I don’t even know where to start with this. The world has lost a truly great man – my grandfather, drummer, radio presenter, Honorary Lifetime Mayor of the town of St.Patricks in Missouri in the US, and all round gentleman Tommy Murphy.
I was blown away by the amount of people at the funeral. The man meant a lot to people and it was a truly genuine sympathy from 90% of people. Now I don’t want to go on a big thing here but I just wanted to address it.
We live in a world where people like Rhianna and One Direction are multi millionaires in the music industry, it really is a terrible time to listen to music. I grew up going to jazz gigs where my grandfather was the drummer and that gave me an education. You see ridiculously talented people on stage playing music and loving every second of it, as do the audience, and you can’t really go back from there.
I looked up to the man as he set such an example. I used to help him move his drum kits from place to place after school when I was younger and it was great to spend time with him “at his job”! Looking back it’s mad to think that his heart was giving him trouble all those years ago that he needed me or my brother to help him with the kit…and would then go on to wow people with his talents!
I did my work placement thingamob from college in the radio station he worked for because he put a good word in for me. You would not believe how nice everybody there was to me just because Tommy was my grandfather. This was nothing to do with “being nice to the college kid on placement” or anything like that. I work with the kids of the managing director of the company while they are in from time to time so iv seen both sides! It was a genuine helpfulness purely because of who he was. I spoke to the station manager on my second last day which was a Thursday to see if he would let me have my last day deferred so I could work on Tommys show, he said that would be no problem as long as the college never found out! Legal mumbo jumbo and all that! Tommy gave me a lift out to MWR and it was a thrill to see him in action.
His main love was music and he was an amazing drummer. I and most of my friends used to spend every Tuesday night in PJ Duffys pub in Ballina to listen to the jazz. Obviously I was there to see Tommy show off! This is a man that was respected by anybody that has ever met him or played with him. He was (to use a world used by EVERYBODY that extended their sympathies) a true gentleman.
It is very hard to talk about all of these things but the funeral made it much easier. No depressing religious music just a singer on the alter and a jazz band playing off to my left. Perfect send off for the man. I carried him out of the church while they played “When the saints go marching in” and I had a smile on my face if I’m honest. I was proud to be a part of his send off. I hope that doesn’t sound weird but that is just how I felt at the time, pure 100% pride to be a grandson of such a great man loved by many many many people.
So I’m going to post a video of him taken just three weeks ago in Sligo. It was the last time he was behind the drums, it is a low key thing but you can see why people refer to his drumming as “legendary”. The main reason I am posting this is because at the end of the video you will see Tommy being Tommy, a great gentleman.
So that was his last time on a stage and the only actual footage we have of him playing which is a shame but that’s just the way it is. He was attending the Sligo Jazz Project, yes, amazingly he was still going to work shops at 75 years of age while being a master with a pair of sticks in his hands! Tommy will be dearly missed by myself, the family, the listeners to his show, the band and his fans.
Goodbye sir, great knowing you.