He looked at her at the end of the bar and said,
“I don’t know whether to kill you or marry you”
And so the shot was fired across the bow, and with it… The Westies were born.
The meeting on that fateful night between Michael McDermott and Heather Horton set in motion a chain of events that would lead to what would later be known as the album West Side Stories.
After just avoiding a would be 3-6 year prison sentence (which McDermott is uneasy to discuss) and a spiraling life, McDermott’s chance meeting with Horton would change the course and the trajectory of his life.
What would follow would be a steady climb from the trenches. With a “sleeves rolled up” songwriting approach, that while delicate and tender, matches with equal measure, the brutality of an honest eye and a turbulent life.
Explains McDermott, “All I ever wanted to do was write songs and tell stories, like my grandparents and parents did from a long Irish lineage. With that lineage came a proclivity for drink, for mayhem, and a wee bit of crime. I write what I know and what I know, is much of the time, ugly.”
This is no guy/girl group. The Westies are a band that unabashedly confronts the trials of the inner city heart with a slow burn delicacy that juxtaposes many uncomfortable subjects with a tender and elegant beauty that is rare in the current music landscape.
The Westies album “West Side Stories” is a song cycle inspired by the real life Westies “a ruthless gang of Irish mob punks that ruled Hell’s Kitchen in the 60’s and 70′s”. The gangsters serve as a metaphor for the dark side that lurks inside us all. The unexplained forces that cause internal struggles, destroy relationships and leave us clinging to love as just a memory.
Call it Ameri-gangsta-cana.