With The Academic set to open for The Rolling Stones at Croke Park next month, it's undoubtedly the biggest gig of their young lives to date.

The Irish four-piece are very much on the rise with a stellar debut album 'Tales from the Backseat' under their belts – but they're also pretty new to the scene which means that many fans of The Rolling Stones may not know who they are or what they're all about.

With that in mind, we've put together a little fact sheet explaining exactly why you should make it your business to get into Croker early on May 17th.


1. They hail from villlages in Co. Westmeath, but met at school in Mullingar.

“Craig's from Killucan, me and Matthew are from Raharney and Dean's from Rochfortbridge, and they all surround Mullingar,” explains bassist Stephen Murtagh. “We started gigging as a band in Mullingar, because it was the only place we could go – it was the closest town. We've strong connections there, but we didn't grow up there.”

2. They started off as a pub band playing Strokes and Killers covers before they were even old enough to drink.

“We had been booked in for some pub shows, and we'd start to throw originals in between the covers – so it'd be 'Last Nite' by The Strokes, our song, then 'Mr. Brightside',” says frontman Craig Fitzgerald. “We built up a bit of a following just by inviting friends from school to come in – but it was kind of tough, because a lot of people weren't even 18. We'd be getting out at 2 o'clock in the morning and have to go into school the next day. The teachers couldn't stand it – actually, sometimes the teachers would be in the pub, too.”

3. They took their name from a reference to 'Catcher in the Rye'.

“Band names are tough, because you can technically call yourself anything you want; it's all in the context of how well you do,” muses Fitzgerald. “Some people have bad band names but they're great bands. Our main thing was that we'd been under loads of band names, and the reason we changed was because they were actually pronounced wrong. No one could pronounce 'Maginot' – we were being called 'Magnet' all the time, but that's a bad name. We just looked through some books and there was a book at the time that was given to us in our teenage years, which was pretty apt: Catcher in the Rye. That was the book that made me feel like it was okay for me to write about your personal problems. We don't speak about massive worldwide problems, but the idea is that your problems might not be the biggest problems in the world, but they're still your problems and you're allowed to talk about them. That book helped us; I think we started feeling like 'It's cool to talk about these type of things.'”

4. They're unashamed about their pop influences and writing short, snappy songs.

“We were always fans of just good pop music – especially early Beatles stuff,” says Fitzgerald. “Some of those songs are two minutes long but you feel like you've had a three-course meal. They're so efficient in how they construct their songs, they're so satisfying. Snappy intros, quick pre-choruses... we were always fans of pop, definitely, and that definitely comes through in our music. If we have a song that's 4 minutes long, we think 'That feels a bit long'. So we're aware of that.””

5. Their Facebook Live video of their song 'Bear Claws' went viral at the end of last year.

“We rehearsed it a tonne, and we got in in the morning and tried it a few times. It probably didn't work the first few times – there's any amount of things that can go wrong. But we got a solid six runs, and thought 'Okay, let's go for it.' The moment the red light goes live, it's 'Oh god' – it's even more intense than doing live TV, because the instruments were all on, so if you dropped it and it made a noise, that'd be in the loop for the whole song, every thirty seconds. But it worked out in the end.”


6. They've got a really great album in 'Tales from the Backseat', which you can stream in full below now: