Topher

Topher

I can't remember when I first heard folk music because my dad was in a folk band called The Triangle, who practiced in our front room, they were a trio with five string banjo, twelve string guitar, and my dad on double bass, and the music and the three part harmonies on songs like The black velvet band or Whiskey in the jar kept me awake many a night.
When I was about 14 I asked my dad if he could teach me to play the guitar, he gave me an A4 sheet of paper with 9 chords written in tabliture on it, he explained how the tabliture worked and told me to come back when I could play the nine chords, and thats how I learned how to play the guitar.
When I was 15 there where bands like The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers coming out on the Belfast "Good Vibrations" label and everybody was getting bands together so I formed a band called The Serious Mistakes.
Rufus O'Callaghan on drums Adrain McCluskey on bass and me on guitar and vocals, later on Ian Wilson joined us on guitar and vocals.
We played the Harp Bar, a rough punk venue in Belfast a couple of times, but didn't do a lot of gigs until the group changed name to Blah Blah Blah in 84 and Ian started to write some songs and share lead vocals, the band became quite popular in Belfast and managed to secure the support slot with The Waterboys in the Ulster Hall in 86.
By this time in our early twenties and after having gotten really sick of Belfast, Rufus Ian and myself set out for France, we didn't expect what would happen and we didn't realise that we would never return.
Blah Blah Blah had a good run of success in France and when it folded in 1990 , Rufus and I formed a group called Dye.
Dye had acoustic guitar in it and a more folky feel, using more traditional time signatures and also acoustic ballads. That group had a reasonable run of success too and when it folded l started to play solo acoustic gigs.
This eventually led me to Rennes, where in 96 I met Anthony, Rosie, and Chris in the McCartans bar in Rue St malo, and saw the Churchfitters play "downstairs", I was a fan staight away.
In 2000 I set up a studio and started to record CDs for other bands including The Churchfitters third CD "Strange News".
I dont know very much about traditional or folk music, but I suppose the music that my father played and kept me awake when I was wee will allways be special to me.

CV

Blah Blah Blah 1987Born in 1964 in Belfast.

1978 Started playing the guitar at the age of 14.

1979 Formed first band The Serious Mistakes playing a few bars and club gigs at the height of the punk era in belfast.

1981 Left home and left school to study as an apprentice electrician while still playing occasionally.

1982 Started work as a barman in "The Pound" a rock venue in belfast still doing gigs in and around belfast.

1984 Answered an advert for work in France selling ice creams on beaches. On the way to the job busked in the metro in Paris. The job got dropped for the busking, stayed in France until the end of august. Returned home to form a new band Blah Blah Blah. September 84 started working as a despatch rider for RMB Avertising.
1985 Blah Blah Blah gigging all over the north of Ireland in pubs and clubs. Blah Blah Blah record two songs for Good Vibration records and appear on a free flexi disc distributed free with a local fanzine.

1986 In may Blah Blah Blah support The Waterboys in the Ulster Hall and try to interest all of the major record companies without success. Decide to travel to France with Ian Wilson and Rufus O'callaghan for the summer to busk and see what happens. Recruit a french bass player and support The Wooden Tops in the "salle de la cité" in Rennes, seen by Jean louis Brossard organiser of the Transmusicales festival the group is invited to play in the festival in december. The group travel home to play the Guinness festival in Queens university and are broadcast live on BBC radio.

1987 Following the success of the Transmusicales Blah Blah Blah tour extensively in France and record some new songs and two videos for french television FR3. Blah play some festivals, Interceltique, Tamaris, La Route du Rock ... and Le Gibus in Paris.
Dye 1990
1988 Blah Blah Blah selectioned for the "Printemps de Bourges" festival as "découvertes" (young talents) for the Brittany region

1989 Group loses momentum and splits.

1990 Form Dye with Rufus O'callaghan and two french musicians and start to tour the french clubs mainly in brittany. Dye record a song at the CCM at Brest for a compilation "Taxi de nuit".

Topher 1992 1991 Dye are chosen to present Brittany for the Bourges festival.

Topher solo1992 Auto-produce a 7 track CD Dye.

1993 to 1995 Three years of solid touring at an average of 100 gigs a year including a trip to Berlin and two irish tours.

1996 Dye split.
Start of solo gigs with an acoustic guitar, supporting Alan Stivell, Tri Yann, and The Pogues ...
Record and auto-produce a 5 track CD Mr Alcohol. Move with family to Rennes and meet the Churchfitters.

Topher 19981997 to 2000 Working with other musicians in duos and trios. Concerts all over france, as well as Holland and Switzerland.

In 1998 start to work as a sound engineer for friends and as a tech on live gigs for Diogene productions Brest.


2000 to 2003 Record Strange News for the Churchfitters and start a small recording studio "Train Track Studio".
"Train Track Studio" record 8 albums, mostly local artists.
Record and produce Réalité for Oxygène a local punk band.

2004 Join The Churchfitters.

2004 onwards Touring with the Churchfitters and some solo concerts.
Active member of K.I.T.A. Live, an association promoting local talent in south Morbihan area in Brittany.

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