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The Modulators

From: Howth

Active: 1978-1979




Formed in 1978 after the demise of Frankie Corpse & The Undertakers by the McCormick brothers. Frankie Corpse (AKA Frank Kearns) assumed he was included in the new band until he was told the bad news just before their debut gig. Meanwhile drummer Keith Edgley, another ex Undertaker, never actually played with the band. He consistently failed to turn up for rehearsals, this absenteeism apparently the result of probabtion restictions on his movements following his arrest.

Rehearsals were aided/facilitated by local Howth heroes Rocky De Valera & The Gravediggers who also provided the opening slot that was the bands debut gig at the Howth Community Centre in September 1978. When Edgley failed to turn up for the gig, the band was forced to seek a replacement and U2's Larry Mullen, who'd turned up to see his mate Frankie Corpse's new band and then learned that Frankie was out, graciously agreed to sit in on drums. The band was well received and the gig went off without a hitch except for the cover of the Beatle's "Revolution" which they played at double speed because Larry didn't know the song and took his cue from the intro, not realising the song slows down completely for the rest of the song. Howth Community Centre became a regular gig for The Modulators.

A more permanent drummer was found in the form of Paul Byrne (pre In Tua Nua), though he was always at pains to point out that he was not a full time member and he and bassist John McGlue left in late 1978 or early 1979 to form Sounds Unreel, who evolved into Deaf Actor)

New Modulators were found in the form of bassist David Parkes and drummer Johnny McCormick (no relation, aged 22). This lineup played with DC Nien at the Dandelion Markt on Sunday 17th June 1979, supported U2 at McGonagles the same month, and played Howth Community Centre in August in 1979. They received their first press coverage from Hot Press, where Neil had started working in 1978, and contined to build momentum with an appearance on Youngline (the very first episode, broadcast on RTE TV on October 4th 1979) and headline gigs at TCD and UCD. At a gig at the Darndale community centre the stage was stormed and the hire equipment nicked.

The Modulators were set to make their first headline appearance at McGonagles, a major milestone for Dublin bands at that time, on the same date in September 1979 (the 29th) as another major event was being held at the Pheonix Park, i.e. the Pope's first visit to Ireland (at a time when most Irish people were still infected with religion; my own family trooped out to Limerick Racecourse for the same tour. I, a 15 year old athiest, refused to go). Through various mix-ups and a poor turnout the gig was cancelled and the band split in exasperation.

There are no recordings that I know of; ssong titles include "In Your Hands" and "Last Bus Home".

The Modulators are discussed in Neil McCormick's autobiography Kill Bono (AKA I Was Bono's Doppelganger).


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