Dave Long - Sahara
Hi, I'm Dave Long and was born very young in Walkinstown on July 1 last century. Growing up there was always music around me. I distinctly remember at the age of eleven walking across an empty soccer field near home when I heard music that I hadn't heard before. It sounded like a big band, however, when I looked around to find out where the music was coming from I realised it was all in my head!! I couldn't quite understand what was happening until a few years later I started writing songs and then understood the magic of composing. It still excites me the whole process -
My first instrument was a piano accordion. I was enjoying the lessons and got on great with my teacher until he migrated to Canada, his parting gift to me was the sheet music to Dr. Zhivago. I hadn't had enough lessons to be able to read it properly so I played it mostly by ear. A few years later I was introduced to the guitar by a friend and saved up to buy my own. I took some lessons and then started jamming along with records to figure out the chords. A friend who took up the guitar at the same time came to me having written a song and I was so impressed that I thought, I'd give it a try using every chord I knew. Can't remember if the song was any good but I felt very happy with myself :) I was a young apprentice electrician studying at tech when I formed a three piece band called 'Aragorn'. Still in my teens I organised our first gig at The Baggot Inn Dublin where we did a series of gigs and of course bands being bands -
we broke up!
Many group and recordings later, in my early twenties, I moved away from the bands and took to my acoustic guitar again. I started experimenting with different styles of music and performed with small acoustic setups which included different instruments like violin and percussion. I concentrated more on my singing and songwriting which led to vocal session work at Dick Keating's recording studios. I won a trophy for one of my original songs and received quite a bit of radio play which along with some positive reviews from magazines such as NME was a great source of encouragement. A renowned music publisher was impressed with my songwriting and thought that sax or brass would really suit. I heard a fellow songwriter's recording which included a sax player named Trish. I became a real fan wearing out the tape listening to the solos and desperately wanted to meet her. The same songwriter was organising a music session with a view to start a band. I wasn't really interested but once I heard that Trish was going to be there I got so excited that I took over, and booked the rehearsal studio and got more musicians involved. It turned out to be one of those memorable sessions everyone enjoyed and we all went out for a pint afterwards. Trish's lift let her down and as she had missed the last bus, I valiantly stepped in and insisted on giving her a lift home. She was a bit shy and wanted to sit in the back of the car -
I stopped first outside Trinity College to drop off another muso and then refused to start the car again unless Trish sat beside me in the front - I jokingly told her I wasn't a 'taxi driver'. After a short stand off she weighed up the situation and not wanting to walk home - relented - however her protest was to give me the silent treatment. When I got to her bedsit in Rathmines we sat outside in the car, and I obviously hit the right topic talking about movies and music - an hour later she was still talking (nothing's changed!!). That was late 1982 I made such an impression we didn't meet again until 1984.
Meanwhile there were shows and music competitions where I was performing and I kept bumping into musicians that Trish had played with so I couldn't get away from her -
the funny thing was she was meant to be at some of these shows but I found out she was either off doing a different gig, away on holiday in Morocco near the Sahara desert or in hospital. At that time my 'day job' as an electrician took me off around regional Ireland and of course my guitar came with me. I met many a musician and played the pubs at night and had many a pint bought for me! It also gave me a chance to do a lot of solo performing which I really enjoyed and this brought on a renewed burst of songwriting.
When I got back to Dublin and was wiring an old bank building AIB College Green I was amazed to bump into Trish who unknown to me worked there!!. We jammed together for fun at a social event however, when someone heard a tape we had recorded together to our surprise they organised an audition for us at a venue in the city. At that stage we had only worked out a handful of songs when we were offered the residency on the spot. Panic -
we had one weekend to work out enough songs for two hours. However we convinced ourselves there wouldn't be many people there - we were wrong, the place was packed. Eventually we gave up the day jobs and performed in venues such as the American Embassy,The Baggot Inn, The Dame Tavern, Parliament Inn, Slatterys, The Hitching Post and Trinity College to name just a few.
I discovered early on that Trish had also been writing songs and we found that our styles of writing complemented each other. We released our first vinyl single 'Vision of Glory'. This had been the first song written together and it received airplay on various 'pirate' and community radio stations where we were also interviewed. We performed another original song 'Running Out' live on the 'Davis at Large' show on RTE TV and from this were asked to appear in an episode of the RTE mini series 'Inside' showing tremendous skill acting as a couple of musicians. In 1985 we got engaged and packed up our yellow liteace van with all our worldly goods and got on the boat to the UK. We had a few shows booked in advance which went down really well including the rehearsal we did in our van on the side of the motorway on the way to a show. Unaware an audience had gathered outside we slid the door open and were greeted by applause. Like true professionals we took a bow followed by a speedy exit! We couldn't get enough work due to the recession in the UK and returned to Dublin with just enough money to rent a small room with a single bed. We soon discovered the other tenants were involved in questionable activities and eventually got ourselves out of there into safer surroundings. In 1986 Trish and myself got married and a year later migrated to Australia. We've managed to continue with our music despite many challenging life experiences which in turn have inspired our songs. On a personal note, I'm both lucky and happy to be still alive.
*I lost my only sister Denise to ovarian cancer on 31st March 2014