George Millar is thankful that he’s part of an Irish folk act as opposed to a rock band.
The Irish Rovers singer-guitarist doesn’t know if he could handle the latter.
“It would probably be a bit much for me being a rocker at this stage,” Millar said while calling from Atlanta. “It’s perfect for me playing this kind of music because I don’t have to be 110 pounds. I don’t have to worry about hair recession or an expanding middle or how to squeeze into spandex. What we do is always about the music.”
The playful Millar, 64, is still spry onstage. The energetic entertainer, who is a terrific yarn-spinner during shows, doesn’t have to worry about anything but the Irish Rovers. It’s been Millar’s life since he formed the band 46 years ago.
“I don’t know if I know how to do anything else,” Millar said. “I’ve been doing this so long. It’s been a long, wonderful time. It’s still fun going out and playing what people want to hear.”
Expect the hits and then some when the Irish Rovers perform Thursday at the Keswick Theater. “I think that’s the best way to do a show,” Millar said. “I hate it when I go to a show and the performer doesn’t want to do the songs that made him famous. That’s crazy. When I see Gordon Lightfoot, I want to hear the older material. I feel that it’s our responsibility to play the songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s and take the audience back to a time when they were young and foolish.”
So expect the Rovers to render ‘The Unicorn,’ ‘The Orange and the Green’ and ‘Whiskey on a Sunday.’
Happiness is what it’s all about for Millar. He insists that if he and his bandmates, bassist William Ian Millar, multi-instrumentalist Sean O’Driscoll, guitarist John Reynolds and accordionist Wilcil McDowell, didn’t get along, the Rovers, would no longer exist.
“We would have pulled the plug on this group years ago,” Millar said. “You look at bands like the Eagles, who come back when they need to make another fortune. They can’t even look at each other. Now that’s hard work going out with people you don’t even like. It’s funny but we go out to the bar after shows together. We like each other that much. When we’re not playing together, we’re on our own back at our homes.”
But the Rovers are always back together in March. “We don’t have a choice,” Millar said. “It’s the time for the Irish. The Irish are everywhere. They’re like a plague, in a good way. Name any place in the world and the Irish are there. The Irish are everywhere because there is wanderlust in their blood. I know because it’s in mine too.”
Millar left his native Ireland for Vancouver, B.C. 30-years ago. “I love it there but I’m on the road so much,” Millar said. “There’s the wanderlust.”
The amiable Millar hopes the Irish Rovers hit the half-century mark. “That would be wonderful,” Millar said. “If everyone is in good health, we should reach 50 years together as a band. We’ll see. Someone said we should go and play Australia and New Zealand and publicize it as our final tour over there but put in the word ‘maybe ,’in small letters because we’re not sure when anything is final. Again, we want to play as long as we can.”
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