Interview with Brendan Tallon – Revelino – Part 1
by Killian Laher
No More Workhorse had a chat with Brendan Tallon of Revelino about the reissue of their debut album. You can read what we thought about the album here.
Visit Revelino’s website here.
It is great to hear that the debut album is coming out again. Can you take me back to what was happening at the time, how you got together with the band?
‘Revelino’ was formed from the ashes of our previous band ‘The Coletranes’ which featured me (Vocals & Guitar), Bren Berry (Guitar & Vocals), Ian O’Donoghue (Bass & Vocals) and Shane ‘Budgie’ Rafferty (Drums). We were from Ballinteer, Dublin & had built a growing fanbase performing regular sold out nights in venues like Walters in Dun Laoghaire and the legendary Baggot Inn. We peaked in 1992 with a no 5 single I Wake Up (on Mother Records off-shoot Son Records) and an Irish tour climaxing in a sold-out show at the iconic McGonagles. Things were looking golden for us but then the wheels started to come off when the plug was pulled at the 11th hour on a substantial international publishing deal… and then an American record deal we signed basically came to nothing. This led to a lost year of waiting around while the band were living together in a house in Marlay, surviving on the dole. The parties there were notorious, and a side project called Radio Berlin killed some time, but frustration built and led to us re-imagining the band. Ian O’Donoghue sadly left and was replaced by Alan ‘Monty’ Montgomery (ex-The Dixons) on bass guitar and Brendan my younger brother, Ciaran, completed the new line-up on guitar. Football talk over copious late-night pints in a boozer in Dublin city gave birth to the drunken idea of calling the new band Revelino. Frustrated at the music industry, we decided that the best way to get a record out was to go the independent route and to do everything ourselves, so Bren Berry did a Kenny Dalglish and became player-manager. In 1993, we made a very conscious decision to stay out of the limelight and instead spent a year playing covers gigs to earn enough money to fund our debut album. Those covers gigs also really helped the band chemistry and there were many great nights in The Blue Light, The Coach House and The Wildebeest on Johnson’s Court.
What was the music scene in Dublin like in those days? In retrospect seems like quite an exciting time?
Up to 1993/94 we were pretty much Ballinteer-centric as we lived in a house together out there, had our local bars and group of friends. We had a lot of gatherings, parties, sing songs all the time. I remember one night I had friends over from Germany and there was about 20 of us sitting around in a room and someone took a guitar out and played a song, then passed it on and the guitar went around the whole room. every person in the room could play and sing. They were completely blown away by this idea but all our friends and guys who worked with the band were steeped in music and able to play, formed bands of their own.
We were planning on releasing ‘Revelino’ (the album) ourselves, then we met Shane & Brian O’Neill who were very like-minded & were setting up Dirt Records. We started to spend much more time in town then hanging out in Dirt Records, at tons of gigs, rehearsing, recording, at parties etc. It was an exciting time for bands, and we knew a lot of them including all the Dirt bands like The Idiots, Sack, Jimmy Eadie, Tension, The Blue Angels, and other bands like Stars of Heaven, Luggage, Pet Lamb, Mexican Pets, Indigo, The Revenants, Whipping Boy, A House, Something Happens, Turn, The Frames, The Chalets, The Honey Thieves. We probably weren’t part of a scene per se but we were fans of lots of the bands around at that time…..the list of great bands from then is endless and the venues were great too – after The Baggot Inn closed, Whelans quickly became our favourite venue to play.
Did you have many of the songs written before you went into the studio?
We had pretty much all the songs written. There was a central week or two when I remember we rehearsed the bulk of the songs on the debut album. I had about 6 or 7 of them finished. I knew they were strong and we went into a rehearsal space in Churchtown. It was a big garage space with carpets in the garden of Dec Jones, the bass player with ‘Blue in Heaven’. I vividly remember us playing ‘Happiness is Mine’ and ‘Don’t Lead Me Down’, ‘I Feel so Tired’ and a few others and how easily they came together, pretty much instantaneously, painlessly. It was all there straight away. We were walking on cloud nine coming out of the room with the realisation we had to get these recorded as soon as possible. There was a definite feeling of urgency about it and there was no way we weren’t going to somehow get these songs out. I think because of our experiences with ‘The Coletranes’ failing to make an album it was a case of just getting it done ourselves and not waiting for someone else to make it happen for us.
The Interview continues in Part 2 later this week…
Revelino – Revelino – is released on vinyl on October 9th
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