Daniel Prendiville writes some really good pop songs. He works alone in his home studio, perfecting his craft as he has done since the late 80s.
He spent his formative years in Dublin, Ireland, playing keyboards in bands with future members of various notable bands (and their relatives).
I formed a band in Dublin, where Id started working for the Irish government at the age of 17. The band was called 4FLAGS, due to the diverse nationalities of its constituent members. We were crap! We played a few gigs supporting a grand old rnroller called Rob Strong, whose son starred in THE COMMITMENTS. Eventually the guitarist decided he needed to further his medical career, so 4FLAGS was terminated. Myself and the drummer struggled on in Trinity for awhile, trying to be a band and rehearsing with such luminaries as Nick Kelly, who went on to form The Fat Lady Sings, and Feargal McKee, who now leads Whipping Boy. Live performance died a death. The drummer and I decided to concentrate on studio work and did our first session in 1986. During that time I heard some demos recorded by a group called Ton Ton Macoute, featuring Shinehead OConnor herself. If only Id known, I wouldve taken the tapes and burned em, thus saving the world from one of the most appalling pains-in-the-arse that ever drew a breath.
Living on the periphery of future rock stars began to annoy young Daniel, however...
After awhile, I got pissed off with scrubbing around with the drummer and pissed off with living in Dublin. I came very close to buying a little shop down the country and setting myself up as a grocer. Thanks be to Christ that I didnt follow that path. Id be a broken man today.
The drummer was ditched and Daniel commenced recording sessions of his own, eventually going into a professional studio in 1989 to record the 4-song cassette release RUBBER SOLE. This afforded him his first exposure on national radio and an offer to appear on prime time TV which was hastily retracted when the shows producers realized that his Christian Yoga Productions did not relate to an alternative religion, which was the subject of that weeks show.
quickie review of RUBBER SOLE: Designer Hangover captures the drunken wit of a man praying for forgiveness for having drunk too much the night before (again). Pigtown is very reminiscent of the times, the vocal delivery and the big chorus. This sound was everywhere in 1989 and if I hadnt already been advised that it wasnt a minor radio hit for Prendiville, I wouldve wagered that it was. Reclining Nude No. 39 is a classic bit of sequenced pop. The stunner is Duvet Resident, at the end, where Mr P cops a reggae feel and proudly sings about being a lazy sod. The tape features a spry bit of bass playing amid the sequenced drums and real-time piano. And the recording of the vocals is crisp as fresh bag of Doritos. But...
RUBBER SOLE sank without a trace. 100 copies were left with an independent distributor, while I chickened out after trying to get tapes taken by a few record shops. I still have 100 tapes in my garage and an optimistic 500-print run of the J-card, which can be found languishing in the bottom of a tea chest in my garden shed. And to think I was going to walk down Grafton Street on Saturdays with a sandwich-board advertising my fares...
It was not for naught, however, as it was then that he began recording at home.
I decided that I wasnt going to leave any more money with pro studios. I havent recorded in such facilities since then. Instead, I got into MIDI in a big way and decided to get into soundtrack/advertising work. I made up a little tape called CATALOGUE 90 and sent it around to TV producers and such. One polite reply, no gigs...
In 1991 Prendiville put together another four-song demo, NUDEMO (no cover, therefore nude).
I walked the streets of London dropping tapes in with record company offices. Again, no responses, but I got blisters on my feet and a few bad hangovers. Oh, the enthusiastic youth.
Three of the four songs on NUDEMO formed the basis for his next project, the album-length GOOD RIDDANCE, which he again shopped around to record companies.
Conventional wisdom dictates that you should only put 3 to 4 tracks on a demo for submissions to companies. I reckoned that companies, if they were interested in my material, would be anxious to to hear more stuff, so Id give them the full repetoire in one go and see what happens.
Negative response from all the big names in the UK. One small company made slightly less negative vibes. But it was a case of dont call us...
The recording of GOOD RIDDANCE began in Dublin in 1992 and was completed after Prendiville and family (wife, kids, the lot) settled in Nenagh in 1993.
Id been given an opportunity to move job on promotion and I took it. For six months or so, my gear was stored in boxes as I struggled with getting my new house in order. GOOD RIDDANCE partly relates to the fact that I was bidding good riddance to the songs from my head as they moved to tape.
Once the dust settled, the instrumental album BREATHING SPACE was recorded. Prendiville again shopped the tape to music industry folk. And?
Again, zilch response from the UK.
Has rejection from the fatcats forced our man into an early retirement from songwriting and into a new role leading PTA meetings and coaching his childrens football teams?Not bloody likely, mate. Just time for a re-evaluation.
As regards pursuing record companies, I think Ive passed that phase now. Time moves on and it may be more important for me to concentrate on making a success out of what I have already, rather than trying to pursue some barely tangible dream. Anyway, record companies are wankers.
RUBBER SOLE is available for $6usa. GOOD RIDDANCE and BREATHING SPACE are available separately for $5usa or together on one tape for $8usa (don't forget to enclose an IRC)
check out the man's home page:
Daniel Prendiville 6 Clonsalee, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
(c) 1996 Ian C. Stewart. Reproduced with permission.
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