I set a pot aboiling over on the Celtic Thunder official website, and now I must write a, I hope, final blog about the group as a group.
Last fall, Paul had made a decision to leave CT to go back to his own career. He asked Sharon to let him announce this decision at the end of the tour. But Sharon decided to announce it herself, over the Thanksgiving layover. It was a betrayal of trust, and a sign of her wanting to retain control.
Then she announced, in a very public way, on Facebook and in the official website, Damian’s probation because he was neglecting his studies. At the same time, his parents, supposedly, barred him from using Twitter and Facebook. Both of these events made me very upset, and I have written several things, including a blog, about it.
Now those who have followed me over the past year while I was doing heavy promotion (by choice – no request to do so) for them know that I wrote many blogs about CT on MySpace. You also know if you have kept up with them that I have, on many occasions, praised Sharon for her brilliance in both putting these lads together and promoting them across the US and Canada. I have, more than once, heaped this praise on her.
But I think she started feeling like she was losing control, not of the group necessarily, but of them lads themselves, which I think she tended to start seeing as money makers and not the individuals they were. I don’t think Phil was a part of this, though Phil is the leader of the band, which includes Neil. Certainly members of the band have been able to work on other projects over the time they have been part of this, such as Dave and Brendan working on Ryan’s personal CD. And I suspect that Keith, with his going out on his own this year, had it written into his new contract for one more year to be able to do so.
But here is where it gets a little sticky for me. Damian wrote a blog about Paul’s leaving the group, and was key in helping Paul and Dom get into housing in NYC. Damian also told us about how Paul had helped him out so much when he was going through puberty and his fear when his voice started cracking. Sharon was very careful to keep Damian out of the limelight when he was going through that time, which again, was quite a smart thing to do. But I have to wonder if she was starting to get a little jealous of Paul’s influence over Damian. I think Damian owes a lot to his growing up to be such a fine young man to Paul.
Then Damian was invited by Phil to be a member/performer of his last cruise. Sharon has nothing to do with those cruises. They are Phil’s alone. And it was probably phrased in his contract for this year that he could do that.
So I somewhat believe that taking Damian’s Twitter and computer away from him was perhaps a move to keep Damian away from Paul. Anyone who has paid attention to Heritage, and Twilight, will note that at the very end of the song, Damian and Paul nodded at one another for a job well done. Somehow I cannot see Phil having a problem with that, but perhaps Sharon would.
So back to Damian. Has not this young man proven to us and to them that he has been capable of handling everything thrown at him over the past five years? He kept his grades up – As and Bs – he has rehearsed, he has recorded, he has traveled – he has done it all since he was 15, so when he finally gets a little free time, he wants to go out with his mates and play a little. Why punish him for that. I am told that two years of “college” is required before an Irish lad or lass completes their education, before they go to “university”. I don’t know – I should look this up. All I know is that Damian has a bit of money, now he is 18, that he has been a good little boy for so long, and that he has worked hard, and he deserves to have a little fun, instead of sticking his head back in the books to study Production.
As well, I think it was horrid to advertise so loudly and widely that he was being “punished” for this. Perhaps it should have been left up to him to make the announcement.
But here, how many of you would tolerate your parents doing the same thing to you. How many of you parents would do the same thing to your teen. It would be disastrous in your private households, I am sure. I think a lot of you who have approved of this, including Ryan, would never allow it to happen to you or your children. But somehow, Sharon can do no wrong for most of CT’s fans, which tells me that most of CTs fans don’t see the lads as the individuals they are, and only as a band they want to keep popular for, and a producer whose approval they seem to need. And Damian is the one who has suffered for it. Let’s face it, it couldn’t even do promos, or get the trip to New Zealand and Australia. Which meant he was kept out of the eyes of so many potential new fans.
I hope Damian can stay popular and his career can go on, if that is what he wants.
As for Paul, I am told Sharon is really trying to help him in his career. I should hope so. After what he has also done for the past five years, he deserves to have a very good, and lucrative, personal career. When he was asked to travel for promos and down under, if he had allowed his own hurt over how Sharon behaved toward him, he would have lost a lot of good promotion, and a very good trip, all at little cost to him. I believe Paul has acted with dignity, and good common sense, in using the chance to help himself over any resentment he might have ever felt. I do not believe it has cost him any of his soul because I think he handled the whole situation in a very mature manner.
Now I hope to leave CT behind, at least where I have to keep defending myself for my own opinions, and watch what happens with both the group, and especially with the individuals, with this blog. If you still don’t understand what I have been trying to say for the last three months, then you are willfully choosing to not believe what you are reading. I’m not sure I could say it any plainer.