Anyone who appreciates and understands music will know for a lot of people it’s a way of life. A song can lift your spirit and make your heart race that bit faster. A song can instil pride and belief in you to act in a positive nature for the good of mankind. Music and song can affect you in a positive way more than anything else in this whole wide world. Musicians and songwriters know this. These people are artists. They think with their heart and soul. Innately they are not commercially driven. It’s the greedy money men that convince them that they need to do this and that to further their career. Hence the dreaded branded term “Sell Out”Â. This is the problem with people like Louis Walsh within the music industry. Is it about music or money? And why can’t a person have both?
So with that in mind I decided I would travel to Dublin on Saturday to go to the Hotpress Music Show in the RDS and put it to the man himself that he is killing the Irish music industry.
Walsh was to be speaking at a seminar “Live Music Will Save Us All..Or Will It?”Â On the panel with Louis was his friend and business associate Caroline Downey, MCD , his friend and agent to Westlife, John Giddings, Tom Kenny a lighting director and Eurosonic organiser Peter Smidt.
Since I studied Music Management & Media Studies in Ballyfermot Snr College 1995-97, I have been coming to this show on and off. It’s always been the same. Retailers showcasing their wares, one on one interviews, discussions about trends in music, informative speakers on technical aspects and possible opportunities within the industry and a great place to network. It was the last place you’d expect to see someone like Louis Walsh. That was until two years ago. He turned up at a seminar “Irish Radio Does Not Play Enough Irish Music”Â.
I sat for an hour listening to him go on ad nauseam about how Irish radio does not do enough for Irish acts. For me, this is a guy who has always talked out both sides of his mouth and as result gets on any RTE radio or television programme to promote his acts that get played on national airwaves regularly. So I wanted to ask him why does he care that hard working Irish acts weren’t getting played on the radio. And if he cares that much why doesn’t he do something about it. He is in a great position to do it as he is giving the platform to talk about anything he wants by the Irish media.
Every act and promoter in the country knows that radio play is still key and if you get to sing on The Late Late Show there is a good chance you will sell more tickets when you go on tour. I apologise, that use to be the case but since Louis and his merry money mates have taken over The Late Late schedule with their X factor franchise no self respecting act or promoter now looks at it.
Walsh roars out platitudes like they were affirming statements that will save your soul and the media lap it all up. I didn’t get to challenge Louis that day but I knew it was only a matter of time before he would be exposed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
So when I walked into RDS last Saturday I was only interested in one thing. Finding the Red Room and asking Louis Walsh to stop killing the Irish music industry.
My emotion was high. Going around in my head was the musicians and songwriters I know who were forced out of this country because they could not see a career in music because of the regime that Louis Wash and RTE have created.
I wanted to remember to say that for 15 years I campaigned vigorously for the demise of Westlife and the resurrection of The Stone Roses and in one beautiful week in October 2011 it happened. I wanted to say that music is more important than monitory gain and if you judge music on quality the real music people will make the money. This is why it’s called the music industry and NOT the money industry. I wanted to ask Louis why in 1994 was he in a position to tell RTE that Boyzone records would not be played on 2 fm unless Dave Fanning apologised for saying that Boyzone can’t sing. I wanted to tell him that he was not a dream maker but in fact a soul taker.
I took my seat half way down the room 10 minutes before the seminar began and cast my eye around at the anticipated audience. Ahead of me were up to 100 girls aged between 10 and 15. Behind me were people of all ages. When Stuart Clarke introduced the panel Louis got a screaming welcome from the young girls, similar to what would welcome Jedward. As I watched the kids and teenagers excitement they were over awed to be in the same room as this “Pop Impresario”Â.
I thought about their parents who would be around the same age as me. I’m 37 and like their parents I would have known a life without Louis Walsh. In 1989 we would have listened to Stone Roses eponymous debut album. When these 4 lads from Manchester steam rolled into town on their train confirming “I don’t have to sell my soul, it’s already in me”Â. When Nirvana liberated teenagers in 1991 with “Smells like Teen Spirit”Â and when Pearl Jam let “Jeremy”Â speak in class in 1993. These songs were huge anthems played on daytime radio in Ireland. The Irish acts that grew up influenced by these Giants of Men would end up suffering at the hands of Louis Walsh and his cronies.
I felt sadness that my peers who would have been brought up on good and honest music would allow their kids to be brainwashed by nonsensical crap.
The discussion began and for half an hour I watched in disgust as Louis, his promoter and agent metaphorically slapped each other on the back saying things like “Westlife are selling out 20,000 seaters in China, I don’t know how?!”Â Jedward are “a great brand”Â and once again Louis controversial hook “There is not enough Irish Music being played on Irish radio”Â
When Stuart took questions from the floor I raised my hand and stood out so I would be looking and talking directly to Louis. I didn’t have to worry about recording my moment as Hotpress were recording all seminars. I started by saying that I was an independent music promoter and “ I remember seeing you Louis on a talent show that Gerry Ryan was presenting in 1998 and you said “Rock N Roll is dead”Â and now you are really making that happen”Â. I told him he was killing music in Ireland. I told him I did agree with him on one point, that radio is very important for acts but they can’t get on the airwaves because his acts and similar are clogging it up. I was taken back then when a girl of no more than 11 turned around to me and said “Ya don’ have to listen to it”Â. I was shocked and instantly reminded of a story Allen Toussaint (an influential musician in New Orleans R&B) told to an audience in the national concert hall 2 years ago. He started his story by saying “Before children ruled the world”Â. I wondered what exactly he meant and in that split second it became clear. I didn’t have time to tell this young girl that it’s my job to know what music is being played on the airwaves. I obviously could not engage in a discussion with her. A disgruntled 37 year old man with rage built up over 20 years for a con man selling lies is never going to get the better of an 11 year old Jedward fan.
Hotpress’ news desk wrote the following in the review of the seminar “He (Louis Walsh) also took some heat from one independent music promoter in the audience who accused him of “clogging up the airwaves” but he handled it expertly, telling him “that’s why I’m up here and you’re down there.”
When I challenged Walsh to allow me the platform to debate in detail with him he declined. When I said I would pick five acts against his five acts for a TV programme he said “No”Â.
I was safe in my mind that I had exposed him there and then. What could this powerful music mogul be frightened of? I’m just a pennyless promoter with a heart and soul who respects same.
I was shouted down by some members of the panel and fans of Louis but not before I told the cog in the machine that he was a disgrace and definitely not an ambassador for Ireland. I had so much more to say. He interjected and I said “I have been listening to your shite for 15 years and now you’re going to listen to me for a few minutes”Â.
The mic was swiftly taking from my hand by a Hot Press representative and with that I walked out to applause and got in my car and came home.
It was only afterwards that I saw a youtube vid from a “Real Muso Head”Â John Robb that made me feel good about my outpour of emotion.
We shared the same belief in Dublin last Saturday Feb 25th 2012 and understood the importance of challenging Louis Walsh and people like him.
There are millions of people who agree with me and John Robb but because they don’t act people like Louis Walsh exists.
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”Â.
Music is a personal choice but when a choice of music is politically been blocked from the listener it’s a serious matter. They call that Fascism.
I rang Paddy Powers bookmaker this morning (Monday) to ask for the odds on Irelands Euro song. Jedward were 1/25. Next favourite was Donna McCaul 9/1. No competition what so ever. I would have needed to bet Ã¢âÂ¬100 to make Ã¢âÂ¬4. Not a bet worth making from a pennyless promoter with honesty on his side.