In conversation with UNA MULLALLY
NIALL 'BRESSIE' BRESLIN
Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin is a musician and was the winning coach on RTÉ’s The Voice of Ireland
‘MACKER USED to run a bar in Mullingar called Danny Byrnes. There was a disused nightclub upstairs where he let The Blizzards [Bressie’s former band] rehearse. He couldn’t have done more for us, bringing up drinks and food and all that. When you’re starting out as a band you don’t have money to pay for a rehearsal space or buy anything and, at the time, there were no rehearsal spaces in Mullingar. We were there for five years.
“Macker’s main job is to go into bars and turn them around, give them character and a bit of personality.
“He doesn’t suffer fools. He’s an odd character in the nicest way. I’m a bit odd too, I suppose, so it works. It’s hard to describe why he’s odd. He’s one of those guys who’ll just disappear for a couple of months, Into The Wild style. He’ll come back and I’ll be like, ‘Macker, where the f*** were you?’ And he’ll just say he got fed up. I’m like that as well. At least he doesn’t stick around and pretend to be in good humour. If he feels like being a p****, he’ll just disappear for a while. Other people just stay around and be p****s.
“I suppose he came on the journey with The Blizzards in many ways. We were just demo-ing and doing it for fun at the start, like most bands. We just wanted to have the craic and we were all good friends. As the band grew, he came to all the gigs with us and saw us progress. When you go through major parts of your life and people come with you, you do create a bond. He’s very aware of how hard we’ve worked, and vice versa. I’ve seen all the work he’s put into pubs. It’s a tough job what he does. So there’s a mutual respect there. I don’t like lazy people, they annoy me.
“I remember going to mix our second album in LA. I did the first one there as well and I was on my own. Everyone was like, ‘You’re in LA, it must be brilliant,’ but I was like ‘it’s shit. I’m on my own. I’m in a ball of sweat every day.’ The second time I went over, on the first day I rang Macker. I said, ‘Come on out for two weeks, I’ve got a free hotel.’
“And he goes ‘grand’. The next morning he was there. I told the record label we needed another two or three days there. The label was going, ‘You must be really stressed, it must be really hard work,’ but I mixed one hour a day and went on the piss with Macker for the rest of it. Him coming over like that was something we’ll talk about for years. We had so much fun.
“When I was in London nobody really knew I was getting back into it [his own music]. I started saying it to Macker, and he said part of who I am was performing live. The Blizzards, apart from anything else, had a reputation for live gigs, that’s what we did best. Macker said, ‘You can’t give it up.’
“He stuck to his guns in Cassidy’s too [on Westmoreland Street, Dublin]. I told him, do what you do, play what you want to play and if it’s good enough people will go in.
“Macker would do anything for you. He’s one of those guys. He’s unconventionally reliable and he can make very simple things sound hilarious.”