It’s not easy being “Coneish.” There are so many questions surrounding this year’s Westhampton Beach 49th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Marshal, East Quogue resident John Murray that Dan’s Papers decided to pose a few and share Murray’s erudite answers. Reprinted below is our conversation, translated from the French—or was he speaking in Remulakian? Dan Aykroyd, creator of Saturday Night Live’s iconic (icone-ic?) Coneheads was not available for comment:
How does it feel to be named the grand marshal of this year’s parade?
At first I didn’t think I was worthy. I still don’t, but I’m very honored and ready to have fun.
Have you participated in the parade before?
Yes, I’ve been in the parade for 38 years. I’m a Conehead. I was the first one. My clansmen, Coneheads, there are probably 100 of us now, 45 to 50 in the parade. [You] have to be true to yourself and other Conehead members.
Will you have family members in the parade as well?
Yes, reluctantly my family will be there. My wife has put up with a lot. It all started in New York in the late 1970s. My wife, my best friend and I were walking by the Abracadabra costume shop and we saw a Conehead costume. My friend sneaked back and bought it for my birthday. In 1980 I wore it in the back of my old Ford truck. Some of our floats have included: Coneheads Are Irish Too, El Cone Nino, Hurricones, Lonesome Cones, Miss Piggy in the mouth of a shark while a Conehead in a trailer behind them tries to reel in the shark.
As you know, 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin, which was led in part by my cousin Sean MacDermott. How are the heroes of this event being honored by your community’s parade this year?
I’m not Irish, I’m Coneish, but I love the Irish people! I was adopted, that’s maybe why I’m Coneish. My brother-in-law Peter Quinn is Irish. And my wife’s family, the Barrys.
What would you say is the best thing about living where you do?
It’s such a beautiful place; it’s always green here. I moved back here after I got out of the service. We’ve done some traveling and I’ve taken my cone all over the world—Paris, Ireland, Havana, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii. We’re always glad to get back home.
What will you be wearing on the big day?
I will be wearing a cone. This is the time of year Coneheads are very comfortable, it’s the right temperature.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers?
I don’t know if I should tell you, it’s kind of a secret. In this year’s parade the Coneheads will be playing golf, wearing knickers and Irish sweaters. Donald Trump is our caddy. We’ll be playing through the parade and hitting rubber balls. Hopefully the grand marshal won’t get hurt. The Keycone Cops [will serve as] security.
The 49th Annual Westhampton Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at noon, this Saturday, March 12, along Westhampton Beach’s Main Street. For more info, visit whbstpats.com.