Let's hear it for The (super) Shanks!

Over the decades Cork has consistently produced acts that have a swagger, an edge, and an ability to write and create great music. The Echo 'Downtown' correspondents Eddie Kiely (FIFA Records) and Eddie Butt (bass player with Emperor of Ice Cream) profile The Shanks.
Let's hear it for The (super) Shanks!
What a band! The Shanks in Holland in 1996.

Over the decades Cork has consistently produced acts that have a swagger, an edge, and an ability to write and create great music. The Echo 'Downtown' correspondents Eddie Kiely (FIFA Records) and Eddie Butt (bass player with Emperor of Ice Cream) profile The Shanks.

Give it up for a decade of The Shanks, a Cork band that shook the Irish music scene in the 1990s.

The Shanks hailed from Newmarket in Co. Cork but relocated to Cork city in 1990.

The band started out as a four piece, the original line up under the management of the legendary Jim Clancy, featured Tim Murphy (guitar and vocals), Eoin Stan O’Sullivan (guitar), Mick Hayes (bass guitar) and Niall Lynch (drums).

The Shanks in 1998.
The Shanks in 1998.

However, Tim departed the band after their Sultans of Ping tour support slot in May 1992.

Things were really looking up for the band and they were earmarked for a mammoth UK tour slot with The Frank and Walters in July 92.

They were also generating interest from record label giants Sony Records.

However, with Tim departure the planned tour support didn’t proceed with a little know act at the time named Radiohead stepping in to fill the void!

The Shanks continued on as a three-piece with Stan and Mick sharing vocal duties.

Live the band had some

thing very special and were known for their energetic live performances.

The band’s debut release was a 7” Flexi Disc, a format that will be alien to many people these days. It was released on their own ‘Shanks a lot’ label in 1994 and featured the tracks ‘No T-Bag’ and the exceptional ‘Trickle Away’.

This was followed by their first of their two long players, which was recoreded in the legendary West Cork venue, Connolly’s of Leap, with then owner Paddy McNicholl taking on mixing duties. The album titled Prawn Lawn was released in 1994 on Rescue records.

Over the next few years the band continued to ply its trade and put out some superb self-released cassette only EPs. By 1999, the band returned to being a four-piece with Donagh O’Shea recruited on keyboards.

That year also saw the band unveil its second album entitled Brang. The record was well received and garnered much critical acclaim, but as happens the band had run its course and shortly after the release of Brang the band called it a day, returning to West Cork venue Connolly’s for their final show in December 1999.

The Shanks on stage in the 90s.
The Shanks on stage in the 90s.

The band members continued to be contributors to the Cork music scene with Stan playing in The Céilí Allstars and Stanley Super 800. Mick and Niall would go on to perform with Rulers Of The Planet, while Niall currently drums with Cork indie outfit Jonny Rep.

We caught up with drummer Niall Lynch to get his view on his old band.

Q. Will we ever see a reunion gig with the original line-up?

A. After seeing the success of the Emperor of Ice Cream reunion you can never say no.

Q. What musical projects are you all currently working on now?

A. Currently in lock down so none but outside of that I am in a band called Johnny Rep, Stan is involved in promoting Irish Traditional music for Cork Kerry Tourism board and Mick is currently in the US and still involved in music playing with Stay Still Pills.

Q. What do you feel is your best song?

A. Nothing Left To Go Homer To, which was never released.

Q. Who would were your major musical influences growing up?

A. The Dead Kennedys, Hawkwind, Talking Heads.

Q. Why did the The Shanks decide to call it a day?

A. Our time ran out, after 10 years we felt we wanted to move on to other things but we are all still good friends.

Q. How do you feel about the music industry today?

A. Lost, as I don’t think the industry knows where it is going, there is a lot of plastic music out there.

Q. What advice would you give to young bands today?

A. Go with what you think is you and not what you think other people want you to be.

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