Celctic Rockers Whiskey Of The Damned Release Debut on St Pattys
The timing couldn't be more perfect. Widely lauded in its hometown as "the best band to party to," Whiskey of the Damned will keep the festivities going by independently releasing its inaugural album, MONSTERS ARE REAL, on March 17, the day when everyone's Irish-or aspires to be. To get the party going, the band will play a special St. Patrick's Day hometown show to celebrate the release of the CD at the Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee.
Produced by Rick Beato, best known for his work with Florida's Shinedown, country hitmakers Parmalee and Christian rockers NeedtoBreathe, the album justifies the band's reputation and will surely extend it well beyond the East, Midwest and South where Whiskey of the Damned has toured relentlessly since forming two and a half years ago The group's collective performing experience includes appearing on bills with artists such as Van Morrison, the Doobie Brothers, Motley Crue vocalist Vince Neil, the Wallflowers and the Gin Blossoms in addition to extensive club shows on their own.
Born in Dublin and raised since his teens in Wisconsin, Eoin (pronounced O-wen) McCarthy leads the group, singing, playing guitar and composing most of its songs. His bandmates are violinist Gina Romantini, bassist Matt Schuetz, accordionist Brian Link and drummer Andrew David Weber, who describes the band this way: "The band consists of multi-instrumentalists, and we're often switching roles to keep things alive on stage, as well as jumping around and climbing all over the place, throwing around beer barrels, and playing improvised instruments."
Recorded over a three-week period last November in Atlanta, the dozen tracks on MONSTERS ARE REAL reveal Whiskey of the Damned as not only ferociously rocking companions for a wild night out, but as an ensemble that's unafraid of baring its sensitive side. Anthemic, go-for-broke cuts like "Shutdown" and "Batons and Guns," which show why the group has earned comparisons to Celtic stormers like the Pogues and Dropkick Murphys, alternate with mid- and down-tempo tunes. The lost-love saga "Maria" and the album-closing "When It All Comes Down" are touching yet unsentimental tunes that fuse the soulfulness of Gaelic balladry with unadorned Americana.
MONSTERS ARE REAL doubtlessly will further cement Whiskey of the Damned's relationship with a rapidly growing national following. Having taken time off for recording, the band is already off on another round of touring that will take it to pubs, halls and festivals from the musicians' Wisconsin home base to Indiana, New York and Connecticut. "Audience reaction has been getting stronger," enthuses McCarthy, "especially over the last nine months. We used to go into a new place we'd never been played before and get 10 kids at a gig. Now when we go back to the same place, there are a hundred or more, which is great." Future plans include visits to the West Coast and the group's spiritual homeland. "I'd also like to get us to Ireland by the end of the year," says McCarthy.
High spirits infuse both the band's live and recorded performances as well as its chosen name. The latter "is actually a quote from one of George Bernard Shaw's plays, Man and Superman," McCarthy explains. "He wrote, 'Music is the brandy of the damned,' and we sort of adapted it."
Upcoming Whiskey of the Damned shows include:
March 13-Schauer Arts Center, Hartford, WI
March 14-Ballydoyle, Aurora, IL 03/14/14
March 15- North Country Goes Green St. Patrick's Day Irish Festival, Watertown, NY March 17-Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee
March 21 & 22- O'Bryan's Nine Irish Brothers, Lafayette, IN
April 5-DejaVu Martini Lounge, Appleton, WI
May 24- Roadhouse Bar and Grill, Cedarburg, WI
June 19-Music On Main, West Bend, WI