Q&A with Irish Blues Rock musician Eamonn McCormack a master of his craft who always performs with heart-felt passion

"I've learnt to listen more to other people's opinions and always learn from Constructive criticism. Music is endless and a progressive thing and if you want to be great, you can never stop learning, like the legendary painters would be sometimes in the nineties still working on their master piece. I have learnt that the business part of the industry is very important but it's just as important for the artist to keep true to their art."

Eamonn McCormack: Rockin' The Blues

With his brand new record Eamonn McCormack (2023), Irish talented musician introduces the listener to a supercharged portrayal of the traveling blues rock artist’s life. Everything on Eamonn McCormack is interconnected: the places he’s seen, the people he’s met and jammed with, the miles he’s covered, and the experience he brought home to friends and family, time and time again. The result is an album that feels like a handful of rich, fertile soil, composed of the best this planet has to offer. You can’t expose yourself to it without getting dirty, depending on your own definition of dirt: The blues on Eamonn McCormack’s eighth album is certainly not clean. Neither is the rock, nor the indie folk that Eamonn throws at it. And how could it be, anyway – being found, carried and shaped far off the beaten track that too many norm-abiding, standardizing copycats have already paved and cleaned? This warm, road-dusty record isn’t meant to be seen as a blues tourist’s postcard but as the recollection of a traveler in many respects, a true explorer.                                   (Photo: Eamonn McCormack)

The stories that Eamonn has brought back home over the years are being told in a down-to-earth fashion, interwoven with the gritty mud of delta blues, lush southern American rock, Celtic Irish spirit, Hendrix-infused funk and even the eclectic layering of a quiet, post metal atmosphere, when it’s time to let go. Eamonn’s blues is known to be unapologetic about his shitting on conventions, and it doesn’t whine as often as blues seems to be expected to do, hell no! Instead, it snarls with gnashing teeth like Clint Eastwood, pointing thick-skinned fingers at shit that never disappoints in pissing the man off. Be it the corrupt gun biz from weapons of mass destruction to the guns in the hands of teens on the streets and child soldiers (Living Hell) or the insufferable fear of humanity wiping itself out with the push of a button (Angel of Love).  And despite all the fame he’s earned breaking the blues charts: Eamonn McCormack will never consider himself too good for kneeling down in awe to salute people that he can’t help but admire unconditionally for their life’s work. His Hats off to Lemmy and Lady Lindy, an ode to the great aviator and pioneer Amelia Earhart, are just two of the raw shoutouts he loves to do as tokens of respect or gratitude.

Interview by Michael Limnios          Archive: Eamonn McCormack, 2017 interview

How do you think that you have grown as an artist since you first started making music?

Well, there are the obvious developing stages of experience and living life some. So I smile back, when I think of the songs I wrote when I was around twelve years of age, when I first started to finish songs. Although I remember writing a song about Ice cream and maybe it's still relevant today. I still love ice cream.

But for me songwriting is a kind of living thing and it develops freely when you keep an open mind and allow the creative process take flight. Everybody knows the basis of the blues is the twelve bar format and three chords, but it's opened itself to go way beyond that without losing the feel. Therefor you can also write about any topic within the Blues-rock style and that's something I have developed and grown over the last decade or two.

What has remained the same about your music-making process?

The honesty for one, and it's the big one! Of course a songwriter can roll play and I could write a song about serving life on death row for example and become the part and try to convey the feeling and emotion one might feel waiting to be executed. The thing in that case, is to play the part in a honest way that sounds believable within the song and the story. I tend to thrown any song ideas in the trash if it doesn't feel right and honest for me to put myself into it.

"The sound in General is the unique sound we have developed as a Power Trio, and after playing for years in the three-piece format. Plus I really worked on my guitar sound with Austrian Sound expert Hoovi. Inventor of the Hoovi Black Box and Deeflexx system. If I say so myself! It's got to be one of the most powerful blues -rock guitar sounds I ever heard." (Photo: Eamonn McCormack)

Currently you’ve one more release. Do you have any interesting stories about the making of the new album?

I learnt to enjoy the recording process but in the past it wasn't my favorite thing to do, as I always preferred performing live. But now I have a lot of fun recording with my great band Max Jung-Poppe on drums and Edgar Karg on bass and foot-keys. We go for a live take as much as possible and then if it's a good take with a nice feel; we can sometimes repair a mistake or do a few dubs over it when needed. I think the interesting thing for me is when I play something on the guitar and its sounds great and I have no idea what I did. That's always fun! For the song "Hat's off to Lemmy" I used an old Marshall 4x12 Cab which an ex. Motörhead guitarist Brian "Robbo" Robertson borrowed from me when we toured together. So a tiny little Motörhead connection is, that some of my guitar sound is coming through the same speakers Brian played through.

How do you describe "Eamonn McCormack" (album) sound and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

The sound in General is the unique sound we have developed as a Power Trio, and after playing for years in the three-piece format. Plus I really worked on my guitar sound with Austrian Sound expert Hoovi. Inventor of the Hoovi Black Box and Deeflexx system. If I say so myself! It's got to be one of the most powerful blues -rock guitar sounds I ever heard. As regards my songbook I am always working hard on developing my writing and storytelling so I can shoot always from the hip and move people to tears at times and sometimes to dance and party as well. Gladly the critics are saying it's a job well done on this album. We also decided, along with my management to make the album my self-titled one, because as diverse as it is, with Hard Rock, Blues, Funk and Celtic folk etc. it is still very much me. It's sums up me as an artist. All the song's I write are stories and snap shots of my life and experiences and even if it's a salute to Lemmy or Geronimo the Apache leader or Amelia Earhart there is a reason I wrote about these legends because they touched me deep in my soul and heart to want to write about them. I draw inspiration from things like that and places I've been or situations I experience.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I've learnt to listen more to other people's opinions and always learn from Constructive criticism. Music is endless and a progressive thing and if you want to be great, you can never stop learning, like the legendary painters would be sometimes in the nineties still working on their master piece. I have learnt that the business part of the industry is very important but it's just as important for the artist to keep true to their art.

"Well blues is the starting point and the foundation of all Rock 'n' Roll and all it's hybrids and blues always comes back every ten to twelve years, as in so called Blues Revivals. But you are right it never really gets a shout out within Popular Pop music of the generations." (Photo: Eamonn McCormack)

How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

Well for starters I never drink alcohol before a recording session or before a live performance. I still like and take a drink or two and never had a problem. But there was a time, a couple of decades ago when I might have had a beer during sound check and a couple later before hitting the stage but in fact I realized a long time ago, you play much better without a drink. I'm actually quite fit for my age. I'm vegetarian for six years now. I watch what I eat. I workout and walk and do a few other sports and thankfully never felt as good as I do right now and that certainly helps recording and performing. Also from a distance I'm into meditation and all things conscience and Zen I guess!

Why was the Blues never a part of the pop/popular music? What's the balance in music between technique and soul?

Well blues is the starting point and the foundation of all Rock 'n' Roll and all it's hybrids and blues always comes back every ten to twelve years, as in so called Blues Revivals. But you are right it never really gets a shout out within Popular Pop music of the generations. However, certainly not in the authentic blues way but of course everyone from Chuck Berry to The Rolling Stones and from ZZ Top and Nirvana to the say Ed Sheeran today would never underestimate the influence of the Blues within their music. I read a couple of years ago Ed Sherran was listening to Rory Gallagher a lot. Now for me I hear Blues in all kinds of music from Classical to Metal and all points in between, because to me its a pure feeling thing. A primal scream! Mozart was certainly a Blues man! To me emotion and soul is the real key over technique, but you can still be technically brilliant and play at the speed of light with soul!!! But that's rare. Guitar wise I was always draw to sloppy players, not so clean such as Hendrix, Gallagher, Page, Billy Gibbons, Neil Young and Rockers like Randy Rhoads and Dave Meniketti.

Eamonn McCormack - Home

(Photo: Eamonn McCormack)

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