So let us say grace...GRACE!

Npb (aka National Prayer Breakfast) are about to release their heavy drinking anthem “Loaded” from their splendid recent album “This Is My Truth And It XXXXX Me Up”. Quite apt really, as the album itself is loaded with stupendously brilliant tracks like “1000 Helicopters” and “Black Chevy (parts I and II)” amongst other corking little numbers that will get your ears smoking in a matter of minutes. Daragh Keogh, one multi-instrumental third of the Dublin based trio was kind enough to answer my questions, even after I had nearly killed him by ringing his mobile, Larry Duff like (Father Ted) whilst he was driving. Here is the resultant article.

AD: You’re currently on tour. How are you enjoying it, and what have been the standout moments so far?

DK: It’s going cool, although we’ve just cancelled two gigs in London so that we can mix the next single “Loaded”. We just played in Oxford last night, doing a thing for Truck Records, and that was really cool. The highlight of the tour has to be when we played Cork and our guitarist rocked! He was running like a lemming onto the roof and then hanging from it. Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll.

AD: You’ve recently been to Nashville and France for musical stimulation, not least because of the great Serge Gainsbourg. How did those trips inspire you, and why is Serge such a major influence?

DK: Well, the Nashville thing was just Patrick and Paul. I was the third of the band that never went. They’re both massive country fans – they’re a bit like a cross between the Misfits and Johnny Cash. With Serge Gainsbourg, the thing I like about him is that he’s a strange breed of French pop – and continental pop is so much more appealing than English pop. In fact, nobody else has ever managed to make so much fucked up pop than he has. He’s way more rock ‘n’ roll than any rock ‘n’ roll bands!

AD: I’m chuffed to bits that you’re saying this, to be honest, as “L’histoire De Melody Nelson” is one of my favourite all time records. Anyway, VH1 have recently been screening the “100 most shocking moments in music”,. What has been the most shocking moment in npb’s career to date?

DK: Oh thing we couldn’t possibly repeat! No, to be honest, there’s been nothing shocking. We’re very boring I’m afraid – but we’re working towards it. Then again, it depends on how you’re defining “shocking”. We’ve had plenty of gigs where we’ve basically been hammered and generally sounded really, really bad. I remember one gig when we were attempting to play a cover of The Ramones’ song “I Wanna Be Sedated” after a skinful. It was all over the place and there was at least one instrument going continually for well over six minutes. That was pretty shocking….

AD: Apparently you recorded “This Is My Happening And It XXXXX Me Up” in just four days! How did you manage that?

DK: It was two days actually…

AD: Bloody hell. Never trust the sodding internet…

DK: I suppose it took longer than that in a way, as we’d taken about two or three months working on about forty, fifty songs, and we started to narrow it down to thirty that we worked on in the garage. So in that respect we did all the work beforehand. The first album took a very long time, you see. We wanted this one to be different, so we just did a straight session and banged it down there and then. It was a totally different discipline. We’ll do the opposite again for the next album and record it all properly in three months after spending a day or two writing all the songs.

AD: Ok, so if Westlife approached you asking permission to record one of your songs as their next single, what would your reaction be?

DK: It would be “Right then, how much money could we get out of this?” – I honestly wouldn’t have a problem with it.

AD: Oh honestly man, have you no conscience? How can you sleep at night? Would I do it? God yes. I’d even shag the ugly one if it would get me a hit single. Anyway, you’ve earned rave reviews for both albums, and singles likewise. The Irish Times even called “This Is My Happening…” one of the most important albums of the year. How do you maintain such high standards, and how would you react if you started getting really BAD reviews?

DK: Well we HAVE had some really bad reviews. I don’t know, you just tend to ignore them – even the good ones. We hardly ever read a review and think “YES! That’s where we’re coming from”, and sometimes it’s hard to figure out what the reviewer was on! We got a great review in Kerrang! Magazine when Backyard Babies did a guest slot on the albums’ page. Actually their guitarist did the most amazing thing on stage where he threw his guitar twenty yards to his roadie whilst putting his next one on at the same time! That was really cool.

AD: So you’ll be learning that one now will you, for your bass?

DK: Er…maybe…eventually. Anyway after the Kerrang! Review, we got one in Metal Hammer, and we thought we might get a good one in there too. Then I remember Patrick looking at it and saying “Er…I wouldn’t bother reading THIS one if I were you!” Still, we always sem to get more good reviews than bad, so we’re more than happy with that.

AD: Your website claims that Patrick resembles a latter day Elvis Presley. In what way exactly?

DK: Well, he’s got a rockabilly quiff at the moment. Normally he looks like a bearded Charles Manson…or a cross between him and Brendan Behan. He looks more like an early Elvis at the moment actually, although he hasn’t quite got the bone structure….

AD: Apparently there was a bit of a palaver with the police while you were filming the video to “Feeding Frenzy” some time ago….

DK: Ha ha, yes. The idea was that we’re at this petrol station, and we’re doing a piss take on the whole “garage hold up” scene, where everyone else aside from the robbers is wearing a balaclava. Wo we’ve got the shopkeeper, the customers, and a woman with a dog all dressed in balaclavas. This was in the middle of the night, and we’d previously got permission from the guards to film it. The real shopkeeper was watching it all so there was no problem there. Anyway, this guy came into the petrol station, filled his car with about a penny’s worth of fuel, looked in at the scene and drove off very quickly. What we hadn’t realised was that this would look like a REAL hold up to passers by and the police turned up and surrounded the place. We had to explain what was going on. They weren’t too happy about it either, I can tell you!

Huh. Typical bloody rozzers. No sense of humour whatsoever. I remember one pulling me over for speeding after I’d been playing snooker with my mate Alex. Once the bugger had questioned me, he thought it was hilarious to say “He’s not Alex Higgins, is he?” How excruciatingly funny. Anyway, talking of funny – one of the other questions I asked Daragh was which cartoon characters he felt resembled each band member the most. His answers were the baby out of family guy (for all of them), Roger Ranjet for Paul, and a cross between the detective in the Pink Panther cartoons and Dick Dastardly from Wacky Races. He has no idea why. You don’t need to know either. You just need to know that you need to have “This Is My Happening…” in your CD collection very, very soon.

Interview and transcript by Tone E


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