By Eileen Murphy
The Boyzone guys keep insisting that their partnership is like the Broadway show "Cats" — now and forever — but they sure seem like they’ve gone their separate ways. This week sees the release of two solo singles: Stephen Gately’s "A New Beginning" and Mikey Graham’s "You’re My Angel."
Gately’s been all over the media lately, talking about how much better his life is now that he can live openly as a gay man.
"It’s been a weight off both our shoulders," he said, referring to his partner, Eloy. "It’s been really good for both of us to get it out in the open."
Although it might be a natural assumption that "New Beginning" refers to Gately’s newfound happiness, he says that’s only partly true — it’s really about the millennium (just when you thought it was safe to turn on your radios . . . )
"’A New Beginning’ refers to the new millennium, the new day as you get out of bed every morning, a new baby, moving abroad," he said. We’re assuming these are either/or propositions.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
Mikey Graham also admits to having taken inspiration from his personal life — the "You" in "You’re My Angel" refers to his baby daughter, Hannah — but insists that his song is open to broader interpretation.
"My album’s full of songs that have been inspired by people and things I’ve seen and done," he explained. "I just hope that someone listening to it can relate to things in their own life."
Ronan Keating, who just re-upped his marriage vows with model wife, Yvonne (see last week’s column), is still in Los Angeles, putting the finishing touches on his solo album. The music is said to be "more rock-y, with fewer ballads," according to a spokesperson. Among the co-writers are former New Radical Gregg Alexander and Diane Warren. Those of you who like ‘rosmith (or who own radios) are familiar with Warren’s most recent blockbuster, "I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing."
In more Gately news, the singer’s busy quashing rumors that he’ll take up pop group management, like his present (former?) bandmate, Ronan "I own half of Westlife" Keating. Gately sees little future in the boy band phenomenon that was his own ticket to fame.
"It’s been done already," he told music bible Hot Press. "You’ve had Take That, you’ve had Boyzone, you’ve had Westlife. I personally wouldn’t be interested in trying to recreate that again."
In fact, reveals Gately, "There’s already been enough of that for my liking." Quick — someone break it gently to Ireland’s newest boy phenomenon, 24-7.
The Chief speaks
Well, by now we’ve been shocked and stunned (or not) by revelations that the Chieftains are actually human beings, and not just airy sprites who play the music of the gods. There’s been drinking. (Gasp!) There’s been drugging. (Horrors!) There’s been groupie groping. (Quick! The smelling salts!) Now, we’ve heard the most stunning news of all: the band inspired John McColgan and Moya Doherty to create "Riverdance."
Yes, it’s true — years before anyone knew that Michael Flatley and Jean Butler were two of the greatest Irish dancers on the planet, Paddy Moloney saw their potential.
"John and Moya told me a year ago that I started the idea for ‘Riverdance,’ " Moloney told Hot Press.
"Back in the Hollywood Bowl more than 20 years ago when I had Michael Flatley zipping out dancing during our set, and Jean Butler, as well as 24 young girls in their short skirts and black stockings."
The Chieftain’s innovations were not limited to dance numbers.
"[Sometimes] we’d have someone like Richard Harris performing with us," he said. We can only hope that the band refrained from playing anything that might offend Harris’s delicate sensibilities, like, oh, "The Siege of Limerick."
Moloney also revealed that Bono was one of the stars lined up for the band’s rock star collaboration, "The Long Black Veil." Technical difficulties forced Paddy to practically obliterate Bono’s vocals in "The Rocky Road to Dublin."
"It just didn’t work," said Moloney. "Though he is a beautiful singer and I’ve been trying to get him to do something ever since!"
Part of the problem was Bono’s distinctive singing style.
"He came into the studio three days or so after the original recording and tried to do a counter-melody against Mick Jagger. But he knew it wasn’t working, so he had no problem with us mixing his voice way back. Yet I’m convinced he could have made it work, if he’d given it another shot on another day.
"His voice is still there on the record, but you have to strain to hear him!" laughed Moloney. "We didn’t even include his name on the CD sleeve."
She’s got crystal balls
Irish psychic Sarah Delemere Hurding, armed with a crystal ball (no, we’re not joking) and some tarot cards, has made some predictions for the coming year, including:
€ A summer wedding for a member of U2. "I see a blonde couple getting married," she said. Quick! Someone alert Larry and Adam.
Of course, some of Sarah’s predictions fall under the heading of the bleedin’ obvious. For example:
€ On the Celtic Tiger: "At the moment, the Irish are fairly well off, but I don’t think it will last forever."
€ The Irish property market: "There are major changes and difficulties around the area of property . . . hold off for another couple of years before investing in a house."
€ Peace in Northern Ireland: "For the future there are signs of changing attitudes, people are a lot more compassionate and tolerant of other people’s views."
€ On Eircom shares: I would advise those who have them not to sell them at the moment — hold on to them a while."
But we were most intrigued by Sarah’s predictions concerning Boyzone. She’s convinced that Boyzone have already split, but they’re just not admitting it to themselves.
"I feel that the band holds a kind of security for them — it’s comforting to know it’s still there.
But, she says, "I think their next tour will be their last. (Excuse us while we call Stephen Gately.)
Cusack. Byrne and Clooney to light up Irish Rep Gala
The days are getting longer, and the weather’s getting warmer, so that can mean only one thing: it’s time for the Irish Repertory Theater’s Annual Gala Benefit. This year’s show, "Song of the Century: A Celebration of Irish Entertainment in the Twentieth Century," promises plenty of wonderful musical numbers and a healthy dose of the Rep’s irrepressible Irish wit. The show will take place at the Broadhurst Theater on Monday, June 5, at 7 p.m., with a gala dinner to follow at venerable Broadway watering hole Sardi’s.
The evening will be hosted by Gabriel Byrne, who’s a Broadway vet already, given his Tony-nominated turn in "A Moon for the Misbegotten," and Sinead Cusack, who is currently appearing at the Rep in Sebastian Barry’s critically-acclaimed "Our Lady of Sligo." Special guests will include legendary singer/actress Rosemary Clooney, Peter Gallagher, Donal Donnelly, Terri Donnelly, Melissa Errico, Bob Green, Marian Thomas Griffin, Rusty Magee, Malachy McCourt, Ciaran O’Reilly, Ciaran Sheehan, Eric Stoltz and Kitty Sullivan. And, of course, since the theatrical world and his mother will be in town for the Tony awards (which will take place the night before), you never know who’ll drop by.
Following the show, a gala supper will take place at Sardi’s, where guests will have the chance to rub shoulders with some of the performers. Great performances, great company, great food — all in all, it’s an evening not to be missed. Tickets start at $100 and are available by calling the Irish Repertory Theater at (212) 727-2737. Tickets go fast, so get the lead out and call today.