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The Whooligans: Keeping Irish Music Alive

If you have ever been to the Auld Dubliner at The Pike or O’Malley’s on Main Street in Seal Beach, you have probably seen The Whooligans. The Irish-American band, which was created in 1998, initially played at Limericks in Naples (now called Casey Brannigans,) and consists of Mark Clatterbuck (bass, vocals), Matt Clatterbuck (guitar, vocals), Ed Bell (tenor banjo, lead vocals), Matt Brislawn (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), and Dana Hass (drums, vocals). Last week, 908 had the opportunity to speak to band member and Wilson High School teacher Matt Clatterbuck about the band.

Holliday: Why were The Whooligans made?

Clatterbuck: It was made for a genuine love for traditional Irish music, songs, and instrumentation. Ed Bell, our main singer, was taught all of these traditional songs through his grandma singing at the piano. His optimistic attitude and love for these songs have been very infectious to the whole band.

H: What is your favorite part about being in The Whooligans?

C: Being a part of creating something to make a group of people genuinely excited about being a part of something we all love. Also, educating crowds about Irish music and teach them about other forms of music.

H: Where do you usually play?

C: We play at O’Malley’s on Main in Seal Beach, the Auld Dubliner ever first and third Saturdays of every month, and the Red Leprechaun for the three-piece band.

H: Who is in the three-piece band?

C: Ed Bell, Matt Brislawn, and myself.

H: Lastly, what is your favorite song to play?

C: My favorite fast song would have to be Greenland Whale Fisheries. However, my favorite slow song to be Fields of Athenry. It is about a guy who gets sent out to a slave colony on Australia, and he misses the fields of Athenry in Ireland. It’s all sad love songs and happy war songs — that’s Irish music for you!

If you want to see the band live and enjoy classic Irish music, The Whooligans play at O'Malley's on Main on Saturday, May 26. After that, they are taking a month and a half hiatus and will be back to playing great Irish music around early July. You can check out their website to learn more about the band and be updated for where they play next. Big thanks to Matt Clatterbuck for spending his time with me for the interview!


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