Despite having spent the best part of seven years living with each other in studios, dressing rooms and hotels across the world, Dolores, Noel, Fergal and Mike still hung out together over Christmas and New Year’s. They had time to themselves, to share with friends and family. Yet they still had time for each other. A good sign.
Sometime the previous year, the band received a letter from legendary drummer and Fleetwood Mac founder, Mick Fleetwood, inviting them to record a cover version from their record-breaker-selling album “Rumours”. The album was 20 years old and as part of the Anniversary fun, Mick wanted to record a tribute album, using world-famous bands of the 90s.
The Cranberries obliged and recorded “Go You Own Way”. It was to be their only contribution to the music world in 1997.
In April, the band and all their friends gathered in Limerick to celebrate the wedding of Fergal to his girlfriend, Laurie Guerin. During the day, Dolores told close friends that she was pregnant with her first child. She was expecting a new born in November that year.
Press coverage of the band died down. And while fans waited for any sign of new material, the world’s music media had moved on to the sound of Brit-pop in the UK, fuelled by the sounds of Ocean Colour Scene, Blur and of course Oasis. The pressure had eased considerably for the Cranberries and life at home had returned to normality.
“We needed home and we wanted to lead normal lives for a change,” says Noel. “A house with a family in it is an even bigger pull to come home to.”
Dolores agrees. “We’d probably be wrecked rock stars without our homes. We found our real happiness, our highs, at home.”
And speaking of home, Dolores and Don put their Kerry home on the market. With Baby No. 1 on the way, Dolores wanted to be closer to her family in Limerick. So work started on converting an old Horse farm in Kilmallock, not far from Limerick City, and in the heart of some of the richest country in Ireland.
But first, there was something all four members of the band had to tackle – together. Could they play as a band once again?
They met at Dolores’ Kerry hideaway, which had its own rehearsal studio. It had been almost a year since they last played together. And there, over a period of weeks, the chemistry started to happen again.
“We knew it was working only a few weeks after being together again,” Fergal smiles. “It was like, “Oh Yeah!” – the magic is there.”
The band flew to Toronto to continue writing new material and in November, Dolores gave birth to Taylor Baxter Burton. After the birth of Dolores’ child, the boys went home to Ireland for the holidays.