In early ‘95, it was back to the UK and Europe, including Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, France, Holland, and Belgium. This tour triggered the single “Zombie” and “No Need To Argue” to No.1 simultaneously throughout Europe.
In America, they were filmed by MTV for their ‘Unplugged’ series. Then they made the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. Later in the year, while stopping over in Washington, DC for a promotional visit, word leaks out that they’re going to do a free Unplugged show at the Washington Mall. A crowd of more than 10,000 turn up and the Police force the show to be cancelled for lack of security.
On the other side of the planet, the four band members are stunned at the sold-out banners for concerts in Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
More dates, more headline shows, more festivals, sharing the bill with the band they listened to before there even was a Cranberries ? REM.
“Everyday for me was a schedule,” Dolores continues. “I’d wake up at 9 and I’d have something to do every hour, at 12, something else at 3. There was always the make-up, to make me look cute. So what happens then is you never have a chance to look at your life, to realise what’s happening, until you take “the break” and you look back and you wonder – was that me?
“In a way now, when I look back at videos like “Ode To My Family ” (the album’s second single) or MTV Unplugged I look at it and I think to myself – I can’t really remember that.
“And in the middle of all that we were completely lost. And when the band were really huge I don’t think we were really enjoying it at the time. All we wanted to do was come off stage and get drunk. We didn’t sit down and talk to each other as much.”
One tour melted into the next in a never-ending journey across continents, to feed the fans.’sell the product’. All the band members agree – their lives rushed past like scenery through the window of a very fast train.
“It was like a dream”, said Mike. The rest of the band nod in reflection.
“The press were okay at the start,” Fergal adds. “But after the second album, that’s when it got really scary. It just got so big. There was no breathing space any more.”
“When you become that famous, you’re so protected that people start to think for you,” says Dolores. “There are people who speak for you, they do everything for you ? so much so that when you come off tour you expect to find your food waiting for you on the table!
“When you’re that hot all the simple little things in life are taken away from you.
“Okay, you have to have that protection around you because you’re in the public eye, but it becomes very strange because you become isolated from the world, you don’t feel very human and you don’t know what’s going on from one day to the next.”
September 1995, With the tour finally over, Dolores performed at a charity concert in Modena, Italy courtesy of a personal invitation of Luciano Pavarotti. She performed duets on “Ave Maria” with Pavarotti and “Linger” with Simon LeBon.
The Cranberries were on top of the world, riding the waves of fame while the fortune was beginning to roll in. The band took a few weeks off to enjoy some of that new fortune. And a good thing too. Striking while the iron was hot, it was then time to head back into the studio for album No. 3.
While on tour for “No Need To Argue”, Dolores and Noel somehow found the time to write new songs. The numbers were then arranged during pre-concert sound-checks and performed live, much to the excitement of fans who were keen to see where the music would go next.
So, October ‘95, the studio sessions began and the band felt they were ready to roll. Stephen Street was replaced by Canadian Bruce Fairbairn, producer to such names as Aerosmith & Bon Jovi, who brought with him a harder American rock style. The album was completed in just five weeks.
Everything seemed right. A new album with the prospect of a new tour. More singles, more rewards, there was only one thing missing from the band ? ‘a life of their own’.
“We had toured for a year and a half, non-stop hard-core gigging,” says Noel. “So we were playing with our eyes closed by the end of that tour. So the songs we’d written at sound-check ? we just brought them in and threw ‘em down.
“It was stupid. It got to the point where we’d finish up in the studio and go on the piss every night and come back in the following day with rotten hangovers. And we still put an album together through all that.”
The album was called “To The Faithful Departed”.
“We’d sold six million of the first album,” Dolores adds. “Then we sold more than double that for the second, so by the time we came out of the studio with the third album we didn’t care how much it was going to sell. Yet we committed to another tour. So we did it.”
“I listen to ‘Faithful Departed’ the odd time,” says Fergal. “It reminds me of such a horrible time, but it’s a great record and there’s some beautiful songs on there. It captures a moment, a side of us that we probably wouldn’t ever like to see again, but it’s there, on the record.”
“The third album reflected the feelings that I and the band were going through,” says Dolores. “It was the most negative and depressing album. We realised we needed a break, but we were afraid to take that break, in case you turn around and all your fans are gone and you’re history.”