On Tour: The Dubliners

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The Independent Culture
It's a hell of a lot of gigs when you take 32 years. And we really only got an audience outside Ireland from 1967 onwards. We used to go on tour for six weeks or more: that got too heavy, so nowadays we just do tours lasting 16 days or so. At first it was quite romantic because we were going to different places. Certainly for me now touring is a drag. Having to pack up and move out every day gets to you after a while. I'd like to be in a supergroup, going by helicopter or something like that and have roadies to pack up my cases. The fact is we don't have pension funds, so we just keep going. It's a job, like anything else; you enjoy it sometimes but you don't think about it too deeply when you don't.

Singing with The Pogues was a great experience as was our first tour to Germany, and the first time we played the Albert Hall. But it's not a great experience flying economy from Australia to London. After 32 years all the jokes have been told, so each member of the band does what he wants. No one discusses anything. It's always been a group of individuals - there isn't any boss, any leader. For myself I decide what I want to sing and I stay doing that, but other members of the group often want to change things.

The lads tend to eat somewhere but I go back to the hotel after a gig. I get up the next morning, have breakfast, move to the next hotel, shower and get ready for the gig. That's not very exciting, but it suits me because I read a good deal. I'm not a fanatic. People perceive bands and musicians to be all the time pondering, but that's not the case with us.

Ronnie Drew is lead singer with The Dubliners. They play Kilmarnock Palace (0563 23590) tonight, Glasgow City Hall 16-17 Mar (041-227 5511), tour continues to 19 Mar

(Photograph omitted)