Mick Pyro (left) on stage with Republic of Loose
|Birth name||Michael Tierney|
|Genres||Funk rock, hip hop, soul, blues|
Michael Tierney (known as Mick Pyro) is an Irish musician. He is best known as the frontman of the Dublin funk rock band Republic of Loose. He has also partaken in other independent work with fellow Irish and international musicians and performed a duet with Sinéad O'Connor at the 2008 Meteor Awards when she revealed her admiration for his vocals. He has also written for the Irish Independent. Pyro is known for his distinctive vocals and his bearded appearance.
Education and influences
Pyro has an MA in Renaissance literature and is an avid reader. Pyro is known for his diverse musical tastes involving hip hop, soul and blues, with almost every record he purchases being hip hop. He has described hip hop as "one of the most innovative art-forms around and it's constantly capable of shocking and surprising me". Cee-Lo Green's 2004 album Soul Machine is one of Pyro's personal favourites but he also likes Biz Markie, EPMD, Big Daddy Kane and 1980s soul and funk such as Alexander O'Neal and Rick James – one of his heroes. He also likes metal bands such as Children of Bodom and listens to blues and jazz such as Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Mahalia Jackson and soul singers such as Al Green and Solomon Burke. Pyro credited a former American friend with a great taste in music for becoming a Buddhist monk and leaving behind approximately 300 CDs of Coltrane, Mingus and Miles Davis. He likes the music of Bob Dylan, describing his 1997 Time out of Mind album as having a "spooky" production and "savage" lyrics. On Michael Jackson, he once said "You feel a bit creepy listening to him and you have to be in the right mood but there's a really sad lament in his voice". After Jackson's death, Pyro dubbed him "the best singer who ever sang on record".
Pyro is known for his excessive stage antics, with The Irish Times once describing him as having "cajoled, provoked, teased, screamed, shouted, stomped and flirted away" through an entire set with Republic of Loose, whilst the Irish Independent has compared him to "an insane rock version of Robbie Williams, with the voice of a young and drunk James Brown". The Daily Telegraph once described him as "a bizarre mixture of Otis Redding, Screaming Jay Hawkins and an Irish drunk at closing time." John Meagher, writing in the Irish Independent, described Pyro as "the focal and vocal point of Republic of Loose" who "works his stage like a Joshua Tree-era Bono" During Republic of Loose's 2008 residency at the Dublin Academy, Pyro's stage presence was described by Ed Power in the Irish Independent as "more wedding-dance flap than Harlem shuffle, but he carries his shtick off with so much charisma you find yourself applauding instead of guffawing". His battles with alcoholism are chronicled in the song "Poquito" which features on the Republic of Loose album Vol IV: Johnny Pyro and the Dance of Evil and he also wrote the song "Comeback Girl" whilst drunk. However, despite this, his performances are not alcohol-related nowadays.
Pyro has also attracted comment for his dress sense, with Eoin Butler of The Irish Times once pondering if Republic of Loose release singles to demonstrate the number of pink sports jackets the singer owns, the answer of which is, according to Butler, "surprisingly many". Larissa Nolan noted his Miami Vice-style suit in her Irish Independent review of Republic of Loose's performance at Oxegen 2006. He is also noted for his "legendary lack of timekeeping" which often renders him late for interviews.
Mick Pyro performed with self-described "rubbish rock bands" for several years before the formation of Republic of Loose. Experiencing what he termed "a huge metaphysical overturning of my value system", Pyro developed a fascination with musicians such as James Brown and The Rolling Stones, or "the stuff your Dad likes". This change of musical interest prompted him to create Johnny Pyro, an alter-ego, who, according to Pyro, "disassociated himself from the normal lifestyle of an Irish bourgeois kid". This alter-ego later developed into Republic of Loose. With this band, Pyro has performed at numerous music festivals, including Glastonbury Festival and Reading and Leeds Festivals in England. However the band sell most of their records in Ireland, where they have been regulars on the festival circuit for many years.
In 2008, Pyro was part of a collaboration of Irish and international musicians who combined to celebrate the life of Ronnie Drew by recording "The Ballad of Ronnie Drew" at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin. During this recording he met Sinéad O'Connor, and she was so impressed with his vocals on the track that she asked him if they could perform a duet. O'Connor combined with Republic of Loose to perform a cover of the Curtis Mayfield song "We People Who Are Darker Than Blue" during the Meteor Music Awards which were held at Dublin's RDS on 15 February 2007.
On 16 March 2009, Pyro appeared at Vicar Street, Dublin for Unoccupied Minds, described as a "night of theatre, poetry, songs and music", a fund-raising event hosted by the Irish Anti-War Movement, which also featured Christy Moore, Stephen Rea, Sinéad Cusack, Róisín Elsafy, Judith Mok and Joyce.
As of late 2011, Pyro has a Monday night residency in 'The Leeson Lounge', Leeson Street, Dublin playing the Blues with Pat O'Farrell, James Delaney, John Querney and Noel Bridgeman.
Pyro's sister, Annie, from Tieranniesaur and Yeh Deadlies was previously in a band called Chicks. He helped write songs for Chicks. She was also a member of the indie band The Radio. Pyro lives in the basement pad of a 1960s Swedish-style house in residential Dublin suburb of Terenure. His passions include CDs, books and films. Pyro has spoke in the past his about his battles with alcoholism.
- "Gebrselassie shows talent not affected by age". The Irish Times. 17 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
But there was Mick Pyro (real name Tierney) commanding the stage, dancing just like Bo Diddley and shooting from the hip just like Jesse James, every one of those kids in the palm of his hand. Mick has been at this act since well before he was 18 and I thought to myself he's getting better with age, even though he is now at least my age. I didn't feel so old then.
- Meagher, John (8 October 2010). "Music: Bounce at the Devil by Republic of Loose * * *". Irish Independent. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
Mick Tierney – aka frontman Johnny Pyro – remains the best thing about the group, and his cocksure attitude simply oozes from the speakers.
- "Sinead cuts Loose with new band". Irish Independent. 23 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- Mick Pyro (3 July 2009). "Nightwatch: Mick Pyro". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- Una Mullally (16 April 2006). "Loose lips". Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- "At Home With... Mick Pyro". Hot Press. 23 February 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- "Mick Pyro: "Michael Jackson is the best singer who ever sang on record"". Hot Press. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- "On the Loose". The Irish Times. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- Larissa Nolan (9 July 2006). "Why does it always rain on festivals?". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- John Meagher (11 April 2008). "Review of the Week: Republic of Loose * * * *". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- Ed Power (8 April 2008). "Footloose funkateer's new cuts hit the spot". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- Neil Dunphy (27 April 2008). "Rock – Loose men". Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- Eoin Butler (3 October 2008). "SHUFFLE". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
REPUBLIC OF LOOSE [...] The Ritual [...] Loaded Dice Records*** [...] Sometimes I suspect Republic of Loose are just putting out singles to showcase how many pink sports jackets singer Mick Pyro owns. The answer: surprisingly many.
- Daire Hickey (1 May 2009). "Ball or nothing". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- Eamon Sweeney (25 April 2008). "Let Loose". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- "Interviews: Republic of Loose @ Reading Festival 2007". Virtual Festivals. 3 September 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
- "O'Connor duet to light up Meteor Awards". Irish Examiner. 22 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
- "Stars out for the Meteors". RTÉ. 16 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
- "Christy Moore does it for the quids". Hot Press. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- Sophie Grenham (22 April 2007). "A Loose definition of the rock 'n' roll life". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- "Let's get the party started". Hot Press. 3 December 2004. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
With their Irish soul funk revue, Republic of Loose were one of the bands of the year here. Nevertheless, lead singer Mick Pyro talked about tightening his belt this Christmas ("the money's not in yet"). But on a more upbeat note, he enthused about the band's recent headline dates in the "UK and Scotland" (sic). Across from us, Annie (Mick's sister) of The Radio sat discussing the price of hams with Laura Isibor, who is at once radiant and unassuming. The Radio effectively came out of nowhere in the autumn with a superb debut, Kindness, that established their leftfield pop credentials.