Excuse me a moment… I had to wipe away a few tears. I’ve known it for a while now. I’ve flirted with the concept. But today I must accept it. I am old. Was it the finding of arthritis in yet another place? (Most recently my right hand – oh no! I type all day!) Was it the decision to go gray? (A process. First the $200 dye job to my long hair by a ‘hairdresser to the stars’. That didn’t hold – I had been dying it blond too many years. Then cutting my long hair to a short blond bob. Finally cutting it to the roots. New picture soon, when I don’t look like a new Marine recruit.) No. It wasn’t either of these things or one of the many other signs. It was a simple email from Galway. The Saw Doctors are taking a break from touring. They have been doing it for over twenty years. There has always been only two constants to The Saw Doctors. Davy Carton and Leo Moran. As Leo is going out on his own for the time being with Anthony Thistlethwaite doing small venues, it means only one thing. Davy is tired. And Davy is my age.
I have loved The Saw Doctors from the beginning, back in 1986. They had it all. A true Irish rock and roll band with a sound like no one else. Sure, U2 made the world realize we were not all Tura Lura Lura or Whack for the tura lura laddy, but The Saw Doctors were pure West of Ireland culchie, wild and crazy, rock and roll. They had the added benefit of making the Catholic church mad when they sang about a boy in church watching a girl for ‘the glory of her ass’. You can hear me humming N17 when I am dreaming of getting the hell out of here and wondering why I ever left Ireland. Or The Green and Red of Mayo. I could not begin to name a favorite song. Every single one has been relevant to me and my life.
Davy was my age but I had a special fondness for Leo as his Da was my bank manager back in Ballaghaderreen. They took the stage, back in the very early days, on Honda 50s (although it was Seamus Moore who sang about the Honda 50). The preferred culchie method of transportation – along with the ubiquitous Red Cortina (which they wrote a song about). I was even inspired to paint a picture, Honda 50.
A Saw Doctor concert was always a unique kind of event. I will never forget the first time I dragged my husband, kicking and screaming, to his first one at The Melody Tent on Cape Cod. There he was, 15 years older than me and Lebanese with no love for anything Irish. Other than me. Dressed in his expensive slacks, polo, and Italian leather loafers. Absolutely determined to be miserable and make me remember the things he did to make me happy. The Saw Doctors took the stage and everyone in the audience, except one man in a wheelchair, rose to their feet and never sat down again. You sing along, you dance in the aisle, you jump around madly, but you never sit down at a Saw Doctor concert. And my husband was right there with everyone else. As we crossed the road after, to the hotel, his one comment was, “I’m wearing sneakers next year.” And he did. Last year as I soaked in the Jacuzzi, post concert, trying to silence the ache in every bone and muscle, he said it was his last one. He was too old for it. Of course I planned to beg and plead and in the end convince him to go again this year. But there will be no Melody Tent this year. Seems Davy is too old as well. Which means so am I. So excuse my tears, I am mourning the passing of my youth. Lets hope Davy gets a second wind so I get my youth back!!
The email follows. If you have a local venue that Leo and Anto could play, get in touch with Amanda, her email is below. You won’t regret it. Some great music and story telling for all.
Greetings from Galway. I suppose at this stage you know
that The Saw Doctors are on a break from gigging and as a
result there won’t be any more live shows this year.
The current break is The Saw Doctors first rest from
touring and recording in over twenty years of non-stop
gigging all over the world. I’m sorry to say there will be no
Melody Tent shows in Cape Cod or any US tour dates
But now some good news. With The Saw Doctors on
sabbatical, two band members Leo Moran and
Anthony Thistlethwaite, have booked a US tour from
mid-September to mid-October, playing small venues
such as The Tin Angel in Philadelphia and some intimate
The Fall US Tour will be advertised as ‘Leo & Anto’ and
the two lads will perform as an acoustic duo for the full show.
The start date for the Tour is September 20 and there
are still a few dates left to be filled in the month long US
If you would like to host a House concert with Leo & Anto,
please email me with a proposal including a date, venue,
and capacity of room. firstname.lastname@example.org
Leo will sing some Saw Doctors songs such as Clare Island
and Same Oul’ Town as well as some new songs he has
been working on with Padraig Stevens such as Rossport
Five. Anto will sing songs from his days in The Waterboys,
including Strange Boat and Fisherman’s Blues.
Leo & Anto will tell some stories from their twenty odd
years of touring the world with The Saw Doctors and The
Waterboys – Anto will share his experiences of working
with Bob Dylan, Donovan and Mick Taylor of The Rolling
I’m rushing now as the sun has come out again here in Galway –
I promise to update you soon again with more news and gossip
– the boss Jennings has big plans to launch a new Saw Doctors
website in the coming weeks and wait for it…..he says that there
will be new Tshirts for sale and loads of special offers on
CD’s, DVD’s, etc. Meantime, there’s always a bit of craic and
Saw Doctors music on the bands Facebook page.