Interview: Saw Doctors
Mention the name The Saw Doctors and youll say "Oh yes I remember them". If I then asked you to name one of their singles, unless you were a fan I reckon youd be fumbling around in the dark for ages, muttering something like "Didnt they do that "Two Princes" song a few years back?" and youd be wrong, because that, as the more educated of us know, was the Spin Doctors. Some of you may manage to blurt out the words "World Of Good" and if you are of Irish origin the chances of you not knowing "I Useta Lover" are remote but the band still remain almost exclusive to their own fan club. Singer Davy Carton answered a few questions .
AD: Youre the first band Ive ever known who plan to play a gig in the paddock of a racecourse (Sandown). Is it still going ahead and what on earth brought that idea on?
DC: Yes. The only reason we might have cancelled is because of the foot and mouth but hopefully itll be all over by then. Basically weve become good friends with a lot of the jockeys over the years we played at a party for Richard Dunwoody. He gave us a call and asked us if we fancied playing a gig to celebrate the end of the jump season and we thought it would be a good laugh.
AD: You seem to be something of an enigma over here. You have a huge and ever expanding following yet to date have only had modest singles chart success. How do you explain that and do you prefer it that way anyway?
DC: Its been amazing. The only reason I can think of is that we own our own record company, we havent got a monopoly on the radio stations and were never on the front cover of the NME. Im not sure that wed be considered cool or hip enough, but yes, I prefer it as opposed to being media darlings one minute and forgotten the next. Some of them only last two weeks and if wed ever been in that situation we wouldnt still be here enjoying ourselves.
AD: Whats the secret of the Saw Doctors longevity? You seem to have been able to effortlessly pick up new fans whilst never losing those who were there at the beginning.
DC: I think the main thing is that people look at us and we look like their friends, so theres always a good atmosphere .and at the end of the day it has to come down to the music as well.
AD: Back in the early days, you must have been a little surprised at the speed things happened. You had Irelands biggest selling single of all time ("I Useta Lover"), played to packed houses in America and had a Channel Four documentary made about you. Did that feel weird, and was it hard to keep your feet on the ground?
DC: Not really because were all down to earth people. When we play gigs its everyone in a room together. To us, the audience is as much a part of the show as we are. People know a lot more of the words than I do even! Even the newer ones, people are singing the words before the end of the song and its all a big rush. When we started Id already been in a band for ten years. I was 30 years of age when it all started and I thought it was a dream. I mean, Id been in a job for 12 years and was married with three children! Of course as well as the things youve mentioned we actually played at Knebworth in 1992 believe it or not. We were an early opener for Genesis and we were quite nervous about playing to 80,000 rock fans. Thats the good thing about us though, we seem to be able to get any crowd going. We got to half meet Phil Collins too, who was a nice man .although because of his music, I think most people would prefer it if he was bollocks.
AD: Did it ever piss you off when people got you mixed up with the Spin Doctors?
DC: Not at all. There must have been a good few people who turned up to our gigs thinking we were them. I didnt mind because people thought they were MY hits and we must have gained quite a few new fans because of them!
AD: Youve always had interesting subject matter for your songs. Whats the story behind the new single "Bound To The Peace"?
DC: We have this saying in Ireland and I dont know if you have it over here but "Bound to the Peace" means being on parole so thats basically what its about. Were really pleased with it. The thing is, youre only as good as the next thing you do and were the biggest critics of the Saw Doctors ourselves. One day something sounds fantastic and the next day it sounds terrible, so we have to be ruthless to keep up the high standards.
AD: What other Irish bands are worth listening to?
DC: Well, in America they seem to getting really into traditional Irish music, but Im not too sure about any rock n roll, and all these commercial bands that are around its just dreadful stuff. The Boyzone fans have grown up though and are now into Barney.
AD: Finally, what do you feel has been the pinnacle of your career to date?
DC: Even up to this day, it has to be the Royal Albert Hall. My mother and father emigrated to England in 1945 and lived there for 25 years. The next time she came back to England, I got her a Royal box at the Royal Albert Hall and the victorious Galway football team joined us on stage. It was really moving and I had difficulty finishing the song, but my mother said it was the best thing shed ever seen. Shes wanted to come to them all since and its a job to stop her!
Its the same for everyone who sees the aw Doctors live they give such a spirited, joyful occasion to their ever increasing fanbase itd be a job to stop ANY of them. Dont miss out .you never know, they might even cover "Little Miss Cant Be Wrong" for a laugh.
Interview by Tone E.