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Our whole mantra is to create a party on stage and make sure everybody is involved…we just want to create a really good atmosphere, bring everybody in, and play fun music for them.

Ryan Lacey

Drummer/Percussionist, Gaelic Storm

On this episode, we talked with Gaelic Storm’s Ryan Lacey, we chatted about touring, songwriting, what people should expect from their LIVE shows, plus we hear the backstory on their new single “Waxies’ Dargle” and what’s next for this La Crosse Irish Fest Favorite.

Ryan Lacey 01:16
My name is Ryan Lacey. I was born in Morristown, New Jersey, but I grew up in California. Bakersfield, California. I played musics since I was about 10, but I got kicked out of school band when I was 13. They actually, the teacher there, made sure that I couldn’t go back into Junior High band. And he made sure I couldn’t be in high school band. He brought my mom in. He’s like, so here’s the deal, he can’t be in school band. So I ended up playing, I started my own rock bands and things like that. So I played you know, played with my friends. I think that’s where I actually got a love of playing music. It makes a big difference when you start your own band.

Brent Hanifl 01:53
That’s crazy. Before, you know 2020, it seems like you were always on tour, headlining major festivals. Milwaukee’s Irish Fest, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which I’ve been to both, Summer Camp, and one close to our heart, we’re based out of La Crosse, Wisconsin, is Irish Fest, which is again happening August 13th through the 15th. And I believe you guys have almost played there pretty much every year since this existed.

Ryan Lacey 02:17
Yeah, yeah, we go back every year. We you know, we love the people there. It’s an awesome place. And they do a nice job with the festival, they really do. They take care of you well, and it’s always a good party afterwards. So we love the shows, we also love partying. And you know, and the people, you could tell that people that are coming to see the music actually really want to see the music, which is great for us. It’s kind of everything we want. So it’s a perfect marriage, basically.

Brent Hanifl 02:44
For some of those people who’ve never seen you guys play or been to Irish Fest, what can someone expect from you guys, as a band?

Ryan Lacey 02:50
Our whole like mantra is create a party on stage and make sure everybody’s involved. You know, like, make sure everybody in the crowd is involved in it. And our singer Pat is, I know I’m biased, but he is hands down the best front man I’ve ever seen. He just knows how to incorporate everybody. And you know, the party, the fun, the music is really fun. And it’s a good vibe. That’s the concept. We just want to create a really good atmosphere, bring everybody in and you know, play fun music.

Brent Hanifl 03:17
Well, I know I’ve seen you guys play a number of times and it’s always a great time. So, you guys released over 13, 14, a bunch of EPs, studio albums, things like that. You’re normally used to playing about 200 shows a year. What was COVID like for you guys?

Ryan Lacey 03:31
You know what, it was really weird at first and then you just kind of settled in, like I’m sure everybody was like that. But for us, like I’ve been in the band 19 years. The band still existed for much longer than that, you know, like, I think 23, 24 years. It just gave us a pause. I have two kids. Pat has two kids. Pete has two kids. And so everybody’s got like families that they haven’t spent as much time as they probably should. So it was just nice. You know, I think we all took a step back and actually really enjoyed our lives for a second, like our families. And now I think we’re definitely ready to get back out and have some fun playing music you know. Not that wasn’t fun at home.

Brent Hanifl 04:10
Just ready to rock.

Ryan Lacey 04:11

Brent Hanifl 04:11
So, the songwriting process and recording process. I guess maybe you had some time this year? What is that process like? Is it down and dirty and fast? Or is it something that you guys take some time with? Or did you have that opportunity over 2020?

Ryan Lacey 04:24
You know what, we did a lot more work than like I thought any of us think we were going to. We did a Christmas album, like a Christmas EP kind of thing. We released a small album of all traditional tunes like that’s why Waxies’ dargle, we’re going to talk a little bit later about, is on there. But you know, it’s all songs we loved that were all traditional tunes like Clancy Brothers songs and things like that. We kind of collaborated like that, we’d send each other music. There’s three of us that live in Chicago, but one lives in Austin, Texas and one lives in Annapolis, Maryland. So like we never really got together to play at all. We were able to kind of pass things back and forth through, you know, the magic of the internet and had some fun. But generally when we record and write music, Steve, our guitar player and singer writes most of the music, actually one of the old Gaelic Storm alumni, Steve Waymire. And Pat, Pat Murphy is involved in that as well. They do a lot of the writing, then me and Steve will go into the studio, because I’m the drummer, and we will go and create the skeletons of the songs. You know, like the base structures and then we just start to layer, layer, layer. And then Steve’s, the main producer, and I co produced the albums and so does Pat. It’s a really fun system we have and we’ve done it multiple times. Now we have one of the best engineers in the entire world. Again, I’m biased but the guy named Pat Manski. We record down in Austin, Texas in rehearsals or sorry, a studio down there. And he’s, I don’t know, every time you walk in, it’s just like a big hug when you walk in there. Like okay, we can create some music in here. So it was great.

Brent Hanifl 05:53
So you guys have a new single out which I’m sure you’ll premiere at the festival. What’s the song about and it’s Waxies’ dargle?

Ryan Lacey 05:59
Yeah, it’s an old traditional song. It’s about these two ladies talking to each other. They live in Dublin, they’re, you know, kind of poverty stricken, they’re kind of doing everything they can to get to this party in Galway on the west coast. So they’re you know they’re selling things off. They sell one of their husbands’ braces to get there. That it’s just kind of like a comedy song about these two ladies they’re just trying to get into these Galway races. You ever heard of the Galway races before?

Brent Hanifl 06:44

Ryan Lacey 06:45
Yeah, so I actually lived in Galway for four years. And I actually went to the Galway races. We had to sneak in, which is kind of funny. I didn’t even know what Waxies’ dargle was about until we played it and then I was like, oh, hey, I know how they felt. But yeah, so there it’s kind of like it’s almost like a high jinks kind of trying to get into this thing, and they get in and yeah.

Brent Hanifl 07:06
You guys have kind of been, you know, locked up. Sounds like you’ve still been working. But what’s next for you guys over 2021? In any, you guys are basically just starting to tour early August, correct?

Ryan Lacey 07:16
Yeah, yeah, we’re kicking back in. We’re doing these, these live streams, and we’re doing these small kind of pub shows just to get ready to play bigger shows. There’s this place called Emerald Island, the north side of Chicago. So everybody’s flying in to do those. We’re doing two nights, and we’re selling it as a live stream. It’s basically just to get our bearings back. And we figured why not film it and show that, can I say shit show? I don’t know, I don’t know. You never know what it’s gonna be like, you know what I mean. Like, it could be the best thing you ever seen, or it could be that train wreck that keeps wrecking. So we’ll see how it goes. We thought it’d be funny just to film it and you know, like making it like an authentic experience for people. And we did sell tickets for the show, too, but we kept a limited capacity as well. So I think it’s like 150 people a night. So it should be interesting.

Brent Hanifl 08:04
So if people want to check you out there in the La Crosse area, they can go to Irish Fest La Crosse, August 13th through the 15th. If people also just want to find out more, you know, maybe you guys got some going on, what’s the best avenue for them to go to?

Ryan Lacey 08:17 is good. That’s primarily a great place for the tour dates, and you know, ticket information. A lot of Instagram stuff, a lot of Facebook things, too, constantly updating, you know, putting video. Like, so during these, during the COVID experience, we had these three live streams. So we kind of cut those up in pieces and we’ve been sharing some of the songs here and there. They’re songs that we’ve never released before. So, you know, we’re just trying to keep people involved. And also, we have this thing called the Storm Chasers, which is like our fan club kind of thing. It’s kind of taken a world of its own, which is phenomenal. We like, we love all those people and we really interact with it a lot. You know, like we did a trivia night during COVID with everybody every two weeks, we did a trivia night. This guy named Matt Demont was hosting these things. It was great. You know, and that was all fan driven, which we appreciate it as well, you know, because it was just a nice experience. And that kind of flourished as we went on the break.

Brent Hanifl 09:13
Well, awesome. I can’t wait for it. I’ll be there at Irish Fest August 13th through the 15th and I’ll be there to check you guys out, so I sure hope it’s a barnburner.

Ryan Lacey 09:22
Yeah, please come say hi, that’d be great.

Amy Gabay 09:28
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