The Golden Horde (band)

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The Golden Horde (1982–1994) were a rock, punk, neo-psychedelic, garage band based in Dublin, Ireland. The most renowned line-up of the band was: Simon Carmody, John Connor, Des O'Byrne, Peter O'Kennedy & Sam Steiger, although at their very first live performance, there were 13 band members on stage!

The group disbanded in spring 1994, members going their separate ways to pursue a variety of personal projects. Golden Horde supporters maintain an internet presence across social media, fan sites, SoundCloud, YouTube, Facebook and Bandcamp, with previously unreleased studio, live and rare performances being discovered and made available perpetually.

  • Simon Carmody now pursues a career in screenwriting.
  • John Connor is now based in New York City. One of his solo projects is under the alias 'messyheads' [1][2]
  • Sam Steiger now also performs with The Sultans of Ping FC.
  • Des O'Byrne is a performing DJ in NYC.
  • Peter O'Kennedy now works in sculpture, art and design.[3]

Previous members have included:

  • Tim McGrath - drums 1992-94
  • Justin Healy - drums (june-july) 1992
  • Simon Walker - drums 1982
  • Bernie Furlong - backing/co-vocals 1982-1986
  • Adrienne Foley - backing vocals 1982
  • Caroline Kelly - backing vocals 1982


The Golden Horde, live:(left to right): Des O'Byrne, Peter O'Kennedy, Simon Carmody, John Connor & Sam Steiger.

Even though the band did attain some commercial success, that has always been surpassed by the cult underground following The Golden Horde still hold to the present day. More significant again, is their influence on a variety of alternative musical acts, which continues to propagate further with the digitization of rare, unreleased and live, recordings and performances. Their own music was inspired by punk rock bands such as The Ramones, Johnny Thunders, The Velvet Underground, Big Star, Slade, the Rolling Stones, The Damned, The Faces, The Cramps and The Stooges,

The first recording, the EP-single Dig That Crazy Grave, was released in 1983. The first EP-album, The Chocolate Biscuit Conspiracy!, followed in 1984, and featured spoken-word contributions from futurist and satirist Robert Anton Wilson. Des O' Byrne scored the music for the premiere performance of Wilson's "Wilhelm Reich in Hell" play, which debuted at the Edmund Burke Hall in Trinity College, Dublin. Robert Anton Wilson later went on to include 'The Golden Horde' (as a fictitious rock group performing at a music festival) in a later Illuminatus! book series. From this album, a single, "Young & Happy", was chosen as the theme song for the EuroSurf '85 championships.[clarification needed]

The second EP-album Reality, recorded throughout 1985, was released in 1986. Donald Murray bass guitarist since 1982, departed late 1985. His successor, John Connor, along with a second guitarist, Sam Steiger, augmented what was to become the most acclaimed[citation needed] line-up of The Golden Horde 1985–1994. During this period the band played with acts as varied as The Fall, The Prisoners, The Ramones, The Pogues, The Damned, The Mighty Caesars, Johnny Thunders and The Nomads.

Numerous BBC and RTÉ Radio Sessions were completed between 1985–1993, featuring Golden Horde originals as well as their own often eclectic choice of cover songs. In 1988 they appeared at the "Eurorock Festival" in Groningen, Holland, where journalist and music critic Wierd Duk wrote:

"Apart from the solid Ramones-like rock’n’roll of The Golden Horde, the rest of Europe had no bands worth mentioning”[4]

That night, the Horde followed up an intense one-hour-and-forty-five-minute set performance at the festival, with a legendary, secret free show at “Club Vera”, a venue in Groningen. In 1988, the band contributed to the Temple St Children's Charity Concert, performing along with The Hothouse Flowers, The Pogues and The Dubliners.

Other recording projects/collaborations during this time period were the sessions written & recorded with Mick Blood of Australian band "The Lime Spiders".

Recording under the pseudonym 'The Last Bandits' (i.e. The Golden Horde and friends — including Anthony Thistlethwaite, Henry McCullough, Mark Sheppard, Steve Wickham, Johnny Fean and Nikki Sudden) yielded the recordings "Til The Next Goodbye", 'The Angels are Calling', "Christmas Morning" and the album "The Last Bandits" (see YouTube). All recordings being remastered, at time of writing, for re-release in 2017.

From April–May 1990, Johnny Thunders during an acoustic tour of the UK and Ireland joining up with John Connor, Sam Steiger & Peter O'Kennedy of The Golden Horde for electric performances. Johnny had befriended and performed with the Horde previously in 1984 at the TV Club, Dublin and Belfast and both acts were concurrently on tour (of the UK & Ireland) at that time.

In 1990 The Golden Horde signed to Mother/Island Records label. The independent-style label had been established by U2. Recordings for the singles "100 Boys" and "I Never Came Down" were initiated with producer Daniel Rey, and completed with co-producer Andy Shernoff for the album that would be titled The Golden Horde.

Music videos for "100 Boys" and "Friends in Time" (see YouTube) were shot with director Richie Smith The Siege of Jadotville.

The Golden Horde headlined 'The European Skateboarding Expo Festival' — an event held in 1991 at The Point Depot, Dublin. During this time period they performed along with Sonic Youth, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Sugar at the SunStroke Festival, numerous 'Feile' and 'Fleadh Mor' festivals, as well as many other european festivals.

Released in 1991, the (eponymously-titled) album "The Golden Horde" was voted joint No. 1 record with U2's Achtung Baby in the Hot Press Irish Music Awards for that year.[5] Singer and Golden Horde cohort Maria McKee, contributed vocals to the song "Friends in Time" and "Hell" amongst others on the album. The album was celebrated in the book 101 Irish Records You Must Hear Before You Die, released in 2012. In 1992 Tim McGrath succeeded Peter O'Kennedy as drummer. The band supported U2 on the Zoo TV Zooropa tour in 1993.

The final Golden Horde performance was as part of the 'Cradle Benefit for Bosnian Children', City Hall, Cork (the event also featured Shane McGowan and Nick Cave). The Golden Horde disbanded in 1994.


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