Interview with The Saw Doctors

Ahead of their upcoming rearranged show at Rock City, The Mic got in touch with lead singer of the Saw Doctors Leo Moran to find out exactly what the Irish rockers are all about

How did The Saw Doctors form?

The Saw Doctors formed from the remnants of a melodic punky band called Blaze X of which Davy Carton was one of the singers and writers.  He, the other singer, Paul Cunniffe (RIP), Blaze X’s manager, Padraig Stevens and I collaborated to put together The Saw Doctors’ biggest hit, ‘I Useta Lover’.

Is there a story behind the bands name?

It was a title of false importance given by the manager of the local Tuam sawmill to an employee who, up to that point, wasn’t highly motivated.

Who would you consider to be your main inspiration behind your music?

It wouldn’t be possible to name anyone above the others – I learn things and am inspired from all sides; not just musicians and songwriters but writers and poets and crafty people.  Anyone who is creative really.

Would you say your reputation is built on your live shows or  albums released or indeed both?

Only once has someone said to us they prefer our recorded versions to our live deliveries. The Saw Doctors are best known for their live show – that’s what works for our audience and we’re lucky it’s so.

What was the first music festival you ever went to?

I was at a famous rocky folk festival in a small town in County Clare called Lisdoonvarna in 1982.  Jackson Browne headlined but Dave Edmunds blew the place away on the day.  It was old style of course;  I remember a man standing on a couple of slabs of beer to see the stage but as the night wore on his vantage point diminished.

What’s your favourite venue / city to play?

We’re very lucky in that almost everywhere we get to play ranges between good and fantastic. There’s no real favourite and a particularly magic night can come most unexpectedly.

Favourite music festival?

Again, I’ve enjoyed almost all the ones I’ve been at – it was a great buzz to get to Roskilde in Denmark though.

Do you prefer playing festival sets or more intimate shows?

There are advantages to both – the big show needs a snappy, theatrical-almost, presentation of the songs and the set – the smaller shows allow you to develop a more relaxed and free-flowing relationship with the audience.

What would your five records for a desert island be?

There are three Springsteen albums I love – ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’, ‘Nebraska’ and ‘Tunnel of Love’.  The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem’s ‘The First Hurrah’ and I’m not sure after that.

Do you have a favourite song to play live?

That shifts around – it’s usually the newest one or one we haven’t taken out in a while.

Finally, as it’s the first time I will have seen you live, what can I expect from a Saw Doctors show?

The Saw Doctors is a rock band with a West of Ireland accent and vernacular.  We play simple, melodic songs with not much fancy instrumentation – there’ll be songs all across the spectrum between sad and joyous with singing along, shouting and dancing involved.