The Young Dubliners have been around since the late 80s and were created by Keith Roberts and former member Paul O’ Toole. Through the years, the band has released ten albums and has toured through the United States and Europe. Keith Roberts, lead singer and songwriter talked to The Northern Light about his life as a musician and his favorite places to perform thus far.
TNL: You’ve been in the band since its start in 1988. When you formed this band, what were you hoping to accomplish?
Roberts: “I owned a pub in Los Angeles and I wanted a band that played every weekend in Los Angeles. All of a sudden we had a record deal and started getting hit up in the bar. Eventually, the bar was sold out every night. We got offered a song on a contemplation album and we ended up being the only one to airplay nationally. It’s what I wanted to do as a living so I sold the bar and went on the road and sold the first album in 1995 and have been on the road ever since.”
What’s your favorite part of performing?
“It kind of amazes me after all these years we still play. When you do this for so long, you lose a little bit of a shine or something. Life throws you curve balls and you end up going to places that you’ve never been, your family grows, etc. we love playing those shows. Now that we have been playing so long, you look forward to playing the songs you write. You can play those and end up enjoying it now instead of when you did when you were younger and didn’t know what.”
Where is the coolest place you’ve performed?
“Alaska is the coolest place to perform. A lot of places stand out where the crowds are always great. In all honesty Alaska is a place we love to play. We love it so much so we’ll spread it out from Homer to Fairbanks. I love the great outdoors so that helps too; you guys check all the boxes for me. We try and come up to Alaska at least once a year.”
Have you ever met an idol of yours or musical legend that you’ve always looked up to?
“One of the well known facts about being a musician is they turn out to be assholes. Mike Scott from The Waterboys was a huge influence on me, he inspired me and I waited to meet him at the event. I had drank so much I couldn’t even form two words together. I wasn’t so drunk that I realized what was happening, but speaking was definitely a problem at the time. I walked over to the porta potties at the event after sobering up a bit and saw him again. He said ‘you guys should come watch the show from the couches on the side of the stage!’ He told me that they went on in fifteen minutes after The Flaming Lips opened for them. In that time I got myself drunker than I had in that whole day. I had a blast with them and they had such a wild show. That was a highlight for me since he was such a nice guy.”