Payola (Northern Irish band)

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Origin Northern Ireland, UK
Genres Rock
Years active 1998–present
Labels Tomcat Records
Gimp International Records
Members Philip McCarroll
Nick Joseph
Nicky Conway
Adam Callaghan

Pay*Ola are a Northern Irish hard rock band formed in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1998. The band consists of:

  • Philip McCarroll (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar)
  • Nick Joseph (Guitar, Keyboards and Backing Vocals)
  • Nicky Conway (Bass)
  • Adam Callaghan (Drums)



Formed from the ashes of "Lazy" in 1998 by Philip McCarroll, releasing their first E.P Stick 2 Fingers Up on Good Vibrations Records. The band's style of music is definitively 'Hard Rock' that contains mixes of punk rock, grunge and heavy metal. Pay*Ola first rose to prominence in 2000 when they starred in an episode of short live BBC/[RTE] documentary series, Ferry Tales. The episode charted the band's Spinal Tap-like journey from Belfast to a gig in London. The episode was broadcast on BBC 1 in Northern Ireland and RTÉ in the Republic of Ireland and featured seven of the band's original songs. Stuart Bailie of NME once said: "Pay*Ola have an untamed affection for the spirit of Rock 'n' Roll."


Pay*Ola gained popularity throughout 2001 and 2002 when their song, "Felix" from The Felix E.P. was played extensively on one of Northern Ireland's most popular radio stations, Cool FM. "Felix" was also chosen as one of 60 finalists in the 2002 'International Songwriting Competition'. They released their third E.P., More Iconic Than Ironicin May 2002, songs from which were played extensively during gigs up and down Northern Ireland, including major NI radio hit "Carter's Song".


In 2003 Pay*Ola supported American rock band, Audioslave in Dublin while on tour. This single gig alone rocketed Pay*Ola's name to the top of many radio playlists and boosted their cult following in Ireland. It remains their biggest gig to date with well over five thousand people in attendance during the gig. It is claimed that all of Pay*Ola's merchandise sold out within 30 minutes.

In 2003 they also played at the Big Buzz Irish Entertainment Awards and also released their Rather Be Dreaming E.P. in that same year and remains one of their most popular yet.

Try Everything 2wice[edit]

In 2005, Pay*Ola released their first album, Try Everything 2wice, launching the album in a gig in Virgin Megastore, Belfast that pulled in crowds from the street, able to have been heard as far away as Belfast City Hall. Maintained as one of the Empire Music Hall's most popular headlining bands in Belfast having topped the bill at the venue on almost 20 occasions, Pay*Ola enjoy a thriving cult following throughout Northern Ireland.

77 Miles[edit]

Pay*ola had a busy end to 2006, including an Irish tour with British rock legends Status Quo, and support slots with L.A sleaze rockers Buckcherry, and Australian superstar Jimmy Barnes. During that period they also recorded new tracks at Manor Park Studios for the "77 Miles" E.P - which was eventually released in July 2007 - once again, it was launched with a Saturday night headline show in the Empire Music Hall, Belfast. This show also happened to be the last featuring original drummer James Nicholl, who bowed out due to family commitments. The band found an immediate replacement in Adam Callaghan, and have played a string of dates around Ireland (as well as a festival show in Ipswich) with the new line-up in late 2007.

The Colour Red[edit]

Thursday the 11 December 2008 saw the official launch of Pay*ola's Colour Red E.P. with a headline show in the Empire Music Hall, Belfast. The night proved to be a great success, drawing a healthy bunch of enthusiastic punters. The "Colour Red Campaign" is set to continue through 2009 with more local dates being scheduled, as well as visits to Scotland in the pipeline.




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