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The Stunning mark the 30th anniversary of their iconic debut album release


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The Stunning have released a 30th anniversary album and book

The Stunning have released a 30th anniversary album and book

The Stunning have released a 30th anniversary album and book

It was the year that Ireland went football crazy as the country magically swept into the quarter finals of the Italia '90 World Cup.

On the international scene, Nelson Mandela was set free from prison after 27 years.

At home, Mary Robinson was elected Ireland's first female president, and that unforgettable summer of celebration in 1990 gave birth to the iconic Féile music festival at Semple Stadium, Thurles, when 60,000 fans made the Trip to Tipp for the first time.

On the music scene, there was also a new soundtrack to that summer with the release of Paradise In The Picturehouse, a chart-topping debut album by Galway-based band The Stunning.

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Steve Wall (left) as Detective Coleman and Kieran O’Reilly on the set of 1916 Rebellion

Steve Wall (left) as Detective Coleman and Kieran O’Reilly on the set of 1916 Rebellion

Steve Wall (left) as Detective Coleman and Kieran O’Reilly on the set of 1916 Rebellion

Impact

Thirty years down the road, frontman Steve Wall admits that The Stunning had no idea of the impact their band and album had on fans at the time.

This week they marked the 30th anniversary of Paradise In The Picturehouse by reissuing it as a vinyl LP, along with a book revealing the stories behind the songs. In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World, singer and actor Steve, who recently played hippy character Baz in RTE's comedy drama The South Westerlies, recalls how The Stunning won the hearts of Irish fans three decades ago.

In the two years before the album's 1990 release, the group had toured the small towns of Ireland, packing out halls on the back of hits such as Got To Get Away, Half Past Two, Romeo's On Fire and their best-loved song, Brewing Up A Storm.

The fan favourites ultimately proved to be the firepower for their Paradise In The Picturehouse album, which was number one in the charts for five weeks upon its release.

Crowd

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The Stunning 30th anniversary album and book

The Stunning 30th anniversary album and book

The Stunning 30th anniversary album and book

And their extensive tours of Ireland paid off the day they played Féile for the first time at 1.30pm, normally a warm up slot for a festival as the crowd trickles in.

"I remember we had a really respectable crowd that day," Steve says. "What stood to us was the fact that we had been playing seven nights a week in the couple of years leading up to it. We played all around the country. We could be in Bunclody on a Friday night and Loughrea on the Saturday. We were playing all these small towns. Wherever we could get a gig we were playing.

"I remember years later people saying to us, 'We were so proud when you came and played in our little town.' People would say to you at the time, 'What are ye doin' playing here!' We were a sort of supergroup to them, and we had no idea that people viewed us like that.

"We meet people to this day who say to us, 'I remember I was 15 and you played in our town hall, it was the biggest night of our lives.' They'd seen us on TV shows like The Beatbox, Anything Goes or Nighthawks, and here we were playing in the town hall in Bunclody, or wherever it was.

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"When it came to that first Feile, and all the ones that followed, all of those people came to see The Stunning because we were their band. There was a loyalty there, 'here's the lads who came and played in our little town.'

"We saw that again when the band got back together in 2003 for the first time in 10 years. That was when we realised how much we meant to people.

"That tour was incredible, and we had all the younger brothers and sisters of the original Stunning fans, who were finally old enough to come and see the band play.

Careers

"It was all these people who grew up hearing our music that their older brothers and sisters were playing in the house, and they were too young to go to a show at the time.

"We just didn't realise there was that amount of people that held the band so close to their hearts."

All the members of The Stunning have maintained careers in music and the arts, in addition to occasionally reuniting for live shows with the legendary Irish band.

Guitarist Derek Murray works with comic Tommy Tiernan, Jimmy Higgins plays with Christy Moore, Cormac Dunne is an in-demand drummer with several groups, and Steve's brother, Joe Wall, teaches in the BIMM music college.

As an actor, Steve has starred in Vikings, Raised By Wolves and The Witcher on Netflix, and he recently played a central role in RTE's Sunday night drama, The South Westerlies, alongside Patrick Bergin and Orla Brady.

"I loved playing Baz and it was the first time I got a long enough run to develop a character and give him little quirks," Steve adds. "I hope they make a second season, it was great fun."

  • The Stunning's 30th anniversary album and book, Paradise In The Picturehouse, is now available from thestunning.net

Singer Steve reveals family tragedy

Steve Wall told yesterday how his family are still coming to terms with the tragic death of his three-year-old niece Estlin after a car crash in 2017.

The horrific incident, in which a truck driver was later convicted of careless driving, has also left Estlin’s dad, Steve’s brother Vincent, with life-changing injuries.

However, Steve says Vincent and his American-born wife Amy have now been blessed with a daughter, Lucy, who was born in May. The couple also have a son, Mannix, who will be four this Christmas. “Vincent and Amy have now got their hands full with Lucy, it’s been a really positive thing for them and a great distraction,” he said.

H However, Steve reveals that Vincent now has to live with the damage caused to his body.

“He still has issues that are invisible to the eye, things that he has going on, little tremors and issues with his peripheral vision,” Steve says. “The crash left him with pretty bad tinnitus as well, which he hadn’t had beforehand.”

H In May, the DPP appealed against the sentence imposed on truck driver Senan O’Flaherty (63) for careless driving causing the death of Estlin Wall and serious bodily harm to her father, Vincent.

In April at Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys imposed a €750 fine on O’Flaherty, of Lower Gowerhass, Cooraclare, for the careless driving causing death of Estlin Wall, and a €750 fine for careless driving causing serious bodily harm to Vincent Wall on March 15, 2017. He also imposed a mandatory four-year driving ban.

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