Record companies hooked on 'Emotional Fish'


Being a rock act from Dublin, Ireland, immediately means you will draw comparisons with the country's most successful act, U2.

But the comparisons get even more intense when you're actually a sort of a U2 protege.

An Emotional Fish, a four-man outfit from Dublin, got its start thanks to Mother Records, an independent record company owned and operated by none other than U2.

While there have been several dozen bands to get a chance with Mother, it appears the Fish are the first to make waves in the American market.

"The deal there is to give small bands . . . singles with no strings attached to try to get something started with their careers," said singer Gerard Whelan, who will lead his band into Max's On Broadway tonight for a concert.

But the Fish took it one step further when several American record companies became interested and starting hopping across the Atlantic to see the band perform in Dublin pubs.

"The scene being what it is in Dublin, with so many bands, there are a lot of scouts with their eyes open," Whelan said. "I suppose we had a bit of good luck, but it really became quite a circus when the record companies started chasing us."

Whelan said it might not have been so much who the band was as much as where they were from that landed them a deal with Atlantic Records a year ago.

"Eight years ago you had to go to London and fight it out to get a recording deal," Whelan said. "But because of U2 and Sinead O'Connor and Hothouse Flowers, people from all over are seeing things happening in Ireland.

"It's not as though there is one sound coming from Irish rock," Whelan said. "People are doing their own thing. There are some copycat bands that just want to sound like U2, but I don't believe we're one of them. Take Hothouse Flowers -- they do a sort of mix of traditional Irish music with rock music."

An Emotional Fish certainly wouldn't be confused with U2. The rhythm section of bassist Enda Wyatt and drummer Martin Murphy doesn't take on the mechanical beat of U2, and David Frew's guitars are much too noisy and fiery to be compared with The Edge.

The band's first single, "Celebrate," did the best of the self-titled album's three releases back in the fall, and although sales haven't been as good as Atlantic may have hoped, the Fish will head back into the studio this summer and will probably have a new album by early next year.

An Emotional Fish will appear at Max's on Broadway at approximately 10 p.m. The band East Is East will also appear, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. For more information call 276-2850.

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