Hall Of Fame 2017: Fintan O’Toole

 

 

Fintan was a good friend of mine. We saw less and less of each other as time progressed, such as adult life usually dictates but he was one of the few people I knew that shared my incredibly dark sense of humour. He sadly passed away this year due to natural causes but turned it all around before he left. 

Like myself, he was a big fan of heavy music and had a little known show on Athlone Community Radio ‘The Atomic Hour’ that played heavy music. It would have been a lot better known had he tagged the bands he was playing as I told him to do numerous times, but he didn’t really get promotion so to speak. He did get a following, but should have been a lot bigger. He still manged to get heavy music played on a radio station based in the midlands. I’m fairly sure that was a first! I could be wrong, but I’m 99% sure he made Irish radio history by getting it played in the midlands. An unlikely achievement to put it mildly! 

Now I get personal. Fintan for many years had a serious problem with alcohol. Which I also shared. I was more of a functioning alcoholic that just got drunk every night and the weekends, but he was dedicated to the cause and done it full time! I had to take a few hours off each day to work and pretend I was a perfectly normal functioning person in society… We spent many days drunk together and usually lasted a couple of days before I had to return to reality so to speak. 

In 2011, December 8th to be exact. After my annual Dimebag day and waking up surrounded by beer cans and an empty bottle of Jack Daniels something finally clicked in my head and I quit alcohol completely for years. During that time Fintan was still in the hole, but one day I organised a car and we moved him out of the house we spent that time in. He was trying to get out of it, but I wasn’t having it! There’s a bit more to tell, but that’s the basics really! We moved him in with people who drank, but far from what we were like. He then saw me move into the music world doing all I done at the time in many different areas. It did, I won’t say inspire, but it did plant seeds to thought in his mind. If he can sort himself out and do something maybe I can too? We used to talk about it and he’d accept speech from me that he wouldn’t from others due to the fact I was also an alcoholic. Everyone else knew everything as they do. I was brutally honest about it all and I can’t remember what I said now, but it was probably something along the lines of finding your purpose or a purpose. Don’t start worshipping strange men that impregnate women and force them into homelessness at Christmas. Do what you want to do…. 

Jumping forward in time. He joined Athlone community radio as a volunteer and his life changed. The man wrote poetry also so he really got into that and performed at small poetry/reading groups. On his first performance in JJ’s in Roscommon I booed him when he was on stage. He was freaking out as it was, and that really knocked him. He soldiered through and always told me it was a defining moment in getting him over public speaking. That awful humour we shared actually got that side of his life going! Some of which is in the process of been published I believe. 

He also had me on the radio in promotion of the Xerath gig in ran in Athlone in 2015. That was a big one as they were touring to finish with a main stage slot at Bloodstock Festival. It was the only gig I ran in the short lived venue, but like Fintan and his radio show. Getting a big name metal band to Athlone was an unlikely dream accomplished and with his help we made another piece of Irish metal history! He was manning his radio show post and left briefly leaving this note which I’ll post here now. 

Long hair and a beard. At a metal gig… Good man Fintan! 

 

He achieved many other things after that and had came a long way in his life. I could go into more details about it all, but the picture has been painted! 

For getting heavy music to include Irish acts such as ProXist and The Vicious Head Society on midlands radio is worthty of this induction along with his help in relation to the Xerath gig. 

The last time we drank together at Christmas 2015 he actually won. I passed out on the couch and he was the last man standing. He never managed that before! A sign of how things had changed in both our lives. I had became a lightweight and he was at the point he wasn’t just topping up and could have a drinking session. 

I suppose that’s testament to how far he had came before he sadly passed away. 

Fintan. You’re in a hall of fame and I’ll post that picture at the end of you on a boat. I still remember how proud I was when I saw that. Fintan on a boat surrounded by water and didn’t fall overboard and possibly drown!?  

Who’d have seen that coming back in the day….

 

 

 

 

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