Rock and roll

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When Status Quo played The Venue at Ebrington in May it was one of the highlights of Derry’s year as City of Culture.

For Eamon McGeehan and the fellow members of his band Triggerman, it was a major highlight in the band’s ten year career. Along with that, it was a pretty big deal for Eamon who’d grown up listening to the ‘Quo’ during his childhood. Next month Triggerman will release a new EP and with a steadily increasing fan base, Eamon’s enjoying music more than ever.

All that said, the man known to most people as ‘Bap’ isn’t the type to shout about his achievements from the rooftops.

He enjoyed the Status Quo gig much the same as he enjoys every other gig the local rock band play. For him, it’s about the joy of playing live and there’s not an inch of the music snob about him.

“Good is good,” he says. “You’d find every different musical taste in the stuff I listen to because if it’s good, I’ll like it. Some people have a music snobbery thing, but I don’t.”

Eamon’s first introduction to music came growing up in the Glen from his father, also Eamon. It was during his toddler years in London however, that the Derry rocker first experienced some true Irish rhythm.

“I was born in London, and I think I might have been around two or three years-old but I can remember being in the house in London and standing against the sitting room door listening to a music session that was going on. That was the way people did it in London then, they just went around to each other’s houses for music. I still remember the sound of that music.”

It was growing up in the Glen however when Eamon really discovered his love of music.

“My dad was a musician and I was always picking up his guitar in the house. I just loved listening to music growing up and to be honest I always saw that music had this real therapeutic quality to it. I really enjoyed it.”

At St Anne’s Primary school, a world away from anything resembling Metallica or Triggerman, Eamon had his only professional music training.

“I learned the French Horn at St Anne’s believe it or not!” smiles Eamon.

“Looking back at school I was always pretty easily distracted, but music always held my interest. Then, when I moved onto St Columb’s College,the music just stopped. I have good memories of St Columb’s but in those days you weren’t really steered in the direction that you might have wanted to go in. It wasn’t a case of pushing students into the areas they were good at, you just went to school and that was that.”

Regardless of what was going on in the classroom, outside the classroom Eamon kept up his interest in music alongside a number of other careers including time spent working in Seagate and his current job as an outreach worker with street drinkers.

In that sense to, he credits his father as his biggest influence.

“My father was in the Legion of Mary and long before there were any proper detox facilities here anywhere he was taking people who needed it to Newry. He just did that without anybody paying him or anybody asking him. I can remember people turning up at our house, desperate and looking for help and he wouldn’t think twice about just driving them to Newry where they could get the help they needed.

“His attitude at the time was that if he didn’t do it, nobody else would and he was probably right. My father’s been a real role model to me throughout my life.”

That work ethic and a keeness to reach out and help others when he can has earned Eamon a reputation locally as one of the nicer men in music here, a fact it’s hard to disagree with after a 15 minute chat. When he looks to what the future might hold for himself and fellow Triggerman members Rory McCarron, Niall Deighan and Mark Doherty, that same down to earth attitude prevails.

“None of us in the band are trying to be rock stars,” he says.

“We’re doing this because we love it. it’s as simple as that. For me, there’s nothing better than that time in the studio when we’re putting something together.

“We haven’t had any overnight successes and it’s been a long process but we all love music enough to know that it’s worth taking the time to do something properly. That’s something you just learn over the years.

“In terms of getting the music of Triggerman out there, things like Facebook have been a huge help and have helped us reach a wider audience but we’ve learned from experience that sometimes the best thing can be playing a gig to a small crowd.”

Despite appreciating the solid local fan base, Eamon admits that he and the rest of the band were completely shocked and thrilled when the call came asking them to support Status Quo here back in June.

“That was something!” he says.

“We found out two days before it and there was such a limited amount of time to prepare.

“I couldn’t sleep those two days. It was just that realisation that we were about to be playing with a band who’d sold 100 million albums but in the end I realised that the best way to approach it was to treat it like any other gig. In the end, that worked and the whole experience was just amazing.

“Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt were great and they even agreed to wear a Triggerman T-shirt. It’s an experience none of us will ever forget, that was definitely something special.”

Next month the band will release an EP to keep fans happy before the next album release and in the meantime, more studio time beckons.

“None of us are here because we want to turn into international rock stars overnight,” says Eamon.

“We love music, we love what we do, and as long as people continue to come to our gigs, Triggerman will keep performing and we’re grateful to everybody who keeps supporting us.”

For more information check out www.triggerman.co.uk or find the band on Facebook.