It was May 1st, 1988, in Galway, the largest city on on the West coast of Ireland and fledgling local band from the small town of Tuam, twenty miles due North, The Saw Doctors, were playing at ‘The Late Late Breakfast Show’ – a fundraising event for the Galway Arts Festival. The songs kicked off at lunchtime and children and their arts-patron parents danced and sang along while Flanagan’s Bar earned victory in the cocktail competition with their lethal-proven concoction, ‘The Claddagh Collapse’.
Eleven miles out the road in the seaside village of Spiddal on the shores of Galway Bay, The Waterboys, who were creating a gigantic buzz having moved to Ireland from London after their huge hit album, ‘This Is The Sea’ and its chart-topping single, ‘The Whole Of The Moon’, were in the middle of recording their new record, ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ in Spiddal House, an old estate residence temporarily converted into a state-of-the-art rock and roll studio.
Somewhere in the middle of The Saw Doctor’s four-hour set in the front lounge of The Warwick Hotel, the man with the sax, Anthony Thistlethwaite, arrived in the door and got up and started blowing along with the band; the main gig finished and the musicians moved to the dining room to continue with the powerful wave of music they were surfing. On that evening in The Warwick Hotel in Salthill was born a musical friendship that continues to this day.
A few months later Waterboys’ singer, Mike Scott, asked The Saw Doctors to support the band on the Irish tour the following December; this led to their supporting The Waterboys all over Britain in the Spring of 1989. Mike produced The Saw Doctors’ first single, N17, and Anthony arrived into Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin late in the evening, after awaiting a call in the pub next door for a number of hours, and valiantly put down a driving sax riff on the outro of what has become a classic Irish single.
Through much of the 90s Anthony toured Ireland, Britain, the US, Europe and Australia with The Saw Doctors and at the beginning of the new millennium when original bassist, Pearse Doherty, left the practice, Anthony took over up until the present time on the bass, an instrument he had originally played with The Waterboys way back.
With The Saw Doctors on sabbatical, and with Anthony’s and Leo’s troubadour feet becoming itchy, the two friends have put together a show to bring around that will include different takes on well-known Saw Doctors’ songs, versions of lesser-known and less-played songs, a few from Anthony’s solo-albums and other songs written recently with Padraig Stevens. It’s all new and fresh and challenging and scary and exciting at the same time so let’s see what happens….