"Home" - promo box info sheet


Liam O'Maonlai Keyboards / Lead Vocals
Fiachna O'Braonain Lead Guitar / Vocals
Peter O'Toole Bass Guitar
Leo Barnes Saxophone
Jerry Fehily Drums
Liam O'Maonlai and Fiachna O'Braonain met at an all Gaelic speaking school where music classes were spent playing and learning traditional Irish instruments like the tin whistle and the bodhran (bow-rawn), the goat skinned tambourine that seems to have been around since time began. Liam went on to become all Ireland champion with the bodhran whilst Fiachna has won several traditional instrument competitions.

They later took to the streets of Dublin - where they played what could be described as "Gaelic Blues" - busking for pocket money and fun, calling themselves "The Incomparable Benzini Brothers". Even as buskers the "Brothers" could pull a crowd that cold fit into any decent-sized gig.

Since those days, Liam and Fiachna added drummer Jerry Fehily from Cork by the Leed, Maria Doyle on vocals, who eventually left to have a baby, bassist Peter O'Toole - a former lumber-jack and maker of fine musical instruments - and Leo Barnes on saxophone and called the new line-up Hothouse Flowers.

Less than 6 months into their career Hothouse Flowers were gathering rave reviews in N.M.E., Melody Maker, Sounds, Hot Press, and even Rolling Stone magazine, where it described the band as "the best unsigned band in the World". Bono finally stamped his seal of approval upon the band by releasing a single on U2/s own label - Mother Records. The single was Love Don't Work This Way, championed by Janice Long and even receiving a 'chartbuster' Radio 1 listing. This resulted in every major record company flying out to Ireland to see the band play live (they had not yet ever played in England) and sign 'em up. Too late! London Records had already been negotiating with the band for some two months previous.

By this time Hothouse Flowers had played just about every gig there was to play in Ireland, including a support slot for U2 in front of 40,000 in their native city, Dublin. In fact within 18 months Hothouse Flowers had become - apart from U2 - the biggest band in Ireland regularly pulling crowds of 2,000 or more wherever they played.

On October 22nd 1987, the band played their first ever London gig at The I.C.A. With no back-up except rave press reviews and their first single on Mother as any kind of English 'track-record' the Flowers sold-out the I.C.A. in 2 days, leaving a queue of 600 unhappy punters outside the gig that couldn't get in as the hall was full to capacity.

In November '87 Hothouse Flowers' music was unleashed to a wider public when London Records released their first single on the label. Produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley the single was entitled Don't Go and coincided with their first ever U.K. tour.

Their next single, Feet On The Ground, released in March 1988, failed to set the British charts alight, but went straight to No. 1 in Ireland on the week of release. By the end of March '88 Hothouse Flowers had completed their debut album, had embarked on a short tour of Europe, returning to Ireland to pick up their award for 'Best Group in Ireland' at the Irish awards ceremony - their equivalent to our B.P.I awards.

Events took a surprising turn in mid '88 when Ireland hosted the Eurovision song contest. The organisers decided to fetaure a band that represented the new young talent currently making waves in their country. The obvious choice was Hothouse Flowers; they were young, new and certainly talented. Eurovision isn't exactly the sort of show that brings instant credibility among the rock fraternity, but the boys decidded to perform their own song without any compromises to 'Europop fashion'. With an estimated audience approaching 200 million viewers the 'Flowers cut-short their way to an audience not usually exposed to contemporary rock.

When the debut album People was released in June '88 it shot to No.1 in the Irish charts in its first week of release, making the album the fastest selling in Irish Polygram's history outselling major established acts like The Communards, Elton John and Dire Straits.

In the U.K. the album did similarly well reaching No.2 in the album charts. The rest of the year was spent consolidating their live following touring Europe, Japan and two tours of the U.S.A. Irish fans worried that the Flowers might have left them for pastures new were appeased when the band staged a homecoming gig in Dublin's RDS Arena. The stage in the 20,000 capacity arena had to be moved to accommodate a further 15,000 fans!

The last U.K. gig was June '89 at the Glastonbury Festival where the Flowers played to an estimated 90,000 audience.

Since last year the band have been writing and recording their second album recorded in Dublin, Rockfield and New Orleans. Entitled Home and featuring tracks produced by Paul Barrett (who has worked with U2 on the Clockwork Orange sondtrack) Gary Langan, Steve Lipson and Langer & Winstanley. Whilst in New Orleans producer Daniel Lanois - then working on Dylan's album - invited the 'Flowers to his studio for no other reason than to 'socialise'. After playing together Lanois thought it a good idea to put it down on tape, once the tune had more shape. The song Shut Up and Listen was written in half an hour and recorded in one take. The results were so good "Shut Up and Listen" was included on the album!

One could go on to explain other songs on the album from the heart-rending balladry of Sweet Marie to the pumping rock of Hardstone City, but one can't read an album. Shut up and Listen!

Home is released on 4th June whilst their long awaited tour commences on 20th May thru till 12th June.


the Hothouse Flowers fan site - feedback david@lovetown.net