Conor Egan has always been doing something with music. He started playing drums at an early age and he studied music in school with two of his other band mates. After finishing school he went on to study sound engineering. Then the time came to go full time with The Coronas and he hasn't looked back since.
When Danny O'Reilly (vocals/guitar) met Graham Knox (bass) for the first time, O'Reilly was only two weeks old while Knox had barely escaped his mothers' womb. All their lives they were surrounded by music but it wasn't until O'Reilly began writing songs at the tender age of 13 that they decided it would be cool to start a band. They recruited Terenure College school friends Conor Egan (drums) and another close friend to form Kiros and performed their first gig on a Saturday afternoon in a run-down pub in Dublin's city centre to about 10 friends. The lads were all of 15, already hooked. Their adventures as Kiros, however, were short-lived as the band broke up before they turned 18. O'Reilly, Knox and Egan, however, continued to create music but soon they began to miss the thrill of live gigging and, calling themselves Corona, they decided to start playing to anyone who would listen.
They recorded a live EP in 2004 entitled Corona - live at the Voodoo Lounge and to this day, they still get people requesting songs that they played that night as the EP began to get burned and passed around the Dublin college scene. In 2005, they recorded their debut EP in a house in Wicklow and although it was well received and contained some songs that the band still play today, they knew that something was missing from the band's sound. Shortly after its' release, they met a young man from Monkstown called Dave McPhillips (lead guitar), in a frat house in Vancouver, of all places, and were so impressed with his guitar-shredding ability that they asked him join the band. They locked themselves away in a house for weeks creating their sound and began gigging around Dublin, creating an ever-growing following. In December 2006 they sold out two shows in Whelan's purely from word of mouth and this led to the band being signed up by independent label, 3ú Records.
2007 saw them change their name to "The Coronas" (due to an Italian dance act already called Corona) but this did not hinder their success as they began to take the Irish music scene by storm with their debut single "Decision Time" which reached no.8 in the retail charts in January '07. Another top 20 single followed entitled "The Talk" which resulted in the band being signed to UK agency Marshall Arts.
Their hit singles "Grace, Don't Wait!" and "San Diego Song," which spent a staggering 16 weeks in the Irish top 40, and the release of their debut album Heroes or Ghosts in October was met with rave reviews and has been lodged in the Irish charts achieving platinum sales in Ireland, and spawned massive singles such as "Grace, Don't Wait!," "Heroes or Ghosts" and especially "San Diego Song" which became an anthem in clubs and radio stations all across the country.
The Dublin quartet quickly followed its' release with sell-out shows nationwide, two Meteor award nominations and a spellbinding set on the main stage at Oxegen. All this along with tours in the U.S., UK and Asia, has enabled the Coronas to establish themselves as one of Ireland's biggest new bands.
"We've worked really hard for the last two years, but taking a break never really occurred to us," says lead singer Danny O'Reilly. "We wanted to continue to build on what we had going and we knew the only way to do that was to go into the studio and record an album that we felt blew Heroes (or Ghosts) out of the water."
"We were quite young when we recorded Heroes or Ghosts," concurs guitarist Dave McPhillips (indeed they had all just turned 21). "And, although we were so proud of it, we really didn't expect it to do as well as it did. The last couple of years on the road, constantly gigging and developing our sound, left us with a better idea of the album we wanted to make."
Indeed anyone who has become accustomed to the Coronas own brand of pop-rock tunes will have plenty of reason to cheer when it comes to their new album. Released on 25 September 2009 Tony Was An Ex-Con, was recorded over 6 weeks in the prestigious Sawmills studio in Cornwall. This time round the guys teamed up with esteemed producer John Cornfield (Muse, Razorlight, Oasis). "Working with John in the mill (Sawmills) was an amazing experience," says bassist Knoxy. "We thought that, with his resume, he'd be telling us exactly what to do but he was really cool and just let us do our thing. It was a really chilled-out, productive atmosphere."
The title track comes from an incredible story about the lads on tour in America, involving a psychotic bus driver who left the entire entourage fearing for their lives. "It's funny looking back at it now, but at the time it was really quite scary", says drummer Conor Egan.