MB: So its only Irish folk musicians?
Not only‚ but it's very Irish.
MB: Is that why you're records don't sell very well in Ireland?
I played in Cork‚ the native city of Paddy Herlihy‚ and across the street was Herlihy's Groceries‚ and there was a few people who came. That was probably my landlord's family. [Laughter] It's nice to be there‚ I like being in Dublin. It's just kind of a journey thing‚ making this trip through.... I can actually make more money in England.
NJ: Really‚ the gigs pay more?
Yeah‚ and there's more of them too. They get more people to come to them.
NJ: Good to get paid in pounds.
Except when you check-out it takes five percent. If you translate your pounds to dollars the banks will take five percent. So‚ you'll be working hard for about a month and expect a lot of money‚ you'll have to give them… or you could not cash in and just take all your pounds over here.
MB: How did you end up in Astoria?
I was in Portland in the '70s for one summer. I got a gig in Astoria and I just figured‚ "I'd like to live here‚" and I tried to live there a few times. I've been there for about seven years. I love the sheer geography of the place; it's very expanded. There's mountain‚ there's rivers that are four miles wide that just run right into the Pacific‚ and Astoria has got these hills that go up in angles like San Francisco's hills‚ across the river there's Washington and you can see a mountain. It rains furiously all winter long; I think it's the natural environment of a hermit‚ which is probably why no one comes to my shows. [Laughter]
NJ: Are there any other musicians in Astoria that you know?
Yeah‚ there's lots of musicians there. They sort of play there and down the coast a little bit. Seaside and Cannon Beach and Portland. Some of them don't go to Portland much. Portland's rich in the opportunity for musicians‚ I think it even has more than San Francisco‚ don't you think?
NJ: Musicians or opportunities?
Places to play.
NJ: Oh yeah‚ venues? Yeah‚ definitely.
It's pretty wild.
NJ: There's a lot of musicians too.
Same in San Francisco.
NJ: Do you ever go to the Columbian Café?
Yeah‚ I play at the Voodoo Lounge there. That's an easy gig to get. You just call them up and they just write you in. They won't do anything.
NJ: Oh really? No promotion or anything?
They'll write it on the chalkboard outside on the street. [Laughter]
MB: It's funny to think of a place called the Voodoo Lounge in Astoria‚ Oregon.
Well‚ it's pretty nice in the room there. It has all these artifacts from New Orleans‚ these voodoo artifacts.