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Deaf Actor / Sounds Unreel

From: Howth

Active: 1977-83


Lineup: Sounds Unreel 1977
Lineup: Deaf Actor 1978-83


Deaf Actor were originally known as Sounds Unreel, formed in Howth in 1977 by Conor Brady, Conor Kelly, John McGlue (ex Modulators), Declan O'Sullivan and Paul Byrne.

Byrne, then just 15, had previously been in a band called Mercury who played the Peace Concert at the Pheonix Park in 1976 organised by Ubi Dwyer, the Legalise Cannabis campaigner. He'd been sitting in with The Modulators, Neil and Ivan McCormick's band, who lacked a permanent drummer and he took McGlue with him when he left. Sounds Unreel played regular support gigs in Howth Community Centre for U2 and Rocky De Valera & The Gravediggers. They became Deaf Actor in 1978 (though the Sounds Unreel name pops up in the live listings in early 1980)

When the Gravediggers split in December 1979, Jack Dublin joined Deaf Actor on bass (he also appeared on Spies single released in 1980). Declan O'Sullivan played keyboards with both incarnations of the band for a period (exact details unknown).

Deaf Actor went on to become one of the leading lights in the early eighties post punk movement. They recorded several Fanning sessions (details needed please) and were the subject of an RTE documentary filmed by Avril McGrory as part of a series called On A Wave for the European Broadcasting Union. This was shot at various locations around Howth and included rehearsals and gigs at The Summit. If it's anything like other early 80s "youth TV" shows, it's a must see! Lets hope someone out there has a video...?

Conor Kelly left in 1981 to form Max
Conor Brady left in 198? and did solo gigs and later joined Paul Cleary's Partisans and the Rocking Chairs.

Deaf Actor split in 1983. Colin O'Farrell went to London while Paul Byrne and later Jack Dublin joined the embryonic In Tua Nua.

Deaf Actor recorded at least one demo tape at Alto Studios (with Dave Freely?), mixed by Noel Story and faviourably reviewed by Bill Graham in Hot Press. Dave Fanning was a big fan too. More details please...


We need your help to correct and/or complete this entry. If you can provide more information about this band, have scans, photos or any other memorabilia we can use, or spare copies of any releases, then please get in touch.

Last update: 7 April 2010.

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