Tom Dunne’s pop-rockers are making their regular nostalgic return next week, but haven’t ruled out writing again, either…
TOM DUNNE is best known today as a jovial presenter on Newstalk radio, but in the late 80s and early 90s his band Something Happens were at the forefront of a burgeoning Irish indie music scene.
Still active today – though infrequently, their shows an ecstatic celebration of what was – Dunne recalls the heydey fondly. “Getting started at all was our greatest achievement,” he jokes. “It was an incredible dream, getting to do things you only think people like Paul McCartney get to do.”
“It was taken for granted back then, for example, that being in a rock band meant doing certain things. We played in the National Stadium, and went to LA to record an album. Those kind of things don’t happen except for really huge bands anymore. Back then you just popped by a different country. It was almost expected.”
Something Happens picked up a huge record deal back then, with the pop-rockers signing up for Virgin to release debut album ‘Been There, See That, Done That’, and making a splash in the UK and the US.
The band even had their own self-penned magazine, writing stories of their times on tour, and once featuring Daniel O’Donnell on the cover. “We had a lot of time on tour, and it was something to do,” Dunne recalls, “getting down all the funny things that happened to us. The Daniel O’Donnell one was definitely a highlight. We used to sell them at shows.”
After several years of touring, the Virgin deal was eventually to turn sour: dropped from the label, Something Happens never reached quite the same heights as they had with their debut release, but continued released new music – much of it highly acclaimed – right up until 1997.
“We’d just heard that we were getting dropped, and I walked into the newsagent and picked up NME, and we were ‘single of the week’, which was a big deal back then” Dunne tells us. “We didn’t know about it. That was an odd week, and we felt a bit lost, I think. We ended up having a very long tail as a band.”