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THE KIDS WERE ALRIGHT!

A little look back in time from one of my books. This time its from 50/50 and two Waterford bands of the Eighties...

TASC (1984-88) (reunion gig 2008)



Ah the eighties...big hair, shoulder pads and hairspray, lipstick and make-up. And that was just the men! Back in a decade were males wore more foundation than women and fights regularly broke out between both genders over a set of curling tongs, the rise of 80’s rock bands like Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses and alarmingly, Europe, meant that you really had to look close at that ‘bird’ you were checking out from the back in the Peppermint Grove on a Saturday night.

Not that I’ve ever made that mistake (quick change of subject now Brian!)

Coming out on an age of big hair and falsetto voices were Waterford’s own answer to their American counterparts. TASC were a five-piece hard rock band who veered away from local bands and stuck true to their hard rock roots, carving out their own little niche in Waterford music history. A group which started by pure chance, played support to Def Leppard and ended when the age old ‘musical differences’ reared its inevitable head, Tasc’s story is one of hard work and endeavour which concluded in a happy ending, even if it took 20 years to reach that point.

Clive Bolger likes his music; otherwise he wouldn’t have been shuffling through a stack of vinyl in Sinnott’s record shop in early 1984 where he came across Tony Brennan and his cousin Tommy, who just happened to be wading through everything from Kiss to Deep Purple at the same time. Clive struck up a conversation with them and the origins of Tasc where formed that day right under the noses of the rock Gods they worshipped (I think they met somewhere between the “V” and “W” section, so Van Halen & Whitesnake would have witnessed this glorious union).

Like most groups, coincidence played a part in the forming of Tasc. Not only had these teenagers the same musical tastes, Clive played drums, Anthony played guitar and Tommy could stretch the vocal cords. Young, full of testosterone, and sporting the necessary hairdos, the boys roped in George Kennedy on bass and hard rock heaven was formed on the banks of the Suir.

Practice began and gigs followed thereafter. Being one of the only bands playing their brand of hard rock meant Tasc soon gathered their own little following around the town. One of the very first gigs, which unbelievably I somehow managed to be at, in the Cleaboy Lounge was attended by family, friends and a small gathering of nutcases willing to make devil gestures and shake their heads until they almost separated from their shoulders. It was a smart move. Not only were the group performing a labour of love, it also set them apart from a lot of local acts.

After over a year of gigging, the band landed a slot on Lark in the Park – Waterford’s highly popular showcase for local acts of the day. Being an open-air concert and free to the public, it gave Tasc even more exposure. On the 24th July 1986, Tasc took to the stage at 2.20 that day (sandwiched between ‘Supreme Beings’ and ‘Al La Carte’) and played a rocking 40 minute set much to the delight of their growing following, who by now carried a pack of Panadol everywhere to deal with standard head-banging drawbacks!

It was around this time that word had got out about English rock group Def Leppard were to play six Irish dates. The Sheffield outfit, which had huge international success since forming in 1977, had relocated to Ireland in 1984 to write their latest album “Hysteria” and were warming up before going out internationally with the release.

Word got back to Bolger from local act Soul Reazon who were recording a single in the same studio at the exact time Joe Elliot and his gang were also rehearsing there.

‘Skinner’ Flynn contacted Clive about the meeting and shared with him an unfortunate incident with Leppard’s one-armed drummer Rick Allen.


I remember Skinner telling me about it. He said “I made an awful arse of myself Clive. The drummer was walking in with a bag and let it down to open the door and I walked up and said, ‘can I give you a hand!’ You just had to laugh” CLIVE BOLGER


Having an idea, Bolger made it his business to find out where and what the multi-million album selling act were up to and wrote to lead singer Joe Elliot about Tasc appearing as special guests at their Waterford show.

Three weeks later he received an envelope, some signed photos and Elliot wishing the band good luck along with some names and numbers regarding the guest slot. Normally the nationwide promoters (MCD) would decide the support slots for an international band on a nationwide tour, but on this occasion, they let the decision with the local promoter. Local entrepreneur Martin Colebert was using Katie Reilly’s to host Def Leppard and being the only hard rock band in Waterford at the time, Tasc secured the right to open for Def Leppard.

This was a huge gig for the local band. Although Def Leppard had been out of the public gaze for a few years due to writing and waiting for Rick Allen to recover from the unfortunate loss of his arm (he subsequently invented a revolutionary customized drum kit to enable him to continue as the band’s drummer), it was still a massive honour for the Waterfordian’s to open for them.

Now although Clive, George, Anthony were over the moon about the gig, lead singer Tommy had a problem. Ironically, he was due to travel to the UK to watch Def Leppard the week of Tasc’s big break. He’d already booked and paid for the trip to England.

Obvious solution? Naturally Tommy was going to cancel the trip.

Oh, to be young and foolish! Faced with the chance to meet, greet and then open for one of the biggest rock bands in the entire solar system, Tasc’s 17 year old lead singer opted to stand in a field with 79,999 other headbanger’s two days later and actually WATCH Def Leppard on stage instead!!!

The other 3 band members were not amused. Having giving Tommy an ultimatum, (and then watching their lead singer head off on a ferry from Rosslare), Tasc had to draft in a last-minute emergency lead vocalist to cover for them. Fortunately, Clive’s brother Paul Bolger could hold a note or two and filled in for Brennan and Tasc rocked Katie Reilly’s on a balmy August Monday evening in 1986.

Again, my path accidentally crossed with the local outfit as I was one of the eager crowd that night. My abiding memory will always be my tone-deaf idiot English cousin Richie Albert listening to “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Animal” & “Love Bites” and announcing, “This fucking band are woeful, they’ll be back in Katie’s next year; working behind the bar!”

Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” went on to sell 25 million albums worldwide.

“Pour Some Sugar” & “Animal” were top ten hits in both Britain and Stateside.

“Love Bites” was a US number 1.

Richie now works in a bank, is still tone deaf, and of course, still an idiot.

Auditions were then held for a replacement lead vocalist. Local lad Stephen O’Hanlon fitted the bill a month later, and the band added another guitar when Terry O’Neill joined around the same time.

The emphasis now was to try record some original material and, in the summer of 1987, Tasc went to Cooleycall Recording Studios in Bridgetown, Co Wexford to record a two track demo tape funded by Music Moves.

The result was ‘One Heart/One Love’ and ‘For Eternity’, which Clive, Steve & Tony collaborated on. It proved to be an extra string to Tasc’s ever expanding bow and the band got heavy airplay on ABC at the time (championed of course by the ever-supportive DJ Roddy Cleere.) The demo also proved a