Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Tributes flow to Fergus O’Farrell

Sad news broke this morning (3rd Feb) about the death of Fergus O’Farrell – the hugely influential Irish singer/songwriter and artist.

O’Farrell, who suffered from Muscular Dystrophy, died last night in Schull, Co. Cork, at the age of 48.

Tributes posted online show the depth and range of his influence. He never really achieved commercial success, but his band Interference were legendary, particularly amongst fellow musicians. In the early nineties, playing in Dublin venues like Mother Redcaps, An Beal Bocht, and the Earl Grattan, they pushed the boundaries of what could be expected from a local band (at a time when many record companies and many local bands were solely interested in churning out xeroxed versions of U2), with dynamic arrangements, accomplished musicianship, and, at the heart of it all, O’Farrell’s soulful voice. The DJ Dave Fanning once remarked that Interference were the only band in Ireland he couldn’t pigeonhole, and while the comment may have become somewhat bittersweet, given the lack of record company support the band recieved, it was true.

O’Farrell made light of suggestions that he had been sidelined by the music industry due to his illness (in interview here, for example), and yet the strength and commercial appeal of his songwriting was proven with the success of the song Gold, included in the film Once.

In recent years, while still working on new music, his artistic talent was primarily focussed on his painting – he held a well received exhibition a couple of months ago.