In the 1960s, Pat Egan was Ireland’s top club DJ and a journalist with New Spotlight magazine where his pioneering weekly music column championed the beat and rock scenes in an Ireland steeped in showbands. In 1969, he opened Ireland’s first rock record shop and later brought live rock acts to Dublin. Since 1972, he’s promoted thousands of shows including Queen, Eric Clapton, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Elton John and brought Bob Marley to Dalymount Park in 1980. Pat, who will soon be 72, still works in the intensely competitive live music industry where his company promotes over 200 shows a year.
Brian McMahon of Brand New Retro met him for a coffee, took out the Q&A he did with New Spotlight in 1969 and asked him the same questions from 50 years ago.
Biggest Break to date
1969: Yet to come.
2019: It came shortly after. Oliver Barry loaned me £500 to start my business at the Sound Cellar in Nassau St. I soon expanded, opening more shops in Dublin and Cork. Oliver became my guiding light.
1969: Records, sports (all kinds) and girls.
2019: Yes, I still love sport, still play vinyl but there’s only one girl now – my saviour, Helena.
1969: Chicken and Omelettes.
2019: Indian. But I still like a good roast.
1969: John Farrell, Tony Bradfield & Mike O’Brien
2019: I still know John and I’m very friendly with Tony and Mike. My other close friends include Derry Glenn, Barry Gaster, Paul O’Reilly, Eugene McCarthy and Harry McKeown. I don’t generally have relationships with artists, but I became good friends with Billy Connolly (who I promoted for 40 years), Gene Pitney and Al Martino who appeared in the Godfather – my all-time favourite movie.
1969: MG 1100 (what’s left of it)
2019: Jaguar XF
1969: My friends and all happy things
2019: I enjoy the day-to-day involvement with people interested in music and running gigs. And the basic things; like walking the dog and keeping up to date with what goes on in the world. I still read printed newspapers, it’s sad that their appeal is diminishing.
1969: Dionne Warwick, Van Morrison and Jimmy Fanning
2019: Roy Orbison and Dusty Springfield are my all-time favourites. I like Johnny Duhan, who led Limerick beat group Granny’s Intentions back in the 1960s. He’s doing a farewell gig in the National Concert Hall in April. I also like new American Country; Lee Ann Womack, Tim McGraw, Clint Black and Reba McEntire. But I don’t like the Irish Country scene, it’s awful and I don’t know how some of them get away with it.
1969: Diahann Carroll, Angie Dickinson
2019: Cate Blanchett, Saoirse Ronan, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Ava Gardner.
1969: Alan Freeman
2019: I like Ronan Collins and the other RTÉ Radio 1 DJs who play Irish music. But Irish radio has disappointed me greatly. It’s controlled by playlists and is very hard for new Irish talent to get on it. It is an injustice run by commercial considerations. The BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) is a waste of time, they are just a business organisation looking after the guy with the money and ignoring the artists. The music business is so fragmented, there is nobody fighting the case for young Irish talent. When the Abbey actors recently complained of not getting work, there was a big hullabaloo, but there is nothing about the fact that good Irish acts are not getting any airplay.
1969: To love somebody
2019: I’ve been very lucky with this. I’ve had a couple of great partners in life and have four wonderful children and two grandchildren.
1969: To make enough money to live comfortably
2019: I think I’ve managed that.
Photos: Pat Egan 1969 & 2019
Words: Brian McMahon