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Powerful Memories

I'm sure i'm not the only music journalist who's gone white with fear whenever a taxi driver has looked back and uttered the words: "In the music business are you? My sons are in a band." Once or twice it's meant being subjected to badly recorded demos, leaving one to contemplate a leisurely stroll from, say, Drimnagh to Donnybrook rather than suffer any more, but on a certain occasion around 1992 the driver was quick to put myself and a fellow hack at ease by quickly adding: "They're called Power of Dreams and I just want to know, if you've heard, are they behaving themselves?"

Well, to put Mr Walker's mind at ease, we assured him that, as far as we knew, his sons Craig and Keith were merely enjoying themselves as young lads would if they were touring the world when barely out of their teens and that no stories of extremely excessive behaviour were doing the rounds.

Looking back at the photos of Power of Dreams taken around the time they released their debut album, Immigrants, Emigrants and Me, in 1990 -- oh yes, there's a 20th anniversary double-CD reissue due out next month to tie in with three Irish dates in March -- it's hard to grasp that they were really only kids when they headed out on the rock'n'roll treadmill.

Barely an interview or review went by without incredulous mentions of their age (the same thing would happen to Ash a few years later, which I'm sure raised a smile from Craig Walker who by then would have been a grizzled veteran of, oh, 23 or so) but PoD had the songwriting chops to justify the attention, and in 100 Ways to Kill a Love recorded a classic Irish rock song.

Despite huge interest in Japan, the band allowed themselves to be rushed into making a second album, 2 Hell with Common Sense (which pretty much sums up how it was written and recorded, according to recent interviews Craig has given) when the core unit of the Walkers and bassist Mick Lennox was augmented by extra guitarist Ian Olney from Cork outfit Cypress, Mine!. But Polydor's interest had waned and, until they split in 1995, it was a case of ever-decreasing circles coupled with ever-mounting frustration.

Craig Walker continued to make music as a member of Pharmacy and Archive, Keith played drums for a variety of acts, including Jack L, while Mick Lennox went into the promotional end of the industry, and Ian Olney wound up as bassist for a reformed Sultans of Ping FC.

An older but wiser Craig -- who, lest we forget, is still in his 30s -- hasn't seemed bitter in the recent round of publicity to promote his debut solo album Siamese, which sees him explore his interest in electronica and soundtrack music in addition to showcasing his well-honed songcraft.

Despite the initial high hopes for his band when they released the A Little Piece of God EP on Setanta in 1989, and that scorching debut the following year, massive sales for Power of Dreams were not forthcoming. As was the case with almost every other Irish band signed to a major label during that period, it was a hell of a ride.

Craig Walker plays Whelan's tonight. Power of Dreams play the same venue on March 12th