The assumption from day one was that Those Nervous Animals would not be a covers outfit. They would write their own material and strike out on a less-travelled path. They experimented with rhythms and chords and lyrics. They wrote songs about people they knew, like drummer and erstwhile politician Flukie Gorman, as well as friend and up-and-coming sound engineer Vinny Higgins (A song called Leavin’ it on for Vin was a pool reference). The new band members often played video games and pool in the daytime in Beezies; Pakman was in vogue. They showed each other new stuff they had learned on their instruments, chords and riffs and ways of changing the mood.
The writing was coloured by a wide range of literary, art and music influences; pop, soul, art-rock and funk among the latter. There was a kind of cross-pollination going on; people bringing new tastes and sounds to the creative table. The first gigs were in local venues, sometimes alongside other Sligo bands of the era, such as Reverb. The gigs were invariably joyful and energetic events.
Those Nervous Animals eventually hooked up with producer Bill Whelan and recorded a set of songs with Bill and engineer Phillip Begley. The first release, Just What The Sucker Wanted, was on their own Dead Fly label. Barry designed the centre label. They started to become known nationwide after getting sustained national radio play for their singles, especially The Business Enterprise (My Friend John). They toured, played Self Aid, and did an appearance on the Late Late Show. Though the core members Barry, Eddie and Pádraig remained, various changes of personnel occurred over the years (at last count about 20 different musicians toured or gigged with the Animals at some stage). Susan Rowland was a constant from early days in recordings and on tour, contributing backing and sometimes lead vocal parts. Barry’s distinctive vocal and the Animals’ playful harmonic constructions were key to the colour and sound of the band.