Words & Photos: David McEneaney.
I grew up in the 80s with an uncle who decided at some point that it was his responsibility to make sure I had a proper musical education (thanks Gerard!). So from a very early age I was subjected to my own personally curated radio station which consisted of constant rotations between The Fall, Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, The Cure, David Bowie etc. It then evolved into the likes of The Pixies, Fatima Mansions and My Bloody Valentine where it was then decided at around 13 I had finally graduated and it was time to strike out on my own. So naturally off to Seattle I went…well via CDs and cassettes I ‘borrowed’ from friends anyway.
I played in bands since I was 14 years old, switching from guitar and vocals to bass when I was 19 because I was always drawn to bands that had good bass players (see above), and also because I couldn’t really sing and it unfortunatelty took me 5 years to realise this.
I played in both original and cover bands, and while packing up the gear after many, many gigs because the singers and guitarists were getting all the attention from the ladies, the main question I was always asked any time any of them actually/accidentally made their way over to me was ‘what does a bass player do anyway?’
This was always an easy question for me to answer, but a difficult one for people to understand.
They drive the song and hold the rest of the instruments together, bridging the gap between the drummer and everyone else. They are the ‘Head of Rhythm Management’, so to speak.
The older I get and the more music I seek out, the more I realise that I am constantly drawn to bands that have to hit certain subconscious markers for me. They need to have distinctive vocals, write guitar driven songs that also have the types of choruses that stay in your head and drive you mad for days, have bass lines that both drive the songs and at the same time sound f***ing badass, and preferably, but not necessarily, use synths.
It was no surprise then, that when I was in college and at a party in 2006 I had to stop what was I’m sure a deep and very meaningful conversation to ask, ‘here, what’s that song?’, to which I was informed, ’thats Bullets, by Editors’ and back to the discussion we went. Later on that night I had to stop someone else again and ask the same question, to which I was advised ’thats Editors’ and after further research (looking at the iPod) I saw the song was called ‘Munich’. And that, as they say, was that.
This was the time I was paying my rent/college fees by playing bass in a cover/wedding band, and the endless parties and setlist from this era seemed to be soundtracked by albums like ’The Back Room’, ‘Our Love to Admire’, ‘Boxer’, ’The Killers’ and ‘We Thrive on Big Cities’. Love it or hate it, there was no escaping it, and I absolutely loved it. From background music while ’studying’, driving to gigs in the van or everyone singing along to ‘Munich’ or ‘Bullets’ at 2am during the aforementioned parties, Editors seemed to be a constant. At first I borrowed the CD, then I bought it, then I made the jump to iPods and got it on there too. I feel like I absorbed that album and it was during one of the best times of my life.
When ‘An End has a Start’ came out, it was around the time I was in the last year of college, and it was also a very uncertain time for me. There were terrifying thoughts of ‘what next?’, breakups, friends leaving the country to go to Australia for ‘better opportunities’, band politics resembling the last 20 mins of ’The Commitments’…the usual stuff that I’m sure everyone goes through at that time. Again, Editors were there, in the background, helping me realise that it wasn’t all bad and that there was always some kind of optimism behind it all.
Which is why I have and always will be an Editors fan.
Being at their gig in The National Stadium last Monday (30th Jan) was extra emotional for me.
I had seen them before, but this was the first time I was also shooting them and seeing them up close after listening from afar for so long. This was expected and therefore made me excited going in, but what I wasn’t prepared for was when I heard songs like ‘Bullets’, ‘Munich’, ’Sugar’, ’Smokers…’, ‘Papillion’ and all the rest played live again after so long. The band were great, the sound was great, the lighting was great, but the best of all was the millions of memories hearing these songs at full tilt brought back all at once. It was kind of overwhelming, the flashes of parties I was at, people I used to know, playing their songs in bars or at debs’ in front of people singing them back to us as if we wrote them…I got a bit emotional.
I also met a few friends in the crowd I knew since back then and sadly haven’t seen in years, but it felt like we were right back there, singing along to the same old songs and taking the same old sh*t. It was amazing, and from looking around, I could see that we weren’t the only ones feeling the same.
If you get a chance during the rest of this tour, I would highly recommend you get a ticket and go see Editors. You will see why they are still as relevant now as they were back then, and why their fans have remained loyal since. They’re just a band that have distinctive vocals, write guitar driven songs that also have the types of choruses that stay in your head and drive you mad for days, have bass lines that both drive the songs and at the same time sound f***ing badass, and, on occasion, use synths.
Fingers in the Factories
Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors
The Racing Rats
An End has a Start