My dad (that’s Bono, to you!) is cool if I want to see if a song works... In­haler

...and Eli’s old man is still rock­ing it!

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - MORE | MUSIC - DANNY McEL­HIN­NEY

What we know so far about In­haler is that they have writ­ten a cou­ple of de­cent songs and Bono’s son Eli­jah is the lead singer. Whether that will prove to be their epi­taph or the in­tro­duc­tion to a ca­reer be­yond any­one’s ex­pec­ta­tions should soon be re­vealed.

I sat down with Eli­jah, short­ened to Eli, bass player Rob Keat­ing and gui­tarist Josh Jenk­in­son in the Gib­son Ho­tel. With lit­tle ef­fort you could hit one of the win­dows in the 3Arena with a stone from its bal­cony. U2 played their fi­nal Dublin show of the Ex­pe­ri­ence + In­no­cence tour in the venue last night and In­haler have am­bi­tions to play there some day.

‘Rob and I met at school, [the ex­clu­sive St An­drew’s Col­lege in Black­rock]. We de­cided we needed a gui­tar player, so we “stole” Josh from an­other band,’ Eli says.

‘We started writ­ing mu­sic and de­cided that would be a cool thing to do as a job. We did the Leav­ing Cert in the sum­mer and we’ve taken a year out to re­ally go for it.’

‘The songs we wrote were part of our work ex­pe­ri­ence in tran­si­tion year,’ Rob says. ‘We man­aged to con­vince our teach­ers that play­ing in a band could count as work ex­pe­ri­ence.’

The fourth mem­ber, drum­mer Ryan McMa­hon, is ab­sent from our chat and, while Josh nods af­fir­ma­tion to most of what the other two say, the found­ing mem­bers of the band, formed two years ago, are its pri­mary spokes­men – es­pe­cially 19-year-old Eli.

‘Our mu­sic is evolv­ing be­cause we are play­ing live more and more,’ he says. ‘We are start­ing to see what works and how you make a song sound good live.’

Up­com­ing gigs sup­port­ing Pic­ture­house and The Aca­demic as well as the 3 Count­down con­cert in Dublin on New Year’s Eve will give them am­ple op­por­tu­nity to prove that’s the case. ‘Be­ing good live is the most im­por­tant thing – that’s where the money is too,’ Eli says. The two orig­i­nal songs we’ve heard so far, I Want You and Is She My Girl? be­tray the freely ad­mit­ted in­flu­ence of Stone Roses not U2.

And on the one oc­ca­sion I’ve seen In­haler per­form, I wouldn’t sug­gest the younger Hew­son has his fa­ther’s per­for­mance chops ei­ther – but then nei­ther did Bono at his age. Eli, though, is per­haps a good deal more con­fi­dent than his dad was start­ing out. Surely though, he feels that play­ing in a band is just mak­ing a rod for his own back.

‘Eli could have been a foot­baller – he’s quite good,’ Rob says.

‘That was a slag,’ Eli says. ‘I’m sure in my folks’ heads they didn’t want me to do it. It was a pas­sion and I just thought: “I’m go­ing to go for it.” We’re putting in the work – we don’t want to be seen as rid­ing some­one else’s wave. The band is four brains work­ing to­gether.

‘My dad’s good when I want to see if a song is s***e or not – he will tell me straight away.’

I ask the other two were they scep­ti­cal about be­ing in a band with Eli. ‘I don’t think there was a thought process. We just kind of started and have kept go­ing,’ Rob says. ‘It was never a case that Eli was this big per­son­al­ity who rode the fact of who he was. I just thought I’ll do mu­sic with him be­cause he’s a cool guy.’

‘Ah, you’re so sweet!’ Eli says with a laugh.

‘His old man does help us a bit but he will def­i­nitely point out the hard­ships that we might have to go through more than the pos­i­tive things,’ Rob says. ‘If we don’t have some­thing to show for our work by the end of the year we’ve taken out, then we’ll be go­ing to col­lege,’ Eli says some­what sur­pris­ingly.

‘But we are con­fi­dent in our mu­si­cal abil­i­ties,’ Josh says – with the last word on mat­ters un­til the pub­lic has its fi­nal say.

EvOlv­ing: Josh, Robert, Ryan and Eli, aka In­haler

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