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UPCOMING GIGS

OCTOBER

  • 09.10.04
    McGarrigles, Sligo
  • 22.10.04
    TO BE
    CONFIRMED
  • 23.10.04
    The Lodge,
    Mallow

NOVEMBER

  • 03.11.04
    Whelan's,
    Dublin
  • 05.11.04
    Johnstown Inn,
    Naas
  • 06.11.04
    Roisin Dubh,
    Galway

DECEMBER

  • 04.12.04
    The Stables,
    Mullingar

 

 

 

 

THE CALIBAN TIMES

Part I - The beginning.
Calibans' future uncertain as they decide to become musicians.

In 1989 Anthony Bools (21) and Johnny Brennan (19) travelled through France. They had just quit the rock band they were in since schooldays and were looking for a means of escape. Working in vineyards and busking around they started writing songs that chronicled their adventures. They had no idea these humble beginnings; acoustic guitars, whistles and saltshakers would evolve into the multi-legged rock monster it finally became. Back then all they had were the songs. They started to resemble a real band when violinist Larry Shaw (20) joined them and they took to the stage for the first time in their native Dublin. Venues such as Mother Redcaps, An Béal Bocht and Whelan's hosted concerts of their wistful, romantic bittersweet songs. Performing to small audiences all over Ireland improved their playing no end until they finally felt it was time to commit some song to tape. But that's another story…

 

 

Part II - Tales from the road...
....and some from the ditch.

It was in 1991 / 92. That Caliban started touring in earnest, They were now a four piece band. Guitar, bass, drums and violin. They recorded Heart of Darkness I & II and decamped to Italy. Due to their being Irish and having a fiddle in their ranks they initially played exclusively in Irish pubs. Their recordings proved to be an excellent passport and opened the doors to festivals, theatres and rock clubs. Soon enough Caliban were impossible to pigeon hole, their fan-base broadened considerably and numbers attending gigs got larger and larger. It was when they toured with Blood from a Stone (94) that things really took off. There was no such thing as your average Caliban concert. They would play Social youth clubs for beer money (often under assumed names), secret gigs in their favourite bars and all the while play the festivals, state occasions and large events that made their name in Italy. These performances are legendary. The band were so passionate for living and playing. Soon enough they had an outrageous reputation that Caliban were happy to live up to at anytime.

 

 

 

Part III - The Italian Job

No one in Caliban really knows why Italy? In the beginning it was just that a friend of a friend offered them good money for a couple of gigs. Not quite sufficient funds for the holiday they wanted, but a beginning nonetheless. They had to find other gigs to sponsor the real good times and that's when things started snowballing. This much success this early came as a nice little surprise. At this stage Caliban were still championing the simple life. Sticking firmly to acoustic instruments and remaining as folky and close to nature as they could. Italian audiences loved this as it was so at odds with the slickly packaged, media friendly, squeaky clean music that T.V. and radio over there normally proffers. Caliban could go and play anywhere, indoors or out. They were not politically inclined (to Italian politics at any rate) and were beyond the back-handers and favours usually required to oil the wheels of success in Italy. Also the Italian way of life suited them… good food, good drink and very friendly people.

Part IV - Caliban on C.D.
Non Family Albums and The Future!

In the beginning there were two men and their acoustic guitars, a lot has happened to this band in the last ten years. Great heights have been scaled and Caliban have crawled out of some very deep depths. It's all here somewhere in the music they make.
Blood From a Stone (1994).
The first steps taken away from their folk roots, "Big, bold songs brimming with style and verve", said Hot Press.
The Silk Purse(1995).
An adventurous musical epic, months slaving over a hot mixing desk. String sections, electric guitars, didgeridoo, and kitchen sink etcetera.
"Caliban fuse Celtic and folk etherialisms with a grungy back beat", said Rock 'n' Reel.
Dal Vivo (1996).
Recorded live in Italy this is the one that really summed Caliban up. Their live power finally captured. This album could have been two hours long but your ears would hurt, it's definitely a 'turn it up to 11' album.
"The live power of Calibans' music is their blend of menace and romance going hand in hand along an emotional cliff edge. A full force gale of giant proportions", said Rock 'n' Reel again.

Dal Vivo was made a very special album by one major factor, the calibre of the musicians who played on it.
Davie Byrne (bass player since Blood from A Stone), Albert Cowan (Drums) and Joe Wearan (Guitar) (both ex -Paranoid Visions strangely enough), joined founder members Anthony and Larry to tour the Silk Purse. Audiences expecting mild mannered folk music were in for a surprise!
The music Caliban were making was powerful and scary, wonderful and inspiring. This tour was an incredible success, with the band playing to audiences numbering in their thousands. For posterity Caliban recorded some of these concerts and compiled an albums worth, never actually expecting it to turn out as well as it did. The tour following the release of Dal Vivo saw Caliban at a pinnacle in their career.

X:AM The New Album

Initially the band go into the studio to rehearse old material with new member Niall Hoare but find the whole process boring and decide on the spur of the moment to record all new material instead. There had been so many changes in the lives of the individual members that just playing material from Dal Vivo wouldn't do. Ordinarily the process of recording involved Anthony arriving with material prepared and rehearsed, and then the band plays souped up versions of basic songs. X:AM proved to be much more organic, with everyone involved from a very early stage in development. As a result there is more of everyone's personality in the album, thus making it very much everybody's baby. As per usual Caliban invited guest artists to feature in the recording, notably John Earle of Thin Lizzy fame and Paul Doyle from Providence, and for the first time in Caliban's history Michele Ann Kelly made Foundation into a duet.

New Members
In a long list…

It was during the recording that Gerry O'Shaughnessy came into the fold, initially as a guest to make some noise with his electric guitar.
His pop-star good looks and easy going nature soon had the band asking him to enlist.

Lorient
Caliban invade the north of France...

he folk festival in Lorient is very famous, and very famous for its pure folk. Caliban were about to change all that. As anyone here knows this band rocks, and initially this rock frightened the shit out of our milder gallic folk fans. Not for long though, the band were to spend two weeks in France and in this time they eventually got used to Caliban, The last couple of gigs here made history as they kept everyone awake into the early hours with their unique brand of music. A good time was had by all and Caliban vowed to return one day to the wonderful people of Brittany. Incidentally there is now a special 'rock' section of this festival.

Caliban on the Bus…
As Ireland comes into focus.

A lot of the radio and TV the band did in France led to the band playing acoustically, and the lads enjoyed this immensely, it was a reminder of the old days. They also played lots of sessions in bars around this time and they found it to be an inspiration. Keen to re-capture this atmosphere in Ireland the band undertook a series of unplugged gigs in Dublin, essentially for fans and friends of the band in their home town. They also joined forces with Cuisle, an all girl trad band they met in Lorient for a couple of concerts.

Looking Back, Moving on.

Around the time of the pressing of X:AM Caliban also compiled some forgotten gems in the form of 'Old New Borrowed & Blue' old tracks, hidden treasures and the bands first ever cover version revealed.
The band have since been touring once again in Italy, made a foray into England and have plans to visit Romania and Germany. These plans include the new bass player Mick Cowley, formerly of Goth legends This Burning Effigy. The dark playful eastern style returns as the backbone of Calibans folk sound.

So, to sum it all up then...

  • 1989 Formed in Dublin as a two piece.
  • 1990 Larry joins, record 'Dream a little Dream'. First concerts in Ireland
  • 1991 As a four piece record 'Heart of Darkness' e.p. and 'Heart of Darkness II'. LP
  • 1992 Tour of Europe culminating in the south of Italy playing to audiences of 8000 people and more
  • 1993 Another tour, no new recordings.
  • 1994 Record 'Blood from a Stone'. Their largest tour to date. Four months in Italy North and South and the isle of Sicily.
  • 1995 Record the 'Silk Purse'. Their most ambitious recording yet. Short tour of Italy, mostly Rome and the South, playing to audiences numbering 18,000 and thereabouts.
  • 1996 'Dal Vivo'. Sells bucket loads. Subsequent tour outdoes all others and exhausts band members
  • 1997 Caliban takes a break. Apart from a short stay in Venice playing a favourite bar for St. Patrick's Day.
  • 1998 Anthony Bools writes material. Band members undertake solo projects.
  • 1999 Make a country / blues album for an old friend under the guise of 'The Old Hat Band' and rehearse new material.
  • 2000 Caliban back with new members Ken Whelan and Niall Hoare on Accordion and Bass. The boys are back with recording started on the new L.P. 'X:AM'
  • 2001 New album X:AM recorded and released.
    Gerry O'Shaughnessy joins on electric guitar.
    Compilation of material to make 'Old, New, Borrowed and Blue' a collection of rarities and favourite tracks culled from older EP's, studio out-takes and session recordings
    A short tour of Ireland is followed by an appearance at the Lorient festival in Brittany.
  • 2002 Concerts in France, Italy and Ireland.
  • 2003 Re-packaging the back catalogue for new releases in new markets. And touring of the same,
    Caliban go to Poland for the first time to great success.
    Extensive touring of Ireland for the first time in the bands career, Dublin gigs include Whelan's, The Sugar Club, and Temple Bar Music Centre.
    Festival activity includes playing in Killorglan "Puck Fair" to 8000 people (and a goat).
  • 2004 is a chapter that is currently being written....be there to witness it firsthand !

 

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