Our first major performance was at the now historical ‘Ameriflora’. We had tried early on to be part of their lineup of bands but were too late. A hole in their schedule and intervention by Jeanette Ford (our friend from the Shamrock Glee Club) got us a spot one Friday evening, late in the season. The side stage we were assigned was like a little nook in the expanse of Franklin Park but it had some benches and a very nice sound system. We started our set with The Mermaid and by the third song the stage area and all around us was a sea of people. Irish Music has the tendency to get your blood up and we included our sing-alongs to really get the folks involved. It worked – we found our niche drawing on the impressions left us by our friends in the Brigade and General Guinness along with our music heroes mentioned earlier. The Hooligans had arrived!
We stayed true to our roots and kept our mission plan intact for all these many years playing all over the place including a venue that was just starting out called ‘The Dublin Irish Festival’ to a great house – and a rousing good time. And you all know how famous the DIF has become here in the states. Over a hundred thousand patrons passed through the gates in 2009. I remember when we played under dining canopies on the tennis courts – humble beginnings to be sure.
I don’t remember exactly when but I am sure others will remember when we invited Joe Lovett to join the band on keyboards. We had met him through the Shamrock Club and our being invited along with the Glee Club to join the world famous Chieftains onstage for a couple of prepared numbers. What can I say, we hit it off and Joe is a permanent part of The Hooligans. Several years after that we were asked to join the Chieftains again while they were in town. Not many bands can say they’ve done that!
Along the way we have seen our kids grow up and marry and music is always a part of our combined families lives. As a band we’ve had our ups and downs, great shows and some not so great ones and met a tremendous number of good folks and fellow musicians and are proud to call many of them friends. The Hooligans are brothers, and friends and proud of our Irish heritage. We’re older and wiser but our mission is the same. Playing and singing Irish American music and being sure to always enjoy ourselves along the way….
Now we have a CD after 17 years and plan to record some more very soon. God willing, we’ll do just that!
Where to begin… We had played together in a band named after our dear friend Albert Sheridan whom Bob had known for many years who was a wonderful Irish fiddler. God bless his memory. The band O’Sheridan was formed in 1985 with Kevin, Bob and I along with Anne Sullivan and Mia Gatton with a moderate success rate. People change and directions differ and Annie and the Cain’s and O’Sheridan parted company. Mia and I added two new players, Sean Finneran on twelve-string guitar and Colleen Ryan on whistles and highland pipes. Again moderate successes and restless spirits intervened and O’Sheridan disbanded in 1991.
I thought I was done with the Irish Music ‘scene’ having had my shot at entertaining
– it was a good effort in my opinion too.
Months passed and in 1992 at a concert weekend trip that Kathy and I attended with Fallon Travel and the Shamrock Club to the Meadowlands in New Jersey, brought a new opportunity. Bob Cain and I were listening to our heroes, The Clancy Brothers, The Fureys, and of course The Wolfe Tones among many others. We were inspired by their power and all the fun they seemed to be having. He and I made a pact to try again, this time with an emphasis on fun and powerful vocals. Kevin was onboard quickly and I asked a friend of mine, Jim Wade, late of the “It’s the Jim and Dave Show” fame, to join us and see if we could make something out of this team. We all got along like brothers immediately and started to practice and develop our sound. The Irish Brigade and General Guinness bands were a tremendous local influence for us all and we wanted to try for a mix somewhere between. Our promise to each other was it had to be fun and entertaining not only to the audience but also to all of us. That was to become our mission statement. We came up with a good name back in 1992 calling ourselves The Hooligans. It seemed appropriate as the name denotes rowdiness and a good time.