We would have written up a bit of a background story on each member but there are far too many of them; it would take a very long time to read and, if we’re being completely honest, none of it would be true. You’re welcome. Each member has been assigned to a circle in the order in which they joined.
John Graham (2006)
vocals, acoustic guitars, banjo, bouzouki
Peter Vincent (2006)
12 String acoustic guitar
Chris Jack (2006)
electric & acoustic guitars
Dan Loth (2006)
drums, pipe band snare, bodhran
Bruce Grice (2006)
bagpipes, tin whistles, bodhran
Bill Allam (2006)
Dennis French (2012)
acoustic & electric guitars, drums
Molly Armstrong (2015)
Shea Mulligan (2015)
Gregory Peatey (2017)
vocals, fiddle, mandolin,
Ciaron Jackson (2017)
Eden Mulligan (2018)
Neil MacMillan (2018)
Glen Poulton (2021)
bass guitar, bodhran
It takes dozens of personnel to support one soldier on the field of battle. Imagine the numbers of support personnel required to prop up 14 chaotic performers in Murphy’s Pigs….and their guests. Think of the nightmare created when that requirement falls on the shoulders of less than half a dozen, hapless, over-worked crew. Please offer them a kind word when next you see them.
Katherine O’Malley (2012)
Malcolm Clancy (2014)
Scott Nicholson (2020)
swineherd (stage manager)
Dave Schafer (2021)
Ben Harth (2022)
On St Patrick’s Day 2004, former work mates, Peter and John, were unexpectedly reacquainted at the old Irish Club in Brisbane. Peter was on stage, accompanying the Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band (QIAPB) on acoustic guitar. Peter convinced John to go home, get his guitar, come back and join him. Rumour has it that some (ok, a lot of) alcohol was drunk and a plan was conceived to collaborate at future events. This casual collaboration continued, sporadically, over the next 12 months. In 2005 they learned that the QIAPB had been invited to perform at the world’s largest Celtic festival in Brittany, France, in 2006. Each year the festival would honour one of the Celtic nations, but in 2006 the festival would be celebrating the first ever ‘Year of Australia’. John and Peter were keen to hitch their wagon to this star. They had a drummer (Dan) and a piper (Bruce) and they then recruited a bass player (Chris) and whistle player (Adam). This done, it was decided that a name was needed to make the group distinct from the pipe band but it needed to reflect the Irish nature of the QIAPB. Peter sorted that out with the name evolving from an expression where someone or something was deemed to be ‘as Irish as Murphy’s Pigs’. Eight weeks out from the festival the band discovered that they would be performing at the festival in their own right, and would only be supporting the QIAPB on a handful of occasions during the festival. Panic ! They also learned that none of the other participating performers were including any Australian folk music. The band hastily put together a set of high-energy, Australian folk songs and began practicing weekly at the Coffee Club in Paddington; a bodhran player (Bill) would drop in from time to time. The lads were not paid in any form of legal tender but agreed to play for food … and then food and alcohol … and then just alcohol. Unfortunately, Dan (drummer) had to withdraw from the festival due to work commitments so, sans drummer, but full of enthusiasm, they trotted off to Europe.
On the 29th of July 2006, at an unsuspecting Festival in the west of France, Murphy’s Pigs was unleashed on the world in their first, professional performance. The French audiences revelled with this rough, naïve but energetic group. They received excellent reviews from festival organisers, festival attendees and fellow musicians. On their return to Australia the band had no intention (no prospects) of continuing as a group, however the president of the Queensland Irish Club had seen them in Brittany and convinced his manager to ‘give them a go’. Dan stepped back in, and a fiddle player (Helen) came on board to complete the extended line-up. Murphy’s Pigs was off and running. In 2007 they began a residency that would last until the demise of the club on St Patrick’s Day 2015.
The passing years have seen the band continue to grow in size and popularity. Jeans and shirts were replaced with dark, slimming suits, in late 2007. The repertoire expanded to include more diverse music from all the Celtic Nations, maintaining the inclusion of a handful of Australian folk songs. In 2014 dancers from Cape Byron Celtic Dance, located in Byron Bay, debuted with the band, transforming the concept and expectations of what a Murphy’s Pigs performance could or should be. From early 2015 they became an integral component of future concerts.
Members have come and gone but the music, drive and direction has remained constant. Since 2017 performances have moved further away from the pubs and clubs, where Murphy’s Pigs had honed their craft, to focus more on festivals, concert halls, and running their own events.
If one was asked to describe a Murphy’s Pigs performance it would be something like this; “It’s like a raucous reunion of friends and family, all together in one big lounge room … a group of them just happen to play instruments, sing and dance”.
flute, tin whistle, vocals
(2009-2012, 2016-2021) bass guitar, vocals
bass guitar, mandolin, acoustic guitar, vocals
Domenico Taraborrelli (2013-2017)
electric guitar, bass guitar mandolin, keyboard, fiddle, accordion, tenor banjo vocals
There have been 23 full time members in Murphy’s Pigs since 2006, with another 44 musicians standing in, over that time, for members who were ill or were otherwise prevented from performing (or forgot to put the bloody date in their diary).