With the Electric Picnic about to kick off, the festival season has brought some of the best international and Irish acts to the live stage. Cork five piece Fred is just one of the bands representing the home grown talent. They are preparing to step aboard The Salty Dog Stage this Sunday, but before they walk the plank, Fred front man, Joe O’ Leary took time out to talk to State.ie about the up-coming show.
What can we expect from the set this Sunday, are you looking forward to it?
We’re going to be playing a mixture of everything, but mainly concentrating on the last two albums. Yeah, we’re looking forward to it. We haven’t played the Picnic for two or three years. The last time was brilliant put I think this time our slot is a bit better. The Salty Dog stage is inside in the forest, just at the edge. Basically, it’s a converted boat and the stage is on the top deck of the boat so we’ll be like proper pirates so that’s the coolest thing.
Have you guys got a pre-gig routine?
I’d say we’ll do a few laps of the boat, scrub the decks, hoist up the sails and we’ll rock on! We don’t have superstitions or rituals, I used to have them for football matches but it didn’t work the last day. Cork were beaten by Donegal, those god damn red socks aren’t working anymore. Outside of that there’s very little. Just rev it up and on you go!
Is there anyone on the bill you’re looking forward to seeing yourself?
I’m actually looking forward to a lot of the headliners and the cool thing about the Picnic is the bands that you don’t know much about. The quality is so high and you get the best from all over the world really so there’s a lot of bands I don’t know a whole lot about but I’m looking forward to seeing. The main bands I’m dying to see are Sigur Ros on the Friday and The Cure on the Saturday; aptly titled the cure… we could do with the cure on the Sunday. There are so many good acts every year.
What’s your all time favourite memory of a gig, either yours or someone else’s?
Oh, Jesus I have had a load of gig moments but it depends on what era or what mood I was in. When I was younger I was mad into U2 so seeing them play for the first time in Cork in 1991/92, the Zoo TV tour, Aw man.. that was my first big gig. Coming up from secondary school into the city, that was just magnificent. But we’ve had some amazing gigs ourselves like Oxegen a few years back. We were playing on the Sunday afternoon in a humongous tent called the Green Spheres tent, I think it held about 12,000 people. It was the biggest tent in Europe at the time and they put us in there for some bizarre reason. We thought if only a couple of hundred people turn up it won’t even look like a spec in there but it was brilliant. There was five or six thousand people there. We did a short set of 30 minutes or so but from song one to song six they kept streaming in. They looked like ants and they were running to get up to the top. Anytime the people sing your own songs back to you is a really cool thing, if you forget to enjoy that you’ve gone wrong somewhere.
Is Fred a real person?
Of course there’s a real Fred somewhere but I think our Fred was imaginary. When Jamie the guitarist was about 15, he came up with this beautiful name for one of his bands, called Fred the purpled haired ninja. There was some super star called Fred, like he imagined he was Fred or something. We didn’t keep the full name ‘cause we couldn’t get any gigs with it. We might bring it back you never know.
Fred play the following shows:
Electric Picnic, Laois: Sunday 2nd September, The Salty Dog stage, 7pm.
Meads Bar, Cork: Friday 7th September (Joe O Leary solo performance with Doug Paisley)
Harvest Moon Festival, Schull Cork: Saturday, September 8th
Valentia Isle Festival Valentia Island, Kerry: Sunday September 16th
Pavilion, Cork: Thursday 25th October