The Manfred’s McGuiness

Paula Xiberras
24.06.15 6:32 am


The name McGuiness means ‘unique endeavour’ and Tom McGuiness has become part of a unique endeavour that has stretched from the 60’s, in his role as guitarist for the music group ‘Manfred Mann’ continuing today as the ‘splinter’ group ‘The Manfreds’. Tom has visited Australia and indeed Tasmania on previous occasions,  firstly, touring Hobart and Launceston in 1965 as part of the original group ‘Manfred Mann’. He says of Tasmania that it is greener than the mainland and indeed reminiscent in appearance and climate of Cornwell.

After I tell Tom that many places in Tasmania took their names from the only two books available to the settlers in those early days, The Bible and a copy of ‘The Arabian Nights’ we get to talking about place names and Tom tells me of a place in Cornwell with a hopefully, not too descript name of ‘Pityme’..

Tom is a deep thinker and a philosophical one and ponders how and why the place name was arrived at and how the person who named it was feeling.

Not that pity comes to mind when talking to Tom about his continued and growing success. The Manfreds and ‘Manfred Mann’ before them have given the world songs like ‘Pretty Flamingo’ and ‘The Mighty Quinn’ among others that have achieved a limitless longevity.

Building the band that would achieve this success, like a lot of things resulted from twists and turns of fate that took Tom far away from the manual work of his father before him. Tom’s dad was an Irish Navy that dug road trenches, a profession his Mum didn’t want for her son. Tom’s mum was happy for him to choose any other career providing it was inside!

With no great plan Tom persisted with his love of music and it was up to the influence of random events and chance that completed the equation. A chance meeting with Paul Jones in a youth club saw him join Manfred Mann.

Things have changed from those early days, when it was a hectic schedule of radio interviews and little free time, now Tom paces himself and doesn’t prioritise himself with pop hits for prosperity, (although the songs are firmly established as such), knowing the fickle nature of the industry and prefers to concentrate on being a good parent and family man.

Even though Tom has a keen interest in politics he jokes he would be ‘an adornment’ to the House of Lords but has no interest in formalising his interest. He does however, give me the example of how music can surpass all boundaries including the political and cultural. When Tom was in Brussels for a conference on copyright and was required to address the panel, he was surprised when an Italian dignitary moved across the floor to ask for his autograph!

You can see Tom when he performs with the Manfreds at Wrest Point Entertainment Centre 12th July 2015 at 7pm.

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