Kevin and Rocky Whelan.

Tullamore father and son to appear on RTÉ’s ‘My Tribe’

A father and son from Tullamore are to appear on RTÉ One’s ‘My Tribe - Mo Threibh’, a bilingual series which explores subcultures in Ireland and the people involved in them, this Monday March 29.

Season two has so far charted the rise, fall and revival of Hip Hop, Indie and Dance music subcultures, with Kevin and Rocky Whelan set to appear on the Metal scene episode.

“I started listening to Thin Lizzy when I was twelve,” Kevin, who is originally from Dublin, says. “I’m 53 now. My brother brought home ‘Live and Dangerous’ from town one day and the minute I heard it I just fell in love with the music. When I heard it blasting out of his stereo I was hooked for life on rock, and Irish Rock especially.

“That was probably 1979, and Thin Lizzy played in Slane in 1981 and of course my mother wouldn’t let me go because I was a bit too young.

“They announced their farewell tour in 1983 when I was 16 or 17, and she went out and got me a ticket because she knew I’d be devastated if I didn’t go. I just couldn’t get over the experience of a live concert and I haven’t stopped going since.”

Kevin also got his son Rocky interested in Irish rock music.

“I brought my son then to see the reformed Thin Lizzy when he was eight, and he became hooked too. Before then he was into Westlife, so that was some change!

“Now he plays guitar and drums and keyboard and whatever instrument he can get his hands on. He has been coming to gigs with me ever since and I go along to his gigs too, and he teaches me about the newer rock scene while I still teach him a bit about the older rock scene. It’s a good partnership, and we’re both learning all the time.”

With regards to the show, Kevin believes My Tribe is positive for the Irish language.

“I’m interested in any TV shows which involve music, but I wouldn’t be a big Irish speaker. I can only really pick up a few words, but I always liked the bilingual aspect of the show.

“I think it’s important for our culture and country, and if young people can find other people speaking Irish interesting it might kick off the language again.

“There are some people on the show that you would never guess are fluent in Irish from what they wear or what they’re interested in, so these programmes are important.”

My Tribe airs on Monday evening on RTÉ One at 7.30pm.

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