Skid Row – House of the Rising Sun
Brendan ‘Brush’ Shiels had been bassist with exuberant Dublin soul group The Uptown Band when personality clashes led to his departure along with manager Ted Carroll and temporary guitarist Bernie Cheevers. Together with singer Phil Lynott and drummer Noel ‘Nollaig’ Bridgeman, they formed Skid Row in 1967 – prompted by the name of saxophonist Alan Skidmore on the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton LP. By 1968 Cheevers had left for a ‘proper’ job and had been replaced by Belfast teenager Gary Moore, whom Shiels had spotted depping for an ill Dave Lewis during a Dublin gig by The Method (later Andwella’s Dream). Following the sacking of Lynott, the trio of Shiels, Bridgeman and Moore would be recognised as the definitive line-up which would tour internationally and record two studio albums, the first of which entered the UK charts.
Brush Shiels and Noel Bridgeman remember Skid Row
Moore left the group at the end of 1971 and found solo stardom, and the band struggled to find a suitable replacement. Throughout the ’70s, Shiels led many different line-ups sometimes featuring drummers Noel Bridgeman, Timmy Creedon or John Wilson, bassist John Brady, and guitarists Jimi Slevin, Ed Deane or Jody Pollard. Occasional singles and a live album were released, but by the end of the decade Shiels had opted for a career as a solo guitarist/singer. He launched his own Bruised Records label, which issued his solo output during the ’80s. One exception was this 1981 three-track EP, which saw him briefly return to the Skid Row name. This was possibly because the heavy boogie track Buckfast Tonic was a revival of a song called Benedict’s Cherry Wine, originally recorded with Gary Moore in 1971 for the band’s unreleased third album (eventually released in 1990). Today, Brush performs the same song under the title Herbalist From Dunboyne. The other featured tracks were the Shiels heavy blues-rock original Let It Roll and the well-known classic House of the Rising Sun. The line-up on the 12” EP isn’t revealed but it quite likely included Shiels, Noel Bridgeman and John Brady, along with a Deep Purple-esque keyboard player.
After some solo success in the 1980s, Brush Shiels has only occasionally revived the Skid Row name, such as on a few late ’80s singles, some live appearances, and for a forthcoming album. The band name was appropriated by a very successful American hair-metal group in the late ’80s, which somewhat eclipsed the legacy of the Irish band in parts of the world. Shiels has stubbornly refused to accept what he sees as the theft of his band name and his resulting inability to promote his records in North America, and he launched a (slightly tongue-in-cheek) YouTube campaign in January 2012 to seek acknowledgement of his rights by the American group and their original sponsor Jon Bon Jovi.
- House of the Rising Sun
- Buckfast Tonic
- Let It Roll