Gavin Friday (born Fionán Martin Hanvey) is an Irish singer and songwriter, composer, actor and painter and founder of post-punk band The Virgin Prunes.
Friday was born in Dublin and grew up in Ballygall a neighbourhood located on Dublin’s Northside located between Finglas and Glasnevin where he went to school. When he was fourteen years old and living on Cedarwood Road, he met Bono and Guggi at a party to which he had not been invited. Bono said: “We caught him trying to steal something out of the house. Classic teenage stuff… but we became friends.”
In 1986, after the demise of Virgin Prunes, Friday devoted himself to painting for a while, sharing a studio with Bono, Guggi and Charlie Whisker. This resulted in the exhibition Four Artists – Many Wednesdays (1988) at Dublin’s Hendricks Gallery. Friday, Guggi and Whisker showed paintings, while Bono opted to exhibit photos taken in Ethiopia. Friday’s part of the show was entitled I didn’t come up the Liffey in a bubble, an expression often used by Friday’s father.
He has maintained a close friendship with U2’s Bono since both were children, and they collaborated on the soundtrack for the Jim Sheridan’s film In the Name of the Father, including the title track, “Billy Boola” and “You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart”, which was sung by Sinéad O’Connor and nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. In 2003 they wrote “Time Enough for Tears”, the original theme tune for Sheridan’s film In America, as sung by Andrea Corr. The song was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
In 2005 Friday and Seezer collaborated with Quincy Jones on incidental music for the 50 Cent biopic Get Rich or Die Tryin’. In 2001 they scored the film Disco Pigs by Kirsten Sheridan. Two years later Friday and Seezer and their ensemble also collaborated with Bono on Peter & the Wolf in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation.
In September 2006 a 2-CD collection of sea shanties called Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, produced by Hal Willner, was released on the ANTI- label. Friday contributes to two tracks including the lewd “Baltimore Whores” and “Bully in the Alley” with ex-Virgin Prunes bandmates Guggi and Dave-id. The reunion of Friday, Guggi and Dave-id was the first time they had recorded together since the Virgin Prunes broke up in 1985.
In 2009 Friday and Macken worked on Gavin’s 4th studio album, released in 2010. On 6 April 2010 Record company Rubyworks announced they signed Gavin Friday and that a new album is on its way. The new CD is titled catholic and was released in Ireland on Good Friday: 22 April 2011.
Friday’s first acting experience was in the Kirsten Sheridan film Disco Pigs (2001), in which he played a bit part. In 2005 Gavin Friday played Billy Hatchett in the Neil Jordan film Breakfast on Pluto based on Irish author Patrick McCabe’s book, which had been influenced by Friday’s album Shag Tobacco. On the soundtrack he sings “Wig Wam Bam” and “Sand”, a duet with Cillian Murphy.
Photo: Gavin Friday, The Clarence, Dublin, 4 July 2007, wearing Archbishop John Charles McQuaid’s ring.