A Stunning return

by Gazette Reporter

July 17 will see the return to the Dublin stage of one of the most perennially popular acts to come out of Ireland in the late 1980s and early 90s, The Stunning.

Led by brothers Steve and Joe Wall, the band became massively beloved by a whole generation through their infectious melodies and constant touring.

However, the members went their separate ways in 1994 when international acclaim eluded them to the extent it was deserved, but The Stunning have come back together regularly over the last decade to celebrate their legacy with their fanbase.

Hence their appearance at the Bulmers Live At Leopardstown next Thursday.

Speaking to GazetteMusic recently, Steve Wall spoke about The Stunning’s enduring popularity and how hard the band worked to secure it.

“Paradise was such a big seller, practically every house in the country had a copy of it. Any family with teenagers had a copy – we were then what The Coronas are today.

“Our audience was around the Leaving Cert, first year of college kind of age, and once kids left school and went to college, they were free to go and see the band.

“What’s great about a college audience is that you have them for about three or four years, and they became lifelong fans.

“People say to us, you were the soundtrack to my teenage and college years, even when they went off to London or Britain, the album was a little bit of home they brought with them.”

Their resurgence in recent years, including a 20th anniversary celebration of the album, was down to that fanbase’s ongoing affection for the band and the Paradise In The Picturehouse record in particular, which Steve and the lads re-released in 2003.

“When The Walls started to get more well known, and people realised we used to be in The Stunning, we were getting requests via email, hundreds of them, from people asking if we could release it on CD.

“We made some enquiries, and of the sales, 90% were on cassette. So we decided we’d reissue it on our own label, with some bonus tracks.

“Friends of ours used to run events, and they rang me up to ask what we were doing to promote the reissue. They were adamant it was a big deal, that maybe we didn’t realise how much it meant to so many people.

“They agreed to help us promote the record as long as we agreed to get the band back together and tour.

“All the lads were up for the tour, it was all put together, and the album came out. The record label suggested that we press 5,000 copies, which sold out in three days – which meant we missed out on two more days of sales, which would have put it back at Number 1 again.

“We didn’t think there was that kind of demand to see the band, but we did 18 dates, including four nights at Vicar Street, and there was this whole new generation of kids who had grown up with the record through their parents who were coming to see us for the first time.

“It was after that we decided we would do it once a year, and that’s what we have done ever since.”

As far as the show at Leopardstown is concerned, Steve explained why shows such as this one are the type of shows that he and the band enjoy so much.

“We enjoy gigging because we’re not doing it all the time. We’re all good friends, and it is a big part of it that we all get along. We enjoy it. If we were gigging every weekend, it wouldn’t be the same. We do a better type of gig, because it’s more of an occasion, for us as much as the people who come along.”

The Stunning play Bulmers Live at Leopardstown on July 17.

For more information, log on to www.bulmersliveatleopardstown.com.

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