STAR-STUDDED LINE-UP The BibleCode Sundays with guest singer Russell Crowe. Elvis Costello and The Specials’ Matt McManamon also appear on the band’s new album.
Hollywood megastar heads star line-up on Mulranny man’s band’s new album
BibleCode Sundays did not think they would have a fourth album. And they certainly did not think it would be as dramatic a production as it turned out to be.
Perhaps that’s why it’s fitting that Hollywood megastar Russell Crowe features, singing the sixth song, Hand in Heart, on the album, Walk Like Kings.
Crowe, who leads his own band, Indoor Garden Party, got to know the band in recent years and declares himself a fan of their work.
After being asked to feature, he was more than willing – quite the coup for London-Irish Celtic rock band BibleCode Sundays.
But the Aussie actor isn’t the only superstar to feature on the album.
Elvis Costello links up with his brother Ronan McManus, one of the established band members, and the rest of their brothers for a poignant tribute to their late father Ross McManus (Costello’s birth name is Declan McManus).
Matt McManamon – formerly of The Specials and the Dead 60s – also features as do many other friends of the bands.
It’s quite a famous ensemble.
And central to the band is Mulranny man Enda Mulloy. He’s a guitarist and songwriter with the band since their formation in 2001.
BibleCode Sundays began working on their third album, ‘New Hazardous Design’, in 2010. When that album was complete, they referred to it as being ‘our last album’. And, Mulloy says, that ‘genuinely was the plan’.
But sometimes the stars align differently, and so it was with ‘Walk Like Kings’, which the band described as ‘an accidental album’.
There was a request for music for the movie on Irish-American gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, ‘Black Mass’, starring Johnny Depp.
The band decided to go for it and produced four songs ‘made-to-measure’ for consideration for the movie soundtrack. “Unfortunately, the tracks were not used, but we were left with four tracks we were really happy with,” said Mulloy.
The foundations for an album were in place.
“The album gained its own momentum when we had that body of work. It was a fluke really, we hadn’t intended it,” added Mulloy.
‘Walk Like Kings’ was released on Monday, October 2, and when we speak the next day, Enda Mulloy is jubilant: The album is already at number 19 in the iTunes charts in the UK.
“We were one place above Oasis’s ‘What’s The Story, Morning Glory?’, which is in demand due to the fact it’s the 20th anniversary of its release. [Band member] Andy Nolan knows Bonehead from Oasis, so he was able to tweet him and gloat,” chuckles Enda.
Russelling up a tune
It’s not every day that you get to leap over Oasis, but then it’s not every day either that you have Russell Crowe on your team. Was it difficult to get the Aussie actor involved?
“We just asked him. We were both guests on The One Show on BBC One on St Patrick’s Day in 2016, and we had been in touch before that,” said Mulloy.
“We had a song out called ‘The Cinderella Man’, which, coincidentally, was the name of a film he starred in. Someone made a video using the song and the film, and Russell tweeted it. We met him subsequently at an Elvis Costello gig, where he was a guest singer, and then at The One Show.
“He told us he was a fan of the band. We’ve been in touch ever since The One Show. He has invited me out to dinner, and we met him at the after show for a gig of his in the Dorchester last Thursday week.
“He’s a gentleman, a proper good guy. His life can be quite difficult. He can’t just go to the pub, but if he could he would,” said Mulloy.
The band sent a musical piece to Crowe in Sydney, which had a New Zealand bent to it. Crowe was born there so they were hoping he would take to it.
“He came back to us to say it didn’t suit him, so we sent him another piece and didn’t hear from him for a few days … next thing he messaged us to say he was going into a studio the following day to record it.
“It’s a lovely song. Russell is a very good singer. He sings like a cowboy, with a lovely, low baritone.”
The second famous guest on the album is Elvis Costello, who links up with his brother Declan, one of the founding band members. The BibleCode Sundays toured in the US as special guests with Costello in 2012.
The song is a tribute to their late father, Ross, who had roots in Tyrone and was a showband singer with the well-known Joe Loss Orchestra.
So, for the first time, Ronan, Elvis and their three other brothers came together to sing ‘Willie Redmond’s Volunteers’, the final song on the album. They managed to include a clip of their father’s voice on the track too. A lovely family tribute.
“It was really nice to be able to do that and to be part of that,” said Enda Mulloy.
Of course Mulloy comes from solid musical heritage himself. His father is the renowned Tom Mulloy, who, with his late brothers, Martin and Michael, formed the famous Mulloy Brothers, stars of the local music scene here in Mayo for many years.
Enda played with the band for four years, prior to moving to London as a 19 year old.
“It was unbelievable to play with my Dad and my uncles. We toured the US and toured London. It was a brilliant time. My uncles Michael and Martin both died as young men. I miss those guys hugely,” Enda said.
He’s quick to point out that while people assume his love and talent for music came solely from his father’s side, two of his cousins on his mother’s side are talented musicians also. Seán Fahy from Belmullet is a country-and-western singer, while Gráinne Fahy from Westport is a young singer/songwriter.
And while Mulloy is influenced by the Mulloy Brothers’ trad and ballad traditions, he’s also influenced by grunge and rock music too, all of which whirls into the broad church of BibleCode Sundays’ music.
Mulloy moved permanently to London in 1999, and BibleCode Sundays formed in 2001 after six of them met in The Shawl in South Harrow and started jamming.
Two band members are Irish, two more are second-generation Irish while two others are English but, as Mulloy says, ‘consider themselves Irish at this stage anyway!’.
Five of the original sextet are still in the band, with Kian Chanter joining as the band’s lead guitarist in recent years. He’s actually engaged to a Kilmaine woman, Grace Browne.
Enda and his partner, Victoria Burton, live in Ruislip, London, and have two children, Bobby and James. The two boys were home last year with two other cousins, and they took part in an impromptu music workshop with their grandfather Tom, who enjoys passing on his talents to the next generation.
Mulloy works as a lecturer in Acton College in west London, lecturing in carpentry and English. BibleCode Sundays is a passion on the side. The band performs most weekends and has toured, although Mulloy jokes that they are becoming aging rockers.
“I’m still recovering from the launch, and we went to the USA in May for five days and I came back in pieces! Back in the day we would go for two weeks and I’d have no bother recovering from such a wild trip. We’re definitely not getting any younger!”
But he’s not resting on his laurels. While the band has no plans confirmed for a tour with ‘Walk Like Kings’, members Mulloy, Ronan McManus and Carlton Hunt are linking in with Luke Dolan, a London man with Cavan connections, in a ‘rocky blues’ collaboration, and they hope to release an album by Christmas.