Jimmy Smyth interview
Lead guitarist with The Bogey Boys talks to Paul Holland about the band reforming after three decades...
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 02 May 2012
Navan guitarist Jimmy Smyth formed The Bogey Boys in 1978, and two years year later had U2 as support band in the Cork Opera House!
The band were hugely successful in the early '80s, and moved to London before releasing two albums, Friday Night (1979) and Jimmy Did It! (1980).
Jimmy Smyth is widely regarded as one of Ireland's greatest guitarists, and was Van Morrison's musical director for a year in 2002. Jimmy played at the Grammy Awards in 1988 and 1996, and was nominated as co-writer with Toni Childs for 'Best Rock Song'. Jimmy also plays with Gilbert O'Sullivan on his British and European tours. The Bogey Boys reformed last month and will take to the road for the month of May...
PAUL HOLLAND: How do feel about bringing the band back in your hometown of Navan?
I'm delighted to be back playing with The Bogey Boys after such a long time, though I have played here with other bands over the years. We've had a fantastic response to the gigs we've done so far.
You've been rehearsing in Tara na Rí, but have you ever played in The Swan Lane venue in Navan?
Yes, I did a gig there with Frances Black and was very impresssed with the whole set-up. It's a wonderful venue, and fair play to Sean Mulligan for taking the initiative in bringing live music to the town on such a regular basis.
The Bogey Boys reformed to play two gigs last month in The Forum Waterford and Whelan's of Dublin. How did it feel for you to be back playing the old songs from 30 years ago?
I'm thoroughly enjoying the whole experience, but it's been surprisingly easy to slot back in after so many years! I'm not as keen to front the band like before so myself and Doish split the singing 50-50. I take a lot of the older songs and Doish takes the later ones.
You have worked with the legendary Van Morrison on a number of occasions. You were even his Musical Director for a whole year!
I first joined Van in 1995. I toured with his band for a while but I was mainly recording with him.Then in 2002 I spent a year as his MD. This involved organising band members for Van and bringing them up to speed. I would organise a new drummer for him,a keyboard player - rehearse with them,get everything right before touring with Van's band.
I was hoping to include a video clip of yourself playing along with Van Morrison for the promotional video of The Bogey Boys. I've managed to find lots of clips from the past but none of Van and yourself!
Well I don't think such a clip exists as Van is very protective of that kind of stuff.