The deluge of Irish nonsense that clogs my social media feeds and email boxes during this Big Green Week is staggering when you write about Irish culture. It would take a lot to stop me in my tracks, and this definitely did. 

A blast from my past, Shaun College’s video popped up on Facebook (or, “The Facebook,” as my Galway dad likes to call it), and I’m unable to play little else all day.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present the one-man band of glorious noise that is Shaun College on “The Connaughtman’s Rambles.” 

“I’ve always loved Irish/Celtic music,” College says when asked about the track.

“I’m American, but my family has ancestors from Ireland (my 23&Me says I'm 72% Irish), so we've always identified with our Irish roots."

He recalls a friend turning him onto the bouzouki, a Greek stringed instrument. As a joke, he searched for an "Irish Bouzouki,” and when found, his love affair with the instrument began. 

“I take lessons in music theory (from the great Charley Sabitino) so for one of my lessons last year, I composed an arrangement for the tune 'The Connaughtman's Rambles,' adding some other instruments,” he says.

“I started with the basic melody, building it with other instruments, and then transitioned from a 6/8 jig to a 4/4 reel. This year, I decided to record it for St. Patrick's Day. I hope others get some enjoyment out of it. "

In the spirit of truth in journalism, College is a little brother of sorts. Along with my real little brother, Brendan, he formed SKITZO, a progressive thrash metal band, in the '80s. Back then, College had long hair and a scowl in his press photos that matched the toughness of his music. The initial lineup—Bill Buchan (guitar), Shaun College (bass), Chris Corley (guitar), and Brendan Farragher (drums)—wrote and rehearsed seven nights a week, sometimes at my patient parents’ garage, constructing a catalog of complex instrumentals. When they recruited vocalist George Gabriel, they launched SKITZO and spread a unique brand of dynamic, technically demanding music influenced by traditional and thrash metal, classical, and jazz/fusion in rock clubs in and around New York City. Divebomb Records dusted off the master tapes and re-released their music a few years ago, and you can find it online here.

The hair is short and gray now, but College’s showmanship and the quirky humor I remember when he was a wee one are fully intact. You could see it on full display when he plays tasty bass lines with the wicked good cover band, Blame it on Richie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

*Mike Farragher is a playwright, filmmaker, novelist, and podcaster. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brainonshamrox, or visit his website