Davy Carton, singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist, is born in Islington, London, on April 10, 1959. He is best known as a core member of The Saw Doctors, the folk-rock band he co-founds with Leo Moran and others in 1987.
Carton moves permanently to Tuam, County Galway, with his family in 1966. As a teenager he attends Tuam’s Christian Brothers school, where he forms the punk band Blaze X with fellow students Paul Cunniffe, Paul Ralph, and Ja Keating. He works in a local textile factory after leaving school, but continues to play with Blaze X until the band dissolves in 1981, the year Carton marries his girlfriend Trisha.
Working full-time in the textile factory throughout Ireland’s economically bleak 1980s, Carton largely puts his musical career on hold to support his wife and three young sons.
In the late 1980s, Carton gets together for a pint with Leo Moran, formerly of Irish reggae band Too Much for the White Man. Carton and Moran begin gigging around Galway with a handful of their own rootsy-rock compositions.
The duo adopts the name Saw Doctors — travellers who earn money by sharpening saws in old Ireland — until they can think of something better. As the band grows, the opportunity to find a better name never arises.
Carton’s achievements with the Saw Doctors include six studio albums, two live albums, a concert DVD, several compilation albums, and extensive tours throughout Europe and the United States. Noted for his witty, rapacious lyrics, Carton has co-written almost all of the band’s songs, including “I Useta Lover,” one of the all-time best-selling singles in Ireland.
The Saw Doctors’ lyrics tend to stay out of political issues. “I’m not a politician, and I never will be a politician,” Carton tells the website PopMatters in 2003. “What I like to do is go into a room of people and make them sing along and whatever. I’m not going to tell them how to vote – there’s enough people doing that already. I’d rather talk about girlfriends and football. We don’t like to write about things we don’t really know about. We know about rejection from girls and all that, so we can write about that.”