The Arsonist Birds


The Arsonist Birds started life in early 2016 when four professional musicians and long life friends - Johnny D Fox, Ronnie Flynn, Dermot McQuaid and Bobby Robertson - got together to have fun making music together.  This resulted in a Monday night residency in Toales Bar in Dundalk.  Monday was chosen because it was the worst night of the week businesswise and it gave the guys the opportunity to develop their style and sound as a unique band.  When they started performing, the average number of customers was 5-10 people.  A year later, there is regularly a full bar and you would have to get there by around 10 o’clock to get a seat.

Their music is a style of popular alternative music which is a mix of blues, Bob Dylan, Thin Lizzy, 10cc, Ian Dury, through a number of forgotten rock classics.

No two gigs are the same because there is a different setlist every week and each of the guys is a multi-instrumentalist and all of them sing.  Also, because they are seasoned professionals, they know how to ‘read’ the audience and their personalities shine though.

They have a unique sound and image that appeals to all age groups from 20 to 100.  They blend the acoustic guitar to the piano and rock the electric guitar in the style of Jimi Hendrix.  With four vocals, these guys cannot be missed.  Not only can they sing individually, they have great harmonies together.

Each of them is also a songwriter, so there is every chance that you will hear some of their own original songs when you go to their gigs.

Johnny has been playing music for 40 years and has been performing on stage professionally for 30 years.  He is the band leader and plays the piano (he is a classically trained pianist), the accordion, bass guitar and acoustic guitar.  He is also the lead singer.  Johnny has been in more bands and groups than you have had hot dinners.  He plays every conceivable style of music.

Ronnie plays the drums and bass guitar as well as singing.  He is recognised as being one of the best bassists in Ireland.  Like Johnny, Ronnie has played in many bands, including the Ben Read Band and Grainne Duffy.

Bobby plays lead guitar as well as singing. He was recognised as teaching the well known local musician, the late Jim Rankin – who died suddenly in 2008 at the age of 53 – the art of music.  Bobby was one of the organisers for a local fundraiser in 2013 for the Irish Cancer Society.  He was also a co-producer for Jim Johnson’s second album – Politics of the Heart – with Derek Turner in Tumbleweed Studios.

Dermot plays guitar, bass and mandolin as well as singing.  Dermot has played in practically every country band in Ireland worth listening to.  In 2015, he accompanied his niece, Emily Shields who was singing at Fusion at the Guinness International Blues on the Bay.  In 2003, he performed in a fund raising tribute for Grizzly with Billy Finnegan from Stagecoach, Patsy Murphy from the Tokens and some of his musician friends from Dublin who used to come to play in Blackrock under the brilliant name of the Traveling Beer Bellies.