For The Cranberries’ fans, 2004 year started with prolonged and nervous waiting for news from the Cranberry camp: it’d been already half a year (since September of 2003) since the last update of the official site, and the latest news was gossip about the splitting of the band. Up to January it was known that in the summer of 2003 Dolores had recorded some united songs together with the Italian singer Zucchero and the German underground electronic duet, ‘Jam & Spoon’, and shortly after in the autumn she had started working on her solo album (the names of the first songs were also revealed: ‘Black widow’ and ‘Croatia’), also by the request of Mel Gibson, the creator of an upcoming blockbuster ‘The Passion Of The Christ’, had recorded the ‘Ave Maria’ song in Latin for the soundtrack to the film. However… all the details were deeply shaded.
And then, in March, came the first unexpected and joyful news: Dolores O’Riordan would take participation in the 54th Italian festival ‘San Remo’ where she would perform the singing of ‘Ave Maria’.
March 6th, shortly before the concert, there was a conference of Dolores with Italian journalists. Unfortunately, its exact contents aren’t still known to us: the interview was translated from English to Italian, and then back from Italian to English, hence the unavoidable sense loss. The interview actually said that Dolores was leaving ‘The Cranberries’ and planning to start a solo career, her first album was supposed to be presented already in 2005 or 2006 year.
March, 7th in San-Remo, on the stage of Teatro Ariston, Dolores performed a divine version of Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’. Dolores was wearing an elegant long dress that was quite odd for her style, since we are used to see her wearing more extravagant dresses on her concerts. At the back of Dolores there were large monitors that were showing the cutscenes from ‘The Passion Of The Christ’ as the performance was going on.
Later that day a single Italian female fan had managed to meet Dolores in a hotel and even take a picture with her. According to the girl, Dolores was quite happy being escorted by… Steve DeMarshee, an additional guitar-player of the group!
Around that time, the first approximate dates of release of the albums which Dolores had taken participation in were known. Her song ‘Pure Love’ together with Zucchero was supposed to be included in the ‘Zu & Co’ album, the song ‘Mirror Lover’ with Jam & Spoon – on the album ‘Tripomatic Fairytales 2003′, and ‘Ave Maria’ – on the second soundtrack to the ‘The Passion Of The Christ’ movie called ‘Songs Inspired By The Passion Of The Christ’.
The end of March was stained by an appalling story about the nanny of the O’Riordan-Berton family that was notified by almost all the tabloids of Ireland and Canada as well as some Russian newspapers from the Web. Below are the articles from the ‘www.music.com.ua’ site:
31.03.2004. A big trouble found the family of the Cranberries’ vocalist Dolores O’Riordan. All the last week of the singer and her husband Don Berton was spent going to court with a former nanny of their child, 34 years old Joy Fahy. Joy accuses the couple of breaking the contract conditions and disrespectful attitude to her. At the process, she was telling shocking stories about Berton being able to drink for days without break, and O’Riordan made herself calm by hourly cloth ironing – the one and only item, as if she was desperate. “They made me wake up in the night to bathe the child, so he wouldn’t put them off sleeping in the morning, – complaints the nanny. – There were times when they were leaving me with him in a room with the door closed. A couple of times I was left in the middle of nowhere with no means of transportation, so I had to find my way home all by myself with a baby on my hands.” The star couple objects all the complaints and calls them falsehood. The trial is going to continue in April.
29.04.2004. Dolores O’Riordan, the vocalist of ‘The Cranberries’ band, has won the case against the former nanny of her son. Yesterday, April 28, the Judgment of Dublin rejected all of Joy Fahy’s complaints to the family of O’Riordan and refused to carry on with her case. Recap: the appellant blamed her work-giver in breaking the job contract and motiveless discharging of her, Fahy. In addition, she was spreading all over how poor Dolores was as a mother and how lonely her child was. The only thing Fahy actually managed to prove is that after the sudden discharging she hastily left all her belongings in the star’s house which weren’t returned afterwards. The Judgment ordered to pay compensation to Fahy in $1800 worth. The lady also wanted her annual salary – $15.000 – to be recompensed as a compensation for the sudden discharge. However, the judge found the proofs to be deficient and therefore rejected this wish. In the past, 34 years old Joy Fahy had worked as a nanny of a ‘U2′ drum-player Larry Mullen, and also an assistant of Elle McPherson the model. In neither instances there were any problems with the law.
In the spring the official site of The Cranberries finally revives, but only for telling that soon it will be redesigned.
In April there were rumors that Dolores might take participation in the performance ‘Beautiful Night Concert 2004′ which was supposed to take place May 1st in Dublin, but alas, for some Reason Dol wasn’t there.
Also in April, the Cranberry fans’ community was literally exploded by the sudden news about Dolores having recorded another duet composition – ‘Angels Go To Heaven’, this time together with the world-famous Italian composed Angelo Badalamenti (is known among us thanks to his soundtracks to the celebrates ‘Twin Peaks’ series and other pictures of David Lynch). More than that, this song became the main theme for the Italian thriller ‘Evilenko’ which tells about the crimes of the Ukrainian maniac by the name of Chicatilo (the film was cut in Ukraine). Obviously, that’s how the long-standing Dolores’s dream of participating in the creation of a soundtrack came true…
The official site of Noel Hogan appears – www.noelhogan.com, where Noel announces a contest among the Cranfans: they are to think of a name for Noel’s solo album. Totally accidentally, another Dolores’s solo song’s name comes out – ‘Apple Of My Eye’.
March 6th in 2004 there was a concert in the Royal Albert Hall in London attached to the release of Zucchero’s new album called ‘Zu & Co’. Dolores and Zucchero perform the ‘Pure Love’ song together. According to Dolores’s confession in an interview, Zucchero’s daughters were actually The Cranberries fans, so that were them who managed to talk their dad into recording a duet singing with Dolores. This evening, one fan from Brazil was able to meet Dolores after the concert and even have a car ride with her. According to him, Dolores sang ‘Apple Of My Eye’ to him, but the guy was so happy he couldn’t remember a word of it.
Shortly after the concert there was a European release of ‘Zu & Co’. Apart from the duet with Dolores, the album also presented the united songs of Zucchero with Sting, Mousse T, Macy Gray, John Lee Hooker, Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones, B.B. King, Ronan Keating, Paul Young, Brian May, Luciano Pavarotti and others. Thanks to these really star contents the album was bought in a more than a million of copies all over the world.
May 28th Dolores took participation in an international forum ‘Better World Forum, Rock In Rio’ on a festival in Lissabon, Portugal. Sadly, her participation was only verified at the last moment, so the Cranfans knew about it only afterwards. Dolores unpredictably performed ‘Linger’ and ‘Zombie’ with guitar (being accompanied by a bassist and a drum-player of the ‘1 Giant Leap’ band), and there’s no recording of the performance.
At the end of May Dolores unites with Zucchero for the second time in order to perform ‘Pure Love’ together, this time on the Italian festival ‘Festival Bar’. May, 29th she is present on the sound check, and 31st she is singing on the stage together with Zucchero. As usual, Dolores was escorted by her husband Don. There was a little fuss caused by the confusing photos of Zucchero holding Dolores in not too friendly way. Plus, Dolores seemed to have lowered the belt on her pants to the lowest that time…
In June, the album of German electronic singers Jam & Spoon called ‘Tripomatic Fairytales 3003′ is finally released with the MOST experimental work of Dolores – ‘Mirror Lover’. Only the fans meet a fully electronic version with pleasure, others are skeptical. Nonetheless, apart from Dolores there were not the last faces of rock music flashing in the album: Tricky, Jim Kerr, Rea Garvy (the ‘Reamon’ solo singer), Midge Ure (the ‘Ultravox’ solo singer), Plavka. The album was issued in Europe, Australia and Japan and got some really good regards from the analytics (some of them commemorated the participation of Dolores O’Riordan independently). The disc became by all means a successful one, and its single (‘Set Me Free’) was even taken to rotation by the radio ‘Maximum’.
The main event of July is undoubtedly an interview of Noel Hogan via phone which he gave to Alex, the webmaster of Zombieguide.com. The most important and wonderful news: The Cranberries are not separated for good, hereafter they’re going to unite again to create the sixth album!!! The long silence of the band was explained by the fact that all of the band members had decided to make their own business.
According to Noel, in September of the last year The Cranberries were going to come to the studio for creation of the sixth album (the same info was already published before), but the plans suddenly changed: Dolores’s mother-in-law got sick, and the singer had take a flight to Toronto. Unfortunately, Dolores’s family member died, and the guys told Dolores she could take a break for as long as she needed. Additionally, ‘The Cranberries’ were going to mind their business for a long time.
This way, for that moment both Dolores and Noel, and even Fergal were busy about their own projects. Besides, if Noel had practically finished his album already, Dolores obviously didn’t make haste about it.
Noel also said that last year the band had recorded 4 new demo songs: among them there are already known to us ‘In It Together’ and ‘Astral Projection’, a never-seen-before ‘Written On My Heart’ and another song which name was forgotten by Noel. (Note: later Noel made it clear that the songs the band recorded were as follows: ‘Raining In My Heart’, ‘Someday’, ‘Astral Projection’ and ‘The Fall’. ‘In It Together’ song was likely not recorded.)
The rest of the interview was dedicated to Noel’s solo album. It is now in the phase of finishing, and the first concerts supporting it will probably be given already in January of 2005. Noel is pleased about how the work was going on (he cooperated with Stephen Street and a number of less famous European singers), and the possible first single of the album would be the ‘Brighter Sky’ song which is diametrically different from what Noel was doing in the band. Noel also said that this new material in its essence reminds of music for movies, and noted that Dolores always supported the idea of the band composing music for films (this seems to explain her participating in the soundtracks of ‘The Passion Of The Christ’ and ‘Evilenko’).
At the same time, in the end of July Dolores was in Dublin giving a press-conference dedicated to the Shannon International Music Festival 2004 that took place in Limerick. She didn’t sing anything; although there were rumors that she might have sung a song with Bill Whelan.
In September, the British paper ‘Sunday Times’ informed that Dolores and her husband Don bought themselves a new house in a place called Howth not far from Dublin. The journalist noted that there was no pool, gym, studio or even a garage in the house! Nevertheless, a house with five bedrooms was bought for 2 million euros. The main reason for purchasing the new house was that he was close to the Dublin Airport, as the O’Riordan-Berton family frequently takes flights between Ireland and Canada. The previous fancy mansion in Dingle (the one that had the words from ‘Zombie’ represented in stained glass) was sold by the couple for 4 million euros.
With practically any other week of autumn more and more details about the solo project of Noel Hogan managed to be called Mono Band come up. The name was based on the word ‘Monos’ proposed by a Greek fan in the course of the competition Noel announced. The winner got a guitar with Noel’s autograph from him.
It is known that Noel was seriously fond of electronic music in Moby’s and Beck’s style while making him album. The idea of creating his own project occurred to Noel back in the last year, that’s when he started to write his first musical sketches. The programming of the electronic contents of the album was by Mathew Vaughan (this person helped ‘The Cranberries’ to recording their 4-track demo, and he’s the one who Dolores works with on her solo album). The music was composed by Noel, but singing is writing was what the vocalists from other bands were invited for. Noel’s invitation was accepted by Richard Walters (Oxford, England), Alexandra Hamnede (Sweden), Kate Kobro-Havnevik, Nicolas Leroux (from the French band ‘Overhead’), Fin Chambers (from the Irish band ‘Woodstar’), Angie Heart (from ‘Frente’) and also Eagle Eye Cherry (Noel wasn’t able to finish the song with this vocalist). Later in December, the Irish magazine ‘Hot Press’ published a phone interview with Noel. The guitar-player of ‘The Cranberries’ informed that “The Cranberries decided to take a break even last year, and this meant that I would be able to put all my effort into my own material”. Noel said that he was inspired with the works of Beck and Moby, so he decided to bring more electronic elements into his music. Having some working sketches made, Noel sent the MP3s to different vocalists expecting their cooperation. The invitation was accepted by 8 musicians whose voices will be heard in Noel’s album. “They’re more like co-workers than mere invited singers, for when I was just playing the music, they were making up the melodies and the texts”, – says Noel. According to him, this united work was like ‘waiting of the unknown’, a feeling similar to the one Noel felt when he was 15, recording the first songs for The Cranberry Saw Us. Stephen Street, the producer of ‘The Smiths’ and three albums of ‘The Cranberries’ was also impressed with the new material of Noel Hogan. But despite the support from Stephen Street and Matt Wogan, Noel said that the ‘Mono Band’ project was pretty much made ‘by himself’.
As planned, in October 6th in Italy a thriller ‘Evilenko’ double DVD was issued. Unhappily, the second disc contained not the soundtrack but the interview with the creators of the film – including Angelo Badalamenti! The famous Italian composer was talking about his work together with Dolores O’Riordan. The main surprises were that Dolores was the one to communicate first, not the opposite, and that Badalamenti said he wouldn’t refuse to work with Dolores again sometime! The interview was written just the time when the ‘Angels Go To Heaven’ song was producing seriously. Badalamenti recalls: “I told David [David Griehko, the creator of the film] that a girl from The Cranberries called me, Dolores O’Riordan. She was really interested in working with me and wanted to show us another Dolores, not The Cranberries kind. So it was a question of her working hours, my working hours, my other projects… But I was also interested in working with her, she has a special voice. I remember David telling me that he had found some special gift in her vocal, a gift that attracts people. So perhaps upon combining mine and hers styles of music we could create something new. When you constantly work on films and soundtracks, there’s no time for any other music. Every now and then, there is an opportunity to write a song. We composers come to this point in the last minutes – we are made to compose a new soundtrack. And when the basic work is done, there comes the time to write something special”. The interview also contained the scenes of Badalamenti writing music to ‘Angels Go To Heaven’. Sadly, Dolores wasn’t shown there.
In November, Universal Music started the European publishing of promo-singles with Dolores and Zucchero’s ‘Pure Love’ song, but alas, there was not a single word about the commercial release.
In October, 22nd Dolores flew to Bremen, Germany, where in the Messenhalle hall the musical programme ‘Taratata’ was being cut. In the third time Dolores performed ‘Pure Love’ with Zucchero. The Cranfans didn’t know what news would be coming in a month yet.
At the end of November there was a whole string of events and news. First of all, in Italy with the independent label ‘Minus Habens’ the soundtrack of ‘Evelenko’ thriller is finally issued, containing a united work of Dolores and Badalamenti – ‘Angels Go To Heaven’ – presented in no less than 4 variations (plus, there was the fifth version that is played at the end of the film). Second of all, in November, 27th Dolores visits Germany again, this time to take part in the splendid show ‘50 Jahre Rock: Love Songs’ (‘50 Years of Rock: Love Songs’) dedicated to the best love songs the history of rock music ever knew. Apart from Dolores, the program was taken part in by such ‘rock experts’ as The Cure, Paul Young, Elton John and again Zucchero. Dolores was singing ‘Linger’ and ‘Zombie’ accompanied by the invited musicians, doing it in a really special way: right after ‘Linger’ without any hint of a pause she began singing the chorus of ‘Zombie’ which was something really unexpected and fresh! And, thirdly, really sensational news was that Dolores was pregnant again, in the third time! Dolores gave a small interview after the show where she officially said that she was somewhere around the 6th month of her pregnancy. She also said she wanted to create a solo album in 2005, and that no way is she going to put an end to her career in music!
In the middle of December Dolores O’Riordan was nominated to the award of the Italian Cinema Festival (The Capri Film Festival) for the ‘Ave Maria’ song for Mel Gibson’s blockbuster ‘The Passion Of The Christ’. So in just two days the Italian media said that Dolores was declared to be the winner! She was supposed to come to Capri for the reward in person and, beside that, to give a press-conference for an hour! But she had to cancel the visit because of the awful weather in Italy…
In December, 18, the third duet performance of Dolores and Zucchero singing the ‘Pure Love’ song (cut back in October, 22) was finally broadcasted on the German channel Sat-1 in the ‘Taratata’ show. After the performance, the leading actor invited Dolores and Zucchero for a short interview. Sadly, his questions weren’t appropriate at all. For some reason the journalist wanted Dolores to say in what city she and Zucchero had recorded their diet, and then were the questions if Dolores had ever been at Zucchero’s farm. Dolores was forced to admit her forgetfulness and then make a joke that the only thing she does with her husband on their Irish farm was making children. Apart from Dolores and Zucchero, ‘The Cure’ and ‘Keane’ bands, Ronan Keating and Ana Johnsson took participation in the show.
At the end of December, the site www.itunes.com provided the first downloadable solo songs of Noel and his project Mono Band – ‘Invitation’ and ‘Release’. The release of the album itself is put back till 2005…