Columbus Irish: Central Ohio Shenanigans


Columbus Irish: Central Ohio Shenanigans
by Molly Truex

Wild Rumpus
OhioIANews: How was the band formed, how long have you been together?
We got together in 2016 when Karl & Deborah brought their kids to a dance camp in Tennessee, where Bobby was on staff. One night Bobby and Karl formed the rhythm section for a dance, Deborah dove in on melody, and we knew we had to do it again. We recorded our first CD, Riding the Wave, in a weekend the second time we got together to play a gig. Since then, we have wandered the Eastern U.S., from St. Louis to Maine to Georgia to the Dublin Irish Festival.

OhioIANews: Have each of you always been musicians or just started?
Deborah started playing fiddle when she was 7. Karl started on piano when he was 4. Bobby was born with a drumstick in each hand. We’ve all played out for over 30 years – between us we’ve logged more than 100 years of stage time. By now, we know we’re in it for the fun. We’re here to share the best time we can bring and don’t worry about much else.

OhioIANews: What has been your most memorable gig?
Playing a dance in the Bumper Car Pavilion at Glen Echo Park on a ninety-degree night in Maryland. We also love the wild Festival nights. One night we played Paddy Fahy’s Reel and Bad Romance by Lady Gaga in the same set.

OhioIANews: What is your best memory, non-show related?
Working with NASA to perfect our Mars Rover parody video.

OhioIANews: What genre of music do you play the most?
We play Feel Fantastic Trad with Irish Heartbeat and World Drumbeat.

OhioIANews: How have you all been staying busy during the Stay at Home order?
Karl and Deborah live together so we’ve played a bit, including a Facebook live show for the Pittsburgh Irish Festival series. Bobby has been writing songs and recording.

OhioIANews: What is your dream gig?
We love them all, but we got to live the dream when we played at Dayton’s Schuster Center for the Performing Arts, together with a choir. If we could put that together with dances, teaching, and a rowdy international summer festival season, we’d be in paradise.

OhioIANews: If people want to come to see you where can they find listings of your shows?
Right now, most of the season has been postponed, same time next year. Go to  or to see the videos, hear the music, and Feel Fantastic!

The McIans

OhioIANews: How was the band formed; how long have you been together?
The McIans were founded in 2013, but Brian, Ken, & Steve have been performing together since 2005 in local cover band Six Pack Theory.

 OhioIANews: Have each of you always been musicians or just started?
Steve: Private lessons starting in the late 70s
Ken: I have been playing music for many years, and have played in multiple bands.
Rob: I started violin at about age 5 and performed in an orchestra and string quartet in college, then worked for “the man” for several years before joining the McIans.
Brian: I have performed in various bands and solo projects for around 30 years.

OhioIANews: What has been your most memorable gig?
Steve: Brazen Head Dublin a few years ago on St Paddy’s… Crazy crowd
Ken: Every gig at the Dublin Irish Fest has been most memorable, although the first time playing there will always be the most memorable
Rob: My first McIans gig ever, at Dempseys, when a drunk patron started bugging Brian’s wife Barbara, and soon after the guy was passed out and sitting on the cold pavement outside waiting to be fetched. And the band played on.
Brian: There are so many. The Dublin Irish Festival is always great, the first time at Dempsey’s stands out, as does any show at Byrne’s. Many years ago, I had a Samba band in Columbus and we played the Via Colori Festival on the lanes of 670 before it was opened to the public.
A young kid was watching us awestruck and their parents said they had just had a cochlear implant installed and this was one of the first things they had been able to hear. You should also ask Ken about the “Marysville Moose Lodge incident”.

 OhioIANews: What is your best memory, non-show related?|
Steve: Well, I can’t put that on here. But my first motorcycle track day at Mid-Ohio was also memorable. (Comment by Brian: It probably involves wire ties and duct tape).
Ken: Sharing Christmas meals with band members and their families.
Brian: Photoshoots are always fun.

OhioIANews: What genre of music do you play the most?
Steve: I would say Celtic Rock at this point.
Brian: Typically, we play a mixture of traditional Celtic folk and rock. When performing solo shows, I like to play anything (Tori Amos to Frank Zappa) except country.
Ken: Irish Celtic rock clogging music.

OhioIANews: How have you all been staying busy during the Stay at Home order? 
Brian: I have been working from home and spending a lot of time in my home studio working on the McIans CD and other projects.
Rob: During COVID, learning new trad fiddle sets, taking up penny whistle, and watching Screaming Orphans on livestream.
Steve: I bought a convertible and have done some recording for our album.
Ken: Preparing for my granddaughter to arrive July 22nd.

OhioIANews: What is your dream gig?
Rob: Full band playing in a packed pub on St. Paddy’s, interrupted by pipers, drums and dancers.
Steve: Playing in a great funk band in front of a great crowd. Or… Tour with Rob Zombie… So many ideas.
Brian: Long haul truck driver.
Ken: Playing at my son’s wedding in front of friends and family
Our Facebook page,, is the best place to find an up to date schedule.

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