An Interview with Paul Devlin

The Gilhoolys are back, riding the Indie Renaissance, with some bangin’ new tunes

Hello Paul – so, where are you from & where are you living today?
I was born in the East End of Glasgow but grew up in Hamilton and now live in Motherwell.

What is your first musical memory?
My first awareness of music was literally as a baby possibly 2 years old. I used to play all my sisters records and learned the words and albeit often named the songs myself with my comprehension of what they “might” be called. My father used to show off to family and friends by having me name of those records before I could read or write. I think at that point everyone knew I might do something musical with my life.

What instruments do you play & how did you pick them up in the first place?
I play lead guitar and some harmonica. I guess I heard Paul Weller many years ago and wanted to replicate his energy and passion. My sister gave me her old acoustic guitar. I had two guitar lessons and didn’t quite have the patience to wait for a lesson each week so learned myself.

The harmonica was different. I heard a guy called Larry Adler play and immediately wanted to learn that wonderful instrument. I’m certainly no Larry but can get by.

Who has been your greatest musical influences over the years?
Such a hard question to answer really as I have admired and learned from loads of wonderful musicians and writers. I’d obviously have to say Paul Weller but people like Ray Davies, Pete Townshend, and of course David Bowie from those eras but band such as Echo & The Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, The Cure, The Icicle Works then onto Bands such as The Manics, Feeder, Placebo, Pixies etc. I guess looking at those bands there is an interconnection with the way they all play. Very passionate and energetic.

Desert island, solar-power’d CD player, 3 albums – what are they?
Setting Sons – The Jam – The Holy Bible – Manics – Ocean Rain – Echo & The Bunnymen – soooo difficult to answer

Can you tell me about your band?
Yea… we started off way back in 1990 when myself and Hoss Kane (original bassist) started the band. We recruited Fitzy (guitar/vox) and Stevie McBride (drums) and started to play dates throughout central Scotland and creating a decent fanbase and reputation. We had strong melodies and I guess our two single releases “The Story of Maggie Malone” and “ You Bring Out The Devil In Me” sort of amplify those melodies. Some darkness in there, but strong melodic rock.

Tommy Shaw later replaced Fitzy on Keys and we brought in John McPartlin to strengthen the harmonies after Fitzy left. We went a little more rockier at that point, with a border on slightly grunge. It gave us a harder core fanbase and there were some excellent gigs to remember back then at King Tuts, the Motherwell Civic Theatre and the Glasgow SEC as supporting act.

Ultimately different influences took their toll and after a rejected offer to visit the US on a college tour, we went our separate ways. 20 odd years later we’re back making brand new music and have to say, better than ever.

Paul Devlin

How does it feel being part of the band’s renaissance?
Amazing!! It was unexpected, spontaneous and so surprised to have the success we have experienced so far. A new lease of life for us all.

What are your greatest memories of the 90s?
The music. Discovering bands like the Manics , Stone Roses, Teenage Fanclub, Placebo and the Britpop bands was phenomenal. This truly was a golden age for music and those band have stood the rest of time ever since. I believe this era enhanced the music industry and redirected proper music back into the correct lanes.

What are the reasons, do you think, for this new wave of interest in the Gilhoolys?
I think we have connected with people who still hold the Indie candle high. To see loads of young people connecting to the 90s indie music and reinvigorating it, has been the key. I also think our live performances have never been better and our new songs are stronger than ever.

You’ve got Cosmic Rough Riders ex bass player, James Clifford, on board – how is he fitting in?
Just Superbly. We’d known Cliffy all our musical career and he would be at our gigs back in the day and vice versa with his bands. The body he supplies the music has elevated the entire performance of the songs and band as well as the fact he “Gets” my ideas with the compositions and that is a massive game changer. As well as being a top, top Bass player, he is an incredible performer and that bodes well with the aforementioned passion we try to create live.

What is the true essence of the band’s dynamic?
I think we have originality, but also recognisable traits and people have surprised us with who they think we sound like. Our aim is to give “EVERYTHING” to the audience by the time we leave the stage.
Live performance is everything to us but we work so hard on having a “Quality Control” on our output of our songs.

How is the band’s songwriting going in the 2020s?
As much as you may expect to hear it, it’s as strong as ever and our new songs that we are currently rehearsing for the new album are truly the best we’ve done. We stripped back the music and took some really good advice on some “Distractive” elements we used to think made us good, and dropped that way of thinking. For me, it’s been our most constructive elements of our new material.

You tour’d Scotland this year, how did it feel to be back on the road again & what was the biggest fuck-up on the road?
Amazing to be back out there. Some brilliant shows in Stereo Glasgow, Room 2 Glasgow and Drummonds Aberdeen spring to mind. As already mentioned we put everything into our live shows. No real major catastrophes on the tour so far (touching wood) although Some over-indulgence on the alcohol meant we had to lean a certain band member against the wall during a gig in Aberdeen to keep him upright 😂

Tell us about Main St Records & your deal?
Main St have been great and Andy Anderson is currently working with us on our new Album / Single etc right now at Main St.
We had a Chat with Brian Imrie at Main St back in late 2020 just after we got back together and he was very supportive in getting our new material back out there and of course getting us on the Bills at the “Soundwave Alldayer mini Festival”.

Both these guys as well as Natalie Gillan have helped us promote and get these songs back out in the mainstream and radio stations again.
After the next album we can reflect back on what we’ve done since all meeting up again, but we think the new album will be pinnacle of The Gilhooly’s achievements so far.

You’ve releas’d two singles so far from your forthcoming album – can you you tell us about them?
Yes… Star was our first release back in June 2021 and went to No 1 overnight on 26/6/21 on the Amazon Indie Chart. That completely blew us away but to follow it up with a number 2 in the same chart 6 months later with our second single “Will God Forgive” was just mind blowing. So unexpected and our appreciation of our followers will live with us forever. Slightly different type of songs – Star being a slightly Punky song with a stomp type undertone. Will God Forgive has more a melodic hook chorus that encapsulates the melancholy of the lyrics. I think both together give a fair indication of our flexibility and versatility.

There’s a third single being releas’d soon – can you tell us about it & the launch?
Yes. The Score is most definitely the first of a new batch of songs with our new way of working. So far, we’ve had various brilliant feedback from this. Definitely shades of our 60s influence shining through. We are so excited with our new stuff that collectively we decided to work very hard to get as many of the new songs into our set asap.

The Launch at Room 2 Glasgow on 29/10 will see us play the song live 24 hours after it’s release on 28/10. We have very special guests on the bill with us – DIGNITY ROW and LONEHEAD so really looking forward to sharing the stage with these brilliant bands.

How is 2023 looking for the band?
Very good to be fair. We’ve got some help now in the form of Lisa Clifford helping arrange dates and elevate our status. We do really want to get a reaction from our new album which we think will be ready around March 23 for release. After that we can take stock and sit down to see where we can take the Gs in 23 and beyond.


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