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The Riptide Is High
One of the defiant young bands in Ireland in aeons, The Riptide Movement have gone from busking on Dublin’s mean streets to getting radio airplay in Turkey! Now, with their second album safely nestled in the Irish top 10, they talk about the struggle for recognition, the perils of busking –and their plans to conquer America.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 25 May 2012
It’s pint number three on a Holy Thursday afternoon in the Library Bar, and Gar Byrne (he bangs the drums) and Mal Tuohy (he sings the songs) are letting me in on a secret. “There’s this little festival,” Mal winks conspiratorially. “A hidden thing. They’re picking people up in a bus in Dublin, all the windows are blacked out. You don’t know where you’re going. It’s called The Barn Dance.”
The Barn Dance. So that’s where The Riptide Movement will spend Good Friday! Having a gargle in a barn: what else would any self-respecting rockers with a Rolling Stones fixation do? Of course there’s a lot more to the Lucan blues rockers oeuvre than copious references to the Stones, The Doors, Free and any number of other seminal outfits could even hint at. The two grin knowingly.
“I think people sometimes mistake our music for a ‘60s or ’70s rehash,” Mal admits. “But it’s not, it’s a certain type of music. It’s a genre of music that’s timeless. And I think it can keep evolving. The sounds from back then are just as relevant today as they were 40 years ago. But yeah, we mostly get it from reviewers. ‘One banjo short of a Klan rally’ – we get all that sort of stuff!”
Gar laughs. “‘We do! ‘Rootin’, tootin’ and barn dancing’!’”
Clearly The Riptide Movement don’t give a damn. They’ll stick to their guns no matter what. “What’s good is good,” Mal reasons. “The thing is, everyone is influenced by everyone else. Dylan had Woody Guthrie. Look at Led Zeppelin. Once it’s not a blatant rip-off of someone else, who cares?”
In truth, rock’n’roll is a continuum of influences. Some bands dig deeper into the roots. Others focus on what’s fashionable now. There is no right way: whatever gets you through the night is alright. The crucial thing, however, is that the band have struck a chord: their second album Keep On Keepin’ On entered the Irish charts at No.6 in its first week of release and now they are digging in for the long haul. This journey is just starting: it could turn out to be an epic one.