The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

Mark Geary 'The Maker and The Mindset of a Master Songwriter - exploring the songwriting process'

John Carter
November 4, 2022
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Mark Geary 'The Maker and The Mindset of a Master Songwriter - exploring the songwriting process'

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Episode shownotes

Hello and welcome to This is HCD. My name is Gerry Scullion and I am a designer, educator and host of This is HCD, based in the wonderful city of Dublin, Ireland.

Our goal here is to have conversations that inspire and to help move the dial forward for organisations to become more human-centred in their approach to solving complex business and societal problems.

This is a new type of episode that I am looking to explore more over the coming years, and that is looking laterally into other fields where we as change-makers can find inspiration. And inspiration you are 100% about to feel and hear in this conversation with one of the finest singer-songwriters around anywhere today, and that is Mark Geary.

The music you hear throughout this episode, is from Mark’s first album, released in 2002 and has accompanied me on my journey as a designer and an ex-patriot whilst living in Australia. It wasn’t until recently though that we really got to sit face to face, in front of turf stove, and drink countless coffees and sing and play guitar together in Mark’s gorgeous cottage in the wilds of a rainy Autumn day deep within a forest on the outskirts of Dublin.

In this conversation we talk about the remarkable journey Mark has been on over the last 2-decades that has seen him play all over the world.

Mark doesn’t play music to be adored, he plays to exist - it’s part of who he is. It’s part of his fabric. He constantly tours around the world, often with Glen Hansard, another phenomenally talented Irish musician.

We speak about his roots in Sin-E in New York, a place where he cut his teeth - a free flowing cafe that many music lovers will automatically connect with Jeff Buckley, but this was a community of like minded people, that cheered and nurtured their own. A community, much like our own within This is HCD, that is trying to figure it all out and get ahead.

There are points in this conversation where we chat about Mark’s environment, and how having the space set up and ready to channel whatever it is that we call ‘it’ - how this affects the process. Mark’s guitars are all around the place, and he’s constantly playing, experimenting, trying and testing out ideas. He’s a master crafts person.

We even talk how this environment is shaping his music, or maybe his music is shaping his environment. How living within a forest is permeating into his latest release, with his latest single being called The Forest.

Let’s get into it!

Episode Transcript

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[00:00:33] Gerry Scullion: Hello and welcome to this is HCD. My name is Gerry Scullion, and I'm a designer educator, and I'm the host of This is HCD in the wonderful city of Dublin, Ireland. Now, our goal here is to have conversations that inspire and help move the dial forward for organizations to become more human-centered in their approach to solving complex business and societal problems.

[00:00:54] Gerry Scullion: In s. Now this is a new type of episode that I'm looking to explore more over the coming years, [00:01:00] and that is looking laterally into other fields where we as change makers can find inspiration. An inspiration is hopefully what you are about to feel and hear in this conversation with one of the finest singer songwriters around today, and that is Mark Geary

[00:01:15] Gerry Scullion: now, the music you hear throughout this episode is from Mark's first album released in 2002 and as accompany me on my journey as a designer and an expatriate was living in Australia. It wasn't until recently though that we got to sit face to face in front of a turf stove, drinking countless coffees and singing and playing guitar together in Mark's gorgeous cottage, in the wilds of a rainy autumn day deep within a forest on the outskirts of Dublin City.

[00:01:42] Gerry Scullion: And in this conversation, we chat about the remarkable journey that Mark has been on for on, for over the last two decades that has seen and play all over the. Countless times. Mark doesn't play music to be adored, though he really plays to exist. And hopefully that comes across in this episode. It's really part of who [00:02:00] he is.

[00:02:00] Gerry Scullion: It's part of his fabric. He constantly tours around the world, often with Glen Hansard, another phenomenally talented Irish musician who lives no lives close by. And we speak about his roots in Shena, uh, in New York. A place where he cut his teeth. Um, it was a free flowing cafe that many. Music lovers will automatically connect probably with Jeff Buckley.

[00:02:22] Gerry Scullion: Um, but this was a community of like-minded people that you're going to hear more of Mark talking about that really cheered and nurtured their own a community, much like our own within this estate CD that is trying to figure it all out and get ahead. You know, there are points in this conversation where we chat about Mark's environment and how having the space set up and ready to channel whatever it is that we call it.

[00:02:46] Gerry Scullion: And how it affects the process. Mark's guitars are all around the place. He's got notebooks everywhere. He's constantly playing. He's experimenting, he's trying, and he's testing out ideas. He is at his core, a [00:03:00] master craftsperson. We even talk about how this environment is shaping his music, or maybe it's his music that is shaping his environment, how living within a forest is permeating his latest release with his latest single being called the forest.

[00:03:15] Gerry Scullion: So let's get into it. Mark Urie, a very warm welcome to Bringing Design Closer, and this is eight cd. I'm delighted to to be here with you. I'm sitting in your front room of your, your beautiful cottage in county Gilda in Ireland with the the log fire. And the turf fire going. Um, a long time admirer of your work.

[00:03:34] Gerry Scullion: Mark. Um, maybe start off by telling our listeners a little bit, a little bit about who you are and what's your background. Okay.

[00:03:41] Mark Geary: Now I have to say that all of this is a, is a, is a, is a movie set. None of this really exists , When you leave, it'll, I, We'll just down, Yeah, we'll just, I'll go back to it. My high rise apartment.

[00:03:55] Mark Geary: I'm a musician. Uh, I guess I've been playing for most of my life. [00:04:00] Um, I'm a father. I am. What else am I, I'm a traveler. I'm a seeker, I suppose. Ask myself a lot of questions, ask other people a lot of questions, But a musician, I suppose is, uh, is the reason we're having this chat. Yeah. Um, but I'm lots of, I'm lots of things, you

[00:04:21] Gerry Scullion: know, You're lots of things.

[00:04:22] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. You're, you're a creator.

[00:04:24] Mark Geary: Yeah. It's, it, uh, you know, mu mu music was the, was the thing that happened first, and it's the thing that. It's, it's such a comfort. Uh, it's such a, a comfortable little jumper. I never was a painter. I never was a. Um, they say that everyone has a book in them. Uh, I, I'm not, I, I wonder about that, but, but, but music is the thing that excited me, I think, you know, just to listen, just to be taken away on that little, Yeah.

[00:04:57] Mark Geary: On that little bus ride.

[00:04:58] Gerry Scullion: You know, it's [00:05:00] crazy. Um, when we were, we were chatting earlier, Doing this episode together, I mentioned about 2002 or 2003 maybe. I think it was the, the launch party of your first album. Maybe I'll take you back to that point in 2002 and maybe a couple of years before that, you know, you mentioned that you were coming from London and you went to New York.

[00:05:21] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. Take me back to that time. What was Mark Ki like back then in those stages? What was you afraid? What was you afraid

[00:05:28] Mark Geary: of? Oh, uh, Mark. Dan was afraid of everything. Um, I'm, I'm pretty certain, uh, when I lived in New York, uh, I, I, I kept hearing a phrase that you, that even if you were frightened, you know, you just show up, uh, uh, face to face to fear and, and just do it.

[00:05:52] Mark Geary: I kept hearing that. Mm. So, so there was a, there was a, there was a moment in, in London when I was a, a young [00:06:00] teenager that was Bristol, that was a girlfriend in Bristol. And then back to school and a kind of a, a realization that it wasn't really working, whether they said that to me or whether I admitted that to them.

[00:06:13] Mark Geary: Yeah. Uh, and, uh, my brother had this, uh, place called the Shinay Cafe that maybe, maybe your listeners might be aware of. So, so that was one of. At least a hundred that I would be aware of. Cafes that had music. Yeah. There was nothing really about Shana that should. Uh, made it stand out or catapulted into, into, or like 20, 30 years later, our still conversation.

[00:06:46] Mark Geary: You know, there's not, there's nothing about it. There was no stage, there was no, uh, there was no real plan. Uh, every, every night. People just kind of showed up and, yeah, and no tickets and no, you know, it wasn't event bright [00:07:00] or any of that kind of stuff. And, and I, I do marvel. I do marvel at like my brother Carl, who uh, lives in Glasgow now and is a writer.

[00:07:12] Mark Geary: Um, and he had his own journey of, you know, bar owner, demolition, you know, working on a crew, doing all that. Yeah. You know, was an actor for a while and, and, and, and essentially kind of retreated into. This dream that he had that I still remember when we were sitting in our front room, me playing four strings and a guitar and Carl with a notebook that he'd bought a fortune.

[00:07:44] Mark Geary: Spent a fortune on a notebook. This is in when

[00:07:46] Gerry Scullion: you were in New

[00:07:47] Mark Geary: York or when? When you were younger? When we were kids in, in, in Dublin, but. I, you know, I have to kind of, kind of tip my hat to those two kids that, uh, somehow with all of [00:08:00] the, the turns and the jigs and the reels, it kind of continued on that.

[00:08:06] Mark Geary: Like he car was successful as a, as a, as a bar owner and, and whatever. But as far as joy or, um, something that kind of, uh, nurtured him or. But he just kind of rejected it all. Mm-hmm. And, uh, so he's writing and, and his second novel is done and Wow. So, uh, yeah. Yeah. It's, it's beautiful stuff and it's, and it's like, I'm, I realized, uh, just with Carl that he's writing and I'm, I'm singing songs kind of about the same things.

[00:08:39] Mark Geary: Yeah. You know.

[00:08:40] Gerry Scullion: Um, let me take you back a little bit further to your childhood then, Cause it's, it's unusual. Or maybe it is usual to have, uh, two creative offspring in a, in a family, like, you know. Yeah. What was the, the forward of years of your, your childhood? Like in terms of like, you, you're a musician, uh, a writer, a creator, as we said.

[00:08:59] Gerry Scullion: [00:09:00] Yeah. And he's also followed a creative path.

[00:09:01] Mark Geary: Well, we're, we're the two youngest of a family of 10. Right. Okay. My dad was a brick layer. Yeah. Um, so. Not to paint any kind of picture that is untrue or, but, you know, culture or there's that great line where, where I come from art is short for Arthur , you know, there was, there was just, it was survival.

[00:09:29] Mark Geary: It was subsistence. Yeah. It was, you know, Like so many kids and just cold and cornflakes and, and, and get out to school and, and get out. Get outta the, just do the best you can. Whatever madness has going on there, don't bring it home. That's, I think that's what it was. So, So how, how or why did, did I have that yearning?

[00:09:53] Mark Geary: I mean, you're a musician too. Why? Like what's that awakening? Yeah. I remember. I remember. [00:10:00] I remember a big, uh, uh, stereo in the good room, uh, in Ireland. It was a good room. Yeah. The coldest place in the house. No one was ever in there. It was like a museum. Yeah. But the, there was this big stereo that was bought on HP higher purchase, the drip as we'd call it.

[00:10:20] Mark Geary: In Dublin. Yeah. And I snuck in there every night and would put the speaker. In such a way that I'd lean, I'd lie back and be in the middle of it. Yeah. And uh, and I know for certain that no one else was doing that. Yeah. And to me it seems like the only thing you should be doing. Yeah. The only thing, the only sensible thing was to sneak into this, into this stereo and, uh, under penalty of death if you were, if you were caught, you know, uh, press all these buttons and then I remember.

[00:10:58] Mark Geary: There was a thing I found at the [00:11:00] back. I'm not very, I'm not very electronic and I'm not very, uh, techy. Mm-hmm. , but I have a kind of an intuitive kind of techie. Yeah. I found this button at the back that I was able to record into this stereo on a tape, and then someone gave me a microphone and I. I literally was down, the lights went off, kind of the lights went off and it wasn't that like, Oh my God, I'm gonna open a studio or whatever.

[00:11:27] Mark Geary: Yeah. It was just that I was gonna hear my voice and I was gonna, I was gonna try. You could hear it back. I, I was gonna listen back to, , you know, but that's okay. Or that's awful. Yeah. I maybe I could try to do something better. Or, or how do you, like what is better? Like how do you get better, you know, And what kind of

[00:11:43] Gerry Scullion: music were be a listen to back then, Like what was available to you, like from your, your older

[00:11:47] Mark Geary: siblings that you like really some, some really appalling stuff.

[00:11:51] Mark Geary: Uh, um, because LPs were unfortu. Yeah. I had a, I had a brother-in-law, uh, Peter have a [00:12:00] brother-in-law, Peter, who, um, was a bit of a hippie. And he kind of, I guess he saw a, a kind of a, he was my Yoda. I guess he saw kind of a kindred spirit when, when it came to music and, um, he would drop down some, some LPs, treasured LPs, like mm-hmm.

[00:12:24] Mark Geary: Uh, so Dylan shows up and, and. But, but if Dylan didn't show up, it would've been Chris Berg or, Yeah. don't ever pay that for him, man. No, no. And it was played all the like, like meatloaf and, you know, whatever was, Well my brothers blessed him. Yeah. They used to say, Is that a real song or one you wrote yourself, you know, , This

[00:12:48] Gerry Scullion: was early eighties then.

[00:12:49] Gerry Scullion: Was this, if

[00:12:49] Mark Geary: Chris Burg is, uh, the mid eighties. Mid eighties and then, and. Did I find musicians? Maybe. Maybe I, I, I, I had robbed a [00:13:00] guitar or got some kind of guitar. I remember my sister came back with a. Put a guitar from, uh, from Spain. You know, you bought a sombrero and a donkey. Yeah. And, and a Spanish guitar.

[00:13:11] Mark Geary: It was just, not that you'd ever play it, but you'd bring it back there as a mentor. And I, I, I remember very seriously kind of just trying to figure that out. Yeah. And we were talking about Waldens and, and your, your old, uh, employers. Um, I, uh, I would walk up to dir. Cuz you couldn't get the bus cuz you didn't have the money.

[00:13:33] Mark Geary: So you'd walk up to Dun near and kind of look at song books of, of Yeah. Dylan songs and Beatles and Neil Young and Nick Drake and whatever. And you'd look, remember the chords and try and just try scribble down. Um. Tunings I got, I, I, I became aware that, that there was a standard tuning and then there's other tunings you can mess around with or whatever.

[00:13:56] Mark Geary: The secret doors as I saw. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

[00:13:59] Gerry Scullion: Absolutely. Absolutely. [00:14:00] Yeah, it's, it's funny, like if that was the, the mid eighties then there was kind of an, an era in Irish music towards the late eighties, obviously you two and Sure. You know, there was a whole host of bands, Cactus World News, and a bunch of them way back then.

[00:14:16] Gerry Scullion: But, uh, as we were mentioning before there, um, it was probably around 93 or 94 when I first heard Radiohead, and I was just like, Wow, okay, this is a little bit different. And at the same time, underneath that pilot series my sister gave me was the Frames DC Wow. As there were, there were known men and it was a single of, um, I'm trying to remember the name of the single, It wasn't Revel.

[00:14:40] Gerry Scullion: It was one of the ones before

[00:14:41] Mark Geary: that. Before that, like the dancer or, or

[00:14:43] Gerry Scullion: something like that. I remember. You know, it cost about a, a pound to get it. Sure. Um, and I remember, um, casually tuning into FM 1 0 4, um, from draw and hearing that the frames were gonna be on late at night and rang in, [00:15:00] and I would've been 14 at the time or 15.

[00:15:03] Gerry Scullion: And, uh, Glen was being interviewed and at this. Commitments has probably happened. Yeah. 91. And I remember rang up and I, I may as well have been getting through to U2 and uh, had to answer the name of the question, What was their first single? And Glen was like, Fair play. Yeah. Yeah. You got ticket tickets too.

[00:15:22] Gerry Scullion: Shouldn't do an impression. Uh, you got tickets to the midnight of the Olympia. And I was like, Next problem. How am I gonna get to midnight of the OIA from Trada? But I did it and I'd seen the friends many, many times. So in that era, where, where were you and what were you doing? And that, that kind. The sort of dawning of a new kind of range of Irish music where suddenly we were no longer in

[00:15:45] Mark Geary: second place.

[00:15:46] Mark Geary: Where was I? I I was

[00:15:46] Gerry Scullion: gone. You were gone. You were in London at that stage? I was in New York. You're in New York? Mm-hmm. So you were over there in New York at that stage? Yeah. And you had a

[00:15:53] Mark Geary: guitar? Uh, I sold guitars to get the one way ticket.

[00:15:57] Gerry Scullion: Right. Okay. So you'd no guitar in New York at that [00:16:00] stage? I had nothing.

[00:16:01] Gerry Scullion: So walk me through what happens from then. You mentioned Shinay there at the start of the two thousands. Um, How did you end up writing one of the albums that I still hold very dear to my heart? 33 and a third. How did, how did that come about? Like if you, if you didn't have a guitar? Yeah. What, what was your materials as a craftsperson at that stage?

[00:16:23] Mark Geary: Uh, my eyes and my, my, my, I was a sponge and I got to New York and Shana was in, its. Yeah. And

[00:16:36] Gerry Scullion: you saw Jeff Buckley as well,

[00:16:37] Mark Geary: of course, at that stage. Well, well, Jeff was, uh, if I can describe what Shana really was, I mean, you know, the most appalling coffee that has ever been created and illegal. Yeah. Because the, the, the machine that it was made from just wa wasn't fit for purpose.

[00:16:53] Mark Geary: Yeah. And, uh, but it was cheap. So Shane Doyle and Carl, my brother, um, had opened this place. [00:17:00] And in the daytime it almost felt like a, like the Irish Embassy. Right. And w when I said at the start, like, there's, there's no reason why this cafe succeeded, should have, should have succeeded. One of its charms and one of the charms, uh, as difficult as it is to talk about Irish people in a, my own people as a, in a, in a flattering light.

[00:17:27] Mark Geary: We just, we do greeting and people management really, really well. Yeah, there's a, there's an ease and a charm that honestly, in my years of traveling, It just, we are so disarming. We're boners, but we're so disarming and we're very interested in making people kind of comfortable and welcome if we so choose, you know?

[00:17:54] Mark Geary: Yeah. So shana's charm in the daytime when there's no music on [00:18:00] with the shitty coffee and the, the lousy sandwiches and whatever, and airfield would smoke cuz you could smoke then Yeah. Was just heads. Sitting around and chatting, and there was lots of East Village kind of musicians, Americans and, and uh, and the like, because New York is a, New York is a kind of a, is a foster home for all of America as well.

[00:18:23] Mark Geary: Yeah. You go to either coast, you go to la you go to New York. Yeah. Um, so there were all these kind of orphans, , Yeah. You know, in New York who were looking for something. , there was kindred spirits and tribes. Ab Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. And, and, uh, you know, you wanna go, you wanna go somewhere? Where you open the door, it's a bit like cheers.

[00:18:45] Mark Geary: You wanna walk in somewhere where people are gonna wave at you and acknowledge you. New York is a, is a, is a, is a lonely lonesome place at night. And if you know that you can go somewhere, I just wanna pop in here. I used to see people when I bartended. They'd hit maybe [00:19:00] unthinkable here in, in, in, in Ireland or Dublin, you know, but they.

[00:19:05] Mark Geary: On, on your night out, and I don't, I don't mean drinking shit face drunk. I mean, just on your night out. Yeah. I would go to maybe 10 places Yeah. On a walk. And, you know, these villages tiny. But, but in the, in the, in the space of five blocks, I would. You know, we would go see that band of brownies. I'd go down to sidewalk where I used to do my open mic I'd, I'd go to, you know, an abundance of coffee, sit on a stu bedside, talk to the manager, have a cigarette go to go meet this guy, meet another dude walking on the street.

[00:19:43] Mark Geary: It was a walk, like he didn't live in your apartment. You slept in your apartment. Yeah. You're, you lived. But there's nothing in the apartment. Yeah. It was kind of like just tiny little beds in Yeah. That's really what it was. Absolutely. So everything else is at your doorstep. So, so go out and, uh, and [00:20:00] then it felt nice to be playing and, and whatever, but, but Shana was that.

[00:20:04] Mark Geary: So in the daytime, all of these kindred spirits, uh, and I just asked a lot of questions and, and was really curious and really, really witty people. It was a friend of mine, Adam, Adam Roth. It's kind of older than me and really fabulous dresser and like movie references, constant, uh, imitations of, you know, classic bogar.

[00:20:32] Mark Geary: You know, he just had this, he just had this font of, of cultural reference. Charism and, and, and charisma. Yeah. And it was a musician. He played amazing guitar and. So we, you know, we, we talk about this notion of, of attraction rather than promotion, you know? Yeah. Uh, and all of these guys hadn't, I was, I was really just wanted to hang out with these.

[00:20:56] Mark Geary: So, So, pre-mark, uh, [00:21:00] pre-mark, certainly pre-record, but pre-mark, uh, With no gigs and no guitar. That's what I was doing. Yeah. I was drinking a lot of coffee and paying attention and going to, uh, going to movies and going to like be, I became exposed. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:21:19] Gerry Scullion: Absorbing everything. Absolutely. What can you remember, like the, the shinay thing is something that I, I could easily glaze over, but it just seems like, and I associate you as being a, a product of that era, like still to this day.

[00:21:31] Gerry Scullion: Yeah.

[00:21:32] Mark Geary: I think I am. Yeah. I think I am. Yeah. Like I certainly, as they stay in New York, I cut my teeth there. Exactly. And, uh, and I do remember failing there. Uh, I must say. Yeah. Like, like there wasn't balloons and, and, and confetti when I played, I remember failing there. Yeah. And, um, and then, and, and I don't know where it came from that I would, that I would get such a kicking and I.[00:22:00]

[00:22:01] Mark Geary: Fucking kicking. Yeah. At a gig. Like, just, just nobody cared. Yeah. So

[00:22:06] Gerry Scullion: playing and shena at that time.

[00:22:08] Mark Geary: So there's no, there's no money, there's no,

[00:22:11] Gerry Scullion: It's rock up. Do your thing. Yeah. And hopefully you win. Win a crowd. Yeah. Do it the hard way. Yeah. You know, people are chatting,

[00:22:18] Mark Geary: people are talking. Yeah. Eating.

[00:22:19] Mark Geary: Eating and important because everything that New Yorkers do is important. How, how

[00:22:24] Gerry Scullion: do you, how, how do, or what did you learn to win a crowd? Because like if you're cutting your teeth, that's one of the things you need to be able to silence them and Yeah. Get their attention.

[00:22:34] Mark Geary: And it's a, it's a funny one, and I, I, I will answer it, but there is this kind of idea, there is this notion of kind of having to win a crowd.

[00:22:45] Mark Geary: You know, maybe that's where we are in the world, but winning the crowd, meaning, meaning in some way, doing it for a way that's pleasing to an audience. Who, who [00:23:00] is this audience? Are they an audience that, that want to be won? Do they want to be won? But but what, what are their tastes? Are they McDonald's? Do they like McDonald's?

[00:23:09] Mark Geary: Are they sushi people are Yeah. True. You know, like, are you not to, not to consider it kind of de basement or whatever. Mm-hmm. . But I've, I've wrestled with the idea of winning a crowd. Yeah. Like how about the fucking crowd? Just pay attention to me and I, I know what I do. Yeah. So wouldn't it be nice maybe if, if they know what they need to do?

[00:23:33] Mark Geary: Yeah. And then, and then a crowd could say, Well, go focus yourself. We want to, Yeah. We want this. Yeah. We want, we want that color blue and we want you to sing this kind of thing. Exactly. So it's an incredible, And at every gig it's, it, it is that kind of meeting of. There's something kind of beautiful and challenging about, uh, not, not meeting of the minds.

[00:23:55] Mark Geary: I know. So

[00:23:56] Gerry Scullion: that album then, if you were prototyping, I [00:24:00] guess the, the songs you were testing them out effectively in those earlys

[00:24:04] Mark Geary: Well, I had to write them. I had to, you know, so, so, you know, 90, 92, 93, 94, uh, I, I, I struck on this, um, Also in, in, in my life. I was, there was, there was, there was melancholy and, and there was kind of, um, there were different kind of conversations that I was hearing.

[00:24:30] Mark Geary: There was, there was, um, there was an appraisal of one's, uh, background or an appraisal of, um, Who I was or who one was. Hmm. I heard people write about songs like that. I heard, uh, the, Hey, I'm from here and we do it. You know, and, and you know, we talked, uh, before we started about, about [00:25:00] an expatriate. Yeah.

[00:25:01] Mark Geary: And, and, and what that, what that could. And I remember, um, if I should fall from Grace with God, the pogs album. Yeah. I mean obviously Fairy Tale in New York is, is the monster on that, but, but, um, thousands are sailing the, the Sound by Phil Chevron. Um, uh, we walked hand in hand on Broadway, like the First Men on the Moon.

[00:25:25] Mark Geary: Mm-hmm. . Um, uh, when I got back to my empty room, I guess, I suppose I must have cried. Like here was a. Singing about, uh, an an expatriates kind of, that kind of jovial, the kind of the Irish guy who's like the life of the party that goes back to a bed, sit on his own and kind of sobs themselves asleep. Yeah.

[00:25:47] Mark Geary: That's not a, that's not an inaccurate kind of picture of what was happening to me. Yeah. You know, and, and I didn't have. I [00:26:00] didn't have, I didn't have, you know, what I was to later have, uh, my music. I just had yearnings. I just had, so I went off, you know. So what do you do after, after a kicking and you in, in Shanay a couple of times?

[00:26:13] Mark Geary: Well, you, you go to a lower level place and you, you start from scratch and you, um, I started to get comfortable, uh, talking. Yeah. Started to get comfortable just. You know, the, the, the support act kind of rule book is that you, you go out there before the main act and you, you turn everything up to its maximum volume and you just flail away at the loudest volume.

[00:26:43] Mark Geary: And that just shows passion. And God, this guy, I'm just gonna listen. Yeah, it's coming from the heart, but, but actually what I found nine times outta 10 was, if they've nothing invested in you. Mm-hmm. all , [00:27:00] all you are is a very loud noise. Yeah. That they just rise to, So, so you are flailing away and, and their volume is actually matching you.

[00:27:10] Mark Geary: Yeah. And I thought, you know what? Fuck it. I, that, that just doesn't, that just doesn't work for me. Yeah. So I would go out and I would not. Not play anything. Yeah. And start talking. Yeah. And then I'd play the quietest song I could think of, and even the biggest loud mouth in the room would start to get embarrassed.

[00:27:35] Mark Geary: The fact that all around him, somehow I was managing to get the room to just be a little gentler to me. Yeah. And then I ne and once I, once I had. I didn't kind of go to the second song and start bashing away because I haven't earned the right yet. Yeah. So I just kept it at that volume. It's a re it's a, it's a pro move.

[00:27:58] Mark Geary: It's a pro move. Yeah. But, but, [00:28:00] but I was only, but I wasn't a pro. Yeah. So, so this stuff was so fragile. And do you think

[00:28:06] Gerry Scullion: like one of the, the things that I'm. Coming to realize, and I, I can see the, the similarity between yourself and other, like Jeff Buckley's first album, like where there's such a sort of a, an array of, um, dynamics.

[00:28:22] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. Like there's quite loud louds and, you know, quite, very sincere.

[00:28:27] Mark Geary: Yeah. Yeah. Well see The Pixies, the Pixies again and again and again, like they. And I suppose, uh, Sonic Youth before that or whatever, but, but, but the pixie kind of mastered the, the loud, loud, soft, soft. Yeah. They were just the masters of it.

[00:28:42] Mark Geary: Absolutely. And, uh, so, so Jeff was, was in all that also like his, his playing his his actual sensational Yeah, his, his chops are, are just out outrageous because he was. He was in hair bands for like eight or nine years. So we have this like Jeff [00:29:00] Buckley. What you mean? Hairbands? But like, you know, la hair bands.

[00:29:02] Mark Geary: Oh, like um, like poison

[00:29:05] Gerry Scullion: white snake, all of that. Okay. Absolutely. So

[00:29:07] Mark Geary: Hairbands, Yes. Sorry. Hairspray, Hairbands were called. Like he's, he's from that. Right. Okay. So we, we have this idea, uh, uh, Jeff, the kind of the broken winged, um, angel who landed to us pre emo. It just sang from a, you know, like blood lettered songs.

[00:29:29] Mark Geary: Yeah. And, and whatever. But it, it wasn't like that at all. Who a fucker was in a van playing these appalling clubs, like, like a road dog. For years and gets to New York and kind of ditches the band and ditches all of that and, and goes on, on his own way. Well, and and his own way, ironically is, is his father's way.

[00:29:51] Mark Geary: Yeah. You know, so he runs as far away from that as he possibly can. I, I

[00:29:56] Gerry Scullion: remember hearing a story, and I don't know if it's true. [00:30:00] Um, It's an old story, and I have to try and think about this before I get it. Right now, one, one of my friends, Mark Nixon, has just on a podcast with Roddy Doyle, believe it or not, and spoke about the commitments and how that was written and where that was written.

[00:30:14] Gerry Scullion: And, um, if anyone hasn't watched the Commitments, folks do yourselves a favor going, going, it's, it's a good movie. Yeah. But Glen answered was in that movie, and I remember seeing and hearing like they, they toured that. Then the, the live version of that would've been 91, 92 probably in that era. Yeah. And the crazy connection between all of this was Jeff Buckley, was Glen Answer's Rodie roadie.

[00:30:42] Gerry Scullion: I don't know if this is true. May, May. Maybe you could talk. Yeah. The connection from Rod Doyle sitting in a bed sit and plantar in Dublin. Yeah. To connection to Shinay. Yeah. Jeff Bookley

[00:30:55] Mark Geary: Shin was Shane. Shane, uh, Shane and Carl were [00:31:00] very, very good at like, if, if River Dance are some big splash of an Irish thing was happening, was

[00:31:06] Gerry Scullion: there a connection between the Shena and Jeff?

[00:31:08] Gerry Scullion: Okay. Absolutely. So this is no longer just a. This is a network, a Diane. Well,

[00:31:13] Mark Geary: like I was saying, well, like I was saying, the, the, the, the unofficial Irish embassy. Yeah. This is where you went.

[00:31:19] Gerry Scullion: And Jeff Buckley being Buckley is the surname is Oh, absolutely. He's, he's

[00:31:23] Mark Geary: Irish. Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. So Shane was really good at, at, at kind of, Uh, getting in touch with, with something that was hot, that was passing through New York and Wow.

[00:31:33] Mark Geary: Because New York, the, if it is hot, they are passing True. So, so the commitments, he nailed and said, You should come down to Shana and, and sing some songs. You come down to the village crazy and you know, Uh, anyone who's been in New York, there's, there's the, the, you know, Times Square and 42nd Street and the theater kind of world.

[00:31:55] Mark Geary: Yeah. Uh, there's something very, very exciting about jumping in a cab and heading [00:32:00] downtown. Yeah. You know, to play fields bit. Yeah. But it, but, but also, and you know, early nineties, um, I had friends of mine who had never been to, wouldn't go to the East Village because it was just so. Crazy. Wild, wild west.

[00:32:14] Mark Geary: Yeah. And, and, and gritty. Yeah. Uh, so this was exciting to them. So, So, uh, Glen, Glen had met, had met Jeff, and,

[00:32:22] Gerry Scullion: and did you know Glen at this

[00:32:23] Mark Geary: stage? Is this I, I knew Glen. In, in, in Dublin. Dublin, Yeah.

[00:32:27] Gerry Scullion: Okay. So around the, the frames birth of 94. Yeah. Ish. Yeah.

[00:32:31] Mark Geary: Uh, got him before, Yeah. 92. Yeah. Yeah. I just remember him on a vests bit flash.

[00:32:38] Mark Geary: Flash kit, you know, on a vests bit. Was he ever cool? No. , no. He was very, uh, he was very passionate. Yeah. And he, uh, and, and what's wonderful about him is like, like none of that is cool. Being really kind of passionate and earnest is terribly uncool. Yeah. It's much cooler to be with a pair of [00:33:00] sunglasses and sitting in the corner scoffing at everything.

[00:33:04] Mark Geary: Yeah. And in the same way that Bono isn't, Bono wants to throw his arms around the world. Yeah. Tom York goes, Oh my God, I, I'm so uncomfortable around people. Please leave me. Yeah, that's cool. Yeah. You know, But, but in its magic and it at, its at its purest. There's, there's nothing like someone thrown their arms around the world, you know?

[00:33:29] Mark Geary: I know.

[00:33:29] Gerry Scullion: Um, but I just wanna, just wanna wrap up the shin a piece Yeah. A little bit more, but. The authentic self is something that I, I, I hear coming through and what you're talking about and the authentic self with

[00:33:42] Mark Geary: it. Just, I, I, I'm always uncomfortable with the authentic self because it sounds so inauthentic.

[00:33:48] Gerry Scullion: I, I know, but from where I'm looking it, it looks like, um, it,

[00:33:53] Mark Geary: it's just, It's, it's so neat and tidy to go and mark and you did it [00:34:00] when, when an actual class, But you're doing it. I don't think it's doing it. Yeah. I think I, I think I, I'm more comfortable with that. Yeah. I don't think you've, Yeah, I just like, even, even in the midst of like the happenstance of, so I got signed because I bartended.

[00:34:16] Mark Geary: Yeah. And this guy would come in and a friend of mine, this lovely. Ironically from, uh, uh, from the Czech Republic and the whole Marketta. Yeah, Glen again, uh, with the Oscar and once the movie, whatever. So this, this girl, uh, mad about, uh, Irish music and, and whatever, and she would come in. I didn't know where she worked, but she would come into the.

[00:34:45] Mark Geary: And I was playing gigs by that point. I was playing my own songs in these little kind of cafes and doing, Doing good. Yeah, like doing like, I didn't have a plan. I didn't, I wasn't, I wasn't looking for a label or I wasn't [00:35:00] trying to get signed. I wasn't, but uh, but I was, I was, I was really writing. I think I'd done, it beats me on Adam and Eve.

[00:35:09] Mark Geary: I think I'd written them. We're

[00:35:12] Gerry Scullion: lucky enough that Mark has allowed us to drop some of his music in. So I just wanted to play Adam and Eve here in the middle of this episode. Let's take a little bit of a break and listen to Adam and Eve

[00:35:27] Mark Geary: the payoffs on Tuesday day.

[00:35:35] Mark Geary: Now, follow the crow.

[00:35:45] Mark Geary: This penny is from hell.

[00:35:53] Mark Geary: I don't suppose.[00:36:00]

[00:36:00] Mark Geary: And I woke up on Thursday

[00:36:07] Mark Geary: and fell for the floor

[00:36:14] Mark Geary: and my sister, this is a beauty.

[00:36:22] Mark Geary: Thet, See no more.

[00:36:29] Mark Geary: God doesn't love

[00:36:36] Mark Geary: oh answer.

[00:36:43] Mark Geary: He don't know me from, and.

John Carter
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