High Hopes: Preachers Son

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Brian Hogan’s new band might be in its infancy, but the Irishman could write a heck of a book about his life thus far. The former session bassist (son of preacher/musician Larry Hogan) has just released 10 Stories Tall, his debut with Preachers Son, having dovetailed with ABBA, funk, Christian festivals and an animation career with Disney.

“I grew up around music,” Hogan says. “When dad was gigging, me and my brothers would wait until the end of the soundcheck and go and play the drums. My uncle, who played with my dad in the 60s, had an acoustic bass and I used to play along to ABBA records aged four or five – Mamma Mia was my favourite.”

As Hogan’s bass-playing prowess developed (notably with Irish/world folk act Kíla), so too did his appreciation of funky grooves – something that’s stood him in excellent stead in creating blues-infused rock’n’roll with a seductive backbone.

“I used to play in a band called Pussy Ass Motherfuckers, and this dude introduced us to Earth Wind And Fire and bands we’d thought were naff disco,” he says earnestly. “But once we realised how funky it was it was like, ‘Fucking hell!’ And now I have a 1978 Music Man bass, the same as Bernard Edwards played in Chic.”

Hogan “drifted away” from religion a while ago, though it did provide an early gateway into a (rather godly) gigging experience with his dad’s Christian band. “It might as well be Jesus, or Satan, or drugs. They’re all just different ‘gods’ as far as I’m concerned,” Hogan says. “Myself, my brother and cousins would go to Amsterdam, ‘stock up’, then go and play this Dutch Christian festival,” he adds, laughing. “But the truth is we were kids playing with top-level musicians – even if the music was bland, testimonial stuff – so it was a huge experience.”

Hogan left school at 16 and landed a job as a cartoonist with the company behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A year later he upped sticks and moved to France to take up an animation role at Disney. “Paris was brilliant,” he says. “I had a French girlfriend, I was living in a garret – it was a total cliché.”

Clichés aside, it was ultimately the musical nights that had a lasting impact. “In the centre of Paris there’s an area of empty buildings with a community of Africans, Algerians, Parisians… One of the guys I was working with lived there, and we used to have house parties and get a lot of jamming going on.”

Contacts in Ireland led Hogan back to his homeland to pursue music, where he now lives with his wife and daughter. Still, the lust for creativity remains in his conviction regarding people’s need for a vibrant, human ‘show’. “For the launch in Ireland, I wanted to get a couple of burlesque strippers and a magician,” he enthuses, “and someone doing a cookery show as a support act, so it’s not just a rock show, it’s a huge show.”

FOR FANS OF…

“The first album I had was Queen’s Greatest Hits, and other classic rock albums I inherited from my elder siblings – stuff like Hendrix, Zeppelin, AC/DC… If I had to pick a favourite that’s reflected in 10 Stories Tall, it’s Zeppelin.” And you can certainly hear Zep in Preachers Son’s blend of soulfulness, bluegrass notes and vintage rock.

10 Stories Tall is out now. See www.preachersson.com