My name is Tony Gannon and I was
exploring the history of Irish groups and bands etc, on the web,
when I came across a few pictures on my old band -the Uptown band. I
was a bass player, and that's me pictured with our guitar player
Buddy Boland, at the bottom of the page, probably taken in 1969. I
think one of Mojos girlfriends may have taken this in the Ierne
Ballroom, Dublin. Prior to the Uptown band, I played bass in the
"Difference" (Paul Keogh et al), and The Grass Band (with Pete
When my predecessor in the Uptown Band - Brush Sheils,
left to form Skid Row with Phil Lyonnet, I took his place. My memory
says that was about '67 /'68, not entirely sure. The final line up
of the Uptown Band was - Mojo (organ), Pat Nash (drums), Buddy
Boland (lead guitar) and myself on bass.
We, (Mojo and me) wrote a lot of original material and performed
them on stage. Of course there was always talk of a record deal...
unfortunately, it never happened. Groups were starting to learn that
in order to 'make it', you had to go to England! Several
groups had made records in Ireland - the Strangers, Orange Machine,
and more, and so maybe it was some kind of mental inferiority, but
England was the place. Of course, not so long afterwards, Thin Lizzy
did just this and WHAM!
To get back to the story, apart from the original material, we
also performed many numbers from the Doors, Motown, and that 'Fire'
number which was quite something - explosives, fire and flames on
stage. We also introduced Mickey Mouse on stage during 'rave'
sessions, and Mojo having filled the mouse with ketchup and water,
he stabbed the 'mouse' during one of our numbers - for effect. This
was quite an experience - you can see why we were loved by some, and
hated by others.
A bit like "The Who" on acid! We got a lot of attention when we
did those types of numbers and we were banned from some places. We
didn't care! The band received a lot of fan support. And there were
many of those, not just girls who wanted to get off with our good
looking drummer - Pat, but also guys who liked the solid rock
numbers on stage, and loved the music.
We also started off the "flour and egg" war against the showbands
- our sworn enemies. We would 'ambush' their vans at strategic
points (Portlaoise for instance) and blast them. It was quite the
time, made the headlines too in the Evening Herald and Spotlight
magazine. I remember that some bands took it very well - Jim Farley
Band, The Drifters, The Dixies (they were mad!), however, the more
conservative ones were a pain - the Miami and Dickie for example. We
were also 'hit' from time to time. But it took the drudgery out of
One of the originals numbers we wrote was the theme for RTE's
"Like Now" TV show. It was recorded in the old Eamon Andrews studios
in Mary Street, Dublin, and we were all very drunk during the
recording, including our illustrious manager - Larry Mooney, now
deceased. I remember lying on the floor of the studios, playing away
on my Fender bass guitar to the thump, thump, thump, of the number.
But it was fun! The recording engineer was a guy called Bill
Somerville-Large, you could tell he hated the band.
We appeared on television many times on the "Like Now" show,
Danny Hughes was the presenter. It was a good idea, pity about the
camera-work! We were also 'big' in Belfast - topping the bill on
many occasions at ballrooms, clubs and bars. However, we suffered a
death blow when most of our equipment was stolen in Belfast after a
gig, that was in May or June of '69. I remember that Pat was very
upset (so was I), we owed a lot of money on the gear. We never
recovered from that. I lost a cherry-red Gibson solid bass - has
anyone seen it yet?
I went to the US in July '69 for 6 months to try and make some
money, and when I returned the band had broken up. The only person I
ever heard from was Mojo, but the hurt was too big to get over, so
we never re-formed.
In 1970, I joined Charley Murphy's band at his new night club -
"Good Time Charly's" in O'Connell street, Dublin. I know that Pat
Nash played for a while in the re-formed Granny's Intentions with
Johnny Duhan and a close friend, Pete Cummins. I had played
years before with Pete in the Grass Band, with Sid Gray (drums),
Alan Cullen on guitar and sax. That was a fun 'pop' band and we made
lots of money doing regular gigs at the Apartment Club, in Middle
As I said, now I live in Florida and work in the space business.
Occasionally I pick up my old Spanish guitar and sing a few lines of
"Come on baby light my fire". I enjoyed it all.