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The Drowsy Lads Backstage

The Drowsy Lads are an American Irish Band from Columbus, Ohio that perform annually at the Murphy Theatre every on St. Patrick’s Day. After this year’s concert on March 16, 2024, Bryan Brookes, the band’s flutist, answered a few questions about the band’s history and shared some other fun facts.

Q: What is the origin behind the name of your band?

A: “We were trying to find a name, and John and our band [were] obsessed with pub bands that would have the words ‘the’ and ‘lads’ or ‘boys’ in it. The first tune we learned was called ‘Drowsy Maggy’, which sounds random, but its a common tune. It would be like learning ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’. We learned it, we were all excited, and we were going to play it for Phil who actually knew music at the time... and we learned it totally wrong. [Phil] said ‘what’s that’ and we said ‘Drowsy Maggy’, and he said ‘no, that’s really bad’. So it’s a name to remind ourselves to be humble.”

Q: What is one of the funniest moments you’ve had during a live performance?

A: “There have been a lot. It’s hard to say because a lot of the humor is situational. A lot of the things that happen are things that happen either right before the show,  or during the show something funny goes down—like tonight, we were joking around about something right before we started. I was almost crying from laughter. It’s like that almost all the time. It’s just really fun hanging out.”

Q: What is one of the most unexpected sources of one of your songs? 

A: “Daniel in our band was trying to learn how to play the pennywhistle, and he wrote a tune during a long stay in the bathroom on the toilet. It’s called ‘The Evening Reels’. It’s on our second album.”

Q: If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be? 

A: “We’re about to do that, actually... we’re making our fifth album and we’re inviting a bunch of friends that we’ve met through the Dayton Festival, the Dublin Festival, and Milwaukee, to record with us. It’s going to be sweet. We’re good friends with a bunch of players and other bands. Some of the guys in We Banjo 3, and some other Irish bands as well.”

Q: What is the most unusual instruments that you’ve incorporated into one of your songs?

A: “Definitely the Irish Pipes, also known as the Uilleann pipes. They’re so complex and temperamental. They look crazy—like some octopus. But when they work, they sound great. I tried learning it and it was too frustrating for me.”

Q: If your music could be in the soundtrack of a movie, what movie would it be? 

A: “Funny you ask, our stuff was in a movie. It was in ‘Katherine Pub Birdy’, a movie on Amazon. Randomly during Covid, we get this email. I thought it was someone trying to steal money from us, but they actually were wanting to pay us to use the song. It’s about a thirteen-year-old girl coming-of-age in Victorian Times. Kind of bizarre, but cool. 



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