You may imagine someone who was a teenager in the 1980s would not need to research Aslan. Still, knowledge is never wasted and a scan back through The Anglo-Celt archives shows that Aslan played a concert in the Breffni Arms in January 2008.
That is only yesterday, right? Not exactly. In the decade that has passed since Christy, Joel, Rodney, Billy and Alan played Arva they have continued to occupy a unique place in the pantheon of Irish music.
Though essentially an urban band the Finglas five have over the past 35 years managed to create music that connects with all Irish people. Whether it's in celebration of the Dubs wining the All Ireland or the last post-closing-time musical moment in a pub in North Kerry, Aslan have a song that will unite a crowd in blissful harmony.
“It's a long time since we played in the county outside Cavan town. It has been a while since we played the Breffni Arms, and we are looking forward to it. The tour we are on at the moment is the 'Feel No Shame' 30 anniversary tour. It's hard to believe our debut album is 30 years old this year,” Billy McGuinness casually discounts the last three decades of my life, shattering illusions that I am still a teenager.
Though focusing on the first batch of recorded songs the set will be broader.
“We will be playing about nine of the songs off the album. Then songs like 'Crazy World', 'Too Late for Hallelujah' and a couple of others. We did it in the Ivy Gardens during the summer and a couple of other places and it is going down very well.” the guitarist explained to the Celt.
The mark the Dublin five piece have made on their audience over the last 30 years is impressive. Songs like 'This is', 'Where's The Sun?' and 'Lucy Jones' speak to Aslan fans in a way that not many groups can emulate.
“Part of the reason is that we are a real band,” Billy says, “Christy has been very honest about his past. He doesn't give false stories.”
The lead singer's sincerity sees him talk openly about his life, his addictions and his cancer.
That earnestness also translates into the lyrics people identify with.
“It resonates with people. Throw in the fact Aslan are a great live band and Irish audiences appreciate that. For 35 years we have been ramming it out. There are people who have seen us 30 times this year alone,” Christy's bandmate says of the passion the fans feel for him and his comrades.
Of course the band is not one person. To last three and a half decades you rely on a strong bond.
“In Aslan we all have our individual jobs, you know what I mean? Joe looks after the recording, Rod looks after the social media, Alan does the accounts, I look after PR. There's no main man, there's just the five of us, and it has always very much been the five of us against the world. When it comes to writing songs it's the five of us, when it comes to organising gigs, it's the five of us.”
The strength of the band has always been the songs. They provided a score for the transitions from youth to maturity and into middle age for countless Irish people.
“We have been very fortunate to have written some great songs. Those songs have brought us all around the world; from Australia to America. The fact that 'Crazy World' is 25-years-old, and 'This Is' is 30-years-old and the way in which those songs resonate with people as much today as when they were released says a lot about them. U2 recorded a version of 'This Is' when Christy was sick. I think that is the only song by an Irish band that they have ever recorded,” says Billy, his pride in his craft apparent when he discusses his work.
In the next few months Aslan will be treating audiences to the 'Feel No Shame' experiences before concluding it in Vicar Street, Dublin with a three night run. Next year they return to the Ivy Gardens and a there will also be a stint in The Marquee in Cork.
The show in the Breffni Arms is sure to be a sell out so the advice is to get tickets early. Support on the night comes from local band "Priorland" and DJ will follow after Aslan.
The show takes place Saturday September 29. Doors at 9pm. Tickets: €26.30 [€25 plus €1.30 booking fee].