A Day in the Life……. Aidan Rourke
Anita Stackhouse for Rolling Stone Magazine
Publication Date: 23 April 2010

It was the tour from hell and one that many people were beginning to say Aidan Rourke wasn’t going to recover his career from. As the tour dragged on, some insiders were even beginning to whisper that it would be a tour that the Irish born Rock Star wouldn’t get out of alive. Then, just when we were all thinking there could be no more unpredictable twists, Aidan added young Glaswegian singer Tara Gordon to his band’s line up. He had seen her sing at a club in her home town. She sang her first gig with him in his native Dublin and nearly stole the show. Only nearly because what ever else people say about Tara’s addition to the band, no-one can disagree that on stage Aidan and Tara have lots of chemistry.
To be handed the exclusive of interviewing them both before and after their Barcelona concert at the Camp Nou is rather special because it’s the first real interview they have done since Tara joined the band. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Aidan Rourke on a couple of occasions and it’s always an unpredictable experience, getting hazy tot he end because Aidan can talk a Buddhist monk into drinking. After the first time I interviewed him I learned not to drive myself to interviews.
I meet them at the hotel bar where they are waiting for the limousine to take us all to sound check at the stadium. One of the very first things you notice about Tara is just how easily she competes with Aidan for attention in a room. She’s got presence, a wicked gleam in her eye and complete self confidence.
Inevitably there is time for a round of drinks before we leave, so as we sit down I address my first question of the day. to Tara.
“What’s it like to be thrust into the limelight so suddenly Tara?”
“Fun,” is her brief and unelaborate reply. She is sipping her drink through a straw. I’m not surprised to see she shares her drinking preference with Aidan. She doesn’t look like she is going to add anything to that, so I try another tack to get her talking.
“What’s Aidan like to work with then?”
“A pain in the arse actually,” she tells me with a smile. Aidan scoffs at this.
“You’re not all sweetness and light yourself,” he tells her, bantering back. They are going to do this a lot over the course of the day. They carry on for a minute or two now before I manage to bring them back with another question.
“So, has Tara joining changed the dynamics of the band much?” It seems an obvious question, but I want to hear Aidan’s own perspective on it.
“Totally, but I think it needed changing. I know there’s people who don’t agree, but I don’t think I could have gone on much longer the way things were. My life had gotten stuck into a groove, the music was suffering and I needed shaking up,”
“So I rode in and rescued him,” Tara interjects with a dark chuckle, and that sparks them off again, exchanging mild insults and witticisms that are far too rapid-fire for me to note down. Aidan is well matched by Tara in this little game.
At sound check I begin to appreciate the differences in Aidan and his band. When I interviewed him last, three months ago, he was losing interest in pretty much everything except partying. Today, although there’s bottles of whiskey distributed on the amp stacks, he’s keen and working hard with the band. It’s also the only time that he stops the playful bickering with Tara.
I get another chance to talk to them together with the rest of the band before they go on stage. Finn, the perpetually moving drummer, is burning some pre-gig nerves up on a set of bongo drums while Craig, the bassist, is watching and having a beer, looking relaxed. Paul and Aidan are going over some things with an acoustic guitar each while Tara nods and sings snatches of lyrics as she listens to them. I snatch a couple of moments with them as Paul restrings his guitar.
“So what was it about Tara that made you decide to add her to the band?” I ask Aidan, knowing that this could prove to be a tricky subject after some recent mutterings in some corners of the International Press. His reply is emphatic and sincere.
“The voice, it was always the voice. The first thing I heard her sing was Inferno, and she gave it something really special with that voice,”
“I didn’t even want him to come and hear me play. I thought he’d upstage me,” Tara adds with a wry laugh.
“I didn’t though, you were too good for that,” Aidan comes back at her with that charm of his. Tara seems to be mostly immune though. She launches into her own version of events with gusto. It’s the first time I really notice how strong her accent is.
“Oh, you did! You were the one who rushed the stage and begged me to join your band! Then you practically kissed me in front of the whole damn club! What a bloody uproar that caused,”
“You didn’t protest so much at the time,” Aidan retorts with sparkling eyes.
“Your silver tongue doesn’t work on me, Irishman,” Tara replies and they are ready to start another rapid exchange of fire, but I manage to interject that big question that everyone wants the answer to before it goes too far.
“Your relationship is purely professional then?” Tara answers me quickly before Aidan manages to get a word in.
“It’s a working relationship, not so sure about the professional thing,” she tells me with a bright smile. Aidan glances at her and stays uncharacteristically quiet. There’s a story here, I can smell it, but I’ve seen Aidan Rourke close up before so I don’t press. Maybe in the afterglow of the gig they will feel more expansive. Time to change the subject.
“Have you written any new material with Tara in mind?”
“We’ve written a couple of good songs together already, “Aidan tells me, “We’ve been chalking up new material for the next album,”
“Anything you’re ready to play live?”
“Soon. I want to polish things up a bit before unleashing it on a captive audience. Tara is going to be a big part of the new album so we’re working hard on it,”
“Are you looking forward to getting into the studio, Tara?” I ask her.
“We’ve got a wee mobile thing on the tour bus and we’ve done a few tracks on that, but yeah, I wanna see what it’s like to work in a real recording studio,”
“How easy is he to work with when you’re writing?” I ask, pointing at Aidan.
“Didn’t she already say I was a pain in the arse?” Aidan quips, drawing a throaty laugh from Tara.
“Is he really?” I press, laughing with her a the lock of mock affront on Aidan’s face.
“Well, he’s such a visionary and Paul is such a perfectionist it can be pretty hard to get heard between the two of them,” She’s smiling at the scowls both men are wearing now, “I wouldn’t do it any other way. They both really know their music and I’m just the new kid on the block,” I think she’s trying to placate them, but it’s hard to tell with that wicked gleam in her eye.
“There’s nothing wrong with being a perfectionist!” Paul exclaims. It’s rare for him to say anything in interviews, but I’ve noticed already today that he’s looking much happier that he was three months ago.
“So it changes the song writing dynamic with the three of you working together?” Paul nods so I continue, “Do you think it’s expanding the musical possibilities of the band having a female vocal?” He’s the trained and qualified classical musician after all.
“Well it always used to be “I like it but can we make it a bit more Rock N Roll” with Aidan, but now I have to contend with “Harder! Faster!” from Tara as well (Tara laughs in the background, another one of those throaty laughs that seem to draw the eyes of all the men in the room) I think she reckons we should be a thrash band,” Paul’s possibly unintentional innuendo is not lost on him, and neither is it lost on Aidan, who bursts out laughing while Tara pouts theatrically. She gets up, announcing that it’s time for her to go and get dressed and made up for the gig and leaves with a smile and a wave, and a glass of whisky pressed into her hand by Aidan. I have one myself. Paul goes off to have a word with one of the roadies and I get the opportunity to fire a couple of quick questions at Aidan.
“This seems like a much happier camp than the last time I was here. Has adding Tara to the band helped you regain your focus?”
“Nothing was about the music any more for me before. It was all travelling and partying and I was getting kind of lost. Tara has made me re-evaluate a lot about why I am doing this, reminded me what it was like before the lifestyle took over,” he explains after a couple of moments contemplation.
“And the rumours that keep flying around about the two of you?” I ask again, since I didn’t get his answer before, only Tara’s.
“What, that we’re a couple?” he shakes his head, “You’re not letting that go are you? We’re not a couple, not even close. I’m pretty useless at the whole relationship gig,”
I’ll wave the white flag at that. They certainly bicker like a couple, but I;m not going to deny Aidan’s admission of ‘commitment issues’.
The gig is amazing. The Camp Nou is bursting and jumping and loves it that Aidan is speaking to them fluently in Spanish. He even throws in a few phrases of Catalan for good measure. The concert is being graced by Countessa Sophia Maria Bourbon i Lioncourt, the Countess of Barcelona. In typically Aidan Rourke style, he serenades her with Angel. The papers the next morning ran with a picture of the Countessa blushing under the headline “Rourke melts the strongest hearts in Barcelona”.
The whole place ignites when Tara sings Inferno, the song which undeniably has become hers on this tour. Her voice seems to fill the whole stadium, where everyone inside is silent in awe of it. This is where she consistently proves her worth as an addition to the band. It really is hard to be untouched by the effect of it.
‘Fey’ is another major highlight in a fantastic performance. Tara whirls and spins hypnotically, acting the part of the girl victim of the Fey in the song. She plays off Aidan’s vocal with real presence in her backing vocals. They sound great together.
Back at the hotel, after the gig is over, the band get down to serious partying. The Countessa makes a brief appearance early on in the festivities, shares a drink and a conversation in Spanish with Aidan and then makes a gracious exit to allow the party to ramp up without restraint. I have to move in quick before Aidan’s persuasiveness with a glass of whisky steals my chance for a last couple of questions.
“The vibe of the tour seems to be really different, and you’re turning in some amazing performances now. Do you feel you’re silencing the critics?”
“Well, that depends on how nicely you’re going to write about me doesn’t it?” Aidan asks me, laughing. Tara is back to smirking and drinking through a straw.
“Seriously, I’ve never made a habit of reading the reviews because all I’ve ever been interested in is the reaction of the fans. Tonight was a blast and the vibe at the gig was amazing. Earlier in the tour the energy was lower, but it’s higher than ever now,” he replies thoughtfully. He’s still sober enough to be lucid and clear in his thinking obviously.
“I didn’t know you spoke such fluent Spanish, what other talents are you hiding?” I quiz him now.
“It’s only one of my many hidden talents that I will be practising later tonight,” he says with one of those patented Aidan Rourke charming smiles. Some woman is going to be lucky tonight, but judging by the disdainful sneer that crosses Tara’s face it definitely won’t be her.
“You are so full of yourself,” she tells him, and there is a playfulness to it that I don’t think is any more acidic than anything she’s said to him all day. It’s all part of the fizzing chemistry between them that is so obvious on stage. They start slinging insults at each other again now and it does get a little sharp, but I’d say it’s no more than a healthy friction that will keep them on their toes. maybe we are all drunker than I thought too, because this time there’s no way of bringing them back to the Interview and it’s over for the night.


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