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Gaelic Storm Brings Past Stories To New Album

Of the Oakland Press

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There's a Gaelic Storm band legend that has finally surfaced on the Austin, Texas-based Celtic group's latest album, "What's the Rumpus."

It's called "The Night I Punched Russell Crowe," and it tells the true story of an encounter with the Academy Award-winning actor in Santa Monica, Calif., when band leaders Steve Twigger and Patrick Murphy were living there and Murphy was bartending at a no-smoking pub where Crowe insisted on lighting up.

"Pat chastised him," Twigger recalls, " 'cause it was a very serious thing. They could lose their license if people (smoked). It ended up outside; they squared off, and Russell, I think, thought he was in a movie and said, 'Come on, Patrick, give me your best shot,' not thinking he'd actually do it. And Pat went, 'OK' and punched him in the nose.

"I've been listening to this story for years, laughing at it, and eventually I said, 'I've got to put that down in a song.' And what better title than 'The Night I Punched Russell Crowe.' "

Twigger, 48, says most of the writing for "...Rumpus" comes from a similar ethic. "We just set out to have as much fun in the studio as we have on stage," he says, and the group was pleased that the Austin sessions did capture the same spirit that Gaelic Storm -- which achieved fame by appearing in the film "Titanic" shortly after it formed -- achieve at its shows.

"We have a great time wherever we go, on and off stage," Twigger notes. "We just laughed our heads off for a week and wrote songs and then got everyone together in the studio and recorded them. It's the furthest I think we ever got in capturing that pure exuberance we get when we play live."

Gaelic Storm performs Friday (Sept. 12) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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