Turning Over a New Leaf

Jimmy LaValle's mellow mood is cool as Iceland

Q: So Larry, how does a good Irish lad celebrate St Patrick's Day?

A: I work like a dog. We always do two shows that night. One would be draining enough, but two? We usually do television and radio on the day too. So you could say I'm riding the wild stallion -- hanging on and just trying to direct the energy.

Q: Any favorite holiday memories?

A: All of the great Black 47 gigs. There is nothing quite like it when we hit the stage in New York on St. Patrick's Day. We've become synonymous with the city for that day -- and many others too.

Q: Outside of Dublin, where's the best place to spend St. Pat's?

A: Dublin doesn't hold a candle to New York City.

Q: Does a real Irishman wear green? And when you don't wear the green, does anyone try to pinch you?

A: I'm not sure I've ever worn green on the day. It's not my favorite color. And if you have a nice posterior, you get used to being pinched.

Q: What's your explanation of the meaning of St. Patrick's Day?

A: In Ireland, it was always a religious holiday with very little of the celebratory trappings. St. Patrick's Day in New York City, however, was almost overwhelming to me at first. Now I see it as a celebration of arrival and a certain triumph that those lost and poor immigrants survived bigotry and poverty and went on to carve out successful lives for themselves in the U.S. To me, it's rather like a cry: "We have survived -- we have arrived."

Q: Would Black 47 ever consider changing their name to Green 47 for this one special holiday?

A: Are you ready to make a firm offer?

Q: Even though you're playing Fort Lauderdale the day after, I'm guessing we'll still get a taste of post-St Paddy's celebration.

A: You can be certain many of the songs we perform will be evocative of "the day." And anyway, we pretty much treat all of March as one big St. Patrick's Day. So look out, Lauderdale! We're coming to collect your green soul! -- Lee Zimmerman

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