By Eileen Murphy
If you could be a member of any band, for just one day, which one would you choose? The hard livin’ Rolling Stones? The traveling circus that is Oasis? Working-class heroes Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band? The newly reunited Go-Gos?
Well, the choice might be hard for the rest of us, but if you’re former Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating, it’s a no-brainer. The newly solo pop star with the newly straightened teeth fancies himself a bit of a stadium rocker at heart.
"It would be a rock band," he revealed recently.
"U2 or Bon Jovi preferably," he added. Well, at least the boy has taste, which is a relief, since up to now, we’d assumed taste was the first thing to be removed upon entering a pop band, sort of like a hairy mole or an individual personality.
Though we can’t quite imagine him emitting one of Bono’s soulful wails or executing one of Edge’s killer guitar licks, we could see him slotting in quite nicely with Bon Jovi. He’d give Jon-Jon a run for his money — in the squealy-teen good looks department, anyway.
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By the way, you’ll all be happy to know that Ronan is hard at work on his second album, a follow-up to his current chart hit, "Life is a Rollercoaster." And don’t worry — Ro may be a rock rebel at heart, but he hasn’t forgotten what keeps him in hair gel and leather trousers.
"It’s going to be a pop album again," he said, to our great relief.
"I’m not going to go crazy and make an indie album," he chuckled. (You can just imagine how manager Louis Walsh would react to that kind of carry-on.) "But it will be a little bit more rocky," he added.
Speaking of things that are rocky, we hear that this word sums up the state of the relationship between Ronan and his former band mates, Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch, Mikey Graham and Stephen Gately. It seems that the other Boyz are eager to cash in on their remaining few seconds of notoriety by launching a Boyzone reunion tour. Ronan has made it clear that he’d rather be the official bug-taster on "Survivor III" than jump back into the Boyzone saddle.
In more Boyzone news, we hear that Mikey Graham is less than thrilled by the reception — or rather, the lack thereof — his new single, "You Could Be My Everything," has received in the UK.
"His album has had brilliant reviews, but not one national radio station in the UK would play his single," Graham’s record label spokesman complained to Hot Press.
"At the moment, I’m ashamed to be part of the British music industry when they won’t support an act like this," he sniffed, though we can think of lots of other reasons to be ashamed. (Spice Girls, anyone?)
Graham has canceled a planned Ireland/UK tour in support of the album, citing "nervous exhaustion."
Yet more news: at least one Boyzoner had a premonition during their last tour that the band was coming to an end.
On the new music-themed RTE television show, "Ireland’s Greatest Hits," Keith Duffy revealed that his emotions got the better of him during the band’s final show at the Point Depot in January 2000.
"At the end, I had tears in my eyes," recalled Keith. "I could not help it.
"Ever since I have been old enough to think for myself I had been in this band. I couldn’t remember how not to be in Boyzone."
Duffy also revealed that he phoned his old pal Ronan a couple of months ago to congratulate him on the birth of the newest little Keating, baby Marie. Ronan never returned his calls, which just proves that life is — for want of a better word — a rollercoaster.
Beauty is ‘Universal’
Don’t hate her just because she’s pretty. The current Miss Ireland, Tipperary’s own Lesley Turner, says she couldn’t believe her eyes when she got a load of her competition in this year’s Miss Universe Pageant.
The Tip temptress, who will compete for the world title during the May 11 show, says that "all the other girls are gorgeous." So gorgeous, in fact, that her first thought upon arriving in the pageant’s host country of Puerto Rico was, "I want to go home."
Of course, the part-time model and massage therapist, who lives in Limerick, is made of sterner stuff. She says that, whatever her chances of winning, she’s determined to make the most of her three-week stay at Donald Trump’s luxury Westin Rio Mar Country Club.
"It’s really exciting and I’m having a ball," she giggled. "We have the police escorting us in cars and on bikes when we go out to dinner at night"
Happily, our gal has not been subjected to the close scrutiny that has plagued Miss France, who is trying to live down rumors that she didn’t always qualify to play camogie, if you catch our drift. Imagine being forced to sign a statement that said "I have never been a man." If they were really serious about knowing whether she’d been born a he, they’d have out her in a car, gotten her lost in a strange town, and waited to see if she asked for directions.
Of course, all the contestants are there to win the ultimate prize, but Lesley has made a friend or two along the way.
"I’m sharing [a room] with Miss Jamaica and we’ve really hit it off," she laughed.
"I might convince her to visit me in Limerick, but I doubt she’ll leave the hot weather." As if anyone could resist the charms of the walled city. Just ask a McCourt.
Roma: touched by a cherub?
Derry actress Roma Downey is pining to hear the pitter-patter of little feet around the house — again. What remains to be seen is whether she’ll be trading in her angels’ wings for the sake of a little cherub.
The "Touched By An Angel" star, who has a 4-year-old daughter, Reilly Marie, wants to adopt a baby. There’s one snag, however: she lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is where "Angel" is filmed, and Utah doesn’t allow single-parent adoptions. Roma is divorced from Reilly’s father, director Michael Anspaugh, and doesn’t have any immediate plans to remarry.
We’re hearing that the red-haired actress has all but made up her mind to leave the top-rated series after the current season. The show’s producers are offering her major bucks to stay, but Roma’s got that broody feeling. A change of address — to Hollywood, maybe? — will no doubt boost her adoption prospects, and it’ll help her launch a big-screen career.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone (except the show’s millions of fans), but, hey, an angel’s gotta spread her wings sometime, right? It goes without saying that the producers are . . . you guessed it . . . praying for a miracle.
Win Tenors tickets
Who’d have thought that three guys in tuxedos could sing songs like "Toora Loora Loora" and "Danny Boy" and leave worldwide audiences screaming for more?
A couple of years ago, most people would have scoffed at the idea. But that was before the Irish tenors burst onto the music scene, dusting off classic Irish tunes and giving them new respect, new luster. Ronan Tynan, Anthony Kearns and Finbar Wright have become an international phenomenon, with best-selling albums, highly rated public television specials and sold-out concerts to their credit.
Back in March, the group filmed "The Ellis Island Concert" for PBS, which was hosted by Martin Sheen and also released as a live album. On June 19 and 21, they will bring this historic show to New York’s Radio City Music Hall, and we have five pairs of orchestra seats — and one pair of front-row tickets — to give away to some lucky readers!
Just send a postcard with your name, address and daytime phone number to: Irish Tenors Contest, Irish Echo Newspaper, 309 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10016. You can fax entries to Irish Tenors Contest, (212) 686-1756, or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line of e-mail entries MUST contain your last name, first initial and the word "Tenors," and the body of the e-mail must have your contact information, or your entry will be disqualified. One entry per person, please.
The deadline for entries is Tuesday, June 5, at 5 p.m. Good luck to everyone, and we’ll see you at Radio City!
It’s the ‘Sea,’ see?
When something’s back by popular demand, you know it’s gotta be good. Such is the case with "The Voice of the Sea," a one-man show written and performed by Macdara Mac Uibh Aille, which returns to the Irish Arts Center for a limited run, from May 19 through June 3. The play tells the story of a small island community that has mysteriously disappeared, and the blind island poet, who alone knows where they have gone. For information, call (212) 757-3318.
They’re baaaack. Not that they ever really went away, but it seems like far too long since one of Ireland’s coolest bands, Hothouse Flowers, has appeared in concert on this side of the pond. All will be forgiven, though, when the Flowers take the stage at Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, NYC, on Friday, May 11. For tickets and information, call (212) 307-7171.